The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil #1)Featured
“The School for Good and Evil” follows Sophie and Agatha, two normal girls who have been kidnapped from their sleepy village to train to become storybook heroes or villains. Sophie is convinced she’s headed to the School for Good, where she’ll become expertly trained in the art of facials, talking to animals, and sewing the perfect dress. Agatha, on the other hand, is pretty sure she’ll be going to the School for Evil, where she’ll learn dastardly spells, villainous hexes, and how to properly cook children. When the unexpected happens, and Sophie is sent to the School for Evil with Agatha heading to the School for Good, magical shenanigans ensue as the girls try to either swap schools or head back to their village for good (good as in forever, not good as in capital G, nice and lovely and sweet, Good).
Chainani had all the opportunity to make this a repeat Hogwarts, and I’m so glad he didn’t. His School for Good and Evil stands out in so many ways, first and foremost, this school can be just so plain dark. Your skin crawls with the horribly awful things the Evil teachers and students hope to achieve in their fairytale lives. It’s not uncommon to find yourself immersed in worry that Sophie, Agatha, or both are going to die at any moment. So many people have it out for them, in so many different and morbid ways, that I was positive one of them was going to be kicking the bucket before the end of the book, even before the end of the first half of the book. This feeling of wickedness gave “The School for Good and Evil” a delightful tension and unexpectedness, as Chainani’s writing felt like he might break all the YA rules and kill a protagonist right from the start. It left a feeling of suspense that keeps your heart racing throughout the entire story.
Chainani incorporates a discussion on just what it means to be Good or Evil throughout his action-packed story. Despite being pulled in to the mystery of whether or not there in fact was a mix up, and Sophie is truly Good and Agatha truly Evil, ultimately, Chainani tells readers that it is a person’s actions that determine these labels, and not face value, quick judgments. Chainani proves that looks can be deceiving, wicked exteriors can mask the most pleasant of interiors, and vice versa, and that each of us, regardless of whether or not a fairytale is written about us, will get to play the role of hero or villain in our own lives.
Protagonists whose lives you constantly fear for.
Great backstory on classic fairytale characters.
MAJOR SELLING POINTS:
This fantasy world is so awesome. I won't say too much about it because trying to figure out just where it exists and how all the tales relate to it is so much fun. Instead I will just say that the schools were so fun to read about. The different punishments, facilities, classes and text books were interesting and entertaining and really cool.
Good and Evil
One of the major themes of THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL is are the princesses and princes always good, and the witches and unattractive humans always evil? The main characters themselves are evidence of this theme and experiencing things first hand. As a middle grade it's teaching kids good morals and life lessons, I believe.
This story follows Agatha and Sophie as they try to get into the School they believe they belong and/or return home again. Their antics are hilarious at times, and each school's systems and teaching were intriguing. A lot of time is spent on the 'friendship' between the girls which was fun to read, and there was a little bit of what could potentially spawn into romance. Action scenes also appear at the end with some twists about the reason the school exists which took me by surprise.
From what I remember, the writing of this reads like a good story. It's got your typical middle great tone with some awesome descriptions and hilarious scenes. I am also 99% certain there are lines in there that are meant to be taken as innuendos by us older kids. It was great.
Sophie is... well she's a princess. And not a particularly nice one. Not at the beginning anyway. She's selfish and petulant and just argh, I would not associate with her in real life. But alas this is part of her development. She's a pretty horrible person and does some very horrible things just to try and achieve what she believes she deserves. Sophie also had some good features, namely self confidence and conviction. But she just took those things too far.
AGATHA IS MY FAVOURITE. She's antisocial and hates frilly things and dresses and isn't the most attractive person in the world, but she is such a good person on the inside. Basically the complete opposite of Sophie. Agatha cares for her friends and goes out of her way to help others, especially those she's loyal too. She's also funny and smart and level headed, so much better than all those stuffy princesses.
I don't know what to write about the romance. There was shipping on my behalf, and possible relationship developments, and my main ship interacted in just the way I liked and there were some dire moments at the end that made me really scared and now THAT ENDING. I wonder how it will continue... Also, like I said, the friendship is the main focus (though sometimes I wondered if there might have been hints at something deeper than friendship there...) not romance so *shrug*
-Agatha x Tedros
-Sophie x SOME DEPTH
The Scool for Good and Evil is the story of best friends beautiful Sophie and homely Agatha from the village of Gavaldon where every 4 years two children, one fair and kind and the other hideous and mean, are taken by The School Master to become princes, princesses, or villains. While Sophie eagerly awaits beginning her life of Happily Ever After, Agatha just wants to spend time with her friend and leave the fairy tales in books. Sophie gets her wish of being taken to the school unfortunately she gets taken to the evil side to begin lessons in Uglification and curses with fellow Nevers and Agatha going into the Good side.
