Title: Happily Ever After
Author: Kiera Cass
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Paperback, 416 Pages
Published October 2015
Summary: The contents of Happily Ever After are as follows:The Prince (with the two bonus chapters), Maxon’s novella, The Guard, Aspen’s novella, The Queen, Amberly’s novella, The Favorite, Marlee’s novella, Three scenes from Celeste’s POV, Lucy’s scene (bonus scene from The One), The bonus epilogue, Where are they now?, A map, Various illustrations
I have always been a huge fan of The Selection series, so when I realized there was a book of novellas about the series, I couldn't be more excited. This book tells the popular stories from the series through the eyes of characters such as Amberly, Maxon, Aspen, Marlee, Celeste, and even Lucy.
What I liked most about this book is that you learn things about the characters through their own eyes -- things that weren't specifically brought up in the series when it was told from America or even Eadlyn's POV. The book opens up with Amberly and her own Selection, and you get to see the drunk, horrid abuse that the previous Queen instilled on everybody, and you got to see the rough childhood that Clarkson grew up with that isn't really explained in the original series. You also get to see little moments that weren't picked out in the original stories since the original stories are in America's POV (and therefore the things that America didn't see or know, we didn't either). For example, Aspen witnesses several instances where Clarkson orders any work or changes Maxon has done during his workday to be erased as if they never happened. In the original stories, we don't see those things happening.
One of my favorite novella's was Maxon's, specifically the scene in the garden where he meets America for the first time. I loved that scene in the original book because it was sweet and hysterical at the same time, so getting to read about it again and know exactly what Maxon is thinking when he first lays eyes on America, and several moments after that. It's totally adorable and heartwarming and funny and my geeky little fangirl heart was beating wildly the entire time.
Another part I really enjoyed was being able to read Aspen's thoughts throughout several key scenes in the story, and also finding out exactly what happened to Marlee and Carter after their caning. Overall, this novella gives you an extensive view of several key scenes throughout the series from different perspectives to give it a more diverse and comprehensive feel, and it's really fulfilling as a reader. It was great to revisit scenes I was familiar with, but to see them through a new set of eyes. I thought I'd be bored rereading the same story I already knew, but seeing it from the point of view of another character completely changes the scene and makes it so much more special and different.
The only thing that I didn't like all that much was that the stories were so short! Granted, the book is a compilation of novellas, so they aren't going to be long stories. But each story drew me in and made me want to know more and more about the character, so I was pretty bummed when I would turn the page and that character's novella would be over and it would be onto the next one! (Of course, then I started reading the next one, and getting caught up in that character's story, and so on and so forth in a constant cycle...) This wasn't the sort of thing I took stars off for, just a frustrating thing because I was so in love which each and every story that I never wanted it to end!
Overall, I very much enjoyed Happily Ever After. It was great to see the stories I've already read about from the point of view of the other characters, and also backstories to characters that hadn't been explored before, such as Amberly. If you read the entire Selection series and are craving more, I definitely recommend picking up this book and getting a little more of a fix in. And don't forget to check out my reviews of The Selection, The Elite, The One, The Heir, and The Crown!
I'm always a huge Kiera Cass fan. I can't wait to read more of her work!