Size Doesn’t Matter (185): The Last Ever After; The Bloodbound

Size Doesn’t Matter (185): The Last Ever After; The BloodboundThe Last Ever After by Soman Chainani
Narrator: Polly Lee
Length: 20 hrs, 53 mins
Series: The School for Good and Evil #3
Published by Harper Audio on July 21, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
two-stars

In the stunning conclusion to the New York Times bestselling School for Good and Evil trilogy, everything old is new again, as Sophie and Agatha fight the past as well as the present to find the perfect end to their fairy tale.

Former best friends Sophie and Agatha thought their ending was sealed when they went their separate ways, but their storybook is about to be rewritten—and this time theirs isn't the only one. With the girls apart, Evil has taken over and the forces of Good are in deathly peril. Will Agatha and Sophie be able to work together to save them? Will they find their way to being friends again? And will their new ending be the last Ever After they've been searching for?

Soman Chainani delivers action, adventure, laughter, romance, and more twists than ever before in this extraordinary end to his epic series.

In the latest installment of CHRISTINA MAKES REALLY GREAT LIFE CHOICES, I decided to finish out The School for Good and Evil trilogy (no, I will not continue on to the new series—I hope—please don’t let me). Sure, I didn’t like book one and I hated book two, but I love the narrations and maybe, just maybe the series will end up being as gay as it totally should! Spoiler: this series continues to be frustrating and heteronormative af.

There will be spoilers bc idgaf.

On the plus side, The Last Ever After actually does improve a smidge on the prior books. It’s a wee bit less problematic. Instead of focusing on how important it is for girls to have princes like the first two, Chainani pulls a Frozen in the end. I’m glad Sophie ended up alone, though I could have done without the vision of her marrying the kinda creepy dude (Hort) who has been in love with her for the whole series and in whom she has had no interest. Let her just fly solo for now, it’s fine. Or set up a girlfriend for her. You know.

Chainani also does a better job establishing Agatha and Tedros as an actual couple. They’re still not shippy and I don’t totally get it, but they do eventually start learning to communicate. Tedros opens up about the fact that he likes her because she’s not a perfect princess type and that he really does value her. It doesn’t totally work, but at least Chainani is trying to make it something more than just fated true love.

However, I will forever be frustrated by the fact that the whole thing is about this massive love triangle going all directions between Sophie/Agatha/Tedros and it ends up being the most heteronormative thing ever. Like, in book two, Agatha had to pick between Sophie and Tedros, which is so clearly setting up Sophie/Agatha as a legit ship, but nope they’re siblings turns out. This could have been such a perfect surprise f/f story or OT3 but noooooooo. I’m so angry. Various random gross old heroes pair up in the background too, all m/f obvs, but who cares.

The plot absolutely did not need to be 655 pages/20 hours of audiobook long. There’s so much unnecessary stuff in this book. Like, the School Master is actually kind of pointless because really the only plot is Sophie’s desperate hunt for a prince (specifically STILL gunning for Tedros after hundreds of pages). It’s just weird and awkward and hard to believe. Like the rest of the series, there are some really cool in ideas in there (like the unhappy ending resulting in old tales rebooting) but Chainani doesn’t do anything particularly exciting with them.

This whole series was a waste of my time. Some people need to get writing some lgbt fairy tales ASAP please. I need them. I’m so thirsty for them I suffered through 80 million hours of this bullshit because the set up was SO PERFECT for it but it was never going to happen and yeah it did not happen.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Size Doesn’t Matter (185): The Last Ever After; The BloodboundThe Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey
Narrator: Jill Tanner
Length: 15 hrs, 23 mins
Series: Bloodbound #1
Published by Recorded Books on October 16, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

Of all those in the King of Alden’s retinue, the bloodbinders are the most prized. The magic they wield can forge invaluable weapons, ones that make soldiers like Lady Alix Black unerringly lethal. However, the bloodbinders’ powers can do so much more—and so much worse…

A cunning and impetuous scout, Alix only wishes to serve quietly on the edges of the action. But when the king is betrayed by his own brother and left to die at the hands of attacking Oridian forces, she winds up single-handedly saving her sovereign.

Suddenly, she is head of the king’s personal guard, an honor made all the more dubious by the king’s exile from his own court. Surrounded by enemies, Alix must help him reclaim his crown, all the while attempting to repel the relentless tide of invaders led by the Priest, most feared of Oridia’s lords.

But while Alix’s king commands her duty, both he and a fellow scout lay claim to her heart. And when the time comes, she may need to choose between the two men who need her most…

In choosing a book to mini review alongside The Last Ever After, I decided one trashy love triangle book deserved another. The Bloodbound is adult fantasy about warring kingdoms and warring hearts. It’s amazing in only the most trashy of ways, so obviously I had a lot of fun with it.

First off, the audiobook was absolutely not the right choice for this one. Jill Tanner’s a talented narrator, but she’s more Olenna Tyrell than Brienne of Tarth. Since it’s from the POV of a young king and his young, female bodyguard, the fact that an old woman was narrating it was puzzling. It made the sexy scenes feel illicit in a way that really wasn’t probably what they were going for. I’d definitely have had more fun with this in print, but oh well.

The Bloodbound has some of the classic marks of not great fantasy. For example, all of the aristocratic families have color names. The royal family (you’ve probably guessed) are the Whites. The heroine, Lady Alix, is a black. Subtle, this book is not. As per usual, their kingdom is beset by enemies without and within. King Erik’s brother is attempting a coup, and an outside nation with horrifying magic is trying to take over simultaneously. The amount that Erik whined about having guards was ridiculous. He is the king. Of course he has bodyguards. It’s not always the most well-thought-out book.

However, I did like Lady Alix as a badass warrior woman full of passions but completely confused by feelings. It’s pretty cute because in her trash trope love triangle both Erik and Liam basically instantly fall in love with her, all squishy and sensitive, and she just can’t resist kisses. Oops! View Spoiler »

I would absolutely keep reading this series, except that neither library system I have access to has it. In fact, I checked worldcat, and only one library in the whole state has it. Though it’s good crack fun, I’m not paying 12 dollars for the ebooks of two and three. Maybe someday I’ll buy cheap, damaged mass markets but idk. Only recommend to those who are trope trash and want some crack fantasy. Not recommended on audiobook.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (185): The Last Ever After; The Bloodbound”

  1. Gillian says:

    “(no, I will not continue on to the new series—I hope—please don’t let me)”

    Suuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrre

    I fucking love bitchy Sleeping Beauty gifs

    God I must read that crack fantasy trash pronto
    Gillian recently posted…#PitchWars, All the Words, and HELLOMy Profile

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