So, I managed to read a book in under a week, which is kinda YAY me. Time for a review in the second book in Soman Chainani’s The School For Good and Evil series, A World Without Princes.
Picking up where the first book left off, with beautiful but corrupt Sophie and dark but pure Agatha rejecting the fairy tale ideal of true love with a prince, and back in their home village. At first the pair are celebrated, but as normality ensues, they are soon forgotten and left to continuing their real lives. Sophie’s father is about to be married, when Agatha, pining for her lost prince, wishes for a change to their ‘happy ever after’ and all hell breaks loose.
Soon, Sophie and Agatha find themselves back at the School of Good and Evil, only after the rejection of the prince from their fairy tale, the castles are now a School for Boys and a School for Girls. The School for Boys run by Tedros, Agatha’s former prince, eager to take the life of the ‘witch’ Sophie, aided by an army of homeless, vengeful princes. The School for Girls has been transformed into a feminist ideal, with the colour pink rejected, history books revised to take a female point of view, and all the male staff expelled and placed in a deep sleep. Running the School for Girls is the mysterious Dean Sader, a magical villain in her own right, with an agenda that only becomes clear at the conclusion of the story.
Well, I say conclusion of the story, this being the second part in what seems to be a trilogy, thus we are left with one hell of a cliffhanger ending. Likewise, if you’re looking for an easy ride without reading the first book, you’re going to struggle. You definitely need to read The School of Good and Evil before this, otherwise you’re going to be left confused and headachey.
With the gender balance being the main theme of the story, you’ll get a heck of a lot of subtext here, when themes of love, gender changing and equality all being handled in pretty broad strokes throughout the book. At points it acts as a biting satire of the more extreme elements of our society, yet at others it holds back, shying away particularly from any implication of homosexual relationships, despite clearly leading the story as close to the line as it possibly can.
The Harry Potter comparisons that were evident in the first book, are again repeated here, although to a lesser extent. The inclusion of an invisibility cloak did seem to veer just a little too far towards Rowling’s story for my liking.
All in all, I’d highly recommend picking this book up if you’ve read the first (reviewed HERE) but as a stand alone novel, it suffers somewhat from ‘middle chapter’ issues. That said, if you HAVE read the first novel, it’s cracking second chapter that makes you crave the third.
You can pick your copy up HERE and wait patiently for April 2015 for the third chapter, which I will definitely be picking up. Even though I’m a grown up. And a boy. So there.
And if all that didn’t pique your interest, have another look at the awesome trailer…