Hello, Bookish Buddies, and welcome to my long overdue review of The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. It actually took me two months to the day to finish this book because school sucks. Anyway, let’s get into my thoughts. If you’d like to familiarize yourself with the plot if you haven’t already, here is the Goodreads synopsis:
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.
So I’m just going to start off my saying I loved it. From the Harry Potter-esk house system and mysteries, to the morally grayness of all of the characters, I thought it was a read like no other. I did have some issues with the characters and the ending confused me a bit, but it was an overall fun and enjoyable read.
First off, the world was epic. I envisioned Gavaldon (Sophie and Agatha’s hometown) to be just like the village in Beauty and the Beast (whatever that was called), and it just made for a brilliant start to the story. Then, we arrive at our main setting, The School for Good and Evil. It had a lot of Hogwartsy vibes with the rivalry between the two schools and the quirky teachers. It even had its own version of the Forbidden Forrest. If you’re looking for something to read after your Harry Potter book hangover, this is the book. The two schools also face a lot of trials that kids like them are way too young to face, similar to the triwizard tournament. I could go on for a while about the similarities, but I’m not going to. The School for Good and Evil shares a lot of cool characteristics with Hogwarts, but is also pretty different at the same time.
Next, we move onto the characters. I loved Agatha so much. She seemed like the voice of reason throughout the entire book, and she was sassy and strong minded, but was also loyal to a fault. The other characters weren’t as loveable for me, but they had their loveable moments. Even Sophie did, in the end. Which brings me to Sophie. I thought she was an absolute little shit. She was manipulative and conniving, and she would screw over anyone in her way for her best interests. And then, there was Tedros. He gets his own paragraph because I had issues with him.
Dear Tedros, I still have no idea how to pronounce your name. I think it’s pronounced TED-roes, but it could quite possibly also be pronounced TEE-droes. I think it’s the former because all of the girls that fawn over you have nicknamed you Teddy. You are the son of King Arthur and you are a royal dumbass. Tedros seemed to be the one guy everyone loved and everyone listened to, but he believed literally everything, even if what he was told contradicted itself. Even if what he was told was supported by no evidence. I’ll admit, at the end of the book I was kind of falling for your charm too, but then you whipped out these one liners: “I’m the man here, not you” and “princesses wouldn’t question my authority…princesses wouldn’t question if I was a man.” Sincerely, you’re a dick, Tedros.
It wasn’t just Tedros who changed his mind all of the time. It was the entire rest of the Evil school too. The Good school, other than Tedros, was fine about this issue though. They had their own faults, like being supreme little shits, but at least they didn’t believe everything they heard.
I had a few more issues with this story too, but they’re spoilery, so I’ll spare you. If you care to discuss spoilers, you can comment down below, tweet me @BellaBBBooks, or talk to me on Goodreads!
Overall, I really enjoyed The School for Good and Evil. Its twists and turns kept me on my toes, and, in my opinion, put all other fairytales to shame. I rated it a 4/5 stars.