Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil #1) by Soman Chainani - Paul's Review

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Title: The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil #1)
Author: Soman Chainani
Year Published: 2013

My The School for Good and Evil PRE-READING

Synopsis: The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she 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 tale is to live through one.


It's great to see a book for young girls with two female leads. Romance still has its place in the book, but the friendship of the two leads is at the focus of the story. 

This book plays with so many fairy tale tropes and cliches. Many well known fairy tale characters make appearances or are referenced. The concepts of villains and heroes, evil and good, are really played with. It really plays with assumptions and what you are inside. I loved all the parallels and the fairytale roles different characters took. 

I had so many different thoughts on where the story was going, but my theories constantly changed. And I didn't predict the ending. This book had my brain constantly working. 

There are a lot of physical attributes corresponding to good/evilness though. It's addressed, but one's inner self was often reflected by their outer self. 

There are a few LGBT references in the book, but some just as jokes or shock value. I wish I could have seen a different representation. That of course was one of my early theories too. 

While reading this book, I couldn't help seeing it as a musical, either stage or movie. There were even some lines of dialogue that after reading them seemed like the title of a song. 

There's apparently a sequel coming out in a few months. I was surprised because the ending wasn't left super open ended. I do like the sequel's title though: A World Without Princes.

I enjoyed this book and think it would be a great book for girls especially age 10-14. I'm not saying this is a girl book, but I think young girls would enjoy this different take on a princess story. I, a 24 year old man, enjoyed this book as well. I give it a 4.5/5.


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