Boy, was that a confusing mess of a read. On the surface, Rebecca Lickiss’ Never After seems like it would be a crazy amount of fun and a genuinely interesting story to boot. What is meant to be a commentary the template of fairy-tales really just ends up being a mess of ideas thrown together, none of which have any actual purpose or deeply-thought-out message. It’s as though the author recognized that there was something about fairy-tales to comment on but could never quite figure out just what that was.
And it’s a real shame because this idea of a Prince finding a castle with three Princes he must wake in order to wake the beautiful princess he wishes to marry actually isn’t half bad?
The author never really gets to the point.
If this was a commentary on the, at times, ridiculousness of fairy-tales I never really found it. It’s almost as though Lickiss went searching for fairy-tales, found a few things she liked about them, and threw them all into a giant pot and this book is what came out. Elements of fairy-tales we all know and love are thrown in haphazardly with no real intent behind any of it. And here, I think, is where this story ends up failing. What are the reasons for why any of this happens?
Well, there aren’t any…because fairy-tales?
The characters all serve little purpose besides accomplishing the prince’s main goal. The fairy-godmother literally exists only to create the central conflict–giving truly no real reasoning behind what she did whatsoever–and thus the book gives off an air of the author saying, “well, this happens because I say so.”
It feels thoughtless.
I think, ultimately, this was an idea that the author simply did not know how to bring to fruition. Where opportunity for commentary came, any deep thinking on the matter is practically non-existent. This leaves readers with a jumbled up mess of a story that doesn’t end up saying anything the author seemed to want it to say. It’s like she got out all the right ingredients–perhaps a few extras that don’t really fit–for her book, threw them in a pot, but forgot to light the fire.
That favorite meal of yours is excellent with all those ingredients, but it does no one any good if it never actually ends up getting cooked.