Review: A World Without Princes
Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil, #2)A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story starts with a high level of intensity and never slacks off. If you liked the first book, you won't be disappointed with this second installment of The School for Good and Evil.

World building:
We are returned to the School for Good and Evil along with our protagonists, but the school is much changed. Rather than Good and Evil, the school is now separated into Girls and Boys. The balance has been broken, and the land has been cast into disarray by Agatha's choice to stay with her friend rather than her prince.

Character & Voice:
Sophie and Agatha return as our dual protagonists, though significantly changed from the first book thanks to their experiences. Agatha is still good, though she carries a strand of doubt that shakes the foundation of her faith in Sophie and their friendship. Sophie struggles not to be evil for fear she will again turn into a witch, but she also harbors doubts about the strength of her friendship with Agatha. Both have the tumultuous emotions of teen girls, so their attitudes and decisions swing wildly as circumstances change.
Along with the two protagonists, all the characters from the first book return but with their personalities turned totally on their heads. Witches are wearing makeup, princesses have gotten fat, and the princes . . . well, let's just say no one is acting particularly princely these days.
The main addition to the cast was a new antagonist, the head mistress of the girl's school. She is wily and insidious, and wonderfully evil.

Language & Mechanics:
The switches between narrators was usually smooth, though I did hit a few hiccups. Chainani's writing was clean and clear, with good imagery and flow.
The storytelling was engaging, keeping me wanting more to the very end.

Parting thoughts:
I enjoyed the book very much, though I did find myself growing annoyed with some of the more contrived twists that resulted from Sophie or Agatha's utter inability to make and stick to decisions. This may have been intentional due to the age of the characters, but I kept wanting to shake them and say, "Just get on with it already!"

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