Monday, April 21, 2014

A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil #2) by Soman Chainani - Paul's Review

**I was provided an eARC of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review**

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Title: A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil #2)
Author: Soman Chainani
Year Published: 2014

Recent Release Date: Tuesday April 15, 2014

My REVIEW of The School for Good and Evil #1
My PRE-READING of The School for Good and Evil #1

My Pre-Reading of A World Without Princes (#2)

Synopsis: When Agatha secretly wishes she’d chosen a different happy ending, she reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil. But the world she and Sophie once knew has changed.

Witches and princesses, warlocks and princes are no longer enemies. New bonds are forming; old bonds are being shattered. But underneath this uneasy arrangement, a war is brewing and a dangerous enemy rises. As Agatha and Sophie battle to restore peace, an unexpected threat could destroy everything, and everyone, they love—and this time, it comes from within.

I loved what the first book in this middle-grade series did to break so many barriers and cliches. There are two female leads and although romance has its place in the book, friendship is at the core. The first book centered around the ideas of good and evil. This book tackles the complexities of boys and girls. There are inherit difficulties in dealing with gender. There are so many preconceived gender stereotypes and although I think Soman Chainani addresses them well, I wish there would have been more breaking of the cliches that are so ingrained within our culture. 

The school from the first novel is back, but with a few interesting changes. Even though this series has a Harry Potter feel, it is more fantastical than grounded. It doesn't take the time to build the characters over seven books. It is action packed, with both protagonists experiencing huge changes. The story alternates between Sophie and Agatha's perspectives, but when both characters are present it can lead to some confusion. 

The conclusion felt very "middle book" to me and it makes sense considering a third book in the trilogy comes out next year. I am excited to find out how these two girls' fairy tales will truly end. Children reading this book are at the perfect age to think about the issues presented and change the way they see the world. What really is Good? What makes you Evil? And can you change your "destiny"?

I give this book a 4/5 and highly recommend the series! I bought the first book for a friend's 8-year-old niece after reading it myself. What interests me most about the series is that it presents stereotypes in a way that makes the reader think and reevaluate their own ideas. This series is a great catalyst to discussing concepts such as good, evil, destiny, love, and friendship with a middle-grade audience. 


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