Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The School for Good and Evil #1

The School for Good and Evil

Rate this book
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.

488 pages, Hardcover

First published May 14, 2013

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Soman Chainani

35 books6,785 followers
Soman Chainani’s debut series, THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, has sold more than 3.5 million copies, been translated into 31 languages across 6 continents, and will be a major motion picture from Netflix in 2022.

Each of the six books in the series — THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, A WORLD WITHOUT PRINCES, THE LAST EVER AFTER, QUESTS FOR GLORY, A CRYSTAL OF TIME, and ONE TRUE KING — have debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list. Together the books have been on the print and extended lists for 41 weeks.

A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University’s MFA Film Program, Soman began his career as a screenwriter and director, with his films playing at over 150 film festivals around the world. He has been nominated for the Waterstone Prize for Children’s Literature, been named to the Out100, and also received the $100,000 Shasha Grant and the Sun Valley Writer’s Fellowship, both for debut writers.

Soman’s latest book, BEASTS & BEAUTY, is an instant New York Times Bestseller and will soon be published in 10 languages. It is his seventh New York Times bestseller in a row.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
42,195 (39%)
4 stars
36,042 (33%)
3 stars
20,085 (18%)
2 stars
6,289 (5%)
1 star
3,177 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,885 reviews
August 10, 2016
The boys went off to fight with swords while girls had to learn dog barks and owl hoots. No wonder princesses were so impotent in fairy tales, she thought. If all they could do was smile, stand straight, and speak to squirrels, then what choice did they have but to wait for a boy to rescue them?
If any book ever deserved to be Disney-fied, this would be it.

This book is seriously sweet. It was just delightful. It is a middle grade "alternative" fairy tale which parodies and utilizes fairy tale tropes to excellent effect, and I constantly sniggered with laughter at its tongue-in-cheek hilarity.

It is a light book, a Harry Potter-style boarding school novel based around fairy tales. It was just fucking adorable, let me tell you, but it is not too sweet at all. For a middle grade book, this story had a surprising amount of darkness and depth. It questions the nature of friendship, it questions good and evil, it tells us that it is our choices in life that matters in the long run, that our nature is self-determined.
She was Evil, always Evil, and there would never be happiness or peace. As her heart shattered with sadness, she yielded to darkness without a fight, only to hear a dying echo, somewhere deeper than soul.
It’s not what we are.
It’s what we do.
This book tells you that you do not have to be what people want you to be. There is room for change within your soul. You do not have to fit into the mold. You are capable of more than people expect. You do not have to be beautiful in order to have a beautiful spirit.

The Summary: Most children are afraid of being kidnapped. Not Sophie.

Before you judge her, realize that the "kidnapper" in question is not a man, but a being. A mythical being called the School Master rumored to capture two children every 12 years, to make them into fairy tale creatures. One good child, one bad child. Boy or girl. They will be separated from their families forever. For most children, this is a thing to be feared.

Not Sophie.

Sophie longs to be kidnapped, she has dreamt of it her entire life. She deserves to be a fairy-tale princess. And indeed, there is no one in her village who is more beautiful than Sophie. Even when she's sleep-deprived, Sophie is a vision of loveliness.
Her waist-long hair, the color of spun gold, didn’t have its usual sheen. Her jade-green eyes looked faded, her luscious red lips a touch dry. Even the glow of her creamy peach skin had dulled. But still a princess, she thought.
So lovely. But it's not effortless. As all girls know, looking good takes a fuck ton of work, and Sophie has to work at it. Her beauty routine puts mine to shame.
As for the rest of Sophie’s beauty routine, it could fill a dozen storybooks (suffice it to say it included goose feathers, pickled potatoes, horse hooves, cream of cashews, and a vial of cow’s blood).
The School Master can only pick one good child, and Sophie is determined to be it. In her quest for goodness, she befriends her polar opposite, Agatha.

Agatha can never be described, however generously, as beautiful.
Her hideous dome of black hair looked like it was coated in oil. Her hulking black dress, shapeless as a potato sack, couldn’t hide freakishly pale skin and jutting bones. Ladybug eyes bulged from her sunken face.
Sophie and Agatha may be friends, but their relationship can best be described as "passive-aggressive". The passive-aggressiveness coming entirely from Sophie.
Sophie’s eyes flashed. “You’re lucky that someone would come see you when no one else will. You’re lucky that someone like me would be your friend. You’re lucky that someone like me is such a good person.”
“I knew it!” Agatha flared. “I’m your Good Deed! Just a pawn in your stupid fantasy!”
On the night of the kidnapping, Sophie and Agatha got kidnapped, or rather, Sophie went entirely willingly and Agatha got dragged into it. Sophie expected to be accepted into The School of Good. Agatha is praying against hope that she will not be forced into the School of Evil.

It didn't exactly work out the way they planned.
Stunned, Sophie watched Agatha plummet into pink cotton-candy mist. “Wait—no—”
The bird swooped savagely towards the Towers of Evil, its jaws reaching up for new prey.
“No! I’m Good! It’s the wrong one!” Sophie screamed—
And without a beat, she was dropped into hellish darkness.
The lovely Sophie wound up in the School of Evil, a school that trains fairy-tale villains. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the hideous creatures (her fellow students).
Here was a mass of the miserable, with misshapen bodies, repulsive faces, and the cruelest expressions she’d ever seen, as if looking for something to hate. One by one their eyes fell on Sophie and they found what they were looking for. The petrified princess in glass slippers and golden curls.
The red rose among thorns.
Sophie knows what to do.
She ran for her life.
The hideous Agatha finds herself among a gaggle of pretty pretty princesses. An entire school of Sophies. She knows she doesn't belong. She knows what to do.
Agatha did the only thing she knew how to do when faced with expectations.
Up the blue Honor staircase, through sea-green halls, she ran.
Uh, no. Sadly, the school doesn't work right back. It's a magical school, y'all, and like it or not, Agatha and Sophie are there to stay. Or else. Children who fail disappear. They have to stay, they have to work at it if they are to stay alive.

Fairy tales are darker than they look, and surviving this school will take all of Sophie and Agatha's cunning. Will they manage to maintain their tenuous friendship?
The fight escalated to a ludicrous climax, with Sophie beating Agatha with a blue squash, Agatha sitting on Sophie’s head, and the class gleefully making bets as to who was who—
“Go rot in Gavaldon alone!” Sophie screamed.
“Better alone than with a phony!” Agatha shouted.
“Get out of my life!”
“You came into mine!”
Will they be able to face the danger---the darkness within the school?
“But the boys train for war in class,” a girl moaned.
“We haven’t even learned to fight!” said another.
“Would you like to be a slave to villains?” Beatrix fired back. “Made to cook children and eat princess hearts and drink horse blood—”
“And wear black?” Reena cried.
Evergirls gulped.
“Then learn quickly,” Beatrix said.
Was it a mistake to put Sophie into the School of Evil and Agatha into the School of Good? Or will both Agatha and Sophie realize that they're where they should be, all along?

The Setting: “Well, in the School for Good, they teach boys and girls like me how to become heroes and princesses, how to rule kingdoms justly, how to find Happily Ever After,” Sophie said. “In the School for Evil, they teach you how to become wicked witches and humpbacked trolls, how to lay curses and cast evil spells.”

The setting in this book is just freaking adorable. Take all the tropes you ever know about fairy tales and squish it into a book. You might expect it to be bad? No! It's not! It's fan-fucking-tastic! We have hideously warty creatures, we have snouty, socially awkward, innately evil villains in the School of Evil. We have gloriously charming and handsome boys and girls in the School of Good (who are just so full of themselves).
Tedros was used to girls watching him. But when would he find one who saw more than his looks? Who saw more than King Arthur’s son? Who cared about his thoughts, his hopes, his fears? And yet here he was, pivoted purposely as he toweled so the girls could have a perfect view.

The setting is beautiful, we have fairy tale castles and beautiful bedrooms and pretty fluffy pink candy cane shit in the School of Good, and nasty, dirty dungeons, and food you wouldn't feed to your worst enemy in the School of Evil. There are magical geese, werewolves, gargoyles, and fairies (they bite).

And then there's the curriculum. AHAHAHA. The curriculum. Uglification, can you imagine? Poor Sophie.

The teachers are hilarious, from evil hags and witches, to an actual fucking fairy tale princess.
Princess Uma looked far too young to be a teacher. Nestled in prim grass, backlit by lake shimmer, she sat very still, hands folded in her pink dress, with black hair to her waist, olive skin, almond-shaped eyes, and crimson lips pursed in a tight O. When she did speak, it was in a giggly whisper, but she couldn’t make it through a full sentence. Every few words, she’d stop to listen to a distant fox or dove and respond with her own giddy howl or chirp.

“Oops!” she tee-heed. “I have too many friends!”

Agatha couldn’t tell if she was nervous or just an idiot.
Sophie: She's not meant to be loved. She is a character that grows on you. If you ever wanted a fairy tale trope, Sophie is IT, man. She is beautiful, she is different, she has always felt like she was meant to be a princess. And man, I felt a tremendous sense of schadenfreude when Sophie got put into the School of Evil. Sophie is a devious character. Don't let her golden fair appearance fool you. She may seem fluffy in appearance, but she is not a character to be taken lightly.
Sophie was crouched over a puddle of water on the floor, singing as she applied blush in her reflection.

“I’m a pretty princess, sweet as a pea,
Waiting for my prince to marry me...”

Three bunk mates and three rats watched from across the room, mouths open in shock.
Sophie is absolutely convinced that she is in the wrong school, and we can't blame her. It is a lifelong dream, and it was dashed to the ground in one moment. Her character development is marvellous.
All these years she had tried to be someone else. She had made so many mistakes along the way. But at last, she had come home.
Agatha: Undoubtedly, the more sympathetic of the two. The hideous girl, always the hated one. She cannot look past her own appearance to see what's underneath.

Agatha prickled with shame. In this School for Good, where everyone was supposed to be kind and loving, she had still ended up alone and despised. She was a villain, no matter where she went.
Agatha's self-esteem is so low that it's below sea level. Agatha is dependent upon Sophie, in a way. They were friends before, and Agatha clings onto that friendship for so long that she nearly forgets what it means to be independent.
Agatha felt familiar shame rise. Everything in her body told her to shut the door again and hide. But this time instead of thinking of all the friends she didn’t have, Agatha thought about the one she did.
Agatha slipped into the pink parade, put on a smile...and tried to blend.
The Friendship: The friendship between Agatha and Sophie is so beautifully written. Their relationship is one fraught with power play, struggles, and they are so complex because of it. Both love one another, while deeply resenting one another, but they have one common purpose. Eventually, they realize that they have to rely upon one another to make it through.
The girls collapsed in tormented heaps.
“Ready to go home?” Agatha panted.
Sophie looked up, ghost white.
“Thought you’d never ask.”

