I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.So This Is Ever After by F.T. Lukens
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on March 29, 2022
Genres: YA Fantasy, YA LGBTQ
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble
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.
So while I haven’t read Carry On, I do enjoy Arthurian legend tales and retellings. The premise for this book was really intriguing, and honestly the story itself blew me away! I loved the characters, I loved the wonderful banter, the uniqueness to the story, all of it!
I loved that the story started with the end of the quest. What happens next? A lot of times we don’t get that, I mean the quest is so intense and adventurous, it’s no wonder that is the end. But this took all that stuff we don’t know and made it into another type of adventure. There were new dangers and new obligations, and a new quest really. Who knew becoming king would mean a possible end to your life if you didn’t follow all the rules?
Yes I know there are always stories about how the new king or soon to be king must find a mate in order to rule. Or be taken seriously as a ruler. But this was a literal death or find a mate. And in a very short period of time! The magical aspects of this story were fun. Not necessarily a load of backstory or how it worked, just how it affected the story.
And the characters, I loved all of them! The ARC didn’t have the back cover art that the finished copy does, so I was glad to have a copy of that one as well so I could picture them as the author described. I loved the snarky banter between most of the characters, including those in the new kingdom once they got to know them. Matt and Arek totally had the perfect relationship. Even if Matt was pushing away Arek in all the ways that people do when they really do like someone, but for some reason or other don’t want them to know. I don’t think that is a spoiler, I think that will be obvious to anyone who is a reader. It’s like that one line, I think it is, “The lady doth protest too much”? Yeah.
There was representation for all in this book. Pretty much covered almost every aspect of LGBTQ that it could without necessarily calling it out, just letting it be a normal part of life for these characters and the people around them. So glad I got this to put in my library for my students, and I hope to read more by this author myself in the future!