Title: So This Is Ever After
Author: F.T. Lukens
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: March 29th, 2022
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy – LGBTQIA+
My rating in stars:
My rating in words:
I really liked it!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Carry On meets Arthurian legend in this funny, subversive young adult fantasy about what happens after the chosen one wins the kingdom and has to get married to keep it…and to stay alive.
Arek hadn’t thought much about what would happen after he completed the prophecy that said he was destined to save the Kingdom of Ere from its evil ruler. So now that he’s finally managed to (somewhat clumsily) behead the evil king (turns out magical swords yanked from bogs don’t come pre-sharpened), he and his rag-tag group of quest companions are at a bit of a loss for what to do next.
As a temporary safeguard, Arek’s best friend and mage, Matt, convinces him to assume the throne until the true heir can be rescued from her tower. Except that she’s dead. Now Arek is stuck as king, a role that comes with a magical catch: choose a spouse by your eighteenth birthday, or wither away into nothing.
With his eighteenth birthday only three months away, and only Matt in on the secret, Arek embarks on a desperate bid to find a spouse to save his life—starting with his quest companions. But his attempts at wooing his friends go painfully and hilariously wrong…until he discovers that love might have been in front of him all along.
MY THOUGHTS (spoiler-free):
“I had been running toward my destiny, not from it, barreling like a hothead toward adulthood. Now that I’d made it, I just wanted to go back to how everything was before.”
Well, if you’re ever looking for a fun, light, heartwarming read – look no further! So This Is Ever After is the perfect palate cleanser for when you’re feeling slumpy, something perfect to read after a heavy and emotional read or just a quick, funny read for those days when you need a little light and serotonin in your life. I adored this one so much, just like I did the author’s previous work In Deeper Waters. Let me tell you about everything I liked:
The unique plot
The story starts off at the end of a long journey, when Arek, the Chosen One, kills the Vile One and fulfills his prophecy to bring peace back to the land of Chickpea. Arek had been on this quest for months, together with his ragtag group of companions, and he’s now ready for his Happily Ever After. Except – what now? The country needs a ruler, so Arek reluctantly steps in temporarily until they can find the princess. Except the princess is already dead and Arek is now the King FOREVER. You see, there’s this magical law that whoever is King, has to stay King until death. And also, he needs to bond his soul with another by his eighteenth birthday or he’ll fade away. Yikes.
I loved that this story takes place after the end of the regular epic Chosen One journey. While I kind of missed having been there with these characters throughout their journey, it was also super unique and fun to see what happens after the quest is completed and the prophecy is fulfilled. What do these heroes do now and how do they make the best of their HEA? Can this ragtag group of teens lead a country and bring peace to the realm?
This wasn’t a super plot-heavy book, nor do we get a lot of politics or worldbuilding. In fact, it’s just a light fantasy read that focuses a lot on the characters and their relationships. And I was here for that!
The amazing found family and all the banter
As I said, the characters and their interactions really make up this story. When Arek became the Chosen One, the prophecy also foretold that he would meet people on his journey who would help him. First of all there would be The Mage, which is his best friend Matt. Together they embark on this quest and along the way they meet The Bard (Bethany, a flirty young woman who plays a magical harp), The Fighter (Sionna, a complete badass), The Knight (Rion, an honorable and protective young man) and The Rogue (Lila, a half-fae who likes to steal things). But now that the quest is over, will they all stay by Arek’s side?
I loved this band of friends so much. Sure, they came together because of a prophecy, but their loyalty to one another was still so heartwarming. And the banter was amazing and hilarious. Part of me was a little sad that I missed their journey together and all the moments they would have shared then, but the other part was happy that we got to know them all outside of that quest and the roles they had to play there. It was such a ragtag group of characters, but they worked together so well and I could read about them all day long.
The soft friends-to-lovers romance
Yep, this is a friends-to-lovers romance as Arek starts to woo each of his friends to see if any one of them would be interested in bonding with him. But who he really wants, and has wanted for a while, is Matt. So yes, this book features a lot of pining and obliviousness and miscommunication, but even then it’s all so much fun! Normally, the miscommunication trope is my most dreaded trope and we need to be fair, this story is built around that trope. But I didn’t mind one bit. Sure, Arek and Matt were two oblivious idiots, but instead of yelling at them with frustration, I was just gently sighing and saying ‘Ahh these two idiots’ with fondness in my heart. It was just a fun little light story and I was along for the ride, even if the characters were idiots.
Despite that miscommunication, Arek and Matt were such a fun duo – they were complete opposites with Arek being sarcastic, flippant and a little reckless and Matt being super serious, studious and broody. But their banter was amazing and really made it feel like they had this strong friendship that had weathered so many years and would weather everything still to come too. Super swoony and heartwarming.
I highly recommend So This Is Ever After if you’re looking for something fun and light-hearted, that’s also a little different and isn’t afraid to turn the typical fantasy tropes upside down. You can’t go into this taking it too seriously or looking for highly intricate political storylines, but if you go into it ready to have some fun, enjoy the host of magical characters and their banter, and are ready to both swoon and make fun of two oblivious idiots in love, then So This Is Ever After is the perfect read for you!