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The School for Good and Evil – Soman Chainani

“Sophie had waited all her life to be kidnapped.
But tonight, all the other children of Gavaldon writhed in their beds. If the School Master took them, they’d never return. Never lead a full life. Never see their family again. Tonight these children dreamt of a red-eyed thief with the body of a beast, come to rip them from their sheets and stifle their screams. Sophie dreamt of princes instead.”

Sophie and Aggie are best friends. If it weren’t for Sophie, Aggie wouldn’t have anyone other than her cat. The other children shun her because she’s different, they think she’s a witch. In the girls’ town, once every four years, two children are stolen during the night, one good and one evil. The children are taken to the School for Good and Evil where they will learn to become the best fairy tale heroes and villains.  Whilst most of the usually good children are busy being bad and vice versa, Sophie is trying to be even better than normal. She dreams of becoming a princess at the School of Good and Evil. But when she and Agatha are taken by the School Master things don’t exactly go to plan, and Sophie has to learn that sometimes fairy tales do not work in your favour.

***

I was in the mood for a great 9-12 fantasy when I started The School for Good and Evil… thankfully that’s exactly what I got but I did underestimate the story as it is not just for 9-12s and there are plenty of older themes running through the story that will have older kids and adults hooked.

The story was kinda terrifying in places, but that made me love it even more. there was just the right balance of friendship, horror and safety. The actions of the characters, what happens when the girls get to the school and the staff and other students’ reactions to them were all fantastic and made me question a lot of what we think is right and wrong. I think my favourite part of the book was how the story built on itself and how the characters started to realise that maybe, just maybe, there isn’t a straight right or wrong; its not all black and white.

The way the book was written really hooked me in as it felt like a fairy tale in itself, but at the same time it didn’t. Its hard to explain fully without giving the entire thing away but I liked the twists and turns that happened within the story and how you couldn’t always guess what was coming next.

The story was slightly hogwarts-y but obviously nothing now is completely unique and it wasn’t that I thought it stole stuff from Harry Potter, there were just similarities. This made me enjoy it even more in a way though as its been a long time since I loved a book as much as Harry Potter that is the same genre and age range as it. The trails reminded me of the TriWizard Tournament in the fear they brought about but they had their own aspects so I enjoyed them for what they were too.

There were a couple of bits that bugged me with the story especially when it came to the ‘good’ as they tended to conform to stereotypes a lot and I hoped that Aggie would do a lot more than she did to change their thoughts about what is completely good. I liked the way the book ended though and whilst I know its a series the book was completed and didn’t leave too much of a cliffhanger – the end would even work as a standalone for the reader to work out what the end result would be, and maybe even have two possible results; good or evil.

The School for Good and Evil will be published on June 6th by HarperCollins Children’s Books. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

For more info or to buy the book please visit:
Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Author Website

  • I’m reading this at the moment and really enjoying it, although there are places where I get a bit confused and have to flick back to see what’s going on :/