Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The School for Good And Evil (Soman Chainani)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten


”Tonight she would be taken into the woods. Tonight she would begin a new life. Tonight she would live out her fairy tale.”

And what a fairy tale it would turn out to be! *lol* I wasn’t all too sure what to expect when I went into this, because all I knew was that one of my favourite bloggers loves this series to bits and pieces and has been raving about it for months. XD I dunno how you usually choose your next book, but for me this was the main reason to finally pick up “The School for Good and Evil”. If one of my fave bloggers loves it, it’s pretty likely I’ll enjoy it too. (Yes, I’m a simple soul when it comes to things like that. ;-P)

Turns out my gut feeling was right! *lol* I loved and enjoyed this so freaking much! I mean this is middle grade yet it still had that typical fairy tale vibe going on. Truth be told, Sophie’s and Agatha’s story is actually pretty cruel sometimes and the punishments they get for failing are quite harsh. Just like you’d expect it from a brothers Grimm fairy tale. It will never cease to amaze me how children hear those horrible stories and take everything for granted. I mean as a kid we were all okay with the witch from Hansel and Gretel burning in the stove, right?

”No matter how cruel children are to each other, nothing can prepare them for how cruel their stories can be.”

Anyway, I probably could write an essay about fairy tales and their meaning for children (actually did that at school *lol*) but I think I’ll leave it at that. 😉 Suffice it to say that the typical stereotypes of fairy tales are more than just strong in here. We have plenty of princesses who act like a damsel in distress, we get to know princes who are born to rule and to save those aforementioned damsels and we have evil witches and their henchmen. So just your ordinary fairy tale, or not? Not really, Agatha and Sophie are doing quite a thorough job at turning their world upside down and I just loved them for it! XD This was such a fun ride and I enjoyed every crazy minute of it.

This said, let’s get to my characters section so I can finally get all those thoughts out of my mind! 😉

2

As you all know by now this is my spoilery spoiler section so if you don’t want to be spoiled you better return to Gavaldon. If you’re naughty enough to actually want to be spoiled, well, welcome to the School for Evil! I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun! ;-P

Sophie:

”You’re lucky that someone would come see you when no one else will. You’re lucky that someone like me would be your friend. You’re lucky that someone like me is such a good person.”

I think statements like the one above were the reason why Sophie ended up in Evil. I mean if she would have truly been a good soul, she wouldn’t have befriended Agatha as part of her good deeds. It doesn’t matter that they became actual friends in the end, the reason why she started to hang out with her was a selfish one and I knew exactly why Sophie would have never made it into The School for Good. Sophie might have looked as pretty as a princess but her soul? Well, let’s just say it was as dark as the night. *lol* And tell you what?! I loved it! I mean there’s this girl that wants so desperately to be good that she’s actually turning out to be more than just a little evil. All the things she did, all her seemingly good intentions were no good intentions at all. And I’ve to agree with Lady Lesso here: What we do matters! Not what we are! Still, I felt really sorry for Sophie because some of the punishments were pretty harsh and her desperation to get in the right school was so palpable. Also to watch her metamorphosis into a witch was quite something. It started out with little things, like trying to get into the School for Good, talking Tedros into a bargain and trying to seduce him, cheating with Agatha’s help, etc. Well, and then it turned into bigger things, like killing the Beast when it cut her hair in the dungeons and I suppose from that moment on her way to Evil was paved into the ground. In the end Sophie became a witch and boy, she was a sight to behold! I loved her so much!! *LOL* She’s definitely one hell of a character and I can’t wait to read more about her in the next book! =)

”Sophie smoothed her hair and walked toward the light, swallowing the sickness in her throat.
The good forgive, said the rules.
But the rules were wrong. They had to be.
Because she hadn’t forgiven.
She hadn’t forgiven at all.”

”You see, it doesn’t matter what we are, Sophie.”
Lady Lesso leaned so close she just had to whisper.
“It’s what we do.”

”Sophie threw down the glass, threw back her head, and unleashed a horrible crackle that promised Evil, beautiful Evil too pure to fight.”

Agatha:

”At first Agatha found it dumb, but now it was scary. This was what Good souls craved? Boys they didn’t even know? Based on what!”

