For the past week or so I’ve been feverishly reading a single book. Honestly, I wondered at times if I was ever going to finish it. Not because it was boring or anything; the pages just seemed never-ending. I guess I’ve gotten used to shorter books that end around 200 (or fewer) pages. I didn’t realize it at the time but this turned out to be around 500 pages.
Yeeeeeaaaaaah, I got kinda tired around the halfway mark. But I kept on it and finished!
Soman Chainani wrote a series of books called The School for Good and Evil. The first book in the series is titled after the series’ name: The School for Good and Evil.
I thought it would be kind of like anime (due to the cover artwork) but, although it started off all frilly and anime-ish, the heart of the story came out. What is Good and what is Evil? In the book, you can tell who’s Good by how they look – beautiful princesses and handsome, strong princes. Evil looks ugly.
Basically, it takes everything we’re told in fairy tales. A princess is always rescued by her prince and they get their Happily Ever After.
In The School for Good and Evil, the roles are reversed – the beautiful princess is actually Evil and her ugly counterpart is Good.
Sophie is the most beautiful girl in town, Agatha the ugliest. Despite all odds, they’re best friends. In fact, they have no other friends. They know their roles of Good and Evil but when they’re taken away to the School for Good and Evil, Sophie is dumped in the school for Evil and Agatha in the school for Good.
Everyone (including them) believe there’s been some kind of mix-up and they spend the majority of the book trying to proof that they’re in the wrong schools. They are, however, in the right schools.
Although Sophie is beautiful, her personality is as ugly as a large, black, hairy wart on the end of your nose. Agatha’s personality is kind and loyal though she doesn’t fit in with the rest of the princesses in her school. They’re all beautiful but shallow, judgemental, vain, and mean. Except for one who, while shallow, is kind.
While the book was really good and it kept me interested from page 1 to page 5 million, it was too long. I liked the concept and I liked the scenes, but Sophie kept flip-flopping from good to evil, weak to strong, smart and skilled to a useless dunce. If her heart was as black as the book was painting it, I don’t see how she could have changed so often.
Multiple times in the book it felt as if things between Sophie and Agatha (and Tedros, the prince…you knew there had to be a prince) were being drawn out. For what purpose other than length, I don’t know. I felt it could have been stronger if it was shorter and more concise with less of Sophie’s flip flopping.
Agatha can’t go blameless though. She has miraculous revelations about her looks and beauty and suddenly parades around all confident with no doubts when people stare at her. I don’t know. For someone who’s thought to be ugly for her entire life, I would imagine she’d be more self-conscious when her looks “changed.”
Despite all of this, the book was good. I want to read the second book but I’m a little leery because the first was so long. I’ll have to wait until I’ve read through various kinds of fluff before continuing with this series.