Today on the blog I have a recommendation for YA cosy fantasy romance from guest blogger S. Labrecque. The only "cozy" fantasy I have read is Legends & Lattes, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have written about it here and have posted a review of it by Rose Atkinson-Carter.
Looking for an LGBTQ+ YA fantasy romance that is both humorous and heart-warming?
Try “So This is Ever After” by F.T. Lukens!
This book is perfect for readers who enjoy light fantasy, humorous first-person narration, and sweet, non-spicy romance.
Sounds like you? Then keep reading!
Arek, the prophesied hero of the Kingdom of Ere, has finally managed to defeat the evil king.
Now Arek has found himself king, and must find a spouse before his eighteenth birthday or be cursed to fade into nothing. With the help of his best friend and court wizard– Matt– Arek sets out to woo a spouse in the three months before his birthday, starting with his adventuring companions.
What I enjoy most about the characters is their found family dynamic. I love reading about people who truly care about each other. Throughout the story, this found family is constantly setting aside their own needs for their friends. They support each other unconditionally. They forgive each other’s mistakes.
It is especially heartwarming the way Arek’s friends take care of him as he begins to fade. Their
tenderness shows us just how much they love each other.
I am a strong believer that love doesn’t have to be romantic to be meaningful, and this found family demonstrates that.
Not only do I enjoy found family and non-romantic love, I also enjoy healthy romantic relationships.
The romance between Arek and his final love interest (no spoilers!) is so sweet. They are always careful with each other’s feelings, respect boundaries, and are mutually encouraging. They’re even willing to sacrifice their own desires so their love interest is happy. Friends-to-lovers romance is my jam.
The amount of non-toxic relationships in “So This is Ever After” is fantastic, and I’m here for it.
The Miscommunication Trope
This book uses the “miscommunication” trope a lot.
Usually, I hate that trope. It makes the characters seem moronic, often against their original characterizations. Why don’t they just talk to each other? Miscommunications also stress out audience. It’s clear the author is leaning on the trope to stretch out the romantic plot needlessly.
“So This is Ever After” is a rare book that uses the miscommunication trope well.
For one thing, the characters are all hormone-addled teens. Arek in particular is intentionally dense when it comes to romance. So it’s in character that he and his friends misread romantic cues.
Also, F.T. Lukens isn’t trying to stretch the romance to lengthen the story. Instead, miscommunication is used for humor and drama. The conclusions our heroes jump to are reasonable given their circumstances, and it so happens to also push the plot forward in the process. This holds the romantic tension without stressing the readers.
In the end, tropes are tools. Certain tropes are often overused or misused by authors, so readers grow wary of them. However, a well written story can still utilize them well.
So, if you dislike the miscommunication trope, never fear! It is a tool “So This is Ever After” uses with great effect.
I love me some good LGBTQ+ representation.
And boy was there a lot of it. This book includes bi, gay/lesbian, polyamorous, and nonbinary characters. I don’t know if there’s a single character who isn’t LGBTQ+!
Sadly, there wasn’t much in the way of asexual/aromantic representation. It is a romance book, after all. Still, there could have been characters uninterested in Arek’s wooing due to being aro-ace. I’ll have to keep looking for my rare aro-ace representation elsewhere.
I would consider “So This is Ever After” a cozy read. It’s low on stress, high in humor, and the stakes are personal to the characters rather than a sweeping epic. I always enjoy a sweet romance that features healthy relationships– and swoony romantic tension!
“So This is Ever After” by F.T. Lukens is great for YA readers of all ages, especially if you’re looking for LGBTQ+ representation. Definitely would recommend!
Want more fantasy book recommendations? I post regular reviews on my website: https://slabrecqueauthor.com/newsletter_archive/
S. Labrecque is a fantasy author and geologist. She published her first two stories in high school with her cousin Shawn’s help. She then received her Bachelors of Science in Geology from the University of Rochester and her Masters from the University at Buffalo. After college, she returned to her dream of becoming an author. She writes a twice-monthly newsletter and posts book-nerd memes on Instagram as she works on publishing her next novel. When she’s not writing, Serena can be found hiking, cuddling her cats, and playing D&D with her family. S. Labrecque can be found on her website and on Instagram.