The Last Ever After, by Soman Chainani, was published in 2015 by Harper. It is the sequel to A World without Princes.
Everything old is new again as Sophie and Agatha fight the past as well as the present to find the perfect end to their fairy tale. Once best friends, now enemies, Sophie and Agatha thought their ending was sealed when they went their separate ways. Agatha was whisked back to Gavaldon with Tedros, and Sophie stayed behind with the beautiful young School Master. But as they settle into their new lives, their story begs to be rewritten, and this time, theirs isn’t the only one. With the girls apart, Evil has taken over and the villains of the past have come back with a vengeance. Not only do they want a second chance at their fairy tales, but they mean to transform the old world of Good and Evil into a new dark realm with Sophie as its Queen. Only Agatha and Tedros stand in the way of Evil’s deadly reign—and the Last Ever After of all.
You know, this series is really strange. I don’t know if Chainani is doing that intentionally or if it’s the way he describes things, but I found everything about The Last Ever After plain old weird. There’s emphasis in strange places, strange thought processes, and strange situations in general. And there wasn’t as a big of a contrast as there was in the first two books (Good/Evil, Boy/Girl) to detract from the oddity of the book.
The Last Ever After is also an incredibly long book, and boy, does it show. It dragged on for about one hundred pages too many. Agatha & Co. spent way too much time wandering through the forest. It’s like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows all over again, but with less tents.
And since I’m talking about what I didn’t like first, let me say that I spent a majority of the book seriously irritated with Sophie. She mopes around for the first third, is increasingly selfish in the second third, and then completely destroys all of my sympathy in the last third. I’ve never liked Sophie, and Chainani didn’t do a good job, in my opinion, of balancing her insecurity and her complete unlikeability as a character, so the times when I’m supposed to want to hug Sophie are the times I want to punch her instead.
I liked the book, I suppose, but the series has gotten weirder and weirder, and my irritation with Sophie has grown bigger and bigger to the point where by the last page I was just glad I finished reading it. The twist at the end I saw coming a mile away, but at least Sophie gets a cool moment at the end and Chainani ends the novel with a character who’s happy being single, so that’s a plus. And Dot has probably the single most awesome scene in the entire series. But The Last Ever After is just a little too weird and a little too frustrating for me to really gush about it.
Recommended Age Range: 14+
Warnings: Chainani describes girls’ feelings for boys strangely, but there are a bunch of things about passion and hot and cold and ogling bodies and lots of kissing. And Sophie and the School Master’s relationship is…disturbing.
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Young Adult
In each other’s arms, Master and Queen turned to the enchanted pen over their fairy tale, ready for it to bless their love…ready for it to close their book at last…
The pen didn’t move.
The book stayed open.
Sophie’s heart stalled. “What happened?”
She followed Rafal’s eyes to the red-amber sun, which had darkened another shade. His face steeled to a deadly mask. “It seems our happy ending isn’t the one the pen doubts.”