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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

I’ve had my eye on this book for a while because of my love of fairy tales. And, in the end, it did not disappoint. While I enjoyed it, the book fell just short of great in my eyes. I think that this was in part due to the length. I enjoyed the book a lot, but it felt long to me. I would laugh hysterically only to realize that I progressed a mere five pages in the book. I think that such feelings can be attributed to pacing issues that were resolved in the second half of the book. Granted, most of the action and scheming took place in the second half and it was much easier to fly through the book then. Overall, this is a very satisfying two day read.

Agatha and Sophie are best friends for life, despite their being the tender age of twelve. They live in a town that fears and loves fairy-tales. Every four year, the mysterious School Master comes in the dead of night to steal away two children: one who is inherently evil and one who is inherently good. These kids are taken to the School for Good and Evil to train as villains or heroes for their own future fairy-tales. Sophie has dreamed of being taken away by the School Master so that she could attend the School for Good ever since her mother’s death and her lack of a proper relationship with her Father. Agatha, on the other hand, fears the idea of the school because she’s a bit of a loner and unpleasant to eye. She feared that her baggy black clothing and her living in a cemetery will immediately place her in the School for Evil. When Agatha sees the School Master come to take Sophie away, she races after him to rescue her friend, only to realize that she is the second child to be kidnapped in that year’s duo. And, even worse, she was dropped into the School for Good while Sophie suffered in the School for Evil.

As a reader, I found that twist to be great because it’s not the least bit surprising. Agatha has the heart of gold. All she does is worry about Sophie and, in truth, she risked her life to try to save her best friend. She has the biggest heart and her story slowly proves that beauty is on the inside, not the outside. Sophie, on the other hand, totally deserved to be dropped in the School of Evil. Despite looking like a miniature Sleeping Beauty, she doesn’t act like one. She is perhaps the most vain character I’ve ever come across and ninety percent of the time the obnoxious tones that spewed from her mouth often had me rolling my eyes. But, bravo for that Chainani, because that’s just excellent characterization. I found the switch of schools to be great because of the wide difference in personality and such a thing led the way for a lot of shenanigans and fun comparison ranging from prizes, clothing, ideals, classes, and authority figures. I mean, fairies versus werewolves. Of course there’s going to be some interesting twists with that!

My one issue with this novel was the romance. The overall lover boy is Tedros, son of King Arthur, whose awesome sword fighting skills, leadership qualities, and good looks landed him in the School for Good. Granted, he tends to fall for stereotypes a lot. Tedros is the most desirable boy of all so all of the Princesses are swooning over him. Well, them plus Sophie who is convinced that Tedros is the love of her life. Seriously, several times she literally claimed him by saying, ”He’s mine.” It was a little much. What creeped me out was the fact that the girls were twelve and Tedros was old enough to be dealing with a little bit of stubble. And he found them attractive! I understand this is a fairy-tale world, but some inner part of me thinks we have a mini-babyeater on our hands. Then again, the romance really is only as innocent as that of young children anyway.

With an explosive ending that makes you beg for more, Chainani’s captured my heart with his unique world that turns fairytales upside down in the most delicious of ways. I will certainly be keeping my eye out for book two, hoping that the pacing picks up exactly where this one left off.


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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2 People left their mark' :

  1. This sounds like a fun read I'll be adding this to my tbr. Great review!

  2. Lol not my usual genre at all, but I would buy this for my stepdaughter. It sounds fun, and a good lesson as she is really vain.