Saturday, October 25, 2014

The School for Good and Evil: A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani

(In which fairy tale princesses are introduced to an extreme feminism awakening.)


I'll try my best not to include spoilers but I might fail. If you haven't read the first book yet, remember you've been warned.

When Sophie and Agatha escaped their fairy tale and returned to Gavaldon, they became instant celebrities. Autographs here, photo shoots there, seemingly endless interviews and book signings. Sophie just loves it and is convinced she could live a peaceful life in that unbearably boring town as long as she has Agatha. She was even willing to accept that her father is going to remarry a woman that is a total opposite of her goddess-like mother. As long as Agatha's there. 

But on the day of the wedding, Agatha wished for something that Sophie couldn't provide. And then the ghost of their fairy tale life came haunting them, along with knives and arrows and invisible assassins that are after Sophie for a huge bounty for her head. The two girls are left with no choice but to return to the dreaded school and try to set things right again.

Only the school isn't how they left it before.

Princes were banished. Fairy tales no longer end with a happily-ever-after-inspired themes and worse, female protagonists got rid of their princes and kings in most horrible ways possible, reign on their own and became celebrated heroes of women empowerment.

The schools were no longer divided into good and evil but into genders. Lessons were no longer taught on how to be better and worse versions of their characters but how to live without the other gender and, how to dispose them.

Sophie and Agatha saw their old schoolmates in one school and was flabbergasted to see a utmost lack of fashion and grooming sense practiced. No one is required to wear makeup, dresses, long hair and be uptight.

Agatha  couldn't imagine a functional world where the genders are at war with each other, especially when the other school is led by Tedros, who is after Sophie for ruining his fairytale ending with Agatha. Oh, the ego. 

But Sophie loved the lack of moral distinction. She wanted to stay. But Agatha, as always, wanted to do what's right for everyone. 

When they realized that they were brought back to school because of Agatha's wish, they discovered that in order to bring peace to the fairytale world, they need to find the Storian and end their story either with the "proper" one or with the two of them peacefully back in Gavaldon.

But things are more complicated than that, of course. Especially with the presence of new Dean.

In the second book of The School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainani again uses his interesting characters (although they are eyeroll-inducing at most times) as well as his simple narration embellished with twists that you'll find hard to guess until the last moment. This book was a quick read, making one wish that the last installment was already available. 

Waiting is such a bitter pill to swallow.

I wonder, though,  if the gender-bending act found in book one and two (which, I just have to say, was leveled up in book two) will still be found in book three. 

Well, since it was a staple in fairy tales and in this book, I wouldn't be surprised if it was.

Also, may I share with you it's very cinematic book trailer? You're welcome!

Currently reading:
Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton

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