A fantastic middle grade book, enjoyable by all ages. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Becky.
809 reviews78 followers
January 30, 2021
EDIT: Most people aren't reading the comments on this review, which I know because a lot of people just keep telling me things that I've already responded to, but I'm going to post this in the hopes that it might calm some people down.

You are allowed to love this book. You don't have to attack me because I did not.

If you have the urge to comment telling me about the rest of the series, please don't.
According to all the defenders in my comments, this book is too weak to stand on its own and can only be understood in the context of multiple other books that hadn't been written yet when this one was published. People then go on to aggressively demand that I don't read those books to the tune of "don't read it if you don't like it" even though they have already said that I'm an idiot for not reading them before I reviewed this one (again, they were not even written when I read this one). (Also, for everyone who commented saying I shouldn't read the book if I don't like it... how do I know I don't like it if I don't read it?!)

I found a lot of worrying things in this book, that doesn't mean you will or did. That also doesn't mean I think Soman Chainani is a bad person. I think his debut novel had problems (debut novels usually do), and from what I have heard, he managed to correct some of those problems in later books. This is excellent news! Writers are people and are allowed to make mistakes and grow in their craft.

I express myself in strong terms in this review. If you loved this book and reading the review of someone who hated it is going to upset you, or has already upset you, I encourage you to not post a comment for a day or two; let the emotions settle before you type mean things on the internet. There's less regret all around that way.

Sooooo this is a lesson on how an amazing cover can sell even the worst book. I deeply regret buying this. Let me tell you why.

At first, I read the way Good was portrayed (especially the girls) and I thought, this will be overturned. By the end, it will be revealed that these vain, catty, boy-obsessed children are actually evil. And I can't really blame them for being vain and catty, because if they aren't asked to the ball by a boy, they fail (aka, they die. Literally).

But then I start to realize, that the divide between Good and Evil is REALLY confusing.
Evil can never have love (the catch phrase of the book), and yet according to Dot, being a friendless villain is humiliating.
Evil does not forgive, they seek revenge, and yet Dot (who is evil) saves her roommate's life and they're friends again.
Good is about purity and not vanity, and yet at the end when the evil students do good things, they become beautiful (Dot even becomes skinny) and the good students become ugly (some even go bald). (Aside, I find the implied fact that fat and bald are indicative of evil to be incredibly disturbing.)

Evil must be ugly because only when they're ugly can they get rid of vanity and be FREEEEEE, so they obsessively try to make themselves uglier.

So at the end, when the evil people did good and got pretty and the good did bad and got ugly, I realized that what the book was ACTUALLY saying was that appearance actually does indicate the state of the soul.
But, I hear you say, isn't it saying that the outside reflects what's inside, making a physical response to the saying "actions speak louder than words"? You would be right, if you weren't so wrong!
Because Aggie, who everyone thought was evil, is said through most of the book to be very ugly (thus everyone thinks she is evil). Then, a teacher tells her she will make her beautiful. When Aggie thinks this has happened, she is beautiful (people even stop and stare, amazed by her beauty). When Aggie finally sees a mirror and realizes nothing has actually changed, she realizes that because she thought she was ugly, she was ugly. So even though she was "good," poor self-esteem was enough to make her look "evil." Once her self-esteem had been boosted and she thought she was beautiful, she was beautiful. Let this be a lesson, teenage girls: even if you do good things, unless your self-worth improves, you will always be ugly and people will call you a witch.

And actually, I'm not sure this book even says THAT, because is it really self-worth if you only thought you were beautiful because other people were telling you as much?

However, now that Aggie is pretty and has self-esteem, suddenly she fits right in with the good girls. Suddenly, she doesn't care about going home, seeing her cat, seeing her mother, or helping Sophie (her only friend). Because who needs home, family, or friends when you've got BOYS! One boy, in particular. Now that she has the possibility of a happy-ever-after, she throws everything out the window and tries to get asked to the ball so she doesn't die.
That's right, it's a world where if a girl is not pretty enough for a boy to ask her out, she is killed. And apparently, every year the boys make a pact that two of them will go together rather than having to be the one to go with the ugliest girl. And again, I thought, this will be overturned.

Instead of the girls becoming self-reliant beings who are worth more than what a man is willing to say they're worth, the magical thing that happens is THIS year, all the good girls get asked and no one dies.

But that's not how it ends. It ends with Sophie (evil friend) dying for Aggie (good friend) and Aggie's kiss bringing Sophie back to life (true love's kiss). Sophie says, "who needs princes in our fairy tale?" and for a moment I think YES! It is all undone! Realizations abound!
Because as the girls disappear to go to Happily Ever After together, Aggie realizes if she goes with Sophie she'll never get to be with the BOY!
"She whirled to Tedros. With a cry, her prince seized for her--'wait!'"
And as I understand it, in the sequel Aggie regrets spending happily ever after with her best friend, so she leaves and goes in search of Teddy.

One brief shining moment, and then that.

So what is the book about? It's about how girls are motivated entirely by boys. Female friendships are broken apart by boys. The back-stories of evil women usually involve boys. And even though you might not need a boy in the end, you REALLY want one. Also, poor self-esteem makes you ugly, and no boy will want you then.
To be followed by the sequel, which is about how best friends will never replace boys (although, to be fair, I haven't read it. And won't.)

But I'm not finished! I could, in fact, go on for a very long time about all the problems with this book (go ahead, ask me. I dare you), but I just want to mention quickly the problem of the wolves, and the naked thing.
I'm not sure the author understands what wolves are in fairy tales. In this book, the wolves are in charge of the evil school, and at one point Sophie refuses to change into her school uniform. "So the wolf took care of it himself." So this child has just been stripped and re-dressed by a wolf. In a fairy tale. Later, Sophie dreams of her father, who is wearing a wolf mask.

I felt kind of sick to my stomach.
This leads me to my final problem: how often the girls are naked in this book. I don't have the patience for it, but if anyone is going to read/re-read it, I would love it if you would put a flag next to every time a character is naked/wrapped in or hiding behind something to hide their nakedness. They take each other's clothes off their backs, they wear boys' PJs because they burned each other's clothes, they come back naked from this spell that they do (and they do it a lot), a boy becomes naked to use his talent... It would just be interesting to see how many times in this book children are naked.

Okay, tl;dr, I'll shut up now.



This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for carol..
1,535 reviews7,873 followers
October 31, 2022
No one knows a girls’ friendship like a guy, amIrite? Just kidding, totally sexist of me, just like this entire hetronormative mess of a Hogwarts derivative with more contradictory messaging than a Miss Universe pagent. It can’t decide if it wants to deconstruct fairy tales or affirm them (think Shrek, with less humor); similarly, the definitions of ‘beauty’ and ‘ugly’ (I hearby challenge Chainani to read The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf), as well as definitions of ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ I will tell you the truth: what it ultimately does is affirm all of those things in the most conventional fashion. (In some cases, literally, through fashion.) Add the final scene, which will feel like a semi-cliff-hanger to some, and you have a hot mess of a book.

Chainani clearly did his Rowling research and thought “how can I capitalize on this magical school goldmine?” But instead of wasting time in the mundane world and spreading development over seven books, he accelerates full speed into the magical school with classes, contests, secret night adventures, and survival in the woods. There’s a remote castle in the woods where ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ are taught. There are teachers who are present but have virtually no authority and a mysterious School Master. Magical creatures abound to enforce the rules. There is even a culminating trial where only one house side can win (and it’s been Good for two hundred years), followed by a fancy dress ball. If all of this sounds Potter-iffic, I think that’s because it’s meant to, and I believe that’s why it appeals to many readers despite it’s inherent and profuse problems.

The lead characters are Sophie, a beauty-obsessed twelve year-old looking for a Prince, and Agatha, the introverted and ‘ugly’ daughter of a village ‘witch,’ and her only friend. Every four years, two children disappear from this isolated village, perhaps to become lead characters in a future fairy tale. One person becomes the ‘good’ character and one person the ‘bad' lead. Sophie’s been primping for the ‘Good’ role for years (because according to their definitions, ‘good’ means ‘lovely,’ along with a token good deed or two). However, when Sophie is kidnapped, Agatha follows, trying to save her friend. Pink and primped Sophie is dropped at the dark, scary School for Evil, staffed by wolves and goblins, and homely, sloppy Agatha is left at the School for Good, staffed by fairies and princesses. Although she's certain she's in the wrong school, Sophie still sees it as the chance to find her Prince while Agatha focus on returning home.

Worth seeing what happens, maybe? And at first, Chainani seems to be doing something interesting with making both schools sound equally horrible, just a different kind of metric. Also like Hogwarts, we get a variety of hands-on learning, but what’s unique is that it is about being ‘ugly’ or ‘beautiful’ as much as magic. Classes on the ‘good’ side include 'how to be beautiful,' and classes on the ‘evil’ side include ‘uglification.' (It's worth noting that both of these follow conventional definitions of both these words).

Eventually some of the classes are combined between Team Good and Team Evil so that we get to see the two interact. These situations particularly suck because the lessons in ‘identifying good’ and ‘identifying your prince/princess,’ set up Sophie and Agatha in opposition to each other over a particularly heroic Prince. Sophie becomes obsessed with the idea that she is both in the wrong school and deserves the Prince while Agatha spends her time helping Sophie achieve her goal, because a kiss from a Prince will solve a riddle.

So, let’s see: a three-way love triangle. Attractiveness is about your image, not your behaviors. Friendship is a tool to accomplish a goal. Being the subservient ‘helper-friend’ is okay, as long as your friend does some personal growth in the end. Girls operating under the philosophy of “If your true love kisses you, then you can’t be a villain,” with the corollary, “For every Ever, there is only one true love,” followed by “So if a girl doesn’t get asked to the Ball, then she fails and suffers a punishment worse than death. But if a boy doesn’t go to the Ball, he gets half ranks.” Categories of good and evil both suck, except when they don’t. Friendship means being a doormat to your friend’s needs, and not expecting reciprocation in respect or understanding.

Do I have that about right? Man (again, I mean this literally), this is some stellar messaging.

I had stayed with it because–major spoiler here– so I thought the path getting there was going to be extremely norm-deconstructive.

Spoiler: It wasn’t. It was super hetro-normative. And total nonsense, by the way. If you read enough of your fairy tales, you know that evil comes in very beautiful disguises (all the better to fool you with), and that the quality of most young heroes and heroines isn’t that they are beautiful, but that they are kind (to animals, to mysterious old ladies, etc) and that trying to ‘win’ anything without humility only gets you bloody feet, thrown in prison, turned into a goose, or other terrible things.

I would never, ever, ever, recommend this book to anyone, and certainly never give it to a young woman as a present (it's so girl-beauty centric, it's clearly not meant for hetro-norm boys). Castle Hangnail takes a much better look at an essentially ‘good’ girl trying on an ‘evil’ role for young people. My ultimate standard of how you can really start deconstructing ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is The Good Place–which would have been expecting a lot, I grant you, but I was at least hoping for some elementary work on what ‘good’ really means. Since Chainani never separated out the idea of ‘ugly’ from ‘bad,’ and ‘good’ from ‘beautiful,’ I guarantee that both this book and any tie-ins aren’t going to win any Good Awards in my world.

