The School for Good and Evil Book Review
Personally, I’ve got a soft spot for fairy tales. They’re one of my favorite things to read. So when fellow Silver Petticoat writer Amirah recommended a fairy tale to me, I got excited. The book was Soman Chainani’s The School for Good and Evil, and it did not disappoint.
The novel takes the typical fairy tale formula and turns it on its head. The story can get dark, especially in the School for Evil, and is not afraid to be violent at times. Despite that darkness, this book quickly became one of my favorites.
The story goes like this. Every year, two children are taken from the village of Gavaldon and brought to the School for Good and Evil. One becomes a fairy tale villain while the other becomes a hero or heroine. Young Sophie has been waiting her whole life to be kidnapped and is sure that she is destined to go to the School for Good. To make sure everyone knows she’s good, the blond-haired, bubbly, pink-wearing Sophie befriends the dark-haired, black-wearing, graveyard-wandering Agatha. Agatha is fiercely protective of her only friend, and when she realizes that Sophie is sure to be kidnapped, she goes to save her.
Of course, Sophie wants to be kidnapped by the School Master and, in a strange twist of fate, both girls are taken. However, Sophie is dropped into the School for Evil and Agatha is taken to the School for Good. This confuses the girls, the teachers, and the other students, who assumed that the pink-wearing Sophie is good and that the snarky and black-clad Agatha is evil.
The story is further complicated by Tedros, son of King Arthur. The Prince is searching for his Princess, and while Sophie seems like the perfect choice, he reluctantly finds himself drawn to Agatha. As it becomes increasingly clear that Sophie and Agatha are in the right schools, the addition of True Love further complicates the situation.
While Agatha struggles to fit into Good and to get herself and Sophie home, Sophie struggles against her own darker nature. As the novel moves forward, Sophie and Agatha face their own destinies and the expectations of those around them. Can a witch and a princess be best friends, or are they destined to be enemies forever?
If you love fairy tales that aren’t afraid to be a little darker and grittier, stories with strong female heroines and stories that are about both romantic love and the love between friends, The School for Good and Evil might be the book for you. Chainani is able to accurately portray the thoughts and conflicts facing a thirteen-year-old girl, and the story itself is excellent. He knows when to give more description and when to hold back. The story has magic and characters that readers can’t help but love. Even the characters in Evil. I’d recommend giving it, and the sequels, a read.
“The stuff that dreams are made of.”
“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My
feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me
to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”