The Plans Trilogy is a boxset of Addison Albright’s three novellas featuring a continuing story of Princes Efren and Marcelo. It’s fantasy light, with poisons and potions, rival countries at war, and a peace treaty to bring two countries together. It also includes bonus scenes and an epilogue of sorts. First, I’ll give a quick recap of each novella, but I’ll be reviewing this as a whole since it reads like one story.
The Contingency Plan
Marcelo is mourning the sudden, accidental loss of his twin sister, while also getting ready for Prince Efren’s visit. It was supposed to be an arranged marriage between Efren and Marcelo’s sister, but with her passing, Efren will pick one of the other sisters to marry instead, as the treaty between the countries is imperative. Sheburat is a matriarchal society, so the last thing Marcelo expects is for Efren to use a loophole and pick Marcelo as his new spouse. Marcelo knows he needs to do his duty, but he is surprised by how quickly he comes to care for Prince Efren, and how well they match. Maybe Marcelo’s new life won’t be so bad after all.
The Best Laid Plans
Newly married Princes Efren and Marcelo need to make the trek from Sheburat to Zioneven, Efren’s home country. The princes are getting along well and finding an easy relationship. But on their first night in camp, things take a terrible turn. The attack is unexpected, and Marcelo finds his backbone to fight for his life. Even after being taken, Marcelo will do whatever it takes to stay alive and make it back to his husband. Efren is beside himself with worry for the young husband he’s coming to adore, and he will stop at nothing until he has Marcelo safe back in his arms.
Change of Plans
Princes Efren and Marcelo wake up to have no memory of the past two months, not remembering that they are married, let alone the harrowing journey home. The last thing Marcelo remembers is getting ready for Efren’s visit and his sister’s wedding. Marcelo is comforted by the fact that his steward is in this unknown land with him, and heeds the stewards words that Marcelo is much more confident and involved than he was in his own home. Efren, though not remembering he picked and married Marcelo, is beyond pleased he has a such a sweet man for his husband. Though he was prepared to marry the princess, he prefer the company of men.
But there are still machinations afoot, and the culprit behind the drugging that caused them to lose their memory is still unknown. The men must figure out why they’ve been forced to forget. Marcelo feels the warm embrace of Efren’s family, and both princes quickly feel affection for each other again. Falling in love all over again seems to be as easy as the first time, and it’s only a matter of time before they figure out who was behind it all.
As I said, this is sort of fantasy light, without a lot of world building, but Albright makes it work and give just enough to set up the world so that the reader should have no problem diving in. Marcelo is a sweetheart from word one, and since he’s grown up in a matriarchal society, he knows his place is to remain unmarried and unattached. His mother, the queen, and his sisters are the ones with the power, and Marcelo is happy to chase academic pursuits. He’s young, barely 18, but has a ready mind that puts pieces of the puzzle together quickly. He faces the new hurdle of becoming Efren’s spouse with aplomb and grace, knowing it’s his duty and that he doesn’t have a choice, but going into it with an open heart and ready to do the best he can. The author does an outstanding job of making this sweet and endearing, while also giving Marcelo autonomy and presence. The twist on the trope here was nice to see.
Efren is older by several years, and much more worldly, due to his upbringing. He sees and opportunity and chases it. But he’s also very accommodating of Marcelo and makes sure he has consent every step of the way. I adored these two together, and the chemistry sparks and sizzles between them. And it’s easy to see why the affection between them grows so quickly. These guys fit together well, and their relationship and connection to each other drives the story.
The author does a great job of balancing the romance side of things with the political machinations of the four countries in the realm. With each novella, more clues are uncovered and more pieces slip into place to show the plot is much more involved than anyone would have guessed. Nothing was too surprising, but it was well done and laid out nicely.
It was easy to get invested in this story, and having all the novellas together, along with bonus scenes and a glimpse of the MCs future made it even better. This one gets an easy recommendation from me, as it has lovable and relatable characters, as well as an intriguing mystery that helps drive the plot.