One-and-a-half-stars, rounding down because I read the next book is even worse with it's messaging.

Links and stuff at my wordpress page: https://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2020/...

Update: so this is a movie/series now? Gross. More people looking at a cash cow and not for the next generation of queens.
Profile Image for Mitch.
355 reviews605 followers
August 10, 2016
I was pretty excited to read The School for Good and Evil... until I realized it was a middle grade book. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against middle grade books generally, but the ones I prefer tend to be the meaningful stories starring kids with deeper themes anyone can appreciate, rather than the dumbed down, intentionally silly, or overly simplistic takes most middle grade authors choose to write instead. Still, I gave this one a chance and Soman Chainani actually surprised me at first, after a few chapters I really thought The School for Good and Evil would fall into the former category rather than the latter, but by the end my overall impression is a book that’s rather shallow yet completely incoherent.

First of all, I’m not a fan of black and white good versus evil - I tend to find those kinds of stories played straight, well, boring (and judging people based on their looks just plain dumb and not a lesson any kid should be learning) - no matter how many cheesy fairy tale riffs are used to liven up the story. I guess I’m just one of those people who much prefer a book that asks questions - what makes someone good? what makes someone evil? - which is why I saw a lot of promise with Chainani’s premise, with the beautiful but vain Sophie ending up in the School for Evil while the ugly and loathed Agatha's in the School for Good. Made me wonder, why is Sophie evil? Her vanity? And is everyone wrong about Agatha because, besides Sophie, they don’t really know her? For a while actually, Chainani did seem to be going in that direction, with self professed goodie Sophie confronted with situations that brought out the evil inside her, and Agatha doubting whether she truly is a witch as everyone says. As an exploration of good and evil, not the subtlest thing ever, but for a middle grade book, pretty good.

Unfortunately, it seems to me like Chainani really didn’t know where he was going after those initial few chapters, because even before the story of good and evil totally falls off a cliff, The School for Good and Evil is just horribly inconsistent. Sophie is, one moment, an incompetent villain, and the next, the most powerful and feared witch in both schools. Agatha spends most of the book holding Sophie’s hand as Sophie struggles as a villain, then all of a sudden discovers her inner princess and now can’t go toe to toe with Sophie even though she’s been better with magic through the entire book. Sophie’s fellow witches Hester and Anadil are one moment Sophie’s evil tormenters, the next her evil coconspirators, and finally on Team Good. Things about the School Master and his mysterious agenda are revealed, but then they don’t go anywhere. There’s some talk of why Good succeeds in fairy tales while Evil doesn’t, but that doesn’t go anywhere either. After reading through all these twists and turns trying to figure out the point of the reveals, I’m sorry, but the plot just didn’t make any sense, none of the characters behaved with any rhyme or reason, and if there’s supposed to be a coherent message about good and evil, it’s completely lost to me.

And ultimately, that’s my problem. I wouldn’t be complaining if I thought Chainani wasn’t trying to tackle good and evil in a way that’s far deeper than the typical middle grade adventure, but with all the inconsistencies and a zigzagging plot built more for random unpredictableness than conveying a moral, The School for Good and Evil is more like a fairy tale written by M. Night Shyamalan than the Brothers Grimm. Even before the ending which caps a book of nonsense with a scene that makes the least amount of sense of all, with an explanation for Good’s triumph and Evil’s failure that reads like it was borrowed from a fortune cookie, I didn’t like at all the way Agatha and Sophie, characters initially written to challenge stereotypes of good and evil, themselves become stereotypical good and evil characters. After so many pages spent on these two friends discovering their inner selves, whether hero or villain, at this school, why one is good, one is evil, I’ll never know. And if you can’t even deliver on the central premise of the book, then what’s the point?

As for positives, Chainani’s writing is fairly amusing in places... and that’s about it. The School for Good and Evil works as a middle grade princess and witch story, I guess, but those who read fairy tales looking for morals and deeper meaning should probably stay away.
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
531 reviews34.5k followers
November 15, 2020
”Tonight she would be taken into the woods. Tonight she would begin a new life. Tonight she would live out her fairy tale.”

And what a fairy tale it would turn out to be! *lol* I wasn’t all too sure what to expect when I went into this, because all I knew was that one of my favourite bloggers loves this series to bits and pieces and has been raving about it for months. XD I dunno how you usually choose your next book, but for me this was the main reason to finally pick up “The School for Good and Evil”. If one of my fave bloggers loves it, it’s pretty likely I’ll enjoy it too. (Yes, I’m a simple soul when it comes to things like that. ;-P)

Turns out my gut feeling was right! *lol* I loved and enjoyed this so freaking much! I mean this is middle grade yet it still had that typical fairy tale vibe going on. Truth be told, Sophie’s and Agatha’s story is actually pretty cruel sometimes and the punishments they get for failing are quite harsh. Just like you’d expect it from a brothers Grimm fairy tale. It will never cease to amaze me how children hear those horrible stories and take everything for granted. I mean as a kid we were all okay with the witch from Hansel and Gretel burning in the stove, right?

”No matter how cruel children are to each other, nothing can prepare them for how cruel their stories can be.”

Anyway, I probably could write an essay about fairy tales and their meaning for children (actually did that at school *lol*) but I think I’ll leave it at that. ;-) Suffice it to say that the typical stereotypes of fairy tales are more than just strong in here. We have plenty of princesses who act like a damsel in distress, we get to know princes who are born to rule and to save those aforementioned damsels and we have evil witches and their henchmen. So just your ordinary fairy tale, or not? Not really, Agatha and Sophie are doing quite a thorough job at turning their world upside down and I just loved them for it! XD This was such a fun ride and I enjoyed every crazy minute of it.

This said, let’s get to my characters section so I can finally get all those thoughts out of my mind! ;-)

The characters:

As you all know by now this is my spoilery spoiler section so if you don’t want to be spoiled you better return to Gavaldon. If you’re naughty enough to actually want to be spoiled, well, welcome to the School for Evil! I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun! ;-P


”You’re lucky that someone would come see you when no one else will. You’re lucky that someone like me would be your friend. You’re lucky that someone like me is such a good person.”

I think statements like the one above were the reason why Sophie ended up in Evil. I mean if she would have truly been a good soul, she wouldn’t have befriended Agatha as part of her good deeds. It doesn’t matter that they became actual friends in the end, the reason why she started to hang out with her was a selfish one and I knew exactly why Sophie would have never made it into The School for Good. Sophie might have looked as pretty as a princess but her soul? Well, let’s just say it was as dark as the night. *lol* And tell you what?! I loved it! I mean there’s this girl that wants so desperately to be good that she’s actually turning out to be more than just a little evil. All the things she did, all her seemingly good intentions were no good intentions at all. And I’ve to agree with Lady Lesso here: What we do matters! Not what we are! Still, I felt really sorry for Sophie because some of the punishments were pretty harsh and her desperation to get in the right school was so palpable. Also to watch her metamorphosis into a witch was quite something. It started out with little things, like trying to get into the School for Good, talking Tedros into a bargain and trying to seduce him, cheating with Agatha’s help, etc. Well, and then it turned into bigger things, like killing the Beast when it cut her hair in the dungeons and I suppose from that moment on her way to Evil was paved into the ground. In the end Sophie became a witch and boy, she was a sight to behold! I loved her so much!! *LOL* She’s definitely one hell of a character and I can’t wait to read more about her in the next book! =)

”Sophie smoothed her hair and walked toward the light, swallowing the sickness in her throat.
The good forgive, said the rules.
But the rules were wrong. They had to be.
Because she hadn’t forgiven.
She hadn’t forgiven at all.”

”You see, it doesn’t matter what we are, Sophie.”
Lady Lesso leaned so close she just had to whisper.
“It’s what we do.”

”Sophie threw down the glass, threw back her head, and unleashed a horrible crackle that promised Evil, beautiful Evil too pure to fight.”


”At first Agatha found it dumb, but now it was scary. This was what Good souls craved? Boys they didn’t even know? Based on what!”

Haha! I agreed so much with Agatha’s POV! She was probably the only feminist in the entire School for Good and I could relate to her thoughts so much. I wouldn’t have wanted to go into lessons like that either. Funnily enough, all the “real princesses” that ever made it into storybooks were no damsels in distress at all. I mean just look at Arielle , Belle, Cinderella, Mulan... yes they were all very coy at the beginning of their tales, but in the end they all fought for what they believed in. And they fought for their freedom! So if you think about it like that Agatha was kind of a typical princess! *lol* The real princesses don’t wait for their princes to do something, they take things in their own hands and do it themselves! XD Which Agatha did! I really liked Agatha and I think she was one hell of a friend! I mean she studied both: The Good & the Evil lessons just to help Sophie out and she would have died for Sophie and her friends. Also by the end of the book she began to love Tedros but she still did everything possible to help Sophie to win him over. She put her friend before herself and that’s so altruistic that she could only end up in Good. XD I’m really looking forward to see more of her and how things are going to turn out. Especially after THAT ending!!!

”I wish I could help you,” she said. “I wish I could help us all go home.”
The gargoyle lay its head in her lap. As the burning menagerie closed in, a monster and a child wept in each other’s arms.

”I’d set them all free if I could, but his magic is too strong,” Agatha said, voice cracking. “I just wish my talent had a better ending.”


”Hair a halo of celestial gold, eyes blue as a cloudless sky, skin the color of hot desert sand, he glistened with a noble sheen, as if his blood ran purer than the rest.”

I’ve to admit I wasn’t a huge Tedros fan at the beginning of the book. He kind of gave me “Gaston vibes” and I hated Gaston! *lol* But the more I read about him, the more I could understand why he was that way. Tedros’s character is really complex and there is more to him than meets the eye. It was good to get an occasional glimpse at his thoughts and they were completely different to what he showed on the outside. Well, most of the time. When it came to Agatha and Sophie he disliked them both; at least at the beginning of the book. XD And yes I even felt sorry for him because to be between Agatha and Sophie couldn’t have been easy. Poor guy got really confused by them. >_< I’m sure we’ll get to see more of him in the other books and I’m pretty sure sooner or later he’ll show us his true self instead of what everyone expects him to be. =)

”The best villains make you doubt.”

”That’s what makes us Good, Hester. We trust. We protect. We love. What do you have?”


”So I definitely can’t love,” Hort said.
“Colder than you thought possible... Then say these words...”
“But if I could love, I’d love you.”

Okay, Hort might be at the School for Evil, but that boy is so damn precious!! *lol* I mean he’s a side-character but he’s still sweet and amazing! He helped Sophie even though she was really mean to him and his black pajamas with green frogs?! Cute as hell! Haha! Also I think there’s way more to him as well. He’s obviously a very sad soul and I think he deserves someone super nice! He seems to love Sophie but I’m afraid she’ll only use him and won’t reciprocate so I’m kind of worried about him. #PreciousHortDeservesLove !!! <333

The Three Witches:

Hester looked up at Agatha. “She flooded our floor.”
“To do her makeup,” said Anadil.
“Whoever heard of anything so evil?” Dot grimaced. “Song included.”

