I absolutely adore fairy tales – especially retellings, hence why I’m devoting six months of my life to studying them for my EPQ. So, when I discovered ‘The School for Good and Evil’, there was no way I was going to leave the store without it (and the covers are the most beautiful thing, like, forever after.)
I devoured the first book extremely quickly and was hungry for more, more, more of Agatha and Sophie’s tale, so I couldn’t be more delighted with the sequel ‘A World Without Princes’ when I got the chance to read it.
‘A World Without Princes’ is about how the School for Good and Evil changed once Sophie and Agatha escaped the Endless Woods and got their assumed ‘happy ending’, with Agatha choosing friendship over the love of Prince Tedros. The two girls proved that happy endings could be achieved without princes (not like you didn’t get that from the title or anything) so it seems the fairy tale world changed the past, present and future to reflect this new feminist movement.
However, Agatha understands better than anyone that a world without princes isn’t that great, and not just for the selfish reason that she wants true love’s kiss (it’s the most powerful magic of all, you know.) I like to think of this book as a social commentary on the disadvantages of ‘man-hating’ feminism and how actions can be misinterpreted. This book definitely took the patriarchal rivalry thing to a whole new level: to the death!
Agatha and Sophie face many moral problems throughout this book. Is Sophie Evil? Is Sophie Good? Does Sophie still love Tedros? Mostly, it’s Agatha worrying about Sophie’s intentions, because the first book in the series proved that we shouldn’t always trust the sugary-pink princess. Yet, I really loved how tormented Agatha was over Sophie’s true being (gosh, that sounded Evil – I’m Good, I swear…OK now I sound like Sophie.)
Although Sophie may be walking a fine line between Good and Evil, she always tries to be Good in her heart. This is what makes her my favourite of the pairing, just because you never know which of her natures is going to pull her next action.
One thing I can say about this novel is the FRICKIN’ PLOT TWISTS, MAN! I swear for the last fifty pages, I had no idea how Agatha and Sophie’s story was going to end. I was, and I kid you not, literally on the edge of my seat (furnished with a Sleeping Beauty pillow) with anticipation. Was Agatha going to choose Tedros or Sophie? Was Sophie going to becoming an evil hag-witch-monster? What was going to happen to the School Master, or the genuinely evil Dean? WOULD THERE EVER BE A HAPPILY EVER AFTER?!
Well, the answer to that is no. Soman Chainani ended the novel with THE EN. THE EN!! If anything, this makes me incredibly happy, because it means Agatha and Sophie’s story isn’t over. I mean, surely, their story can’t end where it did! Agatha and Sophie were the epitome of friendship, ignoring their differences, the perfect pair. I CANNOT deal with this being ruined by some blond King Arthur wannabe. Ugh.
Summer 2015 needs to get here sooner. I NEED the next book as much as Agatha and Sophie need the Storian to finish writing THE END to their story. Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars, because I did find some parts repetitive which irritated me slightly, but generally this was the perfect sequel to a brilliant fairy tale with a twist.