I haven't read such a bad children's fantasy in a long time. I forced myself to read it because I let my niece, seven years old, chose it at a bookstore. Argh! I so regret it!
The book is crammed with cliches and cartoonish characters, a confusing pastiche of elements imitative of other likable children's fantasy. The characters aren't well developed and Good and Evil behavior is depicted in a confusing jumble. I don't know if a 7, 8, 9 or 10 year old could untangle it all - I think she would read along absorbing some nasty stereotyped characters and behaviors without understanding which things are meant as lampoon and which are trying to be satirical. A real mess. And don't imagine this book could appeal to both genders: it's bad, in a girl's book way. ("Getting" boys to like you, sexy vamping costume - all possibly meant to be satirical, but just .... YUK.)
I think the book is actually worse than not reading at all. There is so much out there that is better. The School for Good and Evil is a tremendous, and possibly even pernicious waste of time. Lest the reader of this review think I can't cut a "fun" book some slack..........really! I can! But not this book! Ugh ugh ugh!
I have been wanting to read this book forever. It really really sounded like something I would love. I ended up enjoying it a lot. I would be lying if I didn't admit that the cover and the title were the first two things to capture my attention.
This book is about Sophie (a beauty obsessed blond who is determined to do good in her own way) and Agatha (a dark and unloved child, who is incredibly cynical). They live in a town where every year two children are kidnapped by the School Master, one goes to the School for Evil while the other goes to the School for Good.
Everyone in town knows that Sophie will go to the school for Good and Agatha will go to the school for Evil...but the opposite happens. What follows is a hilarious and touching story about what makes good good and what makes evil evil...and also what happens when you try to ignore all the grey areas in between.
This was a creative and engaging story. It doesn't get five stars because, while I enjoyed the story, I wasn't ever completely sucked in to it. There were parts that were a bit slow as well. Some of the stereotypes for good and evil were a bit over the top and ventured into the territory of silly instead of funny.
I really really loved the idea behind this story. The idea that there is a school for learning how to be a Hero or a Villain is an awesome one and it was executed in a very interesting way. There is also a story that is broader than just the existence of the schools that added a lot to the plot.
My only real complaint is that while the book tried to preach the whole "Good is who you are not how you look" theme, it kind of fell short because good people would change to looking pretty and evil people would start to look evil...I thought this was a bit inconsistent with the theme.
Overall a very fun and unique read that twists the whole idea of fairy tales on its head. I really enjoyed the concept and the world. There is some humor in here and the story delivers a good message about friendship. I never found the characters to be all that engaging and, while I enjoyed the story, I was never completely sucked in. My only other complaint is I thought the good is who you are not how you look message was a bit inconsistent throughout. I would definitely recommend to those who love twisted fairy tales, this was a very good book. I definitely plan on continuing the series.