The School for Good and Evil
Author: Soman Chainani
Series: The School for Good and Evil #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Release Date: May 14, 2013
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, among handsome princes and fair maidens 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 and Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale…is to live through one.
First Sentence: Sophie had waited all her life to be kidnapped.
I’ve never read a single middle grade book since when I was in 8th grade. I always stay away from middle grade books ever since then because I decided that they were just not for me. One day, I saw that all my friends were talking about a book called The School for Good and Evil and how much they wanted to read it because the book trailer looked amazing. I did like the book trailer for The School for Good and Evil and that The School for Good and Evil focused on fairy tales, but the fact that it was also a middle grade book just turned me off the book because I just don’t read middle grade. However, about a month or two ago, I went to a book signing featuring Soman Chainani and other middle grade authors. The way Soman Chainani described his own book convinced me to give it a chance. I can’t tell you guys how he described his book because it was a spoiler (in a way, the spoiler kind of ruined the book for me because I knew what to look for), and I don’t think you guys will appreciate being spoiled for a book you haven’t read yet.
Only when she was gone would he appreciate her. Only when she was gone would he know no one could replace her. And only when she was gone would he see he had spawned much more than a son.
He had borne a princess. (23)
First of all, I just have to say these two words: FAIRY TALES. Just the fact that The School for Good and Evil has a fairy tale aspect in the book makes me happy. I love reading fairy tales and fairy tale retellings and at the book signing I attended, Soman Chainani promised us fairy tales…with a dark twist in his book. While I won’t exactly say that the fairy tales in The School for Good and Evil had a dark twist, I did like the many twists The School for Good and Evil took on fairy tales, fairy tale princesses, the princesses’ animals, and the villains.
There were also definitely some funny moments in The School for Good and Evil. Some events in the book made me giggle so much that I felt like I was in middle grade again. Reading The School for Good and Evil was definitely fun, although sometimes, I couldn’t help but wonder if The School for Good and Evil should be labeled as a young adult book instead of middle grade book due to some words the book uses (I remember there was a case of “[a word] ho” used by Sophie as an insult) and the amount of gruesome imagery in the book.
“All of you are chosen to protect the balance between Good and Evil. For once that balance is compromised…Our world will perish.”
Agatha grimaced. The last thing she needed was this world perishing while they were still in it. (83)
However, there were two problems I had with The School for Good and Evil that dragged the book down. First of all, some parts of The School for Good and Evil was confusing. So many things were happening and some things just didn’t make sense. Like something would happen, let’s call the event “A,” and then something else will happen next, let’s call that event “B,” but A and B just wouldn’t connect and make sense when they’re put next to each other. Then when “C” happens right after B, I don’t get B’s connection with C. It’ll be more right if C happened right after A. The School for Good and Evil wasn’t as confusing as Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge was by any means, but events in it was confusing nevertheless.
Another problem I had with The School for Good and Evil was that the book just had too much detail in it. You know how usually people complain about how little detail there was in a book up to the point that they can’t picture how the characters look like at all? Well, in The School for Good and Evil, every single little thing was described, especially when it comes to descriptions of places and the characters. This detail problem caused me to speed read through most of the book, starting from about the third chapter. There were just too many details for me to read and digest.
Tedros would be there! Her shining prince, her last hope! Isn’t that what princes were for after all? To rescue princesses when all seemed lost? (123)
Overall, The School for Good and Evil wasn’t a bad book by any means – it was just not the perfect book for me and my reading style. I’m not sure if I’ll be reading the sequel, A World Without Princes, but I do know that I would definitely be admiring all the artwork inside both books again and again.