So This Is Ever After
An instant New York Time bestseller!
Carry On meets Arthurian legend in this subversive, “delightfully original and whimsical” (Kirkus Reviews) young adult fantasy about what happens after the chosen one wins the kingdom and has to get married to keep it…and to stay alive.
Arek hadn’t thought much about what would happen after he completed the prophecy that said he was destined to save the Kingdom of Ere from its evil ruler. So now that he’s finally managed to (somewhat clumsily) behead the evil king (turns out magical swords yanked from bogs don’t come pre-sharpened), he and his rag-tag group of quest companions are at a bit of a loss for what to do next.
As a temporary safeguard, Arek’s best friend and mage, Matt, convinces him to assume the throne until the true heir can be rescued from her tower. Except that she’s dead. Now Arek is stuck as king, a role that comes with a magical catch: choose a spouse by your eighteenth birthday, or wither away into nothing.
With his eighteenth birthday only three months away, and only Matt in on the secret, Arek embarks on a desperate bid to find a spouse to save his life—starting with his quest companions. But his attempts at wooing his friends go painfully and hilariously wrong…until he discovers that love might have been in front of him all along.
A queer teen navigates happily-ever-after in Lukens's (In Deeper Waters) tropey medieval romance. Seventeen-year-old Arek did what the prophecy asked of him: assembled a troupe of skilled followers (bard, Fae, knight, mage, and warrior), quested his way to the castle, and beheaded the Vile One, saving the Kingdom of Ere. Now what? He never planned on being king, but since the kingdom's heiress is dead, he's stuck; moreover, it turns out that he, as monarch, must soul bond with someone before turning 18 in three months or he'll wither away. The perfect candidate is Matt, his beloved mage, best friend, and longtime crush (who reads as white, like Arek), but Arek's afraid Matt would bond out of obligation, not affection. And so begins a comedy of errors, as Arek tries to woo one (then another and another) of his friends. The pacing can drag as Arek tries to figure out the business of ruling, and the mishaps bringing Arek and Matt together, then apart, continue, but queer love, nonbinary gender identity, and polyamory are all refreshingly accepted in this medieval-esque world in which determining whether love is reciprocated nevertheless remains as difficult as ever. Ages 14 up. Agent: Eva Scalzo, Speilburg Literary.