Book Review: The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani

Title: The Last Ever After (School of Good and Evil #3)
Author: Soman Chainani
Published: 2015
Genre: Middle Grade

Synopsis: In the epic conclusion to Soman Chainani’s New York Times bestselling series, The School for Good and Evil, everything old is new again as Sophie and Agatha fight the past as well as the present to find the perfect end to their story. As A World Without Princes closed, the end was written and former best friends Sophie and Agatha 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 re-written, 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 to change their tales and turn the world of Good and Evil upside down.

My Rating: red-starred-starred-star 1/2

In retrospect, I think this is a fantastic Middlegrade series – however… however, however… I think it deteriorated as it continued, usually the final book of a series is like fireworks and starlight and it blows you an ocean away. However, halfway through this massive brick of a book, I felt myself asking ‘but do we need this?’ and though in truth the amount of books that are truly truly needed are smaller than the books we actually have, I felt like the love I had for this story in the beginning settled into committed resignation. Much like an old marriage I did it because I was already in it but not because how brilliant it was.

Now, again – this is still a good book but there are things that nag me about it that I can’t let go and in attempting to put together a cohesive review I will point them out.

First of all THE REPETITION was nauseating. I think 150 pages of this book was repeating sentiments that we covered in the first 2 books if adjacent chapters of this book.

Our main characters are Agatha (sassy sarcastic but inherently selfless and good), Sophie (hilariously ridiculous but innocent in her selfishness) and Tedros (brave if not stupid but chivalrous and a typical teenage boy). I felt that in this book we slid out of those characteristics and not for the better. The idea of a trilogy is to showcase character growth – the acceptance of self. I felt that this book pushed that growth to the end – to literally the final chapter and I was left with a sense of ‘huh?’

  • Sophie – who was the comedic genius of the story became this twisted selfish bitch towards Agatha, constantly putting her down and this notion is not dispelled. The way she decided to blackmail Agatha into selfishly letting her have her best friend’s happy ending was off putting and given that Sophie was my favorite character in Book 1 I just couldn’t stomach this sudden turn. She was, without doubt, completely unsympathetic in this installment and Chainani decided not to give us her POV in the final battle and the final turn which I felt lagged.
  • Tedros – the limping knight had some emotional topics to tackle but I still felt it was lacking, buried underneath the topics of what evil is, happy endings, true love, blah blah. He also behaved very teenage-like which OK I get he’s a teen but when you’re telling me he’s being crowned King I expect more from him than ogling at a girl in a short skirt.
  • Agatha – gone was the lovely sass and the self-assured and we got handed a bogged down meat of a girl who was so frustratingly weak, nothing like the determined friend we met in the beginning of the books. She doubted herself, her prince, happiness, she doubted EVERYTHING and let Sophie manipulate her something horrible. It was, in short, frustrating.

I felt like I only liked the side characters and by that I mean: Hester, Lady Lesso and Hort.

The plot became this love triangle and where was the original meaning of the series where you QUESTION traditional fairytales and it’s OK to end up with your best friend? The friendship was completely lost in this book, this book was all about who gets the guy and a throne. I didn’t like it, it’s not what I’m here for. I think that if you’re interested in this series – stop in Book 1.

 

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