A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil #2) by Soman Chainani
A World Without Princes is the second book in The School for Good and Evil series, the first book of which I just reviewed on here. I will insert a link if I remember to because I’m currently scheduling posts for the next few days in advance, to keep up with my ‘post a day’ thing that I’ve managed for almost a week now.
One thing before I continue, this review will contain spoilers for the first book in the series – it’s completely unavoidable, and although I do prefer to do completely spoiler free reviews, this book is too reliant on the ending and plot of the first for me to miss out spoilers for the first. So, make sure you’ve read the first book before reading this review! Or read on, if you enjoy spoilers, or just don’t want to read these books at all. I won’t judge you.
This was a good book, and fun to read, but it definitely suffers from middle book syndrome. It probably wasn’t needed, especially as I’ve already started the third book, and it seems to have much the same plot as this one. It could easily have been a duology – book one, then book three, missing out this one altogether.
A World Without Princes starts up in Galvaldon, where Agatha and Sophie have returned, after the battle at the end of The School for Good and Evil, and Sophie and Agatha’s no-homo, saving kiss. They’ve chosen their friendship over Tedros, who had been Agatha’s love interest in the second half of the first book, and everything is happy. However, Agatha isn’t completely happy with her happy ending with Sophie and wants nothing more than to return to the School and reunite with her Prince.
However, of course, nothing is ever that simple. Agatha and Sophie return to a land without princes (hence the title), where women have taken a stance against their male counterparts, fought for independence in their fairytales, and the princes themselves have been cast out into the Forest. Oh, and Tedros is hellbent on murdering Sophie.
I did enjoy the big theme of gender and feminism, which was mainly seen around the whole ‘World With No Princes’ thing, although I did feel like the author was going about it in the wrong way. It felt a little like anti-feminist propaganda, in the end, because he showed a very… Wrong side of the movement, rather than the side that people actually support. I understood and wholly supported his message of ‘men and women should be equal, neither should be lower’, but casting women in the roles of pushing men out entirely is just catering to the negative feminist stereotype.
And… Oh boy, I still dislike Sophie. She has not endeared herself to me yet. Agatha is my precious bean child and must be protected at all cost, but I honestly do not think I would care if Sophie dropped dead in the next book. She’s just intolerably petty, mean, spiteful and obsessive over Agatha. Drop that friend, bean child, this is not a healthy relationship for the two of you to have. Am I supposed to like Sophie? I’m honestly not sure, but if I am supposed to, Soman Chainani has seriously failed here. I compared The Schoool for Good and Evil to Wicked in my review of that book, but I actually love Glinda. I truly hate Sophie.
But the magic elements, the fairly interesting plot, the good writing… I guess I enjoyed this book? I don’t have many feelings about it, honestly. I could take it or leave it. Most of my positive points are identical to the previous book, but I only gave this one three stars – because it just wasn’t needed.