I absolutely adored those three witches! Anadil, Dot and Hester were awesome! I loved how they were obviously evil but still so compassionate! At first glance Dot seemed to be the only compassionate one but the more I read the more Anadil’s and Hester’s soft sides showed as well. They were great and I loved that they thought Sophie’s morning routine was evil! XD I really want to know more about all of them and I hope they’ll have bigger roles in the next few books.

Dot’s eyes misted. “You were so pretty.”
“It’ll grow back,” Sophie said, trying not to cry.

The relationships & ships:

Sophie & Agatha:

”Agatha wanted her only friend back. But a friend wasn’t enough for Sophie. Sophie had always wanted more.
Sophie wanted a prince.”

The friendship of those two was quite something! It had a lot of ups and downs, but in the end they always found back to each other. Even when they ended up in different schools, even when everyone told them that a princess and a witch can’t be friends they still defied the rules and held on to their connection! I loved their friendship so much, even though I’ve to admit that Sophie really took advantage of dear Agatha! Their friendship had that one-sided dynamic and I think that was their problem all along. Sophie did quite a few awful things yet Agatha still stood by her, but the moment Agatha did something Sophie didn’t like she went all nemesis on her. Still, this was the goal of the book. Both, Sophie and Agatha had to learn what it means to be a true friend. They needed to find a balance and in the end they did. It’s kind of sad it had to end with Sophie turning into a witch but I suppose that was the price they had to pay in order to get their fairy tale ending. XD I really dig the fact that their fairy tale shows that a friendship is a lot of work and that you shouldn’t take it for granted! It’s a really realistic approach and I love it!

”You are Good,” Sophie panted, head on Agatha’s shoulder.
“I won’t let them hurt you,” Agatha whispered, holding Sophie tight.
Sophie touched her cheek. “I wish I could say the same.”

Sophie & Tedros:

”When I’m #1, you’ll ask me to forgive you.”
“You get to #1 and I’ll ask you anything you want,” he snorted.
Sophie turned to him. “I’ll hold you to that.”
“If you’re still awake.”

I always knew those two wouldn’t work out because Sophie only loved Tedros for what he represented. She didn’t really love him as a person, only his good looks and his status as the prince of princes. She was so set on the idea of him being her prince that she didn’t even bother to get to know him. All that mattered was that he fell in love with her and saved her from the School of Evil and this was such a selfish notion, that it’s really no surprise she didn’t succeed. Sophie didn’t want to put any real effort into winning him over so it was Agatha he actually fell in love with and of course his love for Sophie turned bitter as soon as he found out the truth. So by the end of the book there was no love lost between them and things took their course.

”Even if it means waiting for a lifetime for a kiss.” Tedros answered, taking her hand. Then he cocked his head. “I’m assuming this is a hypothetical question.”
Sophie laughed and buried her head in his shoulder in time to hide the tears. She’d explain one day. When their love was strong enough.

”Heart throbbing, Sophie smelled the bitter black thorns laced with a scent she knew so well.
So this was her reward for Love.
She crushed the rose, spitting Tedros’ words with blood.

”Tedros glared down at her form inside the glass castle. In the weak sun, his milky face had a glint of red.
Sophie met his eyes, steeling her heart.
He’d love her back. He’d have to.
Because she’d destroy him if he dared love anyone else.”

Agatha & Tedros:

”You think he’s your prince? He’s just a puffed-up windbag who can’t find anything better to do than prance around half naked and thrust his sword where it doesn’t belong!”

So I guess Agatha and Tedros were a really, really, really slow burn that kind of bordered on love at hundredth sight. *LOL* Still, you could feel that they were meant to be together by the animosity they felt. XD The enemies-to-lovers trope was strong with those two!!! Funnily enough it was exactly the other way around with Sophie. Tedros and she were a typical lovers-to-enemies trope. ;-P Anyway, I loved some of the conversations between Agatha and Tedros. *lol* When Agatha scared him with a made up curse I had to laugh so hard! I mean seriously the “Hopsocotl Spell”??! XD Plus they were really cute when they finally admitted their feelings. It breaks my heart that Agatha and Sophie vanished in the end and that Tedros never got to say goodbye to her and I really hope they’ll see each other again. I also hope that Tedros will share some of his testosterone in the next book though. The way he decided things over Agatha’s head was not okay and if he truly loves her he should have accepted her opinion. If they become a couple in the next few books he’ll have to change his attitude. XD

”Put me down!”
Tedros obeyed and Agatha pulled away.
“I’m not a princess!” she snapped, fixing her collar.
“If you say so,” the prince said, eyes drifting downward. Agatha followed them ot her grashed legs, waterfalls of brilliant blood. She saw blood bluring –
Tedros smiled. “One ... two ... three...”
She fainted in his arms.
“Definitely a princess,” he said.


This was one hell of a bookish surprise and I certainly didn’t expect to love it so much! Agatha’s and Sophie’s world totally won me over and I just couldn’t get enough of it. The mere fact that I read this book in the span of a week shows how much I enjoyed it! This modern fairy tale was such a wild ride! Cool, cruel and crazy with all the necessary ingredients to make it a truly remarkable read! XD
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
592 reviews3,539 followers
April 15, 2016
4.5 stars

Now before you do anything, I want you to take a good long look at the blurb.

Sounds cute, right? A re-imagining of fairytales. A Hogwarts-like school where princesses/princes and villains are trained. Two very different girls that hint at an unlikely friendship.

Okay, now throw those thoughts in the lake. Go on.

This book will not be anything like you imagine. Many times have I found myself questioning whether or not it should even be classified as middle-grade. The pretty cover clothes a disturbingly dark story, but one of humor, friendship, and dare I say it, true love.

Sophie and Agatha are two very different girls. Sophie is gorgeous, stuck-up and only dreams of being a princess and marrying a prince.

Agatha, on the other hand, is hideous and after getting kidnapped to the school, she only wants to go home with her best friend, Sophie. Who, as you can guess, is so not interested.

I did not like Sophie at first. The girl is supremely shallow and bitchy. She only does good deeds so she can get into the school of Good and her friendship with Agatha in the beginning is nothing more than a charity project. She sort of reminds me of Sansa from A Game of Thrones before all that shit went down and she gained some brain cells. But her character development was brilliant and totally realistic. She relapses to her old selfish ways multiple times in the narrative (usually over a prince and screwing Agatha over in the process), but towards the end, I was rooting for so hard even though She's an incredibly sympathetic and complex character.

Agatha, I loved from the start. Her devotion to Sophie and disdain of beauty-obsessed princesses and macho princes completely won me over. Though I must confess I liked her less towards the end when

Their opposites-attract friendship actually reminds me of Elphaba and Glinda from Wicked.

They hate each other at first, but then, they begin to rely on each other. They struggle through tests (So. Many. Tests) and their friendship gets stronger every time. Sophie needs Agatha as much as Agatha needs her. They are the core of the story and I loved it.

And the romance? I can't talk too much about it without giving away the ending, but I will say this:

The School for Good and Evil will make you laugh, make you cry and generally, leave your feels in a mess.

And I cannot recommend it highly enough.

My review of A World Without Princes
My review of The Last Ever After
Profile Image for emma.
1,825 reviews48.3k followers
January 14, 2018
AFGHASDFGASHDF THIS BOOK. I’ve never been more emotionally unstable in my life.

Far from true, but still. I’m torn up inside.


I love the premise of it so much it hurts me to try to put it into words. But I will suffer through this pain for you.

So, The School for Good and Evil focuses on Sophie and Agatha. Sophie is beautiful, shallow, and a bit of a snob. Agatha is ugly, insecure, and very kind. They live in a world in which fairytales happen, and every year, the two kindest and most terrible children, respectively, from their village are kidnapped, never to return.

But eventually, they show up in the fairytales the children read.

That’s actually one of about a thousand massive plot holes, but whatever. We’re not done yet, synopsis-wise.

Sophie is obsessed with the idea of ending up in a fairytale. Agatha dreads the idea of becoming a witch.

They’re both kidnapped, unsurprisingly. BUT PLOT TWIST: Agatha ends up in the School for Good, and Sophie, in the School for Evil.


It’s actually a whole lot more boring than that. This book is a million pages long, and every possible bad side effect that could come with that does. It’s boring; it’s repetitive; it’s slow-moving; it’s filled with plot-holes; it’s supremely indecisive about its own themes, characters, and storylines.


That premise tho.

I am so fully torn on EVERYTHING ELSE about this book.

The characters: equal like and dislike. Agatha is pretty consistently adorable and likable; Sophie is occasionally a total badass, but most of the time so snobby and intolerable and mean. I just wanted her to accept her inner villain, and it was awesome when she did, BUT IT LASTED LIKE FIVE PAGES. Guh.

The relationships: equal like and dislike. There’s this guy Tedros who is a total babe, and Sophie targets him, but I kinda like the him/Agatha schtick? Except it’s always made to be sooooo dramaaaaatic and just...yuck. There’s a big friendship with Sophie and Agatha, which I normally love (yay female friendship!) but it’s just so problematic sometimes. To quote the great Britney Spears: “toxic.”

The themes: equal like and dislike. There’s a shaky theme of “no one is truly good or evil,” which is cool, except it completely ruins the chances of me seeing the badass villains I wanted so badly out of this book. It also seems like there’s some sort of attempt toward feminism, based off how short the princess end of the stick is compared to the princes’, but it never quite gets there???

The premise versus the execution: Seriously one of the most brilliant, creative worlds I’ve EVER EVEN HEARD OF, but the execution can be just awful. SO MUCH WASTED POTENTIAL I COULD CRY.

I don’t know. I guess I’ll read the sequel and see whether like or dislike wins out. (HA. Like whether “Good” or “Evil” wins in this book! I am so funny I impress even myself.)

But then I’ll probably still read the third one either way, because I am both a massive pushover baby and a glutton for literary punishment.

And I wonder why my average rating is so low.

But I digress.

Oh! I almost forgot! This absolutely, no way no how, is a children’s book. Nor is it YA. Nor should the characters be 12, or however old they are. That’s digusting.


Bottom line: I DON’T KNOW. WHO KNOWS.

P.S.: The book trailer for this book is A M A Z I N G. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqnU3...
Profile Image for Lilly S.
75 reviews153 followers
September 6, 2021
This book is awful. *Cue mic drop*

But for real, this is one of the most disorganized dumpster fires I've ever read. Worse than my writing, and that's a massive feat. *Cue another mic drop*

I guess I probably have to say more than that. Prepare for an ugly review of an even uglier book. Basically, we have these two girls with as much personality as the computer I'm typing this review on. So none. Because being an evil witch and a happy beautiful princess aren't fleshed out personalities. Obviously Chainani doesn't understand that.

