Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Review: A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil #2)

Release Date: April 15, 2014
Author: Soman Chainani
Publisher: HarperCollins
Length: 400 pages

In the epic sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel, The School for Good and Evil, Sophie and Agatha are home, living out their Ever After. But life isn’t quite the fairy tale they expected.

When Agatha secretly wishes she’d chosen a different happy ending, she reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil. But the world she and Sophie once knew has changed.

Witches and princesses, warlocks and princes are no longer enemies. New bonds are forming; old bonds are being shattered. But underneath this uneasy arrangement, a war is brewing and a dangerous enemy rises. As Agatha and Sophie battle to restore peace, an unexpected threat could destroy everything, and everyone, they love—and this time, it comes from within.

Soman Chainani has created a spectacular world that Newbery Medal-winning author Ann M. Martin calls, “a fairy tale like no other, complete with romance, magic, and humor that will keep you turning pages until the end.”



Protagonists: Agatha and Sophie are enjoying their Ever After back in their hometown, when Agatha begins to miss the Endless Woods and the prince she met there. Her wish to change her fairy-tale ending opens the way back to the Endless Woods, but everything is not alright back at The School for Good and Evil. Things have changed for the worse and it's up to Sophie and Agatha to team up and set things right. These two heroines may have come a long way since they were last in school, but in many ways things haven't changed. Sophie is still trying to prove that she's Good, and Agatha is just trying to be the friend she thinks Sophie deserves. By the end of this installment they have grown a bit, but their journey and development is far from over.

Romance: Let me just get this out of the way before I move on. To those wondering if Agatha kissing Sophie at the end of the last book means ANYTHING romantic... the short answer is no. These girls do love each other, but merely as one friend loves another or how sisters love each other. That being said let's get on to the romance of this book, which is barely there. There is a lot less active romance in this book, instead it seems to be more of mentioning romance and romantic feelings. There is still a small bit of a love triangle between Agatha, Sophie, and Tedros but not really. I actually like Tedros a bit more after reading this book, in the last installment he seemed like such a pig-headed and sexist jerk that by the end of the book I wanted to smash his face in. However, he's grown since the end of the last book and while he is nowhere even remotely close to a perfect prince, his vulnerable side won out for me and I actually grew to like his character.

World-Building: I really don't want to say too much about the world-building for fear of spoiling some of the great surprises this sequel has to offer. I will tell you though, that while Evers and Nevers do join forces after Sophie and Agatha left at the end of the first book, there is a new segregation that threatens to unravel the very fabric of fairy-tales. This amazing world filled with new and ingenious twists on classic tales in a boarding school setting is phenomenal. The amount of depth and forethought that must have been put into the construction of not only this world but the story told within it is fantastic and brilliant.

Predictability: This book... THIS BOOK! Okay, so yeah, there are a few things that are easily guessed, but I can't even comprehend the twists in this book properly and I had to take an extra day before writing this review and my mind is still blown. There are some very tragic and crazy twists in this book, as well as the lighthearted kind but those are fairly rare. My only problem with some of this, and it's more to do with the characters' inability to make logical leaps and connect the dots, is that some of these characters can have every clue imaginable and have no idea what's really going on. I guess that was part of the plot, you only see what you want to see, so I'm not taking off any points for it it just bugged me a little.

Ending: So, I'm going to level with you, as I was looking through the drawing in my ARC copy I accidentally read the last two sentences of the book do to a crippling curiosity. I kicked myself for doing it thinking I ruined the end of this book, but no. I was SO wrong. I was finishing up this book wondering why the ending I had imagined wasn't falling into place when BAM! this whole other "I can't even begin to explain it rationally" ending occurs leaving me absolutely speechless. I was expecting the book to end as a fairly enclosed story, much like the last installment where, if for some reason the author cannot write the last book of the trilogy, the ending of this book would be satisfying enough. However, there is a gigantic cliffhanger, I'm talking I don't know how I'm going to cope with the next year gigantic.


So as you may be able to tell that I loved this book even more than the first installment. I mean, the first one was good, but I was spoiled with the actual ending of that one leaving me with all these expectations that didn't add up in the end, but with this one it was a clean slate that was gorgeously redecorated and made me fall in love with this series all over again. I can't wait to see how this trilogy will end. I'm serious though I physically CAN. NOT. WAIT!!!


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