Wednesday, April 24, 2013

ARC Review: The School for Good and Evil


The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
4.5/5 stars
Harper, 2013
488 pages
YA Fairy Tale
Scheduled to release May 14

Source: Received an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

As a long-time devotee of fairy tales and all their retellings, this book has been on my radar for a long time. I love the idea of schools training up the next generation of heroes and villains, especially when those people are pulled from an ordinary world like ours. The big twist here though is that while beautiful Sophie expects to land in the School for Good to be groomed to be a princess, she actually ends up in the School for Evil while her friend Agatha, whose penchant for black and offbeat style had her marked as villain material, enrolls in the School for Good. This book follows the ups and downs of their crazy first months at the schools against a larger tapestry for their fairy tale is only just getting started.

Like most of the books from HarperCollins, I found the writing of this one absolutely addicting. It's a little on the longer side but the last half, especially, flew by. I could not put it down. The plot has a lot of setup introducing both girls in their homes before transporting them to the schools but it all seemed necessary to set up our expectations for life at the schools. A bonus was that this has illustrations, which helped bring the story to life even further.

Once we're at the schools, it felt a little bit like Harry Potter (in the best way!) Since our two protagonists are split, we get a close look at both schools with their different philosophies and agendas. Everyone at the schools is as baffled as Sophie and Agatha as they also judge based solely on appearance. Sophie refuses to do villainous work, attempting to gain entrance to the good school while Agatha merely wants to go home. The girls have a lot of (mis)adventures as these goals are pursued. I don't want to share any spoilers so I can't be more detailed but it was crazy entertaining.

Of course there are a lot of other characters. The most notable is Prince Tedros, the most popular good boy who is the object of Sophie's affection. Since she thinks he is the handsomest boy, it is only fitting that she, as the prettiest girl, be paired with him. Sophie and Agatha also have a lot of interactions with all of the other students and a few notable professors.

Now I did have a few little quibbles although they did not keep me from greatly enjoying this book. I think it was maybe a little long? I'm not firm on that but some of the emphasis on who/what equaled good versus bad wearied me; luckily the latter half had more adventure. I also found Tedros to be super dull...but that's only because Sophie and Agatha had so much pizzazz.

Overall: Recommended especially for lovers of fairy tales as well as fantasy fans and lovers of younger YA (I originally thought this was MG but I know think it is sort of on the borderline depending on your tolerance for violence.)

Why isn't a sequel listed on goodreads yet???

22 comments:

  1. This sounds like a lot of fun! The premise reminded me a little of the movie Sky High where kids were either put in the superhero or sidekick track at their school. Of course they didn't have a "villain" track...I am definitely going to be reading this when it is released. :)

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    1. I've never seen that film but it does seem to have a similar vibe. I hope you like this one!

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  2. I think this sounds sooo good. Definitely need to keep and eye out for this one. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

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    1. I loved this one so much and I definitely recommend it to lovers of fairy tales!

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  3. Based on the cover I was sure this was MG, but maybe they are trying to appeal to MG and YA, like the Ally Carter books. Either way, it looks like a lot of fun.

    You can find me here: Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. I totally thought it was MG too but I think it's kind of borderline-might be a bit too much violence for some kids but perfect for others (and for us older kids!)

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  4. Ooh, this sounds really good! I'm going to have to read this one. I love the idea of a school for good and evil-- and that kind of a mixup sounds hilarious. (:

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    1. I hope you love this one-I am definitely recommending it!

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  5. This is the first time I've heard of this book, but it's going on my list for sure now! I would have thought it was MG just looking at the cover, too.

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    1. Glad to have brought it to your attention! I think some might call it MG but it read a teensy bit older to me.

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  6. Oh yay--4 stars! I am reading this soon so I'm not going to read your review just yet, but I am happy to see that you enjoyed this. Middle grade books can be so awesome when they're done well, and this one shows so much promise. :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Yay-looking forward to your review. I hope you love it too!

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  7. This sounds amazing! Great rating and I cannot wait for this one and am oh so glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. It was so refreshing and fun-looking forward to seeing loads more positive reviews as the release date draws near!

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  8. Looks and sounds awesome! Definitely sounds more middle grade, though... Still, we'll be on the lookout when it comes out!

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    1. There were just some violent bits that made it questionable to me-very enjoyable for adult lovers of MG/YA lit though!

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  9. This one looks SO great - I LOVE middle grade and it looks fantastic.

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    1. It's so good and the cover matches it so well!

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  10. Oh yay! I have a copy of this that's coming up on my to-read list so I'm very happy to see you loved it! It is pretty long but luckily middle grade is usually fairly fast reading even when the book is long. Wonderful review!

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    1. Yay-looking forward to your review. I hope you love it too!

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  11. I have not heard of this book before! I love magic, boarding schools, and dual POV so I cannot wait for this one. Thanks for reviewing this! ^_^

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    1. Happy I brought this to your attention-I think there's a lot to love in this book!

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