By Audrey L.

Get your copy of So This is Ever After by F. T. Lukens here

This standalone is a romantic, funny story that turns both the idea of ‘the end of the quest’, and the prophecy trope, on their heads. With a cast of likeable characters, moments where you want to laugh, and then moments when you just want to reach inside of the pages and whack the characters upside the head in turn, and magic (!) this book is a great light read for an inside, rainy day, or as you soak in the sunshine outside. 

Arek and his friends defeated (see decapitated) the evil ruler of Ere. They fulfilled the prophecy and they won, and now it’s time for peace, quiet, and happily ever after, right? No. So, so wrong. When Arek puts on the crown to become the temporary ruler of Ere, just a placeholder, he finds that he can’t give the title, or the crown, back. A magical law holds him to the throne, on threat of death if he tries to relinquish it, and also death if he doesn’t bind his soul (see get married) to someone else by his eighteenth birthday. And now, here he is, with a kingdom he didn’t want, in love with his best friend, Matt, and trying to find a soulmate to marry before he turns eighteen and just…disappears. 

Okay, the first thing that I have to say that I loved about this book, is the world! Not necessarily the worldbuilding, as we don’t see or hear much about the world outside of Arek’s immediate vicinity. No, what I love about this world is the acceptance, and the diversity and uniqueness that is seen as normal. In this world, anybody can love anybody. Love is just love here, and the people are just, people. It’s the type of world that ours should strive for, and one that I would love to see exist in even more books. 

Now, onto the absolutely awesome characters. Bethany the bard, whose use of her magical music and beauty is both helpful, and maybe not always ethical. Sionna, a warrior, terrifying and strong. Lila, the rogue, who constantly makes sure to have a means of escape, and has a penchant for thieving. Rion, a knight, forever loyal, but not exactly the smartest of the group. My favorite of this book, Matt, the magician, whose magic is strong, and sarcasm and sass even stronger. (okay, seriously, what’s not to love?) And Arek, the main of this story, who doesn’t always make the best decisions, but tries his hardest to help his friends and his people, and, in spite of how much he wishes otherwise does make a very kind and good king. All of the characters had their flaws, and their strengths, though I do feel like the author leaned a bit too heavily on how all of them were beautiful. 

The romance, to me, was just so sweet and cringe-worthy in turn, as Arek makes a win, and then a blunder, win and blunder. The banter and absolute sass between him and Matt was what I look for in a book between two romantically-connected characters. It was hilarious, witty, and oh-so-sweet. It was a definite win for me, even if it did feel pretty rushed at the end, though it did kind of have to be plot-wise. 

With a simple writing style that actually works very well with the type of weekend read that this book is, it oddly enough feels more modern than you might expect from a book set in a magical fantasy world. This is not high fantasy or action-packed, but feels more like a contemporary romance wrapped in a magical bundle. It focuses on friendship, love, and having to mature quickly and figure out your future ( things that older teens will probably connect with).

All in all, the characters, the humor and banter, and the diversity and acceptance in this world (though most mains are white), found a place in my book-reader heart and gave me plenty of smiles and laughs, and I hope that it will for you too. 

Rating: 4 maybe, maybe not prophecies/5

Genre: Fantasy/Romance/Humor/LGBTQIA