Wednesday, March 29, 2017
The School for Good and Evil 2; A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani
Going waaay back to only my third review on this thing, I'm finally taking a minute to review the sequel to The School for Good and Evil. This one's got a lot to live up to, considering that I liked the first one so much and let's hope that this one lives up to its predecessor. Let's begin.
Sophie and Agatha have returned home from the School for Good and Evil having achieved their Ever After through the strength of their friendship. However, their Ever After seems to be lacking in the Happily department when both girls find themselves longing for things they've lost back at the school. When they're transported back to the School they find that it is no longer for Good and Evil but Girls and Boys. Witches and princesses have taken over the Good castle, along with a vicious and mysterious new Dean, while warlocks and princes are shoved off into the Evil castle, lead by Agatha's would-be prince, Tedros. Both sides are aching to war with each other and it's up to Sophie and Agatha fix everything their Ever After seemed to tear apart.
Much like The Gender Game that I reviewed awhile back, the supposed "feminism" portrayed in the girl's school is actually just sexism and both sides are wrong. Though, while The Gender Game took itself very seriously, this book never loses its sense of humor. It's obvious how wrong both sides are and takes things to the extreme, pointing out that while it's okay to not have a traditional ending that doesn't mean a traditional ending is wrong. It pushes the ideas to the extreme so that even younger readers will be able to see just what the book is trying to say. It's played very smartly and, like I said, never really loses its sense of wonder and cleverness that we saw in the first book.
On that note, this book very much lives up to its predecessor, writing-wise. This is still the same universe as the first book; the same humor, the same details, the same vibrant and colorful characters. Everything is familiar and you can go from one book to the next and it flows beautifully between the two stories. All the characters are just as amazing as before (Hester, Anadil, and Dot are my spirit animals) and you see how their arcs improve instead of simply repeating. Everybody's changed from how they originally began and have adapted to the strange new environment that the School has become. The plot is genuinely gripping at times and, while this is still a humorous story that for younger readers, it gets pretty dark just as the first one did. There's death and despair and the book doesn't shy away from it. Actions and consequences don't go ignored and it comes together very well.
If I had to nitpick, I'd say that it does end in the big Trial just as the first one did and the ending is an Empire Strikes Back level of "holy crap are you seriously going to leave it there?" but overall a very successful sequel with lots of depth and character, funny moments, interesting commentary and a great feel overall.
While not quite as good as the first, this was still a really enjoyable book and a great follow up to the first. It never loses touch with what it is, it isn't afraid to take itself seriously but it also has enough humor to keep a balance. In the end, this sequel is totally worth your money at your local bookstore!
Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Find me at goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer and if you could click that pretty new Follow button, I'd really appreciate it.
Next Time: When they say Hollow, they sure don't mean this place is empty....