TITLE- The School For Good & Evil
AUTHOR – Soman Chainani
SERIES– The School For Good and Evil Trilogy (#1)
PUBLICATION DATE – Arpil 15th 2014
GENRE– Fantasy. YA/Middle Grade. Fairy Tale
FORMAT – Paperback PAGE COUNT– 488
COVER- I think this cover really suits the story and the plot, I like the school crest in the centre showing off the title, and I like the two castles on either side and it shows off the contrast of the castle to how they look.
MY RATING –
I gave this book 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book, I liked it, but I didn’t love it, nothing really blew me away. I really enjoyed the end of this book, the last few chapters had twists I was not expecting which boost up the rating to a 3.5 instead of just a 3.
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.
OVERALL REVIEW (Spoiler Free)
This book is amazingly unique and original and was well executed, but I did have my problems with this. This book was a mix of things being slow and things being rushed, I especially thought that the relationship Agatha forms with a certain character near the end (I wont say who for spoiler reasons) didn’t necessarily come out of the blue, I could see it coming, but still I thought the drastic change in their relationship happened practically over night. I also thought that at parts the plot was chasing its own tail, and just sort of going around in circles, but I’ll discuss that more down below in the spoiler setion.
The School For Good and Evil really blurs the line between good and evil, this is a great example of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, and that not everyone is who they seem. I liked a lot of the villains a lot more then the good ones, I actually thought the “Evil” kids were a lot more companionate then the “good”.
I liked this book, and I thought it was a good start to a trilogy, like I said I liked it but I think there is room for improvement and I will be continuing on with the other 2 books, eventually.
Now if you haven’t read this then go read it and come back to discuss in more detail!
Lets jump into the thing that on all of the notes that I took down on all 3 different pages (kept misplacing them), and that is … My love for Agatha. Yes I love Agatha, she was such a cool character. In my notes it just says – I really like Agatha. I don’t even know why I love her so much. I love that she lived in a graveyard and her love for her cat was touching. Also I feel like from the very start it was clear that she wasn’t really an evil character, just from the little things she did from agreeing to be friends with Sophie because she thought she looked lonely to trying to save her. While reading this I felt like Agatha overcame a lot, she learnt to love herself which I thought was an amazingly important lesson for everyone and anybody.
Sophie. I didn’t really like Sophie as a character that much. Once again I wrote about her in my notes, and it’s basically the same thing, Sophie’s a bitch. I found her to be annoying and mean, which I guess is what the author was planning to get across. I liked it how she turned evil and the subtle things Chainani wrote like her making feel Agatha feel bad about things that weren’t her fault ad how she was so vain. But when she became full on evil I felt it happened all at once. The thing with the Nemesis dreams was a really great idea but I think we all knew that Sophie was going to end up having these dreams and it would be about either Tedros or Agatha, I personally went on the Agatha side and I was right but there was a small part of me that got swayed for a moment that maybe Tedros would become her nemesis.
Like I said before there was a lot of twists in this book that I wasn’t expecting and enjoyed, it’s been a while since I’ve read a book and didn’t see things coming and the fact that Sophie and Agatha where ‘Readers’ was one of those things. I loved the idea of all the other students being descendants from storybook characters like Tedros was the son of King Arthur.
Keeping on the topic of things I was not expecting: The animals in the fairytales being ex-students that got really low marks/failed and then turned into the animal friend of a princess. This is something that creeped me out, I would be sat in the middle of class and I’d think about this for some reason and I’d shiver, I also don’t think it helped that some of these famous animals were stuffed and hanged up in the museum that they had. (We’ll get into the Wolves and Fairies in a sec)
Like I’ve already said this book really does blur the lines on good and evil. This book highlights how villains aren’t always bad and evil, and that the good guys can also be mean and out for there own gain. I loved it when the two sides briefly became relatively friendly for a small time, or civil at least, and I thought it was a great show of how we’re all the same.
I liked Kiko and Agatha’s friendship that formed and I want to see more of that, I loved how Kiko grew the courage to befriend the odd and different girl who her peers didn’t like and were picking on. I also thought Dot over on the villain side was really sweet, and her power of turning anything into chocolate is also a power I would really like and I felt so bad for her when they locked her out of her own room.
I think one of my top moments from this book is when Sophie is taken to the Doom room, and she seems so scared, which at that point in this book I was really annoyed with her so I was low key happy something bad was going to happen to her, but when she got her hair cut I did feel bad for her but then she goes and kills the monster! I just loved how she got so angry through having her hair cut that she drowned this big bad scary beast and then walked off.
I had trouble imagining these characters as the age they were described as. In the start its said that Sophie was a little older then 12. Now here’s the thing, later on in the story, in a moment I loved, she starts making these amazing outfits which I though was totally a Sophie thing and I’m glad it was part of the book, but the outfits are described as tight dresses and short skirts and high heels, and then all the boys are ogling at her. How is that a 12 year old thing? I also saw when reading a review on goodreads that someone even said that they would let their 12 year old child read this.
Probably my favourite part of the book was when Agatha learned to smile. I just loved the raw emotion that escaped her when she’s wishing to be beautiful but I was so scared for a moment that she was going to get a full on magic makeover and make her look like all the other girls and I think that would have been a deal breaker for me, with or without that awesome ending. I am so thankful that the only difference was that she now had confidence and was smiling. I thought that was a beautiful moment.
I found it ironic how Sophie then got so consumed in her hate that the girl who once spent hours making sure she looked pristine 24/7 now looked like your childhood story witch.
I know I’m going to have to talk about it soon or later so I may as well get it done with.
Agatha and Tedros. Another mildly predictable event, at least in my eyes. But when it did happen I didn’t like it. Don’t get me wrong I thought they were pretty cute but it was just so quick! One minute Agatha hates him the next she’s saying he’s her prince. I did like it how she’s sticking up for herself though. But when Agatha was telling them not to attack, and Tedros said, “I’m the man here not you”, I wanted her to kick him in his perfect teeth but instead she said “then act like it”, which I guess to him was an insult because he prides himself on being this tough guy future king, but the comment back made him attack anyways. Pft boys never listen!
Professor Sedar I liked how he showed up at the end for all of two seconds and helped save the day. The thing about this that I love is the fact that he’s a seer who’s blind (ironic) and that in this world when Seer’s answer questions that they shouldn’t they age which is like a punishment of sorts and I really liked that.
My probably second favourite scene was the revelation that the Wolves who work at evil are failed students from Good, and that the fairies are failed Evil students! I thought that was amazing and so clever and unexpected! As harsh as it is, I still loved this scene and I was transfixed while reading this.
Closing this review up the last thing I want to talk about it the School Master. God this guy is strange! He was such a shady and mysterious guy throughout this whole book and I wasn’t expecting to find out anything about him in this book. But holy crap! The fact that this guy looks like a kid was so creepy! And him wanting to MARRY Sophie because he thought she was pure evil! Yeah that gave me the creeps.
I did love that moment though when Sophie was dying because she saved Agatha and them two had a moment. I don’t get why Agatha kissed Sophie on the lips though, it was a bit strange.
For the next book I’m not sure what to expect, I’m guessing by the title all the princes go bye-bye. I’m excited to see what’s in store for the school, and I’m wanting to see more of a character development with Tedros, I still think he has a lot of growing up, and I want more of friendship with Agatha and Kiko.