Published by HarperTeen on October 13, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
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.
This series companion is a must-have for any Selection fan, and includes:
Exclusive new scenes from The Selection, The Elite, and The One
Introductions to each novella from Kiera Cass
A map of Illéa and other illustrations
After completing the first three books in The Selection series, I decided to pick up this bind-up of all the novellas and bonus content that goes along with the original trilogy. Happily Ever After should definitely be read after the first three books, and if you haven’t read them I would not read my review here today. I will be sharing my non-spoiler thoughts on each novella and story included, but there will be spoilers for the original trilogy. Because this is a bind-up, I will share my thoughts on each section individually, and give a star rating for each section.
The Queen | ★★
My biggest disappointment in Happily Ever After is The Queen. I absolutely loved the character of Amberly in The Selection, and this story definitely tainted her. The Queen takes place during Clarkson’s selection, and I liked seeing what another selection was like. It was also really interesting to learn more about Clarkson’s parents, and Honduragua where Amberly is from originally. However, I was extremely disturbed with the ending of this novella. I don’t want to spoil it, but it goes with one of the themes that really disappointed me with The Selection as a whole, and that is how women are viewed. It’s such a shame that women are seen as submissive to men in this world, and I think it’s quite damaging considering these books are geared towards young adults.
The Prince | ★★★
Thankfully, Happily Ever After improved immensely after the first novella. The Prince is from Maxon’s perspective and takes place right before his selection begins, and continues through him meeting all the girls. I liked reading from Maxon’s point-of-view, as I sometimes questioned his intentions in the original trilogy. I was disappointed that most of this novella is basically just a rewrite of scenes in The Selection. That felt like a cop-out to me, as it didn’t add too much to the story. I also felt like we weren’t fully in Maxon’s head, but skimming the surface of his emotions. Nonetheless, I did enjoy this novella, it just wasn’t amazing.
The Guard | ★★★★
I was really excited to read The Guard, which is from Aspen’s point-of-view. This novella has a lot of original content, which I really appreciate. I also loved how we got to learn a lot more about the palace in this novella, as we follow Aspen and some of the other guards and maids. Plus, I was happy to delve into Aspen’s mind to see if he had good intentions. I do wish Cass tapped into Aspen’s emotions a bit more, but this was a solid novella.
The Favorite | ★★★★★
My favorite novella in Happily Ever After happens to be The Favorite, which is from Marlee’s perspective. This novella takes place right after Halloween, when Marlee is caught with Carter, and sharse about the couple’s life together in the palace. I absolutely loved learning more about their relationship and what went on behind the scenes. This novella is nearly all original content, and while it was quite cheesy, I just loved it.
Scenes from Celeste | ★★★★★
I was also eager to learn more about Celeste. She had such an about face in The One, and I found it quite unbelievable that she would change character so quickly. These scenes really helped me understand Celeste as a person. The scenes are quite sad, in a way, considering her ultimate demise, but they are very enjoyable and add a lot to the overall plot.
The Maid | ★★★★ 1/2
The Maid is a short story from Lucy’s perspective, and begins on the plane ride home from Carolina after America’s father dies. Surprisingly, we learn a lot about Aspen in this story, which I wasn’t expecting. I did like learning more about Lucy and Aspen’s relationship. Of course, it was a bit cheesy, but I’m letting that slide because this book is called Happily Ever After! I deducted a half-star because the story does lack believability.
After the One | ★★★★★
After the One is a short story that takes place two years after the end of The One. It is written from America’s point-of-view, and takes place during a birthday party for Maxon. This is the most adorable story ever, and while I could predict the ending of it, I still loved it a lot. I think this story sets up the next two books in the series well, and I’m excited to continue on with The Heir next!
Where are They Now? | ★★★★ 1/2
Where are They Now? checks in with the three other Elite and shares how they end up in life. I thought it was really interesting to see how being in the selection affected their lives. I felt like this was Cass’s chance to include more diversity into the series, and while she did do one thing that surprised me, I wish she went for it a bit more. Nonetheless, I felt satisfied with these scenes for the most part.
Overall, I really enjoyed Happily Ever After. I don’t think it is necessary to read this book, but if you are a big fan of The Selection, or if you’re curious about what happened to the characters, I highly recommend it! I really loved learning more about Illéa, and I loved the map and illustrations included in this book. I’m so glad I decided to give it a read!
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