Date Read: 8 August 2016
President’s Favorite Character: Hester
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.
It’s a different kind of fairy tale, a series that breaks every notion of happy-ever-afters we have gotten accustomed to reading. Anything is possible: girl kissing another girl, a boy kissing another boy, princess making friends with a witch. Just when you thought you have an idea of who’s going with who, the novel dives into a whole new twist, encouraging you to turn to the next page until you finish it. Yes, the series is gripping.
In the first installment of the series, the prince does not get the chance to kiss his princess and friendship evidently overpowers the distinction between Good and Evil. There is charm, humor, and wit in the story that can send anybody to fits of laughter–or giggles– wherever they are reading and this happened to me when I was in a public transportation, earning myself curious and even scandalized stares from other passengers.
What I like about this first book is how realistic the personalities of the main characters are. I can relate to Agatha when she gets frustrated with a self-absorbed and self-professed-epitome-of-goodness Sophie. Then again, I understand how Sophie gets too involved in what is happening in her own life to care about her friend. Hester, on the other hand, although is not a main character in the story, is my favorite owing to the consistency of her character.
Apart from the characters, I have immensely enjoyed my ‘stay’ in The School of Good and Evil, not that similar to living in Middle Earth nor getting educated in Hogwarts, but still a great experience. I can imagine staying in the library with the good old tortoise or having a friendly banter with my reflection on the bridge. I can also see myself seeing the deans of Good and Evil, Professor Dovey and Lady Lasso in their office. Truth be told, I want to see Augustus Sader’s paintings and see the Master himself.
The first novel of a series should be able to set the standards and encourage readers to continue to the installments and I’m quite happy that this book has delivered to my expectations.