Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Title: The School for Good and Evil
Author: Soman Chainani
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Target Age Group: YA
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Book Jacket Blurb

At the School for Good and Evil, failing your fairy tale is not an option.

Welcome to the School for Good and Evil, where best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

With her glass slippers and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she'll earn top marks at the School for Good and join the ranks of past students like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks and wicked black cat, seems a natural fit for the villains in the School for Evil.

The two girls soon 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 among 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 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.

My Review: 

This is another book I acquired at Book Expo America 2013, so again I'd like to thank BEA and Mr. Chainani for the opportunity to read it.

First off, I love twisted fairy tale type books. In the past I've read books like The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer and the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. The reasons why I loved those books is because of the new fresh life they breathed into well-known classic fairy tales, plus a generous helping of humor thrown in. This book fits both criteria rather well.

Although some of the plot of the book I guessed right off the bat, what makes it surprising are the characters. You think the two main characters, Sophie and Agatha, are going to act one way, and then they surprise you. The reason why they do this is that these are real people, and even though students in this story are taught that their personalities place them squarely into either a school for good and a school for evil, who do you know who is totally good or totally evil? 

The supporting characters are also real people. I love their personality traits and their talents. Dot, one of the School for Evil students, can turn anything she wants into chocolate, and she is constantly eating. At one point she even turns her textbooks into chocolate. Tedros, son of King Arthur, is a student in the School for Good, but he's not like other princes. He's not looking to simply ride his father's coattails, and he's not into the whole "princesses swooning over him" thing. He wants a princess with personality. And so on.

Finally, I like how this book has created its own mythology, loosely based on the fairy tales we all know and love, but unique in that here is a whole new cast of fairy tale characters whose stories we can follow.

Overall, a highly recommended book. I can't wait to read more in this series.

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