These two girls do their stereotypical activities, there's some plot building, blah blah blah. The beginning was REALLY freaking boring as was the rest of the book but whatever. We learn that there's this guy who kidnaps children in the dead of night every fifty years (I believe (As you can see I deemed this book is not worth using brain cells on)), and he takes them to this school where innocent children are trained into stereotypical fairy tale villains and royalty (If you can't tell by now Chainani loves stereotypes). Sophie the stereotypical princess who I hate with all my cold heart gets put in evil, and Agatha the stereotypical witch who lives in a graveyard that I also hate with all my cold heart gets put in good.

I was already thinking about dnfing around here. But onward we went. So then the two girls run around their classes, getting a mix of fails and best in class because that makes sense 🤠🤠🤠. Then some shit goes down, and they go from great to failed about 100,078,989,823,842,175,983 times, eventually ending in war between Good and Evil, and they fight, and more shit goes down, and then the girls try to kill each other, but then they love each other again and-

I can’t with this book. I think this summary showed the chaos of this book well. If the message didn't get through to you, there's something wrong.

Chainani was looking for the most chaotic dumpster fire ever when he wrote this, so the writing is awful. You've got extremely boring writing style, some unnecessary capital letters, and virtually no idea what this school looks like! No matter how much I rant on this writing I'll never be satisfied so we're going to move on after I cry about how this book's writing is so cringey I'm scared for life.

Guess what? You also have extremely boring characters who are the polar opposites of fleshed out. In case there is something wrong with you and you still want to read this book, here are our amazingly terrible characters explained in more detail.

Sophie-She's such a brat throughout the book. First she complains about how amazing she is and how evil Agatha is and they should be switched because calling your best friend evil is very kind, then she chases down this one boy thinking that he's the love of her life even though she's seen him like THREE times because ✨ LoGiC ✨ After that she completely ditches Agatha who did about as much as I did today (which was nothing, if you were wondering), then she decides that she needs Agatha, but then she decides that she wants to kill Agatha. Then she decides that she loves Agatha. This is a toxic person at their worst 👍. Being a brat is about her single personality trait throughout the book, so that was fun.

Agatha-So for most of the story, Agatha seems entirely evil and misplaced. For a small portion at the end of the story, she's beautiful and strong and a pretty princess. Does she have any other defining traits? Not really. Thank you, next. I will give it to her and say that she was pretty funny and feminist, but other than that, there's not anything there.

Tedros-Who's ready for the single character that ties Sophie for most hated ? Although I did have to look up his name in the book but we don't talk about that He was an annoying, sexist ahole who says things like a princess is nothing without her prince and that he is so much smarter than any of the princesses. You can go die, Tedros.

I haven't gotten even half of my rage out, but I cannot. Three words for you. I HATED this.


I have absolutely no idea what just happened. Rtc.
Profile Image for MischaS_.
785 reviews1,343 followers
June 23, 2019
EDIT: After finishing A World Without Princes I realised that I didn't remember what happened in the first book. So, I had to re-read it. The first book is slightly better than the second one. Btw, Tedros needs to be punched! Hard!

Naprosto boží! Jedna z nejlepších knih, kterou jsem letos četla! Chystala jsem se na ni už dlouho, ale říkala jsem si, že počkám až vyjde u nás. Pak jistá osoba z ní byla tak nadšená, že jsem si ji musela přečíst taky. A teď ji doporučuji naprosto všem.

Je spousta retellingů pohádek nebo knížek, které se na nich zakládají, ale nikdy jsem nečetla něco takového. :D

Ty malůvky jsou naprosto boží! Jestli zůstanou v českém vydání, tak si ho půjdu koupit! :D

Sophie mě naprosto štvala, taková nána nafrněná! A víte, co je na tom nejhorší? Kdyby to myslela vážně, tak by z ní byl jeden z nejlepších villain! Ale to ona ne! Ona si raději balí okurky! Někdy jsem měla chuť jí je vrazit někam!

Sice jsem Team Evil (nečekaně), ale rozhodně fandím Agathe. :D Ta má aspoň nějaký pořádný charakter! :D

Když jsme u charakteru - School for Good bych přejmenovala na školu pokrytců! A Tedros by byl první z nich, ten kluk mě nehorázně vytáčel! S Beatrix (nebo jak se to jmenovala :D ) by se k sobě náramně hodili!

File:Agatha 1.jpg

A ten konec? Wow, ani v nejmenším jsem to nečekala! CHCI - POTŘEBUJU další díl!

I ten trailer je boží! : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqnU3... - prosím! Já chci aby to natočili!

A nově, trailer k druhému dílu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDHTW...

Moc moudrá teda z něj nejsem, akorát vím, že A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil, #2) by Soman Chainani bude nářez! :D
Profile Image for Nicole.
443 reviews13.4k followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
November 10, 2022
Gdybym sięgnęła po nią w innym momencie to pewnie nawet bym skończyła. Teraz byłam nią tak zawiedziona, że porzucam w 65%
February 5, 2018

“She had always found villains more exciting than heroes.
They had ambition, passion.
They made the stories happen.
Villains didn't fear death.
No, they wrapped themselves in death like suits of armor!”

Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Did you ever wish you were part of a fairy tale like Snow White or Cinderella?
Yes? Than that’s the perfect book for you.
Every four years two children are kidnapped from Gavaldon and disappear. This year the mysterious man takes two girls, two friends:
Sophie and Agatha.
But when they arrive a strange thing happens: the beautiful Sophie is send to the school of evil whereas Agatha is send to the school of good. The confused girls try to get into the right side of the schools and learn that nothing is as it seems.
Now an adventure begins in the school of fairytales, of good and evil.
First I was a little bit skeptical about the whole story, but the more I read, the more I loved the story. It was really really entertaining and the last 30% were filled with action, betrayal and really crazy stuff.
It was absolutely awesome!

Characters ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I need to say I was a little bit skeptical with the characters. Even though they fitted the story, they felt a little bit... simple.
Their thoughts, dreams etc.
So so simple.
Go home/get to the right school/ save my friend/ get the prince
But the farther I got the more I learned to love the characters, especially Agatha.
But next to Agatha and Sophie the other characters felt really simple and plain.
Also I had a problem with the age of the characters, they didn’t feel like twelve year olds. The way they acted, the feelings they felt and other things made me always think that they were sixteen or at least fifteen.

World ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
There is a world where fairy tales exist.
And even though you wonder how can that be? That’s not the only thing.
The people in this stories - the princes, princesses, evil witches and monsters don’t appear from nowhere.
There are being taught at a school.
For every part of the fairy tale there is a school - one for good and one for evil.
And in there they learn how to fight, how to do magic, how to speak to animals and so on.
It’s really magical.
Absolutely perfect worldbuilding!

Relationships ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The only real relationship I can see in this book is the one between Sophie and Agatha and - oh man! - is this a complicated one.
Even though I have no doubt at Agatha’s side of the friendship I was a little bit skeptical about Sophie. She’s really really egotistical and most thoughts in her mind are about herself (or her beauty/prince/hair).
But then.. they still had a really strong friendship and I really adored the way Agatha always thought about Sophie and her wellbeing and saving her and herself.
She always protected her friend and that was so so sweet.
I don’t want to say anything about the love story in this book, but it was not my favorite one, even though it was kind of sweet.

Writing style ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I loved the story and the execution of it, but sometimes it still felt a little bit too simple for Young Adult and too much of a middle grade novel. But it was still really entertaining and I had fun reading it.
Maybe I’m just too critical, because I’m too old for this book. (Is 23 too old? Is it?🤷🏻‍♀️)
Either way I really liked this book and will continue with the rest of the series. 🎈
Profile Image for Aliyah &#x1f90d;.
153 reviews323 followers
June 9, 2021
Contains minor spoilers and major spoilers which will be blocked off with 🦋🦋🦋
I’ve got 3 questions after reading this book.
1. Why was this book so cringe?
2. Why did it get on my nerve more times than I can count?
3. And why did I genuinely enjoy most of it?

Subjective grade- 50%
Plot - 55%
Writing & dialogue- 75%
Worldbuilding - 90%
Character development - 45%
Character relationships - 30%

The school for good and evil follows best friends, Sophie and Agatha who like all children are shrouded in stereotypes. Sophie is your typical ‘girly girl'. She spends time on her looks and is made seem like a vain character in doing so. Can someone tell Chainani that skincare isn’t a shallow practice? Thank you.
Agatha on the other hand is a typical ‘emo gyal’. Lives in a graveyard, only wears black, owns a cat and is said multiple freaking times that’s she’s ‘ugly’ (will expand on this more later.) Now, it comes as a surprise to both Sophie and Agatha that Agatha goes to the school of good while Sophie ends up in the school of evil. As if the way a person presents themselves is a sign of who’s good and evil?? All common sense aside, this was an alright book. Honestly, maybe I liked it because of how predictable it was and how all my guesses ended up true. Honest boost to my ego if I may say so, but this doesn’t compensate for all the problematic shit in this book.

Now, as I said before Agatha is said to be an ugly person. Like whatever, societies beauty standards are boring so I never thought much of it. But when bippity boppity boop bitch comes along (and by that I mean the fairy godmother) she puts a spell of Agatha to make her look ‘more attractive’. Agatha, under the assumption she’s more attractive walks the school halls and everyone around her is all shocked and yada yada, very cringe. Turns out the spell was fake and she was attractive all along.

Like what was the point of it all? God forbid there’s a non-attractive main character, we can't have that now, can we? Also, not till this point did the main love interest who was all up in Sophie even give her a glance. I wanted to throw my book into the Pacific Ocean because what?? We’re supported to think Tordo is a guy who wants people to look beyond his good looks and at his personality but the second an attractive girl comes around, he forgets about Sophie. Like ??? What a hypocrite.

If I could sum up the first 50% of this book in one word it would be ‘denial’. They were in denial the whole freaking time. Like can’t Sophie accept she’s a bad person? Everyone else can see it, you’re not fooling anyone miss girl. I did enjoy this part of the book because it was so damn funny watching Sophie ace all her evil classes then turn around and swear she’s a princess. Got me cackling and everything. But the second half of this book felt more well woven. Once I passed the halfway mark, the plot was easier to enjoy.

World building:
Definitely my favourite part of this book. For such a complex world, it was well explained and I wasn’t confused (for the most part).

Character development:
Agatha’s character development felt more realistic than that of Sophies. She learnt to stand up for herself a little but that’s as far it went. But Sophie's character was just so confusing. Im getting migraines just thinking about her development.
There's no way Sophie went from trying to unalive Agatha to taking a fatal hit for her in a matter of minutes. Im sorry but that was such a forced character improvement.
🦋🦋🦋 (end)

Character relationship:

Agatha and Sophie. Let’s start there, shall we? So as an act of ‘kindness’ Sophie befriends Agatha who has no other friends. These two become close and stuff to the point where Sophie tells Agatha that she’s the only person who knows the real her or something along that line. This will be important in a second. Anyway, once the two girls get to their designated schools all Agatha thinks about is getting Sophie out safely and getting back home. But Sophie genuinely doesn’t give a damn about Agatha. All she cares about is going to the school of good so she can be with her Prince Charming uwu. At a certain point, Sophie gives up on the school of good and just wants to return home with Agatha. This is until her Prince Charming uwu notices her and she literally and I mean literally swats Agatha away like she’s a menacing fly. Sophie goes to justify her actions by saying Tedros is the only person who understands her. Do you see… what’s wrong with that????? Like miss girl, what?? And Agatha’s here about to break down crying & Sophie just does not care. This is such a toxic friendship, it needs to end.

