Archive for the ‘fairy tale’ Category

Hey there, book review time again, and being the responsible/lazy parent I am, I have delegated reviewing to Jess (11). Today’s book is THE SHADOW MAKER, the second book by Abi Elphinstone, a fantasy novel for ages 8+.



One of the first couple of reviews I started doing back when I started doing reviews on my blog (as opposed to just random nonsense that nobody bothered reading) I did the first two books in this series of fairy tale based adventure books by Soman Chainani, The School for Good and Evil and A World Without Princes. Well, the final part of the trilogy is out now and I figured, why not complete the set by reading the books and telling you I liked it. So here we go.


Ooh, and we have a trailer for the new book too. I know you lot like trailers.


Hey you lot, you alright? Glad to hear it.
Well, I’m busy reading books like mad again because someone with a beard thought it would be a good idea to start reviewing books on my blog again, after a few months off. I have been more picky in my selection though, no confusing gimpy handed historical novels or whatever.


So, the first book I’m reading is the new edition of Truckers – The first book of the Nomes by Terry Pratchett. From what I gather, the best/most popular of Terry’s work are getting rereleased in bright new colours in an attempt to drag the kids away from their xboggles and playstrapons to read a bit of good ol’ literature.


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.

A World Without Princes

A World Without Princes


Hows about we do a bit of a book review today, sounds good? Yes, yes it does.


By Soman Chainani
with Illustrations by Iacopo Bruno.

Every four years, two children are kidnapped from the village of Gavaldon, and magically transported to the mysterious School For Good and Evil. One child is intended to go on to be the hero or heroine in a fairy-tale story, the other the villain.
This time round blonde, pretty princess-type Sophie and her friend, graveyard-dwelling, dark-goth-type Agatha are taken, but seemingly placed in the wrong schools. Sophie ends up in the nightmarish Evil School and Agatha is forced into the Good school, inhabited by shallow, beautiful people.

The girls’ attempts to swap to the ‘correct’ schools only end in disaster, and as their story unfolds, they discover that maybe they are in the right school after all, leaving the biggest mystery of all… who is writing all the stories?

The School for Good and Evil (more…)

Baa Baa Black Sheep
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.

One for the master,
One for the dame
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.

So basically, you have no wool available?
Well, yeah, sorry, it’s all pre-ordered and that.
So you were lying when you said you had the wool?
No, no, I actually DO have the wool. Here, look.
It’s just… well, you can’t have any of it.
That’s no way to run a fucking business is it?
I’m sorry, really I should concentrate my entrepreneurial skills on monetising the fact that I am a sheep that is somehow able to speak and understand the English language, and is capable of growing and selling my own unwanted body hair to such an extent that when you want to purchase said product, demand outweighs supply.
Yes. You should do that.
It’s ok. I understand it is difficult since your wife left you. What reason did she give?
Well I kept trying to communicate with her in the English language and her being your average sheep, well she had no clue of what I was saying or that I was actually even making more than a series of seemingly random noises.
Oh, that’s quite sad then.
No, it’s ok, I’ve got myself a little portable DVD player, watching myself this Breaking Bad that everyone is going on about.
I’ve never seen it, is it any good?
How the fuck would I know? I’m a sheep.

Here’s a nice story to tell your kids before bed. They’ll be pissing their sheets for weeks.

Once upon a time there was a woodcutter and his wife. They lived in a forest or something. I think everyone lived in forests back then. It was before cities and pavements and Starbucks and that. Everyone still used 5 1/4″ floppy discs and such. IT WAS THAT LONG AGO.

Anyway, the woodcutter obviously wasn’t very good at wood cutting because when he got his wife up the duff he found he was really poor and couldnt afford to bring up the kids. They called them Hansel and Gretel because they wanted them to be bullied at school.
Now, he seemingly managed ok for a good five to ten years, because the kids developed an adequate sense of reasoning and independence, but I dunno, he wanted to save up some money to go and visit his mate Barry who lived in a warmer forest so he decided to get rid of the kids.
Despite owning all the tools of a woodcutter, axes, saws, checked shirts, he couldn’t bring himself to humanely kill his kids while they slept, so decided to dump them in the forest so they could starve to death or freeze or get eaten by a bear or something slow and painful. He was basically a cruel, sadistic bastard.

One morning, he took the kids out into the wood and dumped them a few miles away. Little did he know that Hansel was onto his plan and had been dropping little pebbles along the entire route, and no sooner had the woodcutter arrived home then the kids showed up, boasting about their pebble scheme, pissing him right off.

The next morning he made sure Hansel and Gretel didn’t have any stones and dumped them in a different part of the woods. This would have been fine had Hansel not for some reason been carrying a loaf of bread. Hansel had left a trail of breadcrumbs behind them, with the intention of following them back home again. This is where lazy tv show plots get the idea from, but both lazy tv writers and Hansel and Gretel forget that breadcrumbs are really tasty if you’re a bird.

Hansel and Gretel tried to follow their trail of breadcrumbs home, but the birds had basically just scoffed the lot. Greedy wankers. So Hansel and Gretel were lost in the woods. They probably didn’t have any bread left either, stupid little Hansel wasting it with his obviously flawed plan.

They wandered about the woods, probably tried eating some poisonous berries, getting the shits and that, cursing their dad for not letting them watch that episode of Ray Mears where he is lost in a forest without any bread or whatever.

After an unspecified amount of time, let’s say two days, they wandered upon a house made out of gingerbread and sweets and such. Poor building materials, and a waste of rare cooking materials in my opinion. They kids decided that they would just break into the place, eat the walls and furniture and that. As you do.

After eating loads of bits of house, Hansel was sucking on the door’s knob and knockers, Gretel was munching on a rug (this was before innuendo was invented). The owner of the house, a witch (we shall call her Maureen) showed up. Maureen wasn’t in the least bit annoyed that the kids were eating her house and possessions and instead encouraged them to eat as much as they could.

So it turns out that despite living in a house composed entirely out of foodstuffs, Maureen was hungry for something more savoury. More specifically, she wanted to eat Hansel and Gretel.

So after being fattened up, the kids were told to look in the oven for some reason, and as Maureen went to push the kids into the oven they moved out of the way and the cannibal witch burned to death in some sort of really horrible nasty way that didn’t traumatise the kids in any way. Her eyes probably burst and that.

Hansel and Gretel then found a load of money and a sat nav and managed to find their way back home, and held no bad feelings against their father who had tried to kill them. At least not until a few nights later when they sliced his face off and left his rotting faceless corpse nailed to a tree as a warning against passers by.

Hansel and Gretel then died too, because all that sugar from the witch’s house had made all their teeth rot and as this was ages ago they quickly succumbed to infection and snuffed it pretty rapidly.

Their mother, who as yet only got a brief appearance then took the money and invested it wisely and she lived a happy life until she was run over by a tram on her 36th birthday. Her innards burst all over the road, and were left there for fourteen weeks, and this was how the plague started.

Sleep well kids.

The End