Monday, December 21, 2015

Review: The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil #1) by Soman Chainani


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
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.

MY TAKE:
It's always wonderful to find a book that has both a beautiful cover art and an awesome story.

In The School for Good and Evil, Sophie dreams of being one of the chosen children from her village so that she can live an extraordinary life as a fairy tale princess. She gets part of her wish granted when she and her friend Agatha are taken to The School for Good and Evil. However, she is classified as Evil, while the not-so-pretty Agatha is classified as Good. The two set out to prove that they have been placed in the wrong schools, but what happens if they're incorrect?

The start of this book had a fairy tale-ish quality about it, which is fitting, given the plot. The school made me think of Hogwarts, in a way, and the teachers' and students' antics during class made me laugh. I thought this was going to be another nice but rather predictable book. While there were a couple or so major plot points that I managed to predict accurately, I didn't expect Sophie's brilliant plan at the end at all. It was truly evil and I was so impressed by it.

As for the characters, Sophie comes across as self-centered, selfish, and vain. I didn't hate her, exactly, but I certainly wasn't a fan either. I did start liking her a bit more, though, as she started to embrace who she was. I liked Agatha more than Sophie, for sure, although I wasn't too impressed with some of the more princess-y things she started doing when she embraced being Good.

Overall, this was an amazing story. I'm excited to learn what happens next in the series.

THE GOOD:

  1. There are brilliant plot twists.
  2. The world-building is excellent.
  3. The characters are mostly likable. 

THE BAD:

  1. The princesses seem weak and too dependent on the princes. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You want something that has a similar feel to Harry Potter.
  2. You tend to love villains.
  3. You've wondered about the nature of good and evil.

RATING:
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