Haha! I agreed so much with Agatha’s POV! She was probably the only feminist in the entire School for Good and I could relate to her thoughts so much. I wouldn’t have wanted to go into lessons like that either. Funnily enough, all the “real princesses” that ever made it into storybooks were no damsels in distress at all. I mean just look at Arielle , Belle, Cinderella, Mulan… yes they were all very coy at the beginning of their tales, but in the end they all fought for what they believed in. And they fought for their freedom! So if you think about it like that Agatha was kind of a typical princess! *lol* The real princesses don’t wait for their princes to do something, they take things in their own hands and do it themselves! XD Which Agatha did! I really liked Agatha and I think she was one hell of a friend! I mean she studied both: The Good & the Evil lessons just to help Sophie out and she would have died for Sophie and her friends. Also by the end of the book she began to love Tedros but she still did everything possible to help Sophie to win him over. She put her friend before herself and that’s so altruistic that she could only end up in Good. XD I’m really looking forward to see more of her and how things are going to turn out. Especially after THAT ending!!!

”I wish I could help you,” she said. “I wish I could help us all go home.”
The gargoyle lay its head in her lap. As the burning menagerie closed in, a monster and a child wept in each other’s arms.

”I’d set them all free if I could, but his magic is too strong,” Agatha said, voice cracking. “I just wish my talent had a better ending.”

Tedros:

”Hair a halo of celestial gold, eyes blue as a cloudless sky, skin the color of hot desert sand, he glistened with a noble sheen, as if his blood ran purer than the rest.”

I’ve to admit I wasn’t a huge Tedros fan at the beginning of the book. He kind of gave me “Gaston vibes” and I hated Gaston! *lol* But the more I read about him, the more I could understand why he was that way. Tedros’s character is really complex and there is more to him than meets the eye. It was good to get an occasional glimpse at his thoughts and they were completely different to what he showed on the outside. Well, most of the time. When it came to Agatha and Sophie he disliked them both; at least at the beginning of the book. XD And yes I even felt sorry for him because to be between Agatha and Sophie couldn’t have been easy. Poor guy got really confused by them. >_< I’m sure we’ll get to see more of him in the other books and I’m pretty sure sooner or later he’ll show us his true self instead of what everyone expects him to be. =)

”The best villains make you doubt.”

”That’s what makes us Good, Hester. We trust. We protect. We love. What do you have?”

Hort:

”So I definitely can’t love,” Hort said.
“Colder than you thought possible… Then say these words…”
“But if I could love, I’d love you.”

Okay, Hort might be at the School for Evil, but that boy is so damn precious!! *lol* I mean he’s a side-character but he’s still sweet and amazing! He helped Sophie even though she was really mean to him and his black pajamas with green frogs?! Cute as hell! Haha! Also I think there’s way more to him as well. He’s obviously a very sad soul and I think he deserves someone super nice! He seems to love Sophie but I’m afraid she’ll only use him and won’t reciprocate so I’m kind of worried about him. #PreciousHortDeservesLove !!! <333

The Three Witches:

Hester looked up at Agatha. “She flooded our floor.”
“To do her makeup,” said Anadil.
“Whoever heard of anything so evil?” Dot grimaced. “Song included.”

I absolutely adored those three witches! Anadil, Dot and Hester were awesome! I loved how they were obviously evil but still so compassionate! At first glance Dot seemed to be the only compassionate one but the more I read the more Anadil’s and Hester’s soft sides showed as well. They were great and I loved that they thought Sophie’s morning routine was evil! XD I really want to know more about all of them and I hope they’ll have bigger roles in the next few books.

Dot’s eyes misted. “You were so pretty.”
“It’ll grow back,” Sophie said, trying not to cry.

3

Sophie & Agatha:

”Agatha wanted her only friend back. But a friend wasn’t enough for Sophie. Sophie had always wanted more.
Sophie wanted a prince.”

