Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

In this day and age, there are a plethora of school-based fantasy novels out there. To stand out among the crowd is a challenge that anyone wishing to concur this idea has to endure. Luckily, Mr. Chainani had done it brilliantly here in this clever, insightful story that spin fairy tales on their heads and redefine what it means to be good or evil.

The story takes place in a small village called Gavaldon, where two children are kidnapped every few years and taken to the mysterious School for Good and Evil. At the school for Good, the children are taught among the sons and daughters of famous fairy tale characters to learn to become the heroes of their own stories. In the School for Evil, however, they learn to become evil witches and monsters. When two best friends, beautiful Sophie and black-clad Agatha, are kidnapped, it seems like everything is as it should be. You can imagine, then, their surprise as much as anyone's when it is Agatha who is dropped off at the school for Good and Sophie is sent to the school for Evil!

The School for Good and Evil is just a ton of fun. Every character in this book feels alive and full of personality. The writing is very witty and comedic even with the tiniest details, such as Sophie's extensive beauty treatments or Agatha's sarcastic responses to her regal classmates. The school itself is alive with vast and beautifully detailed structure and brimming with magic. It's not all fun and games at the School, however. There's a dark side to this school that doesn't just belong to the Evil half. The punishments at the school include being locked in a glass coffin at best and sent to the Doom Room (torture chamber) at worst. There's also the uncomfortable fact of just what happens to students who don't quite live up to their potential, and what awaits them should they dare to fail their classes.

This book runs the gambit of being both light and dark at the same time, much like the school itself. It's a place that you both want to visit and really don't want to visit at the same time. That's the brilliance of this book. It makes you care about everyone. Even with a wide variety of characters, you want to see everyone turn out okay. The pace is fast and it's an easy read, perfect for breezing through on a weekend and having fun along the way.

Final Verdict: The School for Good and Evil is fun, exciting, entertaining and well deserving of a spot on the Shelf of Recommendation! Pick it up and experience it yourself.

Next Time: I've been reading a lot of good books lately. Maybe it's time to....OW!

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