Sophie and Tedros’ 5-second relationship made me want to throw up. Like if I saw a couple like them in real life walking down a street, I wouldn’t even cross the road, I’d run, jump and skip in the opposite direction. They were dating for what, 2 weeks? And I’m being generous by saying 2 weeks. How in caldrons sake does Sophie think she’s in love? You’re not in love babes, trust me.

Agatha and Tedros. Apparently, Agatha is one for leftovers but this is still not a cute relationship. She was literally bullied, BULLIED by this boy. He and his friends had a whole doll that looked like her that they were shooting with arrows. If that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is.

What I didn’t like in this book
I really don’t get whether the sexist and fatphobic remarks in this book is supposed to juxtapose society or if it's just the writers own opinion on those topics, but I really did not enjoy it. Sophie literally said she didn’t trust ‘fat’ people, made fun of a girl who genuinely thought of her as a friend because she was plus-sized and even insulted a lady in her town for eating a lot. Why were these comments even in this book? Like if it's supposed to suggest Sophie is fatphobic just say it once… these comments threw me off each time I read them.

Overall, very odd book. Don't know whether I want to continue this series...
2.4 stars 🦋
Profile Image for Reynita ★ The Night Reader ★.
123 reviews939 followers
August 20, 2017

Second Read Review :


"For he looked into your hearts and saw something very rare. Pure Good and Pure Evil."

this book was recommended to me by my big sister, she said that this book was good and she thought I would like it and I should tried reading it but that time I hated reading novels for no apparent reason. I just hated so I just ignored her recommendation until February 2015. I don't remember the exact date but I do remember that on February 2015, I went into a bookstore just because I wanted to buy comics not a novel but I couldn't find any comics that I wanted to buy and then I saw this book and I remembered how my sister recommended it to me and she even said I would like it and I should tried reading it, So I decided to buy a copy and I didn't even think I would become a book lover, I just wanted to try it and if it's boring then I would stop reading it.


but my life has never been the same after I read this book. I have changed. from being a person that hated novels to a person that can't live without novels because they help me to become a better person and they make me stronger to get through hard times. I just can't live without books anymore. so I wanted to say thank you very much to Mr. Chainani for writing this book because without this book, I wouldn't become this person and I wouldn't have all these amazing adventures that I got from novels. this book changed my whole life and I never want to be the person I was before I became a book lover

now, lets talk about the book!


I decided to reread this book because I used to love it and I gave it 5 stars so I wanted to know whether I still loved it or not and at first I didn't really enjoy it like it bored me but I kept reading it and the story got interesting and this book also made me laugh so much and I also found myself muttering like " JUST KISS! " way too many times and maybe that's because I mostly always read YA books


and the pacing in this book was okay. it wasn't too fast or too slow. it was fine and when I reread it, I felt as if I was reading it for the first time because I didn't remember anything except the opening and the ending of this book but when I almost reached the ending, I somehow didn't feel as excited as I used to feel when I reached half of the book. I don't know why, though. *shrugs*

and this book has romance and in my opinion, the romance wasn't really good. it was kind of boring. I think I would enjoy it much more if it didn't have romance.

I honestly don't know why Agatha still wanted to be friends or best friend with Sophie, this girl hurt her! Agatha was so nice because if I were Agatha, I wouldn't want to be Sophie's friend anymore not after THIS!

"Poor?" Agatha coughed. "You pushed me through a win-

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!? seriously, If I were Agatha I wouldn't care about Sophie anymore. Agatha's heart was so good, no wonder she got into School for Good. I tried the quiz and I was an Ever but still, if I were Agatha, maybe I would forgive Sophie but become her friend/best friend?? NO WAY. Sophie was crazy bitch. I mean didn't she think twice before she pushed Agatha? I know she was angry at Agatha but Agatha helped her several times! I could see how much Agatha love her and didn't she think about how much Agatha have helped her?! this girl is really an ungrateful bitch.


and few days ago while reading this book, I thought I would order the second and the third book but then after I finished reading it, I changed my mind. I won't order the sequels because I just don't really care about the ending or what will happen in the sequels and actually, this book was 3 stars for me but I gave one extra star because this book got me into reading and it also made me laugh and I don't laugh easily while reading.

thank you guys for reading and liking my review! hope you all have a nice day!

First Read : 5 Stars

GUYS! I tried the quiz and the result was I'm an Ever, I got accepted to the The School for Good ( with a soul score of 70% Good and 30% Evil ) But before taking the quiz, I thought I was a Never and I would get accepted to The School for Evil ...
what about you guys? Have you tried the quiz? If you have, which school you got accepted? What are you? A Never or an Ever? and what about your soul score?

THIS BOOK WAS THE BOOK THAT MADE ME LOVE READING BOOKS. I used to hate books without apparent reason and I'm STILL so grateful I tried reading this book because if I hadn't read this book, then I wouldn't have been here and I wouldn't have had all these awesome adventures with books.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Maureen.
507 reviews4,200 followers
February 23, 2016
This might even be a 4.5/5 stars. I really really enjoyed this a lot - the anti fairy tale thing is so well done and just SO GOOOOOD. Love the characters love everything LOVE.
Profile Image for Riley.
427 reviews21.1k followers
March 25, 2016
Overall I enjoyed this book. The story was really fun and I liked the way the author played around with fairytale tropes. But what killed it for me was the pacing. It took forever to read because I would read 50 pages but it would feel like 200. And the plot switched between moving too fast and too slow.
I will continue with the next book though since I am invested in the characters but I think I will listen to it on audio because reading this book felt like a workout and I don't have that kind of energy.
Profile Image for Barb Middleton.
1,688 reviews124 followers
July 18, 2013
"Now I see why you two are friends," the prince says to the main characters Sophie and Agatha.

But... wait! I want to raise my hand and ask, "Tell me why they are friends!"

This is a problem considering the story hinges on this main point. While Sophie and Agatha are supposedly the best of friends, the character development doesn't show how this happens. When Agatha and Sophie first meet, Sophie isn't Agatha's friend and she says so; she realizes Sophie's just using her. Sophie is beautiful, shallow, and narcissistic. Sophie wants to go the School of Good and Evil where two children are kidnapped every year from her village later to be found in a fairy tale storybook. She believes she will find her prince at the School of Good and live "happily ever after." Agatha is the perfect villain for the School of Evil, Sophie thinks, because she is ugly, lonely, and isolated, and Sophie thinks if she's with Agatha her chance of being chosen will be more likely. When Sophie is kidnapped (just as she wants) Agatha tries to rescue her and in the process the two end up at the school except Sophie doesn't go to the School of Good, she ends up in the School of Evil, while Agatha is dumped in the School of Good.

The two misfits continue to be friends but mainly because Agatha pursues it the most. She goes to extremes to rescue Sophie and it never made sense to me given Sophie's quickness to betray Agatha at every turn and Agatha's dislike for her at the beginning. Sophie and Agatha are superficial and flit between wanting beauty on the outside to beauty on the inside. Agatha says in the beginning that beauty is temporary but later confesses she thinks it brings happiness. Sophie believes only in beauty with no understanding of ugliness that comes from hate. Her personality struck me as psychopathic, probably because she resembled the murders I just read about in a nonfiction book called, "Greed, Rage, and Love Gone Wrong: Murder in Minnesota," by Bruce Rubenstein. She cheats, murders, and lies with no remorse and Agatha goes along with her because she is her only friend. Sophie's dumber than a doorknob most of the time before transforming into a mastermind villain at the end. An explanation for her surge of brainpower is given, but it felt contrived. The characters are stereotypical and wishy-washy for a good portion of the novel. They start to come together at the end but I wasn't vested in their development because it took too long.

The bag of mixed messages continues with the prince, Tedros, who loves one and then the other meanwhile badmouthing each when dating the other girl. He seemed pretty hypocritical to me when he says to Sophie she's a terrible friend because she uses her friends, betrays them, calls them fat, and liars. He too, is prejudiced toward others, lies, and betrays people who are different. The seesaw continues as Agatha hounds Sophie to impulsively kiss Tedros immediately and then lectures her later for not making a plan of attack to kiss him. Teachers are like caricatures that don't offer words of advice. For instance, when Agatha and Sophie are punished by the teachers in burning shoes until the girls want to die, I thought it focused on the cruelty of the teachers versus the girls argument. The teachers are mostly idiots throughout the story with no control of students. When some teachers impart a few words of wisdom at the end, it seemed out of character and too late. I also didn't like the message that failure is unacceptable and students who failed were dealt an awful fate. Failure is difficult to deal with and those who failed were the kids the author kills off the most.

The ending and what it suggests might offend some. I won't give it away but I didn't see that coming. It is one of many reasons it is better for older students. Some of the plot is predictable such as the love triangle, but there were also some interesting twists such as when Sophie has to deal with a duplicate of herself in class creating an introspective moment. Unfortunately there were too few of these occurrences which makes the book fall short of its potential. Transitions were confusing at times such as when Sophie and Agatha would talk to each other in mirrors. I seemed to always be rereading those parts because I didn't' realize they were looking at their reflection to see the other. The action scenes and magic is very creative and I enjoyed these parts.

There is a reader prophecy and riddle. The prophecy didn't seem necessary to the plot because it wasn't told until the end. The overarching theme of good and evil in human nature fell flat because the characters weren't complex enough. The stereotypes enforced in this book are my biggest complaint. That ugly people aren't happy unless they are beautiful, that a girl isn't happy unless she has her prince, that girls only think of boys, that a fat person has no friends, that a married person isn't happy. Some of these are refuted at the end but it comes too late. Or perhaps the author is trying to do too much. At one point Sophie tries to rally the villains into having hope and feeling good about themselves. At first her advice surrounds just superficial beauty before turning toward what it means to accept oneself, but the message never gets delved into because the plot suddenly shifts into a Dark Lord hullabaloo; thus, losing the opportunity to dig deeper into this theme. This book's potential isn't reached and it is a shame because it is an interesting premise and creative fantasy. Maybe the sequel will pull it all together.
Profile Image for s.penkevich.
854 reviews5,862 followers
September 30, 2022
Only once you destroy who you think you are can you embrace who you truly are.

