My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: May 14th 2013
Genres & Themes: Fairy Tales, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Witches, Boarding School.
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…?
♫ ”Two towers like twin heads
One for the pure,
One for the wicked.
Try to escape you’ll always fail
The only way out is
Through a fairy tale…”
I would love to say that this was a cute story filled with beautiful and lovely themes like friendship, love and trust but it was actually the opposite.
And it was violent. Quite violent.
While I didn’t expect the story to be like that, I did enjoy it and found it very entertaining.
Sophie is a princess-like girl who dreams of princes and forever beauty, while Agatha is a more…gothic girl. Boys are not what she seeks. She wants…a friend, a true friend who will be there for her whenever she needs one.
I really really thought this was going to be a lovely tale about friendship but the truth is Sophie uses her ”friend” Agatha to accomplish her goals. She doesn’t understand why she has been put in the Evil school while Agatha, the ugly one, was sent to the Good school.
What was interesting is to see how much effort Sophie put in trying to prove to everyone, especially Tedros, that she was the good one and deserved to be changed school. She never stopped trying to prove herself and that got my respect…before she actually did start to act—and be—like a witch.
I liked the world-building and even almost loved it. The problem is that it was overcharged. There were so many characters and teachers and names that that’s what they ended up being for me; names without a body! When a character talked (except for the main ones) I had to dig hard in my memory to find who that person actually is and what her/his connections with the girls or prince are.
The prince, Tedros, by the way, started out being very entertaining. He’s the kind of prince that seeks a princess…and beauty (like Sophie!) Of course, Agatha was for him nothing while Sophie, charmed him after only a glance from her in his direction.
*coughs* superficiality *coughs*
Too bad Evil and Good can’t be together.
…Or can they?
It was a fast-paced read, even though it started out slow, with a beautiful writing and characters that will surprise you (in both ways.) I enjoyed reading it and look forward to discover how the story continues.
I think you will enjoy it more than I did, if only you don’t get your hopes up thinking that this is a heart-warming story filled with only endearing characters that will enchant you.
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