Happily Ever After – Kiera Cass
*Warning – may contain spoilers*
First published: 2015
Blurb: America’s story wasn’t the only one with a happy ending…
Before Amberly came to the palace… She was a Four in love with a One.
Before Maxon met the girl of his dreams… He was the boy of someone else’s.
Before Aspen opened his heart to someone new… He was determined to fight for his first love.
And before Marlee could fall for a prince… She was swept off her feet by a guard.
Four stories to fall in love with!
History of my copy: At the beginning of May, I treated myself to a spot of book shopping. (You can find my book haul post here.) Although I had been considering buying The Heir, when I had to choose between the two, I ended up choosing Happily Ever After as I wanted to finish America’s story.
I’m not really a short stories fan, but I read this selection pretty quickly and rather enjoyed some of them. I finished it around 3 weeks ago so I’m just going to give a brief review of each story.
Something that makes this book extra special is the illustrations. They are simplistic yet capture the characters wonderfully.
The Queen: I love Queen Amberly and only wished that she appeared in The Selection series more. She adored her son, Maxon, and was especially kind to all the girls. Because of this, I was super excited to read this story in an effort to find out why this wonderful woman ended up married to the monster that King Clarkson is. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. Whilst I still dislike the couple, the story itself was rather sweet and it was nice to see how the Selection was for these two. One thing I would’ve preferred though was if there was a bit more history to the story. As the story was set probably at least a couple decades before The Selection, I felt as if things should’ve changed a bit within those 20 years. On the other hand, perhaps that’s just part of Illéa – that it never changes (until America became Queen of course).
The Prince: Whilst this story was okay, I didn’t really feel much for it. I guess it was nice for Cass to give us a background as to why Maxon is so terrible around girls at first, but aside from that it didn’t really add anything to the series.
The Guard: Aspen. Ugh. Hated him from the start and still hate him now. Honestly, his whole character felt like an excuse to make Maxon jealous, to let America cheat and just to have a love triangle. Yawn. Most of the story focussed on his feelings for America and I really couldn’t care less about that, so I very nearly didn’t finish it. I did power through, however, and whilst his relationship with Lucy was a little better, it still didn’t do anything for me.
The Favourite: Marlee! I don’t have much to say about this one, apart from the fact I loved it! The whole scenario between Marlee and Carter was one of my favourite in The Selection series as it showed how Maxon was ready to defy the set rules to protect not only America, but to do what is right.
Scenes From Celeste: Throughout The Selection series, I really loved Celeste. That is, until she was ruined by making her good underneath it all. She was the only girl besides America and Marlee that actually stood out and was different. These scenes from her point of view were quite refreshing, and did make her change of character feel a little more realistic. They were a nice addition to the collection but still, I’d rather Celeste stayed a cow right up to the end.
The Maid: Just like The Guard, I wasn’t a fan of this story. Lucy and Aspen, America’s closest maid and her ex, as if that hasn’t been seen before. I will, however, admit that I did prefer this to The Guard as I liked hearing Lucy’s views, and there was a lot less of Aspen pining over America.
After The One: If you read my review of The One, you’ll know that I was highly disappointed by the ending to America’s Selection. This scene though was the ending I wanted. It was perfect. It was set long enough after The One that everything had died down, it was sweet, and it gave it that final conclusion. In my opinion, this one part was written better than the entire final book and should be included in it. I loved it!
Where Are They Now?: This is a short update on what 3 of the girls, Kriss, Natalie and Elise, did after The Selection. This did nothing for me, mainly because all but America, Celeste and Marlee felt like the exact same person so by the time I read these, I had no idea who Kriss, Natalie and Elise were and so didn’t care what they were up to. I guess this was a really nice addition for anyone who connected with any of these girls, but to me it seemed really pointless.
To read or not to read: Don’t read. For those of you who absolutely adored the series, I totally recommend this collection. For me, Happily Ever After contained two good stories (The Queen and The Favourite) along with the notable After The One and Scenes From Celeste, which leaves 3 stories I didn’t particularly like, along with the pointless Where Are They Now?. With more bad than good, Happily Ever After kind of left me a little disappointed.