Friday, September 6, 2013

OSR: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Title: The School for Good and Evil
Author: Soman Chainani
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Goodreads | The Reading Room

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.
Review by Nara

*One Sentence Reviews (OSRs) are reviews where I attempt to describe each aspect of the book in one sentence. I thought it'd be fun to try and convince someone to read/stay away from a book in very few sentences. This is the first one, so we'll see how I go*

Fast paced with just the right amount of action, it was rather exciting because quite a few plot twists were thrown in.

From the third person perspectives of both Sophie and Agatha (with some bits from other characters' points of view), you really feel immersed in their thoughts and are really able to gain insight into how the events of the novel are affecting them.

World Building
The descriptions of the setting are incredibly vivid- so much so that I could easily visualise each scene down to the most minute detail.

I liked seeing Sophie develop throughout the novel, but she just started out so darn prissy that I felt, even later, I couldn't quite relate to her.

Definitely my favourite character, she had a bit more depth than Sophie (and was infinitely more likeable)- strong and kind, I really loved seeing her coming to terms with her own character and "destiny".

Tedros (the love interest)
To be honest, I don't really see the attraction- he's a bit bland and, frankly, a bit of an idiot.

Not much of a proper romance in the novel, and when it was included, it turned out to be a teensy bit cliched, although sweet all the same.


An outstanding premise backed up by an interesting plot, well developed characters (albeit a bit cliched) and incredible world building: would definitely recommend it.

Really liked it
Overall: 9/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 5/5


  1. The world building and Agatha sounds pretty interesting :) I've been contemplating getting the audio from my library for awhile! Great review Nara

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

    1. You should borrow it, it's quite good! I really like the way the Chainani builds the setting of the two schools. It's rather awesome!
      Thanks Janina :)

  2. I've heard really great things about this one and will probably have to check it out soon myself. Nice review, short and sweet :)

    -Mari @ The Sirenic Codex

    1. It was actually a bit hard trying to keep it short because I kept wanting to expand on the points haha
      Thanks Mari :)

  3. Love the OSR! I've been meaning to give this one a try!

    1. Definitely give it a try! I suppose it is aimed at younger readers, but I still really enjoyed it :)
      Thanks Jen!

  4. I have preordered some edition that's coming out later next year, just in time when the sequel is about to come out. I'm so glad you enjoyed this book and I hope that there will be better romance in the sequel. Great review Nara :)

    1. How epic is the cover of the sequel! I can't wait for it to come out! I actually don't mind if there isn't much romance because the series seems to focus more so on the friendship between Agatha and Sophie.
      Thanks Tanja :)

  5. I picked this up at the bookstore and the cover is even more amazing in real life. Interesting review style, I like it! Nice and succinct. I'm sort of glad there are more books now not focusing on the romance. Might have to give this one a try!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    1. I borrowed it from the library and dang it looks awesome! And under the dust cover, the silver symbol on the front cover- so pretty!
      This was my attempt to pioneer the OSR reviewing style haha. Seems like it's been a success overall. Huzzah!
      Thanks Jeann :D

  6. I love the sentence you gave for the cover! BAHAHAHA I am rather intrigued by the synopsis and this one should be coming up for me.

    Great review, hon! <33

    1. hehe it is rather pretty!
      I think you'd really enjoy it Mel! So definitely give it a go :)

  7. This one has been in my radar for a while! :D I am definitely interested in it -- being a fantasy fan. Plus, I haven't read many MG books except PJO so I am looking forward to reading this! Thanks for the review, Nara ^^

    1. This one's quite a fun take on fairytales and magic! I definitely recommend it :)
      No problem Kezia!

  8. I find it great how you were able to connect with the characters even though the book was written in third person and switched POVs! That proves that the author is really talented. I don't think I'd mind the cliche characters and romance, because the rest of the book makes up for that! Definitely looking forward to reading this more. I have NO idea why I didn't request this when it was up on EW. All the same, fab review, Nara!

    1. Whyyy didn't you request it! It's amazing! Still, I guess you can borrow it from the library or something later :)
      In terms of the third person dual narrative, I think that served to help me connect with Agatha, but Sophie? Not so much...
      Thanks Meg :D

  9. I really enjoyed this one, but it was a bit hard to get into for me! I'm pretty stoked for the sequel still.
    -Scott Reads It!

    1. Me too! I'm looking forward to seeing whether he'll focus a bit more on Tedros, or whether he's going to keep it focused more so on Agatha/Sophie.

  10. I don't read much MG anymore, but The School for Good and Evil sounds quite interesting. (It's also possible that I only want this because of the pretty-pretty cover)
    I love the new review format and am looking forward to more One Sentence Reviews :)

    1. I know right! *strokes cover*. It's so pretty! Also, the cover of the sequel, gimme!
      Thanks Cayce! I wasn't sure whether the OSRs would work- it was surprisingly hard trying to keep it to one sentence!

  11. I have contemplated whether to get this but I decided against it after figuring out I would feel pretty neutral about this book but it's gorgeous! And I like the world it's set in so I will have to check this out from the library some day and perhaps if I actually like it a lot, I'll get the sequel :D Love this way of reviewing haha, short and sweet!

    1. I borrowed it from the library! I wasn't sure whether I would like it either. I think it's definitely more so a book to borrow than to buy. While I really enjoyed it, I don't think I would read it again.
      Thanks Charlotte :)