The chosen one is looking for love after saving the day

What does the chosen one do after defeating the big bad and saving the day? Of course he is looking for love. He quickly discovers that defeating a great evil is nothing compared to figuring out who he wants to spend the rest of his life with.

In a grand subversion of the usual chosen story, the novel opens with the long-foretold hero, Arek, fulfilling an ancient prophecy and beheading the Vile. When Arek removes the crown from his dead enemy’s head and places it on himself, he triggers a curse that will kill him unless he finds someone to soul bond with. Hilarity ensues as Arek tries and fails to woo some of his allies before realizing his destined love has been right in front of him all along.

This was my first FT Lukens novel, but it certainly won’t be my last. I enjoyed this story very much. It seamlessly blends the fantasy tropes and character archetypes of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign with the coming-of-age drama of a Rainbow Rowell novel. Everything from world building to friendships to romance works. Each of these elements is essential to immerse the reader in this fictional universe and make it difficult to leave once the last page is reached.

Arek is a compelling and hilarious track. It’s a walking disaster, but in the best way. Lukens masterfully subverts the mistakes made by many other authors when crafting their Chosen One stories. Many of the chosen ones are written as infallible, loud champions who are never wrong. Arek is a step in the right direction in that he is humanized in a refreshingly realistic way. He may be the king and savior of his land, but he’s also oblivious, insecure, and thinking to the point of frustration. He has real doubts and fears, and that will endear him to readers.

Her relationship with her fellow wizard, Matt, ends up being the most pivotal in the novel. The two care deeply for each other, but both are afraid to admit their feelings. I’m a big fan of the friends-lovers trope and slow-burn romances, so that aspect of the novel worked well for me. I also loved Matt’s intelligence and loyalty to the people he loves. My only complaint is that we didn’t have any scenes written from Matt’s point of view. Believe me, there are several points in this novel where readers will desperately want to know what’s going on in his head.

The novel’s other supporting characters, such as Bethany, the soft-talking bard; Lila, a thief addicted to stealing shiny objects; and Rion, the fearsome knight with a benevolent temperament, will also appeal to readers. There are such great clues to their respective backstories and I would love to read a sequel or two about these characters.

Finally, the portrayal in this novel is not only refreshing, but stunning. LGBTQ characters are present and their romances are commonplace. Every kind of love should be represented in fiction, and FT Lukens has done a great job of making sure everyone can see their life and love reflected. It’s a major strength of the novel and what I hope will become more and more common in the epic fantasy genre.

If you’re a fan of YA fantasy novels with a little less quests and a little more drama and interpersonal conflict, this novel is perfect for you.

Rating: 5/5

So it’s forever will be available in bookstores everywhere on March 29, 2022.

DISCLAIMER: A review copy of So This Is Ever After was provided to me by Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

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