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Book Review: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1)Title: The School for Good and Evil
Author: Soman Chainani
Series:  The School for Good and Evil, #1
Pages: 488
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Date of Publication: 14th May 2013
Source: Publisher, via NetGalley
Synopsis from Goodreads: “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…?

My Thoughts:
I really, really love the concept of this book. I'm not usually a fan of fantasy, but I really liked the world in which this book was set and the idea behind the story. In Sophie and Agatha's world, fairy tales are not stories, but the lives of real people. I've always loved fairy tales so the idea that somewhere, they're real, really caught my attention. I requested it and started reading as soon as I could.

Now, having read it, I still love the concept and the world in which the story takes place, even more than I did before. The world building was really great and I loved the anticipation that was built up in the very beginning of the story when Sophie and Agatha were waiting for the two children from their village to be picked to be taken to The School for Good and Evil (sounds a bit like The Hunger Games when you put it like that... It's not, at all.) Anyway. Once they arrived at the school, I loved reading about the world Chainini has made. The two schools, and the differences between them were absolutely fantastic, and while I don't think either school would be for me, they were still very cool.

The book's quite long and while at times it did feel like it was taking forever to read, on the whole I did enjoy the plot. It had a few pacing issues - in some places it moved rather slowly and things were included that I really didn't need to know, and it other places it was so quick that I had to go back and reread because I'd missed something that was integral to the plot and suddenly had no idea what was going on. I don't know, maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention, but that's what happened, several times. However, the events that took place, such as the Trial by Tale and Circus of Talents, were actually really fun to read about, so I didn't mind too much.

Also, I loved reading about all the different lessons that the kids at the school had to go through. If you haven't read it, they were classes such as Beautification and Princess Etiquette in the School for Good (how awful do they sound? Eurgh. I definitely do not want to be a princess...) and Uglification and Death Curses in the School for Evil (I don't think these sound much better!). They were fun to read about and I loved reading about all the talents the kids had too (my personal favourite is Dot, who was able to turn anything into chocolate - how awesome would that be? I'd get really fat though :P), especially during the aforementions Circus of Talents.

However, I think that likable characters are vital, or if they're villains I have to be able to like reading about them, if that makes sense, and Sophie in this book is just not likeable and she's very irritating, and I don't think I'm meant to not like her. She's arrogant and extremely shallow and she was so annoying that so many times I just wanted to throw my Kindle across the room to see if I could knock some sense into her silly little brain. SERIOUSLY. I don't think I've ever read a more annoying character! She does kind of redeem herself at the end though, so it's not all bad. Also, Agatha was cool and she did a lot for Sophie even when she didn't deserve it, which was really great because loyalty and kindness between friends is something that I really value and so that always wins points with me in books that I read!

Overall, The School for Good and Evil was an enjoyable read that I'm glad I read. I'd recommend if you like fantastical books with really great world-building and settings, and writing that is super easy to read for an hour or so without much thought. Whether I'll read the second book or not, I'm not sure, but I definitely think that if the synopsis has piqued your interest, you should go for it, because it may just be the book for you!

Huge thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for allowing me access to this book! In no way has this affected my opinion. 


  1. I love this book so much, and your review was quite accurate but I'am definitely going to read the next two books


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