The friendship of those two was quite something! It had a lot of ups and downs, but in the end they always found back to each other. Even when they ended up in different schools, even when everyone told them that a princess and a witch can’t be friends they still defied the rules and held on to their connection! I loved their friendship so much, even though I’ve to admit that Sophie really took advantage of dear Agatha! Their friendship had that one-sided dynamic and I think that was their problem all along. Sophie did quite a few awful things yet Agatha still stood by her, but the moment Agatha did something Sophie didn’t like she went all nemesis on her. Still, this was the goal of the book. Both, Sophie and Agatha had to learn what it means to be a true friend. They needed to find a balance and in the end they did. It’s kind of sad it had to end with Sophie turning into a witch but I suppose that was the price they had to pay in order to get their fairy tale ending. XD I really dig the fact that their fairy tale shows that a friendship is a lot of work and that you shouldn’t take it for granted! It’s a really realistic approach and I love it!

”You are Good,” Sophie panted, head on Agatha’s shoulder.
“I won’t let them hurt you,” Agatha whispered, holding Sophie tight.
Sophie touched her cheek. “I wish I could say the same.”

Sophie & Tedros:

”When I’m #1, you’ll ask me to forgive you.”
“You get to #1 and I’ll ask you anything you want,” he snorted.
Sophie turned to him. “I’ll hold you to that.”
“If you’re still awake.”

I always knew those two wouldn’t work out because Sophie only loved Tedros for what he represented. She didn’t really love him as a person, only his good looks and his status as the prince of princes. She was so set on the idea of him being her prince that she didn’t even bother to get to know him. All that mattered was that he fell in love with her and saved her from the School of Evil and this was such a selfish notion, that it’s really no surprise she didn’t succeed. Sophie didn’t want to put any real effort into winning him over so it was Agatha he actually fell in love with and of course his love for Sophie turned bitter as soon as he found out the truth. So by the end of the book there was no love lost between them and things took their course.

”Even if it means waiting for a lifetime for a kiss.” Tedros answered, taking her hand. Then he cocked his head. “I’m assuming this is a hypothetical question.”
Sophie laughed and buried her head in his shoulder in time to hide the tears. She’d explain one day. When their love was strong enough.

”Heart throbbing, Sophie smelled the bitter black thorns laced with a scent she knew so well.
So this was her reward for Love.
She crushed the rose, spitting Tedros’ words with blood.

”Tedros glared down at her form inside the glass castle. In the weak sun, his milky face had a glint of red.
Sophie met his eyes, steeling her heart.
He’d love her back. He’d have to.
Because she’d destroy him if he dared love anyone else.”

Agatha & Tedros:

”You think he’s your prince? He’s just a puffed-up windbag who can’t find anything better to do than prance around half naked and thrust his sword where it doesn’t belong!”

So I guess Agatha and Tedros were a really, really, really slow burn that kind of bordered on love at hundredth sight. *LOL* Still, you could feel that they were meant to be together by the animosity they felt. XD The enemies-to-lovers trope was strong with those two!!! Funnily enough it was exactly the other way around with Sophie. Tedros and she were a typical lovers-to-enemies trope. ;-P Anyway, I loved some of the conversations between Agatha and Tedros. *lol* When Agatha scared him with a made up curse I had to laugh so hard! I mean seriously the “Hopsocotl Spell”??! XD Plus they were really cute when they finally admitted their feelings. It breaks my heart that Agatha and Sophie vanished in the end and that Tedros never got to say goodbye to her and I really hope they’ll see each other again. I also hope that Tedros will share some of his testosterone in the next book though. The way he decided things over Agatha’s head was not okay and if he truly loves her he should have accepted her opinion. If they become a couple in the next few books he’ll have to change his attitude. XD

”Put me down!”
Tedros obeyed and Agatha pulled away.
“I’m not a princess!” she snapped, fixing her collar.
“If you say so,” the prince said, eyes drifting downward. Agatha followed them ot her grashed legs, waterfalls of brilliant blood. She saw blood bluring –
Tedros smiled. “One … two … three…”
She fainted in his arms.
“Definitely a princess,” he said.

4

This was one hell of a bookish surprise and I certainly didn’t expect to love it so much! Agatha’s and Sophie’s world totally won me over and I just couldn’t get enough of it. The mere fact that I read this book in the span of a week shows how much I enjoyed it! This modern fairy tale was such a wild ride! Cool, cruel and crazy with all the necessary ingredients to make it a truly remarkable read! XD

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Language of Thorns (Leigh Bardugo)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten
 
 
Book 20 on My Book List 2020

”Bad fates do not always follow those who deserve them.”

