Review: “The Last Ever After” is a Perfect Fairy Tale Ending (The School for Good and Evil #3)

Cynthia Ayala ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Everything old is new. Agatha and Sophie have gone their separate ways. While Sophie stays behind with the beautiful young and evil School Master, Agatha and Tedros are whisked away to Gavaldon. But with Sophie and the School Master declaring their love for one another, they have given evil past and present its chance at rewriting old fairytales, putting everyone in mortal danger. Evil has taken over and the fate of all fairy tales lies with Agatha, Tedros, and Sophie finally putting an end to their fairytale.

Published July 21, 2015 by HarperCollins, The Last Ever After is the final novel in Soman Chainani’s New York Times bestselling child fantasy series, The School for Good and Evil.

"The Last Ever After" Cover. Source: HarperCollins
“The Last Ever After” Cover. Source: HarperCollins

This novel was amazing! Do not think for one moment that the novel, while stacked on the shelves of the children’s section in the bookstore, is a novel strictly made for children.

The Last Ever After is the third and final installment in The School for Good and Evil series, and what a finish. Soman Chainani has built up such a wonderful novel here that functions the way other fairytales have. It has a lesson that needs to be learned at the end of it. But the best part of the story is the unique aspect of it. Fairytales have been told repeatedly, and the challenge with writing one today is both making it unique and developing a lesson to be learned.

The novel follows young Agatha and Sophie, best friends who have been separated by the cards that they have been dealt—the injustices, secrets, lies and inner fears. Both girls have unleashed a war between good and evil as the past has reawakened to redo their old fairytales, unbalancing the world and wreaking havoc. Nevertheless, as Agatha and Tedros soon discover, the world hands in the balance of them saving Sophie and closing their fairy tale finally. However, nothing really goes exactly as planned for the pair of heroes and for all of them—the past has come back to close the story full circle, revealing something unknown to them all.

The detail that went into constructing the story was amazing, because it separated the story into three segments to outline the story and give it a solid form of progression from the past to the present. Additionally, the countless plot twists only worked because the story was cohesive and flowed effortlessly. Each plot twist serves not only as an incredible jaw-dropper, but also as another piece of the gripping puzzle. It was incredibly storytelling on the part of Chainani, and his talent lies in the detail and the characterization. Agatha and Sophie are both very strong characters, but they are hindered by their fears, their insecurities, and the pressure laid down on them. Everyone is always telling them who they are or who they should be versus letting the girls discover who they are on their own. Both girls fear the future, like everyone else; Agatha doesn’t believe in herself and in her ability to be a queen while Sophie fears dying alone like her mother before her.

Like most fairy tales, this novel has a reason to be told, a moral or lesson to be taught, and Chainani teaches it wonderfully. Loneliness and self-doubt and learning how to deal with those emotions are good lessons that every child should learn sooner than later, learning that it’s okay to be a loner, learning to accept insecurities by pushing past them and overcoming them—those are important lessons to learn. And the way Chainani tells it is remarkable because it adds so much to the characterization, narration, and the story itself, sucking the reader in because these are such believable characters in such an unbelievable world.

The Last Ever After is a charming novel that is very mature, fun, adventurous, and just absolutely perfect, giving new life to old fairy tales.

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