The School of Good & Evil : The Last Ever After is the final tome in the trilogy so I was worried that it would start to drag or get repetitive, as is often the case with book series of a predetermined length - sometimes you can tell that by the time he/she got to the final book, the author was running out of ideas or enthusiasm - but that was certainly not the case for Soman Chainani. The final volume is a breath-taking masterpiece that had me compulsively turning the pages. It may be a whopping 655 pages long but I raced through it in just over a week !
To backtrack slightly, you may remember than in book one, Agatha and Sophie ended their fairy tale by giving up the prince that they were both fighting over in favour of a happy ending together as friends, back in Gavaldon, away from the School for Good & Evil. In book two, they were swept back into their story when they realised that this wasn't enough for either of them, and they soon discovered that their decision had caused havoc, with the school becoming The School for Boys & Girls, and the two sexes at war. At the end of this book, the girls appeared to find their respective Happy Ever Afters, with Agatha and Tedros together and Sophie betrothed to the evil School Master.
In The Last Ever After, we learn that Agatha and Tedros have got off to a rocky start though. Constantly bickering, unable to feel at one, they soon realise what is missing : Sophie ! They decide to head back to the School, rescue Sophie from her evil fiancé and bring her into their own happy ending. Unfortunately, Sophie doesn't share their view of a Happy Ever After and, once again, war is declared, with the powers of Good and Evil in a dramatic fight to the death.
Sophie and Tedros will need all the help they can get, and it comes in the form of the League of Thirteen - thirteen famous but now totally decrepit fairy tale heroes, including Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel and Tinkerbell. I found the passages involving the OAP fairytale heroes deliciously irreverent and totally hilarious. The classic fairy tales aren't the only literary traditions to be reworked though - the author also brings in the legend of King Arthur, as Tedros is King Arthur's son and heir to the throne of Camelot.
As the plot meanders through numerous unexpected twists and turns, we uncover the hidden story of Agatha and Sophie and learn what has really been pulling the girls together and pushing them apart throughout the entire trilogy - I did see some of it coming but not all of it by a long chalk. The epic final battle is a crazy mix of humour and excitement and it really seems as though the final outcome could go either way right up to the very end. The ending made me smile - it seemed right, for everyone, good or evil.
The beautiful trailer has made me really hope that one day, the series will be made into a Hollywood blockbuster or even a TV series, in the vein of The Lord of the Rings crossed with Once Upon A Time. It would be a sure fire hit and would give the classic fairy tales a new lease of life !
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £7.99
Disclosure : I received the book in order to write an honest review.