Thursday, May 14, 2015

REVIEW: Of Enemies and Endings by Shelby Bach (The Ever Afters, bk 4)

Of Enemies and Endings
by Shelby Bach
The Ever Afters, bk 4
5+/5 stars

No worries; no spoilers! I don't give anything away, but I do reference events from previous books.
Also, this being the last book in my favorite series, I'm entitled to a little fangirling. Or a lot. At least some. Right. Here we go.

So much angst! So much anxiety! So much fun!

I can't remember the last time I was this invested in a book. You know those jokes about book hangovers and readers not caring about reality because they're entirely consumed by a fictional universe? This is that book. I still haven't recovered. I finished it two weeks ago and I'm reading a new book and I still just want to think about this one.

Spoilers for Of Enemies and Endings will be avoided with this review, but I have to warn you that once you start this book you really shouldn't put it down. (And definitely not at chapter 18. ESPECIALLY not at chapter 18. That crushed my soul for a whole weekend.)

Of Enemies and Endings is the final book of The Ever Afters series. Everything is coming to a head and everything has changed for Rory. At the end of the last book, she finally told her parents about Ever After School and it's fun to see her family dealing with this. I loved Amy, and it's great seeing her family adjust not only to this new world, but who Rory is in this new world. I will admit, I've become increasingly impatient with Maggie, Rory's mom, as the series progresses but that's a clear sign of just how well she's portrayed. How do you think an overprotective mother is going to react to this stuff?

And then there's Chase.
Whose position changed at the end of the last book.
You all know what I'm talking about. I'm just going to say this development adds substantially to the emotional roller coaster ride.

Shelby Bach's character playlists make great listening music! 

Now a warning. Of Enemies and Endings is a lot more serious than the others. The series has gradually become so, with higher stakes each book, but this one really takes the cake. Usually, we have the fun banter of the Characters -specifically Chase- to keep things more light-hearted and upbeat. Well. Bach doesn't drop the jokes cold turkey, but as tensions rise and the deadline for Rory's face-off with the Snow Queen approaches there are considerably less. Specifically Chase's.

I must admit that I laughed hysterically at the end of Chapter 8. And I feel really, really bad about that. Sorry.*

Shelby Bach's foreshadowing skills continue to astound me. There were things mentioned in book two that led directly into a major event in the finale and I didn't even notice the clues. Every detail in every book is so masterfully and subtly interwoven that I am in awe. Stunned, even.
She also has an amazing knack for making her characters so realistic, doing what they should be doing instead of doing what you want them to be doing. Which is both frustrating and wonderful at the same time.

Something I really liked about Of Enemies and Endings is that it doesn't follow the traditional format of a Tale and quest. It's so unpredictable. Which is quite fitting, considering the Tale of Rory Landon is an Unwritten one. While some of the plot twists I did see coming, there were some that smacked me right between the eyes like one of Lena's Baseball Bats of Destruction.

The real surprise for me in this book was Hansel. We get to see a side of him here that clashes with the image Rory has built of him, and I love that. I love seeing new facets of characters, of looking at them from another perspective. He's my favorite minor character in this book and definitely worth mention.

This book got me right in the gut, guys. I mean, I loved the others. But this one. Right in the gut. I laughed. I cried. I was terrified. I yelled at characters. A lot. There were parts that ripped my heart out, parts that almost stitched it back together, and then parts that wrenched it out and tore it to shreds again. To say this is an emotional roller coaster ride would be a gross understatement, but the most important thing you need to know is that it's worth it. Every single moment -even the heartbreaking ones- are worth it. This is an amazing piece of storytelling, quite possibly the best book of the whole series, and while it's full of angst and emotional turmoil and moments that will make you want to throw it across the room, it's exactly how the series needs to end.

Gosh, I feel like I'm spelling out all this gloom and doom for you. Don't worry! Whatever you do, don't dread this book. Because it's amazing and wonderful. It's just a lot more intense than the others. It's the conclusion. This is where everything comes to a head -things you didn't even know were things!- and this is where everyone hits their lowest low, collectively and individually.

There's a lot going on in this book. Expect a knot of excitement and anxiety in your stomach the entire time. I think, in part for me, this was from knowing that this was the end. The End.

I wanted to gobble it whole and put it off and savor it indefinitely all at once! This book was spectacular. It was not disappointing. It was everything I wanted it to be, plus more.

I am completely satisfied with the series. Not to say I wouldn't love to see more if, perchance, we got some short stories. Or even more books in the same world (if we were to be really, really lucky). But I have no complaints. This final book is beautiful and I immediately wanted to read it again.

Of Enemies and Endings gets five stars from me, while The Ever Afters series collectively receives twenty, plus:
  • two thumbs up
  • a squeal of delight
  • lifetime devotion
  • instant recommendation to every single human being who asks
  • an immortal place high on my list of all-time favorites
Thank you, Shelby Bach, for this awesome and amazing adventure. I hate to see it end, but man, what an ending.
Of Enemies and Endings will be available June 30th and keep an eye on my channel and blog, because I'll probably have some kind of celebration for it.

Want to check out the rest of my reviews for The Ever Afters series? Here you go! Enjoy!

Don't forget to check out Shelby Bach's blog. She's also giving away two advance copies of this epic conclusion, so don't miss it!

*Comments to be understood after YOU'VE read the book. 


  1. Such a beautiful review Amanda, makes me want to tear up all over again. I totally agree with you on chapter eight, when that moment came it was just perfect. Such a perfect scene and made me laugh and smile at the same time. What a sweet, wonderful end to a fantastic series.

    1. Thanks, Brenda! My list of praise for this series is endless. I can't wait to re-read it all in one go, and then share it with my horde of nieces and nephews when they're old enough. ^_^