I really hate to give y’all two bad reviews in a row, but it can’t be helped. I finished two bad books in a row. This one was possibly my biggest disappointment so far this year. This debut novel had so much potential–SO MUCH–but the author dropped the ball big time.
There is a school where heroes and villains go to be trained for their roles in fairy tale lore. The School For Good and Evil is divided into two houses: Good and Evil. Good students are called Evers, and Evil students are called Nevers. Sophie knows that she is destined to be chosen for the School for Good. She’s got her beauty routine down. She helps people (or tries to). She’s prim and proper and delicate and is ready and waiting to be rescued by her Prince. Agatha is unattractive and unconcerned, a loner and an outcast. Sophie is sure that Agatha is headed straight for Evil. So when Sophie goes to Evil and Agatha goes to Good, there is a lot to be said on the issue.
Like I said, there was so much potential for this book. Unfortunately, the author made a lot of mistakes, and it made the book quite painful to read.
1) It felt so much like it was trying to be a Harry Potter competitor.
They go to school in a castle. There are separate houses. There a professors and books with funny names. It’s a school of magic. It was different enough for someone to publish it without getting sued, but too close to be considered wholly original. If the author had made more of an attempt to stand on his own, it would have been much better.
2) The author thinks he knows what it’s like to be a girl.
But he doesn’t. Sophie is over-the-top ultra-feminine super-girly-girl, and it’s ridiculous almost to the point of being insulting. Agatha is the opposite. Both extremes are way overdone and it got super irritating. Quickly.
3) It went on way too long.
This book had what felt like three climaxes and resolutions. The book could have ended 100 pages before it did. It should have ended much earlier than it did. It’s like the author kept thinking of things he could do and tacking them onto the end–like a little kid who doesn’t want to end his story.
The book was just sloppy and poorly done. I wish a more skillful author had written it, because the idea behind the book is great. Just another example of a fantastic premise ruined by poor follow-through.