The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil - Soman Chainani **An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

The School for Good and Evil - if you're anything like me, that title was all it took to get my attention. So promising. And then we have a breathtaking cover that I'm sure was designed and crafted by fairies themselves~! If that's not enough, there's the fantastically descriptive blurb about magical schools where children are brought so that they can learn to be fairytale heros and villains...Gah O.O ...impossible to resist....must...read...this...book...

*ahem*

So yeah, I was veeeery excited about The School for Good and Evil, from the moment I found out about it. The story follows both Sophie and Agatha. Sophie is the pretty blonde who dreams of being a princess and Agatha is the loner goth-type who has a cat and lives by a graveyard. (three guesses which girl I liked best? hehe) When they arrive at the school, it seems so obvious to both of them where each will end up but then, the opposite happens: Sophie ends up in the School for Evil and Agatha in the School for Good! Gotta be a mistake...right??

This kind of story is absolutely perfect for dual narratives not just because we got to know both girls but because there were two separate schools and we got to learn the traditions and history of both sides. The story did seemed a bit more devoted to Sophie though which I can understand because she's very compelling, and her story arc is quite impressive. Nevertheless, I would have liked to see Agatha equally developed since she was without a doubt my favorite of the two.

The School for Good and Evil makes great efforts to shake up the standards of your 'usual' fairytale. Beyond that truly beautiful and applause worthy-ending scene, I was especially happy to see the role reversal of the two protagonist considering their described appearances. As a young girl, I remember all the cartoons I loved featuring dark haired girls as villains and blondes as good and pure. One even went so far as to have a girl villain show up with black hair but then she is 'cured' and made good and her hair actually changes from black to blonde to symbolize her goodness...or whatever. Anyway, I just really wish that this book had been around back then because I think it would have made me very happy!

Despite efforts to shake up certain character archetypes, I found myself wishing that The School for Good and Evil had stirred things up even more. Given the fact that it very much follows classic fairytales, I guess it was never going to be that kind of a story, but it didn't stop me from wishing that it might have been. The way the girls in the School for Good acted towards the boys and alternately the way the boys appraised the girls did give everything a classic Disney princess feel, but it also felt a bit dated for fresh, new fairytale.

The actual Schools for Good and for Evil were filled to the brim with fairytale magic and inventive ideas, and some more familiar tropes. I always love to geek out over magical class time-tables and schedules and I tend to get embarrassingly excited while discovering everything about magical schools, from the sleeping areas, to the classrooms, not to mention the hidden secrets these kinds of schools always have, buried away amongst hidden passages, mysterious classrooms and/or libraries...♥ Even though this is more of a fairytale world that a straight up magical world, it was truly inventive and enchanting which made it a blast to discover bit by bit.

All things considered, The School for Good and Evil was an delightful and even adorable addition to the fairytale genre. It might have benefited from being a bit more brief around the middle in exchange for some additional details around the ending there but nevertheless, when I was finished I went straight to Goodreads to add book # 2 to my TBR shelf and wishlist - I'm very curious to see where the story will go from here! I'd recommend this book for fans of MG fairytales along the lines of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making or stories about magical boarding schools.

*Actual rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars*

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