I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Series: The School for Good and Evil #1
Published by HarperCollins on May 14th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, MG
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“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.
Adorable and adventurous, The School for Good and Evil is a fun escape from reality. When beautiful Sophie and weird Agatha end up in the wrong school – perfect Sophie can’t be evil now, can she? – they’re determined to fix this unforgiving mistake.
This is a magical adventure through and through; the book is set at this School of Good and Evil, a wonderfully imaginative school that trains future fairy tale characters. Meaning when you graduate, you’ll be in a fairy tale book; whether a princess, a villain, a gremlin, or even a tree, your faith will be determined by how well you do at this school. This idea kind of blew my mind a little; I found it so unique and incredibly fun. The girls, each clearly thinking they’re in the wrong school, are determined to trade places, but this proves to be quite the challenge. Told in a dual POV, we have Sophie who’s the picture perfect of a true princess fighting against face warts and drab clothes; while her strange, ugly friend (her words!) is stuck being taught how to be a perfect princess in a perfect pink dress that was clearly meant for Sophie. This role reversal is both amusing and kind of refreshing. It shows that what’s on the outside doesn’t always reflect the person’s true self, sending an important message to young’uns. Sophie is an obvious brat who thinks a good deed involves teaching others how not to be ugly anymore. It makes you happy that she’s finally learning a lesson on what being good really means. These two protagonists are polar opposites, both offering the book their own dash of charm and warmth.
The great characterization doesn’t stop at these two, we have a vast number of characters by their side who fill up the book with humor, mischief, magic, and lively personalities. These include teachers and students, as well as various magical beings ranging from gargoyles to wish fish. If this isn’t enough to charm you (be difficult, why don’t you) check out the delightful illustrations we’re treated to at every chapter beginning:
Furthermore, the plot has an intriguing mystery element involving the school master and its history which had me entranced. I loved the idea of the battle that turned the master into a mystery himself, leaving me dying to know more. Moreover, everything surrounding this whole story is mysteriously compelling. It’s also highly creative with magical touches at every corner – an MG novel perfect for fans of Harry Potter and the likes. As the plot can become a bit dark, even sinister at times, I would hesitate to recommend it to the younger end of MG readers, but I recommend it to everyone else – young and old. You’ll never find yourself bored, and you’re bound to feel the book’s enchanting atmosphere the minute you open its cover, just look at it:
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