Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The School For Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Series: The School for Good and Evil, #1

Publication: May 14th 2013 by HarperCollins

Goodreads Description:
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. 

My thoughts:
I found it hard to get into The School for Good and Evil as the plot is very slow. I can see it being a Disney movie or tv series but the novel format was way too long and I found I had to push myself to keep reading. 

Firstly I wasn't a fan of Sophie, I found her super annoying. She was so immature and over the top about everything. It also made me so mad how she was using Agatha who was supposedly her 'friend'. She's so vain and I couldn't stand her for most of the novel.

On the other than I liked Agatha. She had some great one liners and I liked how she isn't like the typical cookie cutter characters we usually get in books. I love how she pokes fun at princesses and fairytales and such.

The plot was all over the place. In the beginning I felt like the author knew what they were doing, it was slow but clear but then it went off and I felt like there was no point we were aiming towards. The story would get fast paced for a few pages and then get so slow; I would read 20 pages and feel like I had read 100. The last 20% was what saved it for me. The ending was really good and I was hooked and couldn't stop reading. 

The setting was very fun. I loved how the 2 schools were complete opposites and how we got the typical fairy tale setting of a big castle with pretty bedrooms and pink and sparkles but then on the flip side we got dungeons and dark forests and monsters. The settings were used very well.

One of the main problems I had with The School For Good and Evil is that there was lots of gender stereotypes going on- I get that it's a play on fairytales and princes and princesses but in 2017 I'd have liked to see those stereotypes being challenged and this book was published in 2013 so it's not that old. 

I also wasn't a huge fan of some of its messages. Judging people based on looks, drawing very clear line that there is evil and good and nothing in between etc. I hated how the objective for the girls was to find a prince and get them to ask them o the ball and kiss them. It's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. That message of all you need is a guy is awful to include in a middle grade book where young girls are reading looking towards these characters as role models. I also had a problem with the premise of how evil is ugly and good is pretty- it's a bad message to be sending that appearance equates to morality. 

I like it but it's way too long especially for a children's book, the books is 500 pages and with its pacing being all over the place it felt like even more. I'd say it's more for younger YA readers than those who are used to reading middle grade.

My rating: 3 stars
Thanks for reading,

A :)

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