The world of Good and Evil is so detailed and fantastical. I really felt like I had gone into a world of princess and witches.
I loved Agatha from the beginning, she's very likeable with her slightly snarky attitude and ability to be nice without being a pushover, while my feelings toward Sophie where so back and forth. One moment I hate her and think she's a brat next I felt some sympathy for her and then I hate her again. In the end I don't love or hate her. She's simply Sophie. She may not be likeable and she may be downright horrid at times but she wants to be Good and that's enough for me.
The only thing I had a slight problem with was the slight lack of depth to Tedros character. I would have loved to seen more to him then being the handsome prince. Does he have hobbies other then sword fighting? What about flaws? He must have one or two.
But this little annoyance is nothing in the scheme of things so don't let that put you off because you're going to love The School for Good and Evil and the ending will leave your mouth gaping open and you as desperate for the sequel as me!
The story begins with two friends in a small village of Gavaldon - the pretty princess-like Sophie who dreams of meeting her prince and the lonely self-conscious Agatha. In their village, there is a curse that every four years, the most Good and the most Evil child older than 12 years would be taken by the School Master to the School for Good and Evil - where they are trained to be characters in fairy tales. Think it seems juvenile? Uh no, the students don't have it easy. They have four years of studies and training and learning spells and fighting and what not - and if they fail, a very grim future awaits them.
The School is full of mystery - and everything is not what it seems. Not everything is Good and Evil - Pink or Black, Ever or Never. The students don't all get to be the prince or the princess. Many of them become side characters and in some cases, are relegated to being flora. They do have rules to live by - like the Good always defend while the Evil always attack, the Good is always beautiful while the Evil is always ugly. But just because they are sorted into Ever or Never doesn't define who they are - they are as they do. Agatha and Sophie, when plopped into this School, realize that they are the only Readers in a school fool of students descended from characters in other fairytales. There is Tedros, who is the son of King Arthur and the object of Sophie's crush. Only problem? Sophie has been dumped into the School for Evil, to train to become a witch while Agatha has been dropped into the School for Good, which is a pink hell for her. Both of them are unhappy with their situation - Sophie wants to be among the Evers while Agatha just wants to go back home to Gavaldon.
They try to find out how they had been erroneously dropped into the School of not their choosing. During their escapades, they learn shocking truths about the School and the mysterious School Master who guards the Storian - a magical pen that writes their fairy tales. The School Master tells them that they will be free to go home if they prove that they don't belong where they are. So begins Sophie's mad scheming to be a princess - for which she has to prove she is on the side of Good. Numerous hilarious and disastrous occurrences challenge their friendship and their convictions. Sophie becomes determined to win Tedros' love in order to be a princess and Agatha aids her in this mission, with many funny mishaps. Tedros is confused as to who is the witch and who is the Princess.
Ultimately, it comes down to Sophie's choices that begins a war between the two schools - a convoluted plot schemed by someone working behind the scenes.
Among the characters, I of course loved Agatha - she was a feminist - who didn't believe in boys or love - but helps her friend nevertheless. She is so loyal to her that she goes along with so many of Sophie's hare-brained schemes! Her humorous musings (Agatha wondered what these girls' souls would wish for. Depth, perhaps.), her courage and her i-am-not-a-delicate-princess attitude really endeared me to her. Sophie, on the other hand, I found her quite confusing. She is stupid, vain, and selfish but cunning when needed too. I agree, all she wants was to be a princess, but towards the end, her mood swings - ugh! Tedros was not the swoon-worthy Prince I expected but hey, who needs Princes? (I loved this quote) I loved how Tedros and Agatha's romance developed though - it was perfect Tsundere! I also feel most of the side characters totally justified their presence - except the School faculty - they didn't seem to be doing much of anything.
The plot moves quite quickly - with the major events being them being dropped into the School, their meeting with the School Master, Sophie's attempt to win over Tedros, the Trial by Tale, the Circus Crown and the final battle between Good and Evil. Agatha and Sophie's friendship took many twists and turns - mostly because of Sophie's selfishness and her rising Evil. The end was left on a cliffhanger, which pretty much makes you like check again and again whether it really ended. Man, I love these sudden endings!
Recommended for fans of Harry Potter series or Percy Jackson series.