I guess that’s a wisdom that sets the tone for this entire collection of dark fairy tales. If there is a recurrent theme that runs through all of those stories then it’s the fact that the bad guys don’t always get what they deserve. Which, quite honestly, made this even more intriguing for me. So what else did I love about Leigh’s stories? That they were as dark as the midnight hour. *lol* I mean if you’re familiar with fairy tales you know that all of them have a lesson you’re supposed to learn and that they are pretty cruel and wicked as well. So in that regard Leigh certainly delivered. XD Some of those stories gave me goose bumps and caused me to shake my head in disgust. And others made me wonder how different the story could have ended if the characters would have been a little bit more on guard. No matter the outcome of the stories they were all amazing though. As were the drawings around the pages! I loved them so much! There were so many little details and each and every single story turned out to be a flip book when you went through it fast enough. If you ask me a lot of thought went into this book and I really appreciated it.

This said let’s take a short look at the six stories themselves:

Ayama and the Thorn Wood: 4/5

”Then perhaps you might show mercy freely?“
“My father never taught me mercy.”
“And can you not learn?”

I really enjoyed that one even though it kind of reminded me of a combination of “The Beauty and the Beast” and “Arabian Nights”. Well, if the beauty would have been a plain girl instead of a beauty and if the stories wouldn’t have had an ending. *lol*

The Too-Clever Fox: 5/5

”If you like, you may have me as supper. I warn you, though, I am stringy and tough. Only my tongue holds savor. I make a bitter meal, but excellent company.”

Ahh I really loved that one!! Okay, I might be biased because I love foxes and cunning people/creatures but Koja was awesome! How he got out of the most delicate situations was great and that fox had all my respect! ❤ That ending though!!! I mean I kind of saw it coming but boy!!! O_o

The Witch of Duva: 5/5

”What is it you want?”
“I want to go home,” said Nadya.
“Well then,” said Magda. “You’d better start shoveling.”

This was a totally unique story and I never heard anything like it before. It plays with how people perceive others and it shows that you should never give into your prejudices. I really loved that one and the moral of the story was driven home with quite a punch. XD (That one actually cause me to feel a little sick. >_< )

Little Knife: 3/5

”Papa forgive me, but what way is this to find a husband? Soon I will have a fine mirror, but will I have good man?”

For some reason this was the story I enjoyed least. I don’t know why but maybe because it wasn’t all too shocking? I mean there is definitely a lesson to be learned and Semyon’s relationship as a tidemaker with the river was interesting, but the ending… I dunno. *shrugs* Maybe I didn’t like the fact that the beautiful girl always obeyed her father’s wishes. *lol*

The Soldier Prince: 4,5/5

”Are you mine?”

Okay! For me that one was super creepy because I’m kind of afraid of dolls and clowns. You might call it a mild coulrophobia and automatonophobia? >_< They just scare the bejesus out of me. (I know why I never read “It”.) So this story was kinda tough to read and gave me all sorts of anxiety. I somehow managed to get through it though and I’m glad I survived it. I have absolutely no idea how Clara and Frederik could play with the Soldier Prince, let alone love him, but oh well. Still, that ending…. *shudders and hides under a blanket*

When Water sang Fire: 3,5/5

”Magic doesn’t require beauty,” she said. “Easy magic is pretty. Great magic asks that you trouble the waters. It requires a disruption, something new.”

I think we can all agree that this was some sort of “The Little Mermaid” retelling and the longest story out of those six. The relationship between Ulla and Signy was really interesting but if you ask me it was only friendship. I know some people thought they might have a relationship but I doubt it. They both just loved to sing and were connected through their magic and their love for music. The ending didn’t really surprise me and Roffe’s character and his intentions were obvious right from the start. The most interesting piece here was probably the apprentice, which apparently was the Darkling?! I dunno. He was a too little part of this story to actually make assumptions. 

4

This was the perfect Halloween read and if you love creepy and dark fairy tales this is definitely your kind of book! The cover, the illustrations and the flip book element only made this even more enjoyable and every time I picked up “The Language of Thorns” I had a smile on my face. I just loved to hold this in my hands! If you want to read those stories properly, I’d recommend going for a physical copy. You won’t regret it. 😉