ARC Review: A World Without Princes

A World Without Princes
A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release date: April 15, 2014

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.

It’s a new school year and Agatha and Sophie are back in The School for Good and Evil – thanks to the power of a wish. But their ending in the last one had serious repercussions on the world – taking their examples, princesses all over the stories started to chuck their princes, in some cases even exiling them. Disgruntled, the princes and the boys in general have come to hate Agatha and Sophie, driving a rift in the school. Now it isn’t Good vs Evil but Girls vs Boys. Agatha’s decision to choose Sophie had led to all this and everyone thinks the only way to reverse it is that she chooses Tedros for her happy ending. Also, with her not fully convinced of Sophie’s Goodness, she yearns for her prince, a prince who is ready to kill Sophie for her happy ending.

The major arc of the story is the friendship between Agatha and Sophie and to what ends they will go for each other. Their love for each other is marvelous, but true love does come in between it. Sophie doesn’t want to be alone her whole life and Agatha wants something more than a friend. There is a new presence in school, a person who is plotting things from the shadows, and driving the school to the brink of war – because that’s what the situation has come to – man-hating Girls and princess-hating Boys. Their only chance to stop the madness is getting hold of the Storian and writing ‘The End’ on their story, a task made difficult by the fact that a certain prince is holding it in the School Master’s tower. Betrayals and tests abound and the ending leaves you wanting for more.

The writing in this book was better than the last time, with spectacular scenes and a good pace. The story was quite complex and engaging and I found myself unable to leave until I finished it, which took around 4 hours. My only grievance with the book was it hinting at sexism – with the girls shedding their femininity to become more butch and adopting masculine tendencies to be perceived as strong. Twice I came across two separate characters lamenting about how boys were absolutely necessary for the happy endings – a fact which undermined the brilliant ending of The School for Good and Evil – which showed that you didn’t always need a boy to have a happy ending. Sure, the dynamics between Sophie and Agatha and the mistrust between them would never have let them live happily ever after, but implying that a boy always has to come between two friends was a bit gender-restrictive, in my opinion. It does change the thinking that love trumps friendship, and proves it wrong, but we could have done without those two lines. Also, implying that happy endings means finding your true love (of the opposite gender, especially) was a bit too cliche. I am, however, interested in what turn the story would take in the third book and whether the two friends reconcile with each other and co-exist in their happy ending.

Received an ARC from Harper Collins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

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One thought on “ARC Review: A World Without Princes

  1. Pingback: New Releases: April 13-19 | YA on my Mind

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