Review posted February 20, 2023.
Simon & Schuster Audio, 2022. 9 hours, 33 minutes.
Review written December 27, 2022, from a library eaudiobook.
2022 Sonderbooks Stand-out:
#8 Teen Fantasy Fiction
So This Is Ever After is simply a whole lot of fun. The book begins when there's supposed to be a Happily Ever After -- after Arek defeated the Vile One by fulfilling the prophecy, assembling a band of allies, infiltrating the castle, and chopping off the evil king's head.
What Arek hoped would happen after that was that things would slow down and he'd get a chance to confess his love to Matt, his best friend and the mage who fought beside him on the quest.
But they don't want to leave the throne empty for just anyone to take over, and Matt urges Arek to put the crown on his head and take the kingship for a few hours while they go rescue the rightful ruler -- the last princess of the royal line, who's locked in a tower.
Well, they do find the princess in a tower -- but she's so dead, she's become a skeleton. And Arek discovers, much to his discomfort, that he's magically bound to the throne. He can't abdicate, or it will kill him. And then he learns that he has to bond with a soulmate by his eighteenth birthday only four months away. He doesn't want to tie Matt to him unless Matt is willing, but when he awkwardly tries to find out, the door gets totally shut. So instead, Arek asks Matt to help him find a soulmate in four months.
What follows is a comedy of errors. Yes, it does feel contrived for Arek to do everything exactly wrong. Arek isn't particular about whether his soulmate is male, female, or neither, so he tries to woo each one of his friends in turn -- with comical results that always seem to throw him toward Matt.
This is a totally fun, light-hearted story about what happens after the quest is done and you're stuck ruling a kingdom. It helps if you have tried-and-true friends by your side.