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Monday, September 25, 2017

Book Review: Quests for Glory (The School for Good and Evil #4)

Release Date: September 19, 2017
Author: Soman Chainani
Publisher: HarperCollins
Length: 496 pages
Source: Purchased Book

With every end comes a new beginning in the fourth installment of Soman Chainani’s New York Times bestselling School for Good and Evil series, Quests for Glory. Join Sophie, Agatha, Tedros, and the other students as they begin a new era in the Endless Woods—The Camelot Years—where Evers and Nevers alike must move beyond the bounds of school and into the biggest, boldest adventures of their lives.

The students at the School for Good and Evil thought they had found their final Ever After when they vanquished the malevolent School Master. Now, on their required fourth-year quests, the students face obstacles both dangerous and unpredictable, and the stakes are high: success brings eternal adoration, and failure means obscurity forever.

For their quests, Agatha and Tedros are trying to return Camelot to its former splendor as queen and king. For her quest, Dean Sophie seeks to mold Evil in her own image. But soon they all feel themselves growing more isolated and alone. When their classmates’ quests plunge into chaos, however, someone must lead the charge to save them...

    

Review:

Protagonists: After defeating the wicked School Master, our heroes went on to what was supposed to be their last Ever After, a happy one this time, for all involved, but when one story closes another begins. While Agatha and Sophie do feature heavily in this story, as well as everyone's favorite Coven of witches, this is very much Tedros's story. As Tedros becomes King of Camelot, the head that wears the crown is heavy indeed as Camelot is far from its Golden Age and is practically in shambles. Being king isn't quite what Tedros expected and when a new evil surfaces and seems to be gunning for Tedros and his friends, things become even more complicated. I love these characters so much, even Sophie most of the time, and this book doesn't exactly treat them too kindly. However, I sort of wouldn't want it any other way, these characters have to go through challenges and trials otherwise their (presumed) victory at the end of the series wouldn't feel earned and neither would their character development. The first trilogy really only dealt with certain flaws that these characters have, usually one or two per person, but people don't usually only have one or two flaws and so more character development is necessary for this new trilogy, Tedros's impulsiveness and over protectiveness, Agatha's need to control things, and Sophie's hubris and jealousy, okay Sophie's flaws aren't that new, but they weren't really resolved in the last trilogy either.

Romance: Much like the previous books in this series there isn't a TON of romance in this book, at least not compared to most YA books, but the for the amount there is, it sure makes an impact. With the annoying and aggravating love triangle finally, once and for all, behind them Agatha and Tedros are engaged and planning their wedding, however, royal duties and a new evil sort of stall that for the time being. Agatha and Tedros's romance has really only existed in times of war and when they're at peace, there can be some bumps in the road. I will say never once in this story did I doubt their love or even entertain the notion that by the end of this series they won't be together, but there are still some rough patches that they have to overcome, both personally and together, and while it's hard to watch them not be happy 100% of the time, I'm sure that by the end of this series they'll be all the stronger for it.

World Building: Even though this was my MOST anticipated book for the year, I was a bit apprehensive toward it. In this age of reboots, revivals, and spin-offs, it's hard to know if a new or continued series in the same universe is what the author wants, what the publisher wants, what the readers want, or a combination of all three. I've read some series continuations that just feel like the author is dragging out the series for no good reason, luckily this isn't the case with this story. I wouldn't call it a continuation exactly, the original trilogy can stand by itself very easily, and this new trilogy has a very different vibe to the first one. It's darker and it goes places that the first trilogy didn't, that being said, while it feels more like a YA fantasy series, I do think it's still appropriate for the same age range as the first series, things are just more serious than they were before. We get to see more of the world, our characters have even greater responsibilities, and the villain they face is more cunning and manipulative than they've faced before.

Predictability: I didn't know that much about this book going in, I didn't know who the new evil was, what it was after, I didn't even know what to expect in regards to the heroes that we saw seemingly having their Happily Ever Afters at the end of the previous book, because of that this book was pretty jarring. Unlike some people that I had seen that was excited about this book, I held no illusions that this would be a fluff book full of sunshine and rainbows, and yet I was still shocked at how dark this book got and how bleak it seemed at times. While most of this book was fairly unpredictable, there was one twist that I had theories about and being the ever inquisitive person I am, I sort of read the ending to see if I was right, I was FYI, and since that moment, every bit of foreshadowing felt like another log added to the fire and while I can't comment on how predictable this twist is, I will warn you against reading ahead. NO GOOD COMES FROM READING AHEAD!

Ending: I'm not talking about the ending to this book. I can't, everytime I try to I ruin the ending, or at the very least I can see someone seeing through my vague words to the truth within. I'm just going to say this, the ending is intense, things happen, and I can't wait for book 5.

Rating:


This was my most anticipated book of the year, and it did not disappoint. Sure, it broke me, it chewed me up and spit me out and left me desperate for the next installment, but I can see why the author guided the story in the way that he did, on the one hand, I respect him for taking this story in such a bold direction, and on the other hand I'm cursing his name with every fiber of my being... no joke.

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