Thursday, December 7, 2017

Review: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Title: The School for Good and Evil
Series: The School for Good and Evil #1
Author: Soman Chainani
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Format: E-Book

Page Count: 488


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. (taken from

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Never, Ever, or whatever. In the end, the fairest of them all wins. 

This book was such an awesome ride. It's like someone took the Harry Potter series and threw a Disney veil over it, then mixed in Rick Riordan's love for famous legendary parents. The concept might not be entirely original, but it is so much dang fun. Seriously, I gobbled this book up.

Although this book is clearly geared towards a younger audience, I decided to give it a shot because I'm a total sucker for fairytale retellings. I devoured every Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel story I could when I was younger, and now I desperately wish I could thrust Chainani's novel into my ten-year-old hands. I know I would have just adored it. Having said that, I still adored it at this age. Guess we don't really change that much as we become adults, do we?

Anyway, the story is brilliant. Once every handful of years, two children are taken from Gavaldon. One always seems shabby and meek, the other full of spirit and beauty. The children are whisked away to the School for Good and Evil where they are trained to become the villains and heroes in the fairytales we all know and love. The entire story feels like a behind-the-scenes look at fairytales, and I loved every minute of it, especially when Chainani threw in some brilliant twists and turns.

Despite the fact that this book is geared towards children, it tackles some pretty heavy themes such as self-worth, morals, good and evil (duh), and what it means to sacrifice your happiness for others. I wouldn't say it achieves Harry Potter levels quite yet, but I was seriously impressed by how Chainani weaves these topics into a story that's downright enjoyable and addictive. He also throws in a dash of mythical creatures and magical school lessons, and we all know I'm a total sucker for those.

In the end, I'm so glad that I gave this stellar novel a chance, and I'm thrilled to know that there are two more books in this series. Have you read them? Are they as good as the first? Please tell me yes, because I'm starting the second one ASAP! If you haven't delved into this whimsical tale of friendship and fairytale clichés, then do so faster than Cinderella's carriage became a pumpkin.