[Happily Ever After]: A Review

Hi everyone! Hope it’s spring at your house like it suddenly is here. Loving the great weather we’re having lately.

I’m excited to share my review of a collection that I have been hoping to read for a while. Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass is a novella collection set in the world of The Selection Series. If you’ve been here long, you know that I absolutely love The Selection; I might even call it my favorite YA series and definitely my guilty pleasure series. I may have read my favorite scenes in the other books after finishing this collection. Check out my reviews of the other books including a series review of the first 3 books, The Heir and The Crown.

I have been meaning to read this companion collection forever but finally bought it at a local bookstore a few weeks ago. (Well, actually my husband bought it for me. He’s an enabler of my book obsession and I love him for it!) It was everything I hoped it would be. I loved getting back into the world of The Selection and getting inside the heads of some of my favorite characters. 

Initial thoughts:

  • This is a quick read. The novellas are broken up into chapters and aren’t long themselves (maybe 80 pages tops). Because there are so many different stories in this one collection, it’s easy to get sucked into the stories and keep reading to find out what happens (or at least how they saw it happen).
  • The illustrations are gorgeous throughout the collection! Makes me super excited for the movie adaptation that’s coming in the next few years!
  • I love America and Maxon. That’s all.

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Happily Ever After shares the stories of several characters from The Selection series through their points of view. Goodreads summarizes, “Meet Prince Maxon before he fell in love with America, and a girl named Amberly before she became queen. See the Selection through the eyes of a guard who watched his first love drift away and a girl who fell for a boy who wasn’t the prince. This gorgeous collection features four novellas from the captivating world of Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series, as well as exclusive, never-before-seen bonus content.”

“We know you’re strong, but accepting help is its own kind of strength.”

“It was completely fascinating to me the way that love grew. I kept thinking I’d found a way to give him all that I had, but then I’d learn a new quirk, hear a new story, go through a new experience, and my heart swelled.”

Happily Ever After

My favorite story was definitely Marlee’s because it is a gorgeous, unexpected love story. I remember being shocked the first time I read about her and Carter being caned in public. I wished I was brave enough to try to stop it like America did. It was so awesome to get the backstory on what brought Marlee to that point. I think Kiera is at her best in this story giving us their love story, one little piece at a time. I also enjoyed the way it was presented. We start with Marlee in the dungeon after they were caught together. But then we get all the details before that moment and continue through her experiences until America and Maxon are getting married. Marlee is a wonderful character who is a unique role model. She makes sacrifices for true love, despite knowing what she is expected to do. She is a loyal, supportive, and loving friend. And she works hard to build a new life while also seeking to forgive herself. I loved Marlee in the original series and her story just increased that love.

The novella I had a hard time appreciating was Queen Amberley’s story. It didn’t redeem King Clarkson for me. And I mostly just came away from it feeling more sorry for Amberley and sad for them both. Clarkson has a hard childhood with disfunctional and abusive parents. But nothing about this story redeemed him for me. It reminds me of how I felt after reading Fairest by Marissa Meyer. In that story, we get the backstory of Levana, the evil queen of the Lunar Chronicles. But I was disappointed because she isn’t redeemed. She’s just evil and doesn’t want to change, which is how I see Clarkson. He seems to think that the only way to run a country, or a family, is with complete, intense control. And it was sad that Amberley was okay with that. I was glad that she truly loved him. But his love was more twisted, about power and control rather than actual love and understanding. All this said, I do understand why Clarkson is how he is in the series. So I still can understand why the story is this way.

A few other thoughts on this collection:

  • I love love love the chapters from Maxon’s perspective! And I would love a whole novel from his perspective.
  • Aspen is a truly loyal, courageous, good man. He still annoys me when he is pining for America. But I love his slow transition to loving and protecting Lucy. So beautiful!
  • Fun to get some scenes from Celeste who is such a neat character because of her transformation. I hate her at the beginning, but I love her by the end.
  • I love the extra epilogue to The One. So fun to see America and Maxon at the beginning of their marriage and their roles as parents.
  • I can’t remember if this was published before the final 2 books in the series. But I would have loved some scenes from those books in Maxon’s or America’s perspectives. Perhaps one day 🙂

This collection isn’t complicated. The stories are easy to get into and quick to read. There’s not a lot of hidden meaning. But I love them. I love that they show that true love is possible. Change is possible. And happily ever afters are possible.

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Have you read The Selection Series? What did you think?

One thought on “[Happily Ever After]: A Review

  1. Pingback: April Wrap-Up and May TBR – greenish bookshelf

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