If you are looking for a fun book for a child that is interested in Dark Academia or magical schools that aren’t Harry Potter, the first book in the School For Good and Evil series is a hit. I read this awhile back with my child when they were 8 and we had a blast. If it is saying anything, I stayed up late and finished the last 100 pages by myself after they had fallen asleep because I had to find out what happened and the ending gets wild. My child loved it and it became a game we would frequently play. Days after finishing the first book we had a massive snow storm that kept schools closed for a week and I even got out of work a few days, so we turned the house into the School and had a class list based on the book (but it was like, doing crafts or making food coming up with ways to tie it into the book) so I will always have a soft spot for this one.

This book is far from perfect, but for what it is and who it is intended for this is an exciting take on fairy tales that plays with a lot of familiar names and interrogates outdated roles of good and evil as well as assumptions of beauty. Which does get problematic despite good intentions at times, though it makes for a fun story nonetheless.

It doesn't matter what we are, it matters what we do,’ becomes a major theme in this novel. The book follows Sophie and Agatha as they are kidnapped from their village and brought to the School, where the town beauty, Sophie, finds herself in the school for evil while the outcast who lives in the cemetery, Agatha, ends up with the princesses in Good. There is some comedy watching them recoil in horror to be immersed in such stereotypical representations of fairy tale Good vs Evil, though as the novel progresses they start to come into their roles. While the Agatha story is meant to be empowering with the whole aw you were always beautiful you just didn’t see it (which like, for a book trying to subvert roles attached to beauty, it harps on it far too much), and its cool and all but Sophie’s story is where the real excitement is. Sophie embracing her role as a witch is just too much fun, with her giving beauty tips to all the girls in Evil and becoming a fashion icon along the way. This is teen high school comedy vibes and I was here for it. Also the whole bizarre death game tournament that happens in the middle of the book is some edge-of-your-seat entertainment.

As mentioned earlier, this book obsesses way too much on body image for a book that is also trying to subvert that. It becomes a big thing where we are supposed to say oh yes, their image doesn’t matter, but this happens after a lot of body shaming used as comedic relief and the messaging gets kind of murky. I really like the two lead characters, Agatha is sassy and fun and Sophie is awesome in a Mean Girls character sort of way. I really enjoyed her learning to be content with herself as well, she's my favorite by far. Honestly, I enjoyed this a lot but stop after this book. The ending SLAPS and just imagine its a good queer happy ending because the sequel was kind of awful (and SUPER problematic). I am excited to check out the movie version with my child though, as the characters in this book are really endearing. Especially some of the teachers, the interplay between teachers that are friends despite being in opposite schools is pretty great. So if you want some fun magic school, enroll here.
Profile Image for Liz.
600 reviews504 followers
April 28, 2017
So, again, I had a feeling about this book. Before even starting it I knew I'd like it, probably even love it. And it proved me right.

"Agatha, you dressed as a bride for Halloween."
"Weddings are scary."

It's impossible for me to dislike a character after such a statement. From the very first page I was sucked into the magical realm of the School for Good and Evil and it didn't let me go until the very last word.

Sophie is a princess at heart. She loves pink, is beautiful, cares for her looks and Good Deeds and wants nothing more but to be kidnapped and brought to the School.
Agatha is the proclaimed witch. The villagers avoid her, she lives on a graveyard with her mother and her black cat Reaper, avoids mirrors, wears black and is all grumpy and dark.
But when both girls are kidnapped, everything turns out entirely different since Sophie is dropped into the School for Evil and Agatha into the one for Good.
A terrible mistake.
But soon the question arises whether it is really a mistake or maybe they are exactly where they belong?

Sophie acts the way I always imagined a true princess act- spoiled and self-absorbed. She cares for nothing but her looks, her reputation and herself. Whenever she tries to be good it turns out twisted and wrong, whenever she fights, she does for the wrong reasons.

Under all the pink layers hides something unexpected and dangerous. Of course she has quite a rough background, but it doesn't redeem her.
I cannot say I hated or even disliked Sophie, because I didn't. At first I thought everyone in this book would be just a simple, sweet fairy-tale character, but the book soon proved me wrong.
The struggles, doubts, fears and conflicts went much deeper then in a childish, simple fairy-tale. In a way, many dark parts of the book addressed the real-world and showed that the same darkness is as present in our life as in a fairy-tale.

Agatha on the other hand, with all her cynical attitude and dark clothes and, well, 'ugliness' is anything but evil. She is good, but not the fairy-tale, glittery kind of good. She is real . She makes mistakes, misunderstands, tries to help her friend, knows compassion as well as antipathy and has lots and lots of fears and doubts.
Not only was she a conflicted and confused character at first, oh no, she was the embodiment of so many young people of the nowadays world. Although she, just like Sophie, messed up, I found myself grinning instead of complaining. Maybe because I knew I'd have made the same mistakes, who knows.

I loved Dot and Hester just as much as I loved Agatha and Sophie. I liked Tedros, the prince, who was also far less fairy-talish (is it even a word? I guess it isn't.) than I expected him to be and even the School Master.
Their actions made sense and what was even more important, they made them come alive.
And the ending. Oh my, the ending was brilliant! This book generally was unpredictable , but the ending itself was like being hit with a book in the face.

I loved the plot progression, the character development, simply everything! It wasn't perfect, but it was real, beautiful, enchanting .
The questions that were asked in this book addressed our world as much as the magical one and the given answers were just as important.
Many of the contemporary books that mean to be realistic and address real-life problems and conflicts aren't as true-to-life as this fantasy, fairy-tale book.
They often feel plain and boring repeating words that have been said already and describing what has been discussed long ago and providing ideas and answers and solutions through saying instead of showing.
This book showed solutions and ideas.

Not only was it beautiful and full of light and hope, but it provided so many useful arguments and showed many of the now existing problems. It was impossible for me to not-love this book and I highly recommend it not only to those who love fairy-tales, but to everyone in need of reading something beautiful and hopeful!
Profile Image for Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews).
1,695 reviews875 followers
October 7, 2015
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

First of all, if the awesome book trailer for The School of Good and Evil is what created an interest in Chainani's fiction debut, all I can tell you is this:

 photo how-to-stop-being-single_zpse11a9769.gif

(Even watching that trailer now, after the fact, I am excited and impressed. And then I remember. And then woe.)

The book sadly doesn't live up to the awesomeness that advertised it. I'm not even a fan of book trailers, but the promotion department for this book deserves a big raise. The editing department might not. But, if you're just now hearing about this YA/MG fantasy about fairytales and witches and princesses, this might end up being the book for you. It's a tad long, a tad overwrought, but it's got a lot of heart and, at times, can be very entertaining. Soman Chainani creates a vibrant world with two interesting and diverse leads, and I can say they paths and plots he takes them through isn't predictable, though it can be a tad pedantic at times. The comparisons to Gregpry Maguire's work is apt and appropriate and I can see his fans enjoying this less adult look at magical children.

The School for Good and Evil reminded me of a younger Harry Potter at times. There's the obvious: magical children spirited away for their edification (for either good or ill), there's the obvious good guys, the obvious bad guys, magical beings like werewolves, fairies, and a multi-headed dog inside a mysterious, hidden castle(s). There are pranks, a ball, a love story that is not what you expect, and in the end, a grand battle for the school itself. That all sounds well and good and like fun, and it can be. The main problem is that The School for Good and Evil takes too long to get anywhere. It becomes too predictable to shock readers and the final conflict... well, veered on deus ex machina. That's never a good way to resolve a story readers have spent so much time investing in.

This is a looooong book for almost any genre (I'm looking at you, Epic Fantasy), but for a very young YA/verging on MG fairytale, 496 pages is just much too much. The pacing lags, events feel drawn out or stretched beyond feasibility, and the plot takes too much time to really form. There's a lack of tension and suspense before key events because the author takes too long to develop any sort of meaningful conflict. Outside of plotting and pacing, Chainani is an obviously talented, very visual, writer. Scenes pop and creatures both big and small, humor or non, all burst from the page. The School for Good and Evil can project an image, but fails to deliver real substance to go with how pretty/evil everything is on the surface.

The main characters are adaptable, and pretty well-rounded. There's more to both Sophie and Agatha than what meets the eye, and the author's switcheroo can be pretty clever. However, like most things in this novel, the realizations that come to both girls about their roles in future fairy tales takes far too long to foment into something meaningful. I could have done without the romances that pop up and complicate the girls' relationship and the plot, but Prince Charmings (and Not So Charmings) are to be expected in a novel so concerned with fairytales. The characters are another strong aspect of the novel, and I'm curious to see what will happen after the final events of book one.

The School for Good and Evil isn't a bad book by any means. It's just not as good as you, or I, or that book trailer want it to be. Those looking for a saccharine-ly sweet Disney tale should look elsewhere, and readers in search of a vibrant setting with complex and contradictory characters will find The School for Good and Evil a good fit, if not a particularly memorable one. There's some room for improvement, and editing, but Soman Chainani has a satisfactory beginning to his new series.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 31 books5,632 followers
August 19, 2014
Impressive world-building, bogged down by so. much. plot.

They tried to escape umpteen times. The Good and Evil sides faced off another umpteen times (but someone would always back down). The ending went on and on, with magical and physical battles as well as riddle and prophecy solving. It needed an editor to rein it in very badly. Many of the minor characters were interchangeable, as were the teachers. I had trouble remembering which of the teachers taught at which school, since they all mingled so freely, and since the girls were perpetually running back and forth, interacting with people from both sides.

But the idea is so very creative, and I really loved Agatha and even Sophie, though at times she was too over-the-top. The descriptions of clothing, of the castles and dungeons and classrooms made of candy, were so great. I really liked the way it played with the concept of good and evil, of how our intentions can lead us astray.

Seriously though, this book could have been a tight 300 pages and not lost a thing.
Profile Image for Carol.
Author 13 books38 followers
July 24, 2013
***okay don't say I didn't warn you***

The School for Good and Evil has a great premise: Sophie desperately wants to get out of the tiny village where she lives. Every four years two children are kidnapped from this village, one Good and one Evil, to go to the School for Good and Evil that prepares them to take their part in fairy tales. Sophie wants to be a princess, and win her prince. While everyone else in the village hides and uglifies their (good) children when the School Master comes a-kidnapping, Sophie plans to entice him to take her.

One of Sophie's conscious good deeds is to befriend the ugly and unwanted girl who lives in the cemetary. Agatha only has one friend, one person who values her. When Sophie attempts to get kidnapped, Agatha tries to save her, and they both end up taken by the School Master. But then Sophie ends up in the School for Evil, and Agatha ends up in the School for Good. Both believe they are in the wrong place.

All this by pg 41. So far, excellent! What a great idea! And this is why I gave the book 2 stars. And then we have 447 more pages of what happens when they get to the school.

Agatha wants to go home. Sophie wants to change schools. And she wants to win a prince of her own (you have to get one to ask you to the Ball. Only the Goods have a ball.) All the Good children are beautiful. Agatha is not, so she doesn't feel she belongs. All the Evil children are ugly, some to the point of serious deformation. Sophie is beautiful, so no one feels she belongs. She is told there are never any mistakes.

