Children's Literature · Modern Fantasy · Review

A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani

I’m so sorry about not posting in a long time and not getting the reviews up that I promised to get up. I’ve been busy with school. Better late than never, I guess. Except that I finished this book four months ago. I’m trying to get caught up on reviews, so here’s the review for Soman Chainani’s A World Without Princes.

A World Without Princes by Soman ChainaniSynopsis from the Inside Cover:

 In the epic sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The School for Good and Evil, Sophie and Agatha are home, living out their Ever After. But life isn’t quite the fairy tale they expected.

When Agatha secretly wishes she’d chosen a different happy ending, she reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil. But the world she and Sophie once knew has changed.

Witches and princesses, warlocks and princes are no longer enemies. New bonds are forming; old bonds are being shattered. But underneath this uneasy arrangement, a war is brewing and a dangerous enemy rises. As Agatha and Sophie battle to restore peace, an unexpected threat could destroy everything, and everyone, they love — and this time, it comes from within.

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

Review:

Sophie and Agatha are living out their Happily Ever After in their little village of Gavaldon until Agatha makes a wish, a wish that could destroy everything. Sophie and Agatha are forced to return to the School for Good and Evil, which has been transformed into the School for Girls and Boys. Tedros and Agatha want to be together, but where does that leave Sophie? While Agatha and Sophie try to restore peace between girls and boys, another force is trying to hinder their efforts. Their fairy tale continues to change.

The follow-up to Soman Chainani’s The School for Good and Evil is incredible. I love the illustrations at the start of each chapter. Although they are common in chapter books, they add an element of bedtime storybooks, emphasizing this as being fairy tale. Chainani does not disappoint in the twists. It’s refreshing to have the plot be unpredictable. The ending…!

The three main characters (Sophie, Agatha and Tedros) were well developed. I felt more sympathy for Sophie this time. Agatha has to deal with heartbreak and worry about whether or not the wish was a good thing. Tedros has become destitute, and he has to work for the position he wants. The betrayal and heartache between Agatha and Tedros was painful. I liked their development.

The world building is good, especially with introducing new information. I could have unknowingly started this series at this book and have known enough to continue into the third book.

Because I read A World Without Princes soon after it was released, I got to read a hardback instead of a paperback. The paperback of the first book has a cut edge while the hardback of this one has a rough-cut edge. I like both edge types, but I preferred the rough cut for this book. It’s a little odd to me that this variation exists between the paperback and the hardcover because it is more consistent to make both types have the same type of edge since I have bought and read paperbacks with a rough edge.

Two themes I found are betrayal and men vs. women. Betrayal is found among several relationships in the story. The main struggle of the society–boys vs. girls–is explored. While I don’t see it as a major theme or even the real issue, there is someone who magically changes their gender and someone starts having feelings for someone else of the same gender. If this is a problem for you, you may not want to read this book.

I recommend this great tale for all fans of fairy tales, not only for middle graders and teenagers.

Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

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4 thoughts on “A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani

  1. OMG, I’m reading this now! I just discovered the first book this year, and I was so happy to see the second book in our local bookstore a month after I finished The School for Good and Evil. It’s such a great story. Sophie is such an amazing character. At the beginning of the first book, I was all rooting for Agatha, but during the course of the story, I realized how dynamic a character Sophie really was. The story’s a beautiful retelling about fairy tales and their themes.

    1. I liked the premise of children going to school so that they can write their own fairy tales. I didn’t like Sophie for a lot of that book, but I was surprised too to realize how dynamic she is. This series has been a nice change from the retellings of fairy tales.

    1. I’m getting ready to start that one. I lost track of the release date, but I saw it at Wal-Mart and grabbed it. I can’t wait to read it.

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