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

The School for Good and Evil #2: A World without Princes - Soman Chainani

This book, like the first in the trilogy, was by turns frustrating and surprising.

 

After Sophie and Agatha's "happily ever after," things are less than perfectly happy. There are regrets, there are unsupportive family members, there are attacks by boys, and the two friends are forced back to the school. Their unorthodox ending (where Agatha chose Sophie over her prince, Tedros) has resulted in the dissolution of Good and Evil at the school. Now it's girls against boys. Characters on both sides lament this situation, and at first it sounded like the fact that Agatha chose a girl was the worst thing that could happen. I worried about what felt like a critique of a world where girls choose friendship and each other over boys.

 

But there are plenty of twists and turns, many of which I did not see coming (especially Yara's identity and Sophie's wish revealed at the end). As with the first book, my favorite bits were those where gender and sexuality were played with (the genderswap spell/potion, Tedros and "Filip's" friendship that practically turns romantic). There are more of those moments as the book goes on.

 

Also like the first book, I felt like the telling of the story could be stronger. Chainani's background is in film, and it sometimes does feel more like a screenplay meant to be adapted than a well-constructed novel (and the books ARE being made into movies). Moments are built up but don't always feel as dramatic and detailed as I'd hoped. I was also reminded a bit much of other YA series like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, with the invisibility cloak and the trial at the end. I have trouble "seeing" what this world looks like at times.

 

However, with the ending, I admit I want to move on to the next (and final) book in the trilogy.