Review: A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani

A World WithoA-World-without-Princesut Princes by Soman Chainani
Genre: Fairy-tale Retelling, Middle-Grade
Published by: Harper Collins
Pages: 443
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

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.

Review: Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Deep Blue by JennDeep Blueifer Donnelly
Genre: Supernatural, Romance, Middle-Grade
Published By: Disney Press
Pages: 340
Format: E-book
Rating: ★★
Rogue Wave (#2)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

The Waterfire Saga: Deep Blue is a book that I would recommend to girls of around ten to twelve years old. Although marketed as a young adult book, after researching the author’s website, her intention was to write for her ten year old daughter. With those criteria, I think she’s succeeded.

This book has a lot of elements within it that are important when writing books for children, for example, friendship and self belief. Set under the sea in a very developed (though not entirely explained) mermaid world, it’s perfect for girls that want a tame introduction to fantasy before they try their hand at ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ (A recommended reading age of at least 14.)

However, I found that the first 25% of the book (accurate due to Kindle) had a completely different feel to the rest of the story. Seraphina, the main character, is worried about fulfilling her duties as a princess and whether the guy she’s betrothed to still likes her. All trivial stuff, right? Then, wham bam, both her parents die in an assassin’s attack and suddenly it’s all ‘the-fate-of-the-world-is-on-your-shoulders’ type stuff. What?!

Although the book moved at a fast pace, with a new thing happening (and a new character being introduced) basically happened on every page, nothing was explained to its full extent, leaving me feeling at a loss for what was happening.

So, I got that the two main characters were on a quest, suddenly changing from weak willed to strong females in a matter of seconds with no real gradient of change, and they had to find four other girls to go and fight down this monster. The execution of this quest wasn’t exactly Rick Riordan standard. Although the girls were strong in their own way, they relied a lot on getting rescued and other people taking the bullets (or poisoned arrows) for them. They moved from place to place, in a constant state of ‘flee-the-bad-guys’ without any attempt at facing their problems.

When it came to finding the other girls, it happened very abruptly and clumsily. Ling, the first girl to join Seraphina and Neela, was just sat nonchalantly in a café! The other two girls, Ava and Becca, who at first I could distinguish between, were found together getting attacked by evil ghosts and the last girl, Astrid, was your classic non-believer and slightly evil one. Everything was just too quick and…


That’s the only word to describe this book. The girls discovered hidden powers at just the right moment, with camoflauge spells only working at the last seconds and guards wouldn’t do a full sweep of their hideout.

The ending also had a sense of convenience. How was it the six girls, barely able to use magic, were able to fight down the biggest threat and win as soon as they joined forces? Of course, the threat couldn’t be completely diminished, as this is only the first book in a series. The threat will return but in the meantime, what do all the girls have to do? You guessed it.


Overall, I’d give this book 2.5 stars. Not impressed. I didn’t feel for any of the characters, primary or secondary, as we basically only learnt their names and the colour of their tails. Not much to get emotionally attached to. However, perhaps it was the fact that I’m seventeen, and not ten that stopped me from enjoying this book to the maximum.