Author: Soman Chainani.
Published: May 14th 2013.
Sort: Part one of ‘The school for good and evil’
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
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…?
One of the things that bothers me is Sophie. She is not likable at all. She starts her friendship with Agatha, because she believes this is one of her ‘good deeds’ to help her end up as a princess in a tale. She is unkind, egoistic, selfish and most of the time plain stupid. There was nothing about her I liked and she really got onto my nerves. I know that she is supposed to be evil, but there was nothing about her I could appreciate. I wish there was some part about her I could like – and her true good deed at the ending didn’t do the job for me.
Luckily, Agatha shines in every good aspect. She is kind, loyal and friendly. It’s funny that this girl prefers to be alone, because she is one of the best friends out there. I also liked the fact that she isn’t extremely beautiful; I tend to dislike characters like that. Sophie shows that being pretty isn’t everything and most of them are arrogant and think they can look down upon people with less beauty. Agatha knows how to deal with Sophie’s annoying behaviour (credits for that) and she will do anything to help her friend find her happily ever after. There are some interesting side-kicks, but they are a bit underdeveloped.
The plot was good, but it took some time to get started. The middle part of this book was a bit too long and would have been much better with less pages. I was still very intrigued by the real reason for the school and I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen at the end – and I was pleased with the conclusion. I liked how the author created this fairytale world and I was fascinated by the world-building. I felt like walking around their school together with them.
Overall, an interesting take on fairytales, but I wished it was a bit shorter and I disliked Sophie too much. I'll be continuing this series to see where Chainani is going to take it - and how could I ever resist a fairytale retelling?