After King Robert’s men managed to track down Prince Stephan and Warren, the pair are back on the run. They have barely managed to stay one step ahead of those who want to see Stephan dead, and Warren has faced a serious illness. But they are out of Robert’s grasp for now and are trying to think ahead to their future. However, when Stephan gets a dire message from his sister, Nessa, he knows he can not refuse to help her. Robert has become increasingly unstable and threatening the lives of all the citizens of Seveihar. The country is also on the brink of a war Robert has incited and Nessa begs Stephan to return home.
Stephan and Warren head back to Seveihar, sneaking into the city to meet Nessa. It soon becomes clear that the situation is even more serious than Stephan feared, but as a prince in exile, he has no faith that he can rally the support needed to stand against Robert. But he is also unwilling to let down his people. Stephan has a plan, but it means risking his own safety, and Warren can’t help but be fearful for Stephan’s life. Now Stephan must choose between standing up for his people and protecting his own life, and risking the man he holds dear in the process.
The Homecoming Prince completes Isabelle Adler’s Castaway Prince trilogy and ties the journey up nicely. The books cover one long story that follows Stephan through being exiled, his life on the run, and ultimately coming home to help save the kingdom. At the same time, the books sort of jump in and out of the story to focus on the latest action, so there are time gaps not covered by any of the books. This worked better here than in the second book, where I felt like we missed a lot of the connection between the first story and the second. I think the style fits well with these novella-length books, really highlighting the main action. This story keeps its energy nicely throughout, as Stephan and Warren face danger, intrigue, and sacrifice. At times I think the shorter format takes away some story depth, but I think Adler manages to hone in on the key elements, as well as give a nice sense of the connection between Warren and Stephan.
Even with the outside action, the heart of this series has always been the two men and their relationship. They started as prince and servant, but we can see how quickly they became true partners. Stephan sees Warren as his equal, never as a lower station. And Warren accepts Stephan unconditionally, despite the fact that others judge him for his feminine side. So these men are a nice match and I enjoy their partnership.
I found this one an entertaining little trilogy, overall. While sometimes I struggled with the gaps in the story, as well as the shorter format, I think the story comes together nicely and is worth your time, particularly if you are fans of fantasy, master/servant partnerships, and exploring gender identity.