Sunday, 10 January 2016

The School For Good And Evil (#1) by Soman Chainani

"Who needs princes in our fairy tale?"

Look at this cover. Does it look too juvenile to you (albeit pretty)?
If yes, place your worries aside because this story will most likely "blow your socks". ;)
So, myself, aka "the book grinch" had the most fun while reading this dark tale of re-imagined fairy tales.
( I know! It surprised the hell out of me as well. -_-)
You're probably asking yourself: "Doesn't this woman ever get tired of reading fairy tales and fairy tales retellings?"
Not yet, I haven't :D

So... Soman Chainani picks up in various fairy tale tropes and stereotypes and mashes them all together until you have no idea whom is... whom.

The world building is very nicely done in a very stereotypical way that actually works, leaving the author free to pretty much mess with most of the characters psyche.

The characters have a complexity that more than once will leave us wondering what the hell is going on. Which is always the trademark of a good book.

At the centre of it all, we have the friendship between two very different girls who consequently have two very different notions of what friendship entails. And it will be that friendship that will be tested throughout the book through various moments.
The author plays with the idea that how we look can have influence on how we behave, and how the others see us...

However, there were some things I wasn't a fan of. Things I am not going to get into a rant, because I am "holding on" to the setting of this book: Fairy tales trope in which getting a prince is the only way to get a HEA... *cough*
Feminist Me: ARE YOU F****G KIDDING ME?
"Well, we all know what the fairy tales were all about.."
"I know... but my mind can work around that aspect."
"Well, but now apparently she likes them... and she's happy, so we have to deal with that."
"I know. I am not crazy about it either, but what ends up happening ends up compensating that part."

Another thing that I wasn't crazy about: like I said before, the author plays for most of the book with the notion that our appearance may reflect what's inside...
I STRONGLY disliked this part. Beauty doesn't magically turn you into a good person.
Having warts doesn't turn you into an evil person.
I understand where the author was trying to "go" with that. More like, what's inside is what influences your appearance, and so in the end the so called "evil /ugly people" end up having more good deeds done than the pretty/beautiful ones, which provokes the fall of "system".

Thing is, through most of the book _ that stupid duality _  is the reality we have. The only reason I am not giving a lower rating is because towards the end this issue is dealt in a reasonable way. Also, I am expecting that things will be different in the second volume.
Please don't prove me wrong.
In the end, this was a really innovative tale that ends up deconstructing some of the fairy tales myths and the consequent corrupt system in which they were living.
Yes, even fairy tales had been corrupted.

Author's Official Site

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