Author: Soman Chainani
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Published: 6th June 2013
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Synopsis from Goodreads:
“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.
After bingeing the Harry Potter series I wasn’t ready to let go of the fantasy world, I needed more wizards,witches and fantastical beasts. I saw Regan@peruseproject haul and talk about this book and the premise had me hooked.
It’s starts off with two girls from the little village of Gavaldon, Every four years for the past 200 years 2 children are kidnapped by the ‘Master’. One good and one bad child, it can be two girls,two boys or one of each are taken from their homes forever and believed to be sent to a school for fairy tales.
There is one child, Sophie who has lived for this moment, she is determined to become a princess and meet her Prince Charming and leave the dreary village for good. Sophie is beautiful,the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon and strives for perfection for she knows her time has come and to make sure she is picked she makes sure she carries out good deeds on a daily basis like befriending Agatha.
Agatha is the complete opposite from Sophie, she is not beautiful, she wears black frumpy clothes and keeps to herself. The night the ‘Master’ comes, children are locked up whereas Sophie encourages it by opening her window and leaving cookies. Agatha tries to rescue Sophie from the Master but just ends up being caught as well, hoping that they will be able to find their way home again.
All is not as planned, when Sophie is dropped into a river of Sludge she finds she has been put in the wrong school and there must have been a mix up of some sort as Agatha has been put in the good school. Sophie is to train to become a witch, henchman or some horrendous creature. With lessons on uglification and surviving Fairy-tales, she instantly seeks out the Headmaster to explain the mishap. Agatha is also out of her comfort zone with glamorous girls in pink dresses with only boys and manicure’s on their minds, she wants to return home to Gavaldon as soon as possible but first she has to persuade Sophie. The master has other plans, will Sophie eventually get to the good side? will Agatha get to home?
The two castles are amazing, in the front of the book you get a map to view the two sides of the school. The good side, you have glass rooms,rooms made out of candy, groom rooms, everything possible to make you a princess. On the evil side, you have dungeons and torture chambers which smell of damp. The teachers in the school are composed of a two-headed dog that can remove their heads and attach to other bodies, there are werewolves, fairies, gargoyles,witches and princesses.
Sophie believes that she has been put into the wrong school however as you she develops throughout the book there are sides to her that are not always good. She was angry that she was put in the wrong school,I mean she has dreamed about this her whole life and will do anything to get there.
Agatha is an outcast in the school of good because she doesn’t conform to wearing pink dresses and swooning whenever a boy is in the vicinity. However she is a really caring character and doesn’t believe that she could ever be beautiful and nor do the others in the good school.
Then there is the love interest – of course there was going to be one! His name is Tedros and he is the most handsome boy in the school of good and not to forget King Arthur’s son. He instantly gets all the girls attention, even Sophie’s from the other side of the school.
I only had some minor problems with the book, I felt that the author was trying to describe too much at once and it became quite confusing to keep up with. The vanity in this book was overwhelming it set a clear line between ugly and beautiful. This is a middle grade book – impressionable teenagers are going to be reading this. You don’t need to be beautiful on the outside the be a princess… it’s what on the inside that counts.
This book was fast paced, easy to read (at points) and definitely worth a read if you love fairy tales.
Overall I rated this 3.5 out of 5 stars