So, we're going to find in the end that Agatha is really good, and Sophie was only faking being good so she's actually Evil. But that doesn't make sense, because Sophie may not be that good, but that doesn't make her evil. But this would make some kind of sense. What actually happens, doesn't.

The equivalence of goodness and beauty is revolting. The objective for the girls, to get the prince of their choice to ask them to the Ball, where they may receive their kiss, is likewise revolting.

The adventures that Agatha and Sophie undergo are so over the top, they are hard to follow. But no matter what happens to them, from almost drowning, to being taken to the torture chamber and murdering the torturer, there are never any emotional or physical consequences.

Sophie has roommates in her Evil tower room; Agatha has classmates in the Good school, but after 400 pages, there were so undifferentiated, I was still having trouble remembering who was who, with only a very few exceptions. The same went for the teachers. Description doesn't go nearly as far to make a character memorable as behavior. Dot, Hort, Beatrix and Tedros can be told apart. The rest all run together.

If a climactic event happens in a story, and in the next line you have to explain what just happened, and why it is important, that is a strong sign that you need to go back to an earlier place (or two) in your story and set it up. When the event occurs, the audience should enjoy it will full understanding as it happens.

Agatha is the main character, and yet the final move is given to Sophie. Agatha becoming the most beautiful princess ever, was really revolting. Really? Beauty and goodness are the same thing? And she always was that beautiful and didn't know it? That's just not true. And if there's one thing fiction should never do, it's tell lies. This may sound like a paradox, but the purpose of fiction is to create situations that reveal truths about humanity. If stories say things about people that are not true, then they have no purpose.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Tina ➹ Woman, Life, Freedom.
394 reviews401 followers
January 2, 2023
4.5 Golden Stars

Cute story!
with such a unique idea!
where were you all my life!?
& if that only thing didn't happen in the last page, I would give it 5.

Agatha is my first favourite main heroine of all times! (not a sidekick) she was awesome!
& she's definitely not ugly! fight me!

a unique idea in a unique world! a school for Good and Evil! that was Awesome! with both Nostalgic & new feelings! (I know it's such a contradictory phrase, but it is exactly what I felt)
there was a forest.
there was a palace.
but you know what's strange this time?
I actually loved it! (I usually am not a fan of fairytale forests premises & palaces, but maybe this time the palace wasn't a throne room with maidens & etc. it was totally different than those, maybe one of the reasons I liked it.)
can be considered both as middle grade & young adult. anyhow, if it was middle grade, it was one of the great ones which I, an adult, enjoyed it.

many awesome, fun characters!

Exciting & intriguing plot
with my favourite trope!
World building: ★★★★★/5
Plot: ★★★★/5
Characters: ★★★★★/5
Writing style: ★★★★/5
Idea: ★★★★★/5
already told :)
Profile Image for Nima Kohandani.
Author 16 books332 followers
February 7, 2017
چهار و نیم از پنج

اخیراً واقعاً دارم کتاب های خوبی میخونم! کتاب دیگری که به قفسه ی مورد علاقه هام اضافه شد

من عاشق این کتاب شدم!

چقدر دلم تنگ شده بود برای این فضا. فضای کاملاً فانتزی با چارچوب و ساختارهای یک فانتزی کاملاً کلاسیک

در نگاه اول هری پاتری و تقلیدی به نظر میرسه اما اصلا اینطور نیست

یک ایده جدید و ناب
ترکیبی خلاقانه از روایتی از قصه های پریان و داستان های کلاسیک عاشقانه دیزنی و یک فانتزی کاملاً جذاب

با داستان پردازی خارق العاده
گره افکنی های به جا و سوژه های فرعی جذاب
توئیست های بسیار خوب

و پایانی غافلگیرکننده و کاملاً پیشبینی ناپذیر!

از بعد از آشیانه افسانه داستانی با چنین فضای فانتزی نخونده بودم اما این کتاب حداقل چند برابر اون مجموعه، قلمی گیراتر و داستان پردازی قدرتمندتر و روایت پیچیده تری داره

با احترام
Profile Image for Inge.
347 reviews885 followers
February 10, 2017
"Who needs princes in our fairy tale?"

I'm going to kick my past self for never picking up this book when I've wanted to read it for so long. Look at all the fun I missed out on! This was SO good.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,607 reviews1,481 followers
May 2, 2018
Kindle deal for a limited time 02May18 $1.99 on Amazon

Once upon a time a girl dreamt of being kidnapped….


Every four years two children from the village are taken away, whisked off to a school where they learn how to be in a fairy tale. One of the children could end up a hero while the other is destined to be the villain. Sophie is sure that once she is taken she will get to find her prince and her happily ever after. She has even found the girl from the village who she is sure will be her counterpart and befriended her…that’s how good she is. Agatha is sure that Sophie is crazy and there is no such place, let alone why does she have to be the villain.
On the outside it makes perfect sense. Sophie is beautiful, blonde, wears pink dresses and can sing while Agatha has straggly black hair, carries dead things in her pockets and lives in a graveyard.

“Say I sink to your intelligence level and pretend to believe all this. Why am I going to villain school? Why has everyone elected me the mistress of evil?”
“No one says you’re evil Agatha,” Sophie sighed. “You’re just different.”
Agatha narrowed her eyes, “Different how?.....”
“….For the Create a Tale competition your story ended with Snow White eaten by vultures and Cinderella drowning in a tub.”
“I thought it was a better ending.”
“You gave me a dead frog for my birthday.”
“To remind you we all die and end up rotting underground eaten by maggots, so we should enjoy our birthdays while we have them. I found it thoughtful.”

Agatha has never had a friend before Sophie so when a shadow comes to steal her in the middle of the night Agatha tries desperately to save her friend. They are both taken but everything seems to go wrong when Sophie is dropped into the grounds of the School for Evil and Agatha is sent to the school for good. It must be a mistake Sophie is sure she is good, she must meet her Prince, fall in love and get her Happily Ever After. Agatha doesn’t want to be at the school, the only thing she cares about is saving Sophie and getting home.

It is all harder than it seems and to survive each must do well in the school they’ve been assigned to or suffer a fate worse than death.

In the School for good, Agatha can’t help but notice that the Good might all be beautiful and princesses and sure they are supposed to be courageous and kind but mostly they seem vapid and selfish. All the princesses want is a prince to love. Their biggest goal is to get a prince to ask them to the ball or suffer a fate worse than death. As far as Agatha is concerned

“love is something storybooks invented to keep girls busy”

In the School for Evil, Sophie is at a loss for why she would have ever been placed there. She is a princess, just look at her. There has been a terrible mistake but she is convinced if she can just get a prince to kiss her everything will be fine.

I had such a fun time reading this. It makes fun of itself. Agatha was incredibly likeable from the beginning and Sophie grows on you but it takes a lot of time. Sophie is harder to love because she is probably 75% evil and 25% good. Sometimes she goes a little overboard. I loved the friendship between the two girls and how much Agatha really cared for Sophie and just wanted to go back to the village so they could still be friends.

The side characters of the evil school were also a lot of fun, as evil characters are. They are just misunderstood by the other side. They are the children of famous fairy tale villains and sure they’ve had stirring of love before but luckily they’ve been stamped out by their families early.

“First time I told my dad I liked a girl, he slathered me in honey and sealed me in a bear den for a night. Haven’t liked one since.”
“First time I told my mother I fancied someone, she baked me in an oven for an hour,” Mona agreed, green skin paling. “I never think about boys now.”
“First time I liked a boy, my dad killed him.”

And of course there is a Prince. Tedros is everything Sophie is sure she wants and deserves. Son to King Arthur he is the most desirable of all the princes.

He glistened with a noble sheen as if his blood ran purer than the rest. The stranger took one look at the frowning sword armed boys pulled his own sword and grinned.
Forty boys came at him at once but he disarmed each with lightning speed the swords of his classmates piled up beneath his feet as he flicked them away without inflicting a scratch.
Sophie gaped bewitched
Agatha hoped he’d impale himself. But no such luck.

There were some great classes and challenges that were a good time to read through and I loved the push pull of the friendship between Sophie and Agatha. The ending was a little different than I expected but I really enjoyed the twist at the end. I liked so many of the ideas behind this story and it will be interesting to see where the author took it in the next book which I will of course be reading soon.

Recommended for when you want something fun that is more about friendships than romances. Great MG reading.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,364 followers
July 24, 2013
Adorable and adventurous, The School for Good and Evil is a fun escape from reality. When beautiful Sophie and weird Agatha end up in the wrong school - perfect Sophie can't be evil now, can she? - they're determined to fix this unforgiving mistake.

This is a magical adventure through and through; the book is set at this School of Good and Evil, a wonderfully imaginative school that trains future fairy tale characters. Meaning when you graduate, you'll be in a fairy tale book; whether a princess, a villain, a gremlin, or even a tree, your faith will be determined by how well you do at this school. This idea kind of blew my mind a little; I found it so unique and incredibly fun. The girls, each clearly thinking they're in the wrong school, are determined to trade places, but this proves to be quite the challenge. Told in a dual POV, we have Sophie who's the picture perfect of a true princess fighting against face warts and drab clothes; while her strange, ugly friend (her words!) is stuck being taught how to be a perfect princess in a perfect pink dress that was clearly meant for Sophie. This role reversal is both amusing and kind of refreshing. It shows that what's on the outside doesn't always reflect the person's true self, sending an important message to young'uns. Sophie is an obvious brat who thinks a good deed involves teaching others how not to be ugly anymore. It makes you happy that she's finally learning a lesson on what being good really means. These two protagonists are polar opposites, both offering the book their own dash of charm and warmth.

The great characterization doesn't stop at these two, we have a vast number of characters by their side who fill up the book with humor, mischief, magic, and lively personalities. These include teachers and students, as well as various magical beings ranging from gargoyles to wish fish. If this isn't enough to charm you (be difficult, why don't you) check out the delightful illustrations we're treated to at every chapter beginning:

Furthermore, the plot has an intriguing mystery element involving the school master and its history which had me entranced. I loved the idea of the battle that turned the master into a mystery himself, leaving me dying to know more. Moreover, everything surrounding this whole story is mysteriously compelling. It's also highly creative with magical touches at every corner - an MG novel perfect for fans of Harry Potter and the likes. As the plot can become a bit dark, even sinister at times, I would hesitate to recommend it to the younger end of MG readers, but I recommend it to everyone else - young and old. You'll never find yourself bored, and you're bound to feel the book's enchanting atmosphere the minute you open its cover, just look at it:

A copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Sanaa.
411 reviews2,555 followers
September 4, 2015
[4 Stars] Well that was a whirlwind of an adventure if I ever read one! It was fun, hilarious at times, gruesome and shocking, and also just action packed and heart wrenching. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly Chainani is trying to say in this. I get that the main message is that good and evil are more shades of grey than anything else, and it also emphasizes the importance of friendship. But there are certain things that happen in this story that slightly bewilder me. I did enjoy the setting, characters, and writing though and am looking forward to diving into the next one. I think Chainani's master plan for the characters and their development will probably become clearer as I read on!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,885 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.