The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.
This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.
But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?
This book started of slightly frustrating for me, but ended up being a Lot of fun.
The frustrating part was that it was all so shallow. Most of the characters were one dimensional – the good were pretty princesses who only cared about boys, the evil were mean and ugly. And then there was the plot, which at first glance just seems to be about kissing this guy.
“Agatha wondered what these girls’ souls would wish for. Depth, perhaps.”
But what fairy tale isn’t? (Actually, The Orangutan Librarian has written a few great posts about how great fairy tales are this week. Please check them out!!). This book has all that at it’s base, and then pokes it with a stick. It shows how there isn’t such a thing as pure good and pure evil. That friendship is just as important as love. That you don’t have to be what people want you to be. It parodies the classic fairy tale tropes excellently, creating a great modern fairy tale.
The school, though I’d never want to go there, is a great setting. The Good is pretty, with groom rooms, great food and pink stuff. The Evil has torture chambers, a swamp, and disgusting food. They are surrounded by a magical forest, and there are werewolves, fairies, gargoyles, etc. Then there is the curriculum, with subjects such as uglification and talking to animals. To top it all of we have the competitions between good and evil, such as the one where the best get dumped in the forest over night and the last one to stand wins….
Sophie was a frustrating character, yet she grows on you and you want things to work out for her. It is great to see her change throughout the story. Agatha is a great character. She is very nice (in her own way), but people cannot see part her ugly appearance. Because of that she fully depends on, and clings to, Sophie – her only friend. And their friendship is so well written.
“- You gave me a dead frog for my birthday!
– To remind you we all die and end up rotting underground eaten by maggots so we should enjoy our birthdays while we have them. I found it thoughtful.”
The plot starts of pretty straight forward, but then involves into something great and then there is the ending which was just Awesome (spoiler – the kind of we don’t need a prince to save our ass ending of Frozen). The writing is very accessible and there is a great amount of humour added. It makes for a very easy and quick read, so even though it is an almost 500 paged book I flew through it.
Overall, a very fun read. I will continue the series, though I have understood the second book is quite disappointing.