Review: The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finally, a new twist on the idea of fairy tales and princesses! Chainani blends humor and cliche with a fresh setting and plot. In Agatha and Sophie’s world, children are kidnapped by the School Master and taken to a school that trains them to either be good or evil. Blond, fair Sophie is thrilled to be one of the kidnapped kids from her town. Her dark, brooding friend Agatha is taken as well, but both girls are surprised when Sophie is sent to the School for Evil instead of the School for Good. What ensues is a bumbling adventure through both Good and Evil’s campuses that at once embraces and mocks the cliches of traditional fairy tales. Now the two friends have been pitted against one another in the ages-old good vs. evil battle and the only thing that’s certain is it will be one wild competition. Fairies as campus guards, a two-headed dog/wolf as bickering professors, and the mysterious School Master make for a delightfully adventurous and funny romp on a new path through familiar territory.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and just began the second book, The School for Good and Evil: A World Without Princes. Polly Lee’s narration of the first book is brilliant; I keep hearing her voice in my head as I read the second.

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Review: Powerless

Powerless by Tera Lynn Childs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Childs and Deebs have created an interesting world where super powers are real and a daily part of life. Kenna’s world begins to unravel when three villains break into the supers’ secret lab looking for a fellow villain they believe the supers have kidnapped. Kenna refuses to let the villains win, but in the process she puts herself in danger. Much to her surprise, a villain saves her life and everything she’s known about her world begins to disintegrate. When her mother turns up missing right after Kenna bends the rules to learn the truth about the supers’ secret lab and experiments, Kenna must go against everything she thinks to be true and team up with villains to save her world and her sanity.

Childs and Deebs world of supers and villains is like something out of a comic, but with an almost mob-like feel. There are super families and villain families who are the power players in this world. The authors do a good job of infusing this world with a realistic, self-doubting narrator. Much like teens’ perceptions of the world, Kenna views her world as black and white: supers are good and villains are bad. It seems straightforward. But in the same way teens become adults and realize there is no definite line between good and evil, Kenna begins to realize this about her world as well.

Kenna’s character is frustratingly naive, but it works because so many teens are just so. The cliche of the bad boy with a good heart is a little tiresome, and it was fairly easy to predict that Kenna is not nearly as powerless as she’s been told her entire life. There is plenty of action and the character development is done well. With this being the first book in the series, Childs and Deebs have left the readers at a nice impasse to wait for the second book. I’m eager to see how this one plays out.

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Review: Half Bad

Half Bad
Half Bad by Sally Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

[b:Half Bad|18079804|Half Bad (The Half Bad Trilogy, #1)|Sally Green||24802827] I LOVED this book. Nathan is such a complex character and while I wanted him to be good, he is neither all one or the other, like most people. Nathan himself doesn’t even know whether he wants to be good or bad and readers see him struggle with this from the first pages of the book. Beginning with a description of Nathan’s eventual imprisonment, I was desperate to find out why he was there and whether or not his captor was really trying to help him, as she said, or not. Like any child who has been abandoned by his parents for one reason or another, Nathan’s desire to find Marcus, and his conflicted feelings about reuniting with a father who is not only the most evil dark wizard in the world, but also has abandoned Nathan and his mother, are heart-wrenchingly realistic.

As Nathan navigates the restrictions put on him by the council, the unfamiliarity with human school, and the intricacies of a budding but forbidden romance, readers’ emotions will rise and fall with his. Green has done a magnificent job with a plot packed full of complications and twists. The end of the first book is abrupt, and one is left just as confused as Nathan. I can’t wait to dive into the second book and Half Lies, an intermediate novella, as soon as I can.

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