Back in Gavaldon

A World without Princes

by Soman Chainani

Source: Harper Collins

In the New York Times bestselling sequel to Soman Chainani’s debut, The School for Good and Evil, Sophie and Agatha are back in Gavaldon, living out their Happily Ever After, but life isn’t quite the fairy tale they expected.

Witches and princesses reside at the School for Girls, where they’ve been inspired to live a life without princes, while Tedros and the boys are camping in Evil’s old towers. A war is brewing between the schools, but can Agatha and Sophie restore the peace? Can Sophie stay good with Tedros on the hunt? And whose heart does Agatha’s belong to—her best friend or her prince?

Soman Chainani has created a spectacular world that Newbery Medal-winning author Ann M. Martin calls “a fairy tale like no other, complete with romance, magic, humor, and a riddle that will keep you turning pages until the end.”

My Insights

I absolutely adore fairy tales. So, when I discovered ‘The School for Good and Evil’, there was no way I was not going to read it (and the covers are the most beautiful thing, like, forever after.) I devoured the first book extremely quickly and was hungry for more, more, more of Agatha and Sophie’s tale, so I couldn’t be more delighted with the sequel ‘A World Without Princes’ when I got the chance to read it.

‘A World Without Princes’ is about how the School for Good and Evil changed once Sophie and Agatha escaped the Endless Woods and got their assumed ‘happy ending’, with Agatha choosing friendship over the love of Prince Tedros. The two girls proved that happy endings could be achieved without princes (not like you didn’t get that from the title or anything) so it seems the fairy tale world changed the past, present and future to reflect this new feminist movement.

Agatha and Sophie face many moral problems throughout this book. Is Sophie Evil? Is Sophie Good? Does Sophie still love Tedros? Mostly, it’s Agatha worrying about Sophie’s intentions, because the first book in the series proved that we shouldn’t always trust the sugary-pink princess. Yet, I really loved how tormented Agatha was over Sophie’s true being.

One thing I can say about this novel is the FRICKIN’ PLOT TWISTS, MAN! I swear for the last fifty pages, I had no idea how Agatha and Sophie’s story was going to end. I was, and I kid you not, literally on the edge of my seat (furnished with a Sleeping Beauty pillow) with anticipation. Was Agatha going to choose Tedros or Sophie? Was Sophie going to becoming an evil hag-witch-monster?  What was going to happen to the School Master, or the genuinely evil Dean? WOULD THERE EVER BE A HAPPILY EVER AFTER?!

Well, the answer to that is no. Soman Chainani ended the novel with THE EN. THE EN!! If anything, this makes me incredibly happy, because it means Agatha and Sophie’s story isn’t over. I mean, surely, their story can’t end where it did! Agatha and Sophie were the epitome of friendship, ignoring their differences, the perfect pair. I CANNOT deal with this being ruined by some blond King Arthur wannabe. Ugh.

Overall, I give this book 4/5, because I did find some parts repetitive which irritated me slightly, but generally this was the perfect sequel to a brilliant fairy tale with a twist.

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