Monday, 12 May 2014

"The School for Good and Evil" & "A World Without Princes" by Soman Chainani | Review

 I was recently sent the first two books in "The School for Good and Evil" trilogy, as the second book has recently been released. I was super excited to receive my copies and got stuck into them almost as soon as they'd arrived.

It's difficult to put a proper age range on these books. When I first researched them, they seemed to be considered 'middle grade'. On reflection, however, I feel like some of the vocabulary and description used in this book is probably a bit older than that. That said, there was some elements of less mature humour, and the general story line may be considered aimed at a younger audience. Given that, I'd probably put the age range at 10-14. Then again, I'm 17 years old and I really did actually enjoy both books! So maybe anyone can read and appreciate them! (Or maybe I just have a young reading age, haha!)

The School for Good and Evil

I thought that I'd only share the blurb for book one with you guys, as I don't like reading the blurb for book two as I feel like it spoils the surprises, and in total honesty, I've only just read the book two blurb having now finished the book. 

"Sophie has waited all her life to be kidnapped."

Every four years two children are stolen away from Gavaldon, never to return. Most children fear being taken to the School for Good and Evil. 
But not Sophie...
She has dreamt all her life of being a princess and believes the school could be her chance. 
Her best friend Agatha has other ideas.
When the two girls are taken, things don't quite go to Sophie's plan.
Because sometimes, the princess and the witch don't look like they do in fairytales.

The story was really interesting to read. It's very fairytale based and so the characters were really easy to understand, but from the same respect the story as a whole had some quite complex themes and ideas running through it which I thought reflected quite well on society as a whole (or maybe that's just me thinking too deeply). 
The portrayal of good versus evil in this story was well developed. It was action-packed and full of little tricks and surprises that actually made me wonder who was really on what side. 
The characters were really relateable, even though they were in a world of magic and witchcraft, which meant that as the reader I had a really good understanding of the character's feelings to an extent. 
The story is a particularly strong one for people interested in books about magic and fairytales. I'm not a great fan of either of these things but actually really really loved it. Some of the elements of this book were really comedic and light-hearted, which contrasted really well with the darker undertones of the story. 

Some of the characters really got on my nerves. Sophie, in particular, was exceptionally annoying. I was able to see from the word 'go' that she wasn't all she seemed to think she was and that really infuriated me, especially when she was critiquing Agatha. 
There were some very small sections that I found my self skim-reading as I felt the description was excessive in some places. This, however, is just a personal thing and only happened rarely.

I really enjoyed the book and gave it 5/5 stars on Goodreads, as I felt the story was something very different to anything I'd read before. It was also good to finish the book and want to get on with the second one straight after, which I was really worried about when I started reading the book. 

The School for Good and Evil: A World Without Princes

As this is the second book, I'll give this one a bit more of a brief review because I don't want to spoil anything!

As the second book in the series, I was worried that it would not live up to the high standard set by the first, but ultimately I thought it was better! 

The characters in this novel are the same as in the first, meaning I already had a great connection with them and already had opinions about them. 

There were some very devastating moments in this book, which were quite heart breaking and sad. The amount of times I thought "oh my, get it!" was probably off the scale. There's little clues throughout the book that you don't pick up on until events occur. It's very cleverly written!

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