The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Release Date: May 14, 2013
Illustrated by: Iacopo Bruno
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: The School for Good and Evil, Book 1
Rated: MG/YA 12+
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website (Series) Website (Author)

This year best friends Sophie and Agatha will discover what it is to be a student at the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairytale heroes and villains. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy to live through one.

I received this one quite a while back, but for some reason, I never picked it up. Then, roughly a year after, I went to Boston for university, and I heard Soman Chainani speak about The School for Good and Evil at Boston Book Fest 2014. I was super excited to start it after hearing more about the inspiration behind it, but even when I came back home for winter break, I didn’t pick it. It’s only now, two years or so after I received the first book for review, that I finally picked it up. To be honest, I was expecting a pretty straightforward fairytale-esque book for children.

What I got was something completely different.

The School for Good and Evil was brilliant. Even though it took me a while to get through it (trust me, this book is HUGE), I couldn’t stop reading it. And when I had to stop reading it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Yes, it’s one of those books–the one you can’t stop thinking about for weeks after you finished it. The book hangover strikes again! Honestly though, I felt like I spent way too long looking at the cover. I own a hardcover and it’s GORGEOUS. And it’s not just the cover. The hardcover spine, the map inside, the illustrations–too much beauty to handle for my mere brain, clearly.

This book revolves around two characters: Sophie and Agatha. The perspective constantly shifts from one girl to the other, and from this it was really easy to get a grasp on the world that Chainani has created. Because both Sophie and Agatha are dropped (and I mean literally dropped) into these environments that completely oppose their characters, being in a strange place where you stand out amongst the others becomes a great lens to view this world. When it comes to the characters, I had a few ups and downs. For instance, I constantly oscillated with my feelings for Sophie. I hated her one moment and then I’d feel bad for her the next. Obviously, I think this was intentional since she really isn’t a pleasant character to begin with. But holy smokes, she has the biggest transformation EVER. It’s a little frightening to watch and I did end up somewhat sympathising with her. Agatha, on the other hand, I loved. She’s the most level-headed person in this story, and I like my characters who know what they’re doing, and more importantly, who are both kind and strong.

As I mentioned before, this is a really thick book, so a LOT happens. Several plot twists, plenty of room for character growth, as well as introducing different snippets from well known fairy tales. What I was really happy about was that it wasn’t JUST fairy tales–there were a lot of myths and stories involved too! There was one particular thing that got me excited: there’s a character in the School of Evil called Ravan. I don’t personally know much about Hindu mythology, but I definitely got the allusion to Ravana, especially when it came to his character performing his talent. That little tidbit got me super excited, because YAY FOR DIVERSITY!

A bewitching story of two girls trying to understanding who they really are, The School for Good and Evil was a phenomenal debut that left me yearning for more. Soman Chainani skilfully refines popular fairy tales and tropes into a remarkable novel that is unlike any other. If I didn’t have A World Without Princes on my shelf, I would have surely gone mad with the anticipation of having to wait for the next book. The School for Good and Evil is definitely one of my favourites this year: it's innovative, it's dazzling, and it’s bound to enchant readers from start to finish.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sarah from HarperCollins International for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

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1 comment:

  1. Fun! This sounds like such an amazing adventure! So glad you enjoyed it! :)


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