Monday, 12 August 2013

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani


Goodreads Summary : “The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.”

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.

My Rating : 3.5 of 5 stars

My Thoughts : I’m confused.

The marketing strategy for the book is quite evident that the book gets enough hype to draw attentions from readers of all genres, from MG to YA, from YA to non YA. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this book.

And I’m not sure how to articulate them all together in a review.

Maybe because the book didn't live up to the excitation and expectation it created within me. Well. I’m going to use the some old phrase-
it’s me, not you.


There is no doubt the author did a unique job by blending his creativity with fairy tales that we have heard over times, embarking a magical escapade to world we all had dreamed to live in our tween- remember the feeling of having your first crush, the blush on your cheeks, dreaming of your prince charming?

The book brings back memories of those days.

In land of Gavaldon, a mysterious thief whisks away children to School for Good and Evil, where they are trained to play their predestined roles in fairy tales. Sophie, with her
princes-perfect good looks, glass sleepers and devotion to good deeds
, dreams of being kidnapped and placed in School of Good, where she can follow the footsteps of legendary past graduates, like Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White and many others, those who had been entitled as heroes in pages of storybook. While, Sophie’s best friend Agatha, with her
shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone
, seems a perfect fit for the rank of villains in School for Evil.

But when two girls are swept away in the woods, they found their fortunes reversed. Sophie, instead of School for Good, was dumped into School for Evil and Agatha was thrust among the princes and fair-maidens of the land, therefore soon they enters in a struggle for identity, desperate to switch their places.

A vivid image of this magical world was given through the story, and to enhance our mundane imagination further, a brilliant map of the school and artistic sketches on the beginning of each chapter was also provided.

And what interesting subjects they teach in the school, reminding me a bit of the curriculum activities of Harry Potter. For example Uglification, Princess Etiquette, Animal Communication, Death Trap, more charms and curses. Sound awesome, don’t they?

While I really didn't care much about beautiful Sophie and her vanity, I definitely felt for Agatha. To me, Sophie went from utterly annoying to totally evil. While her friend struggles to become a fearsome villain, Agatha was the one who always stood by her, no matter what. And there was Hort. A lovely boy that he is, such an adorable character.

Overall the book was good, I enjoyed those little hilarious moments. The book explores different side of friendship and love, jealousy and revenge, being moral and immoral.

But…

But…

I believe, this could have been showed in a different way rather than taking the same old (and boring) straightforward strategy of Team Good vs. Team Evil.



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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris


Goodreads Summary :24 meets the X Files in the amazing follow up to Unravelling.

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but civilisation is slowly rebuilding, and life is finally starting to resume some kind of normality. Until Interverse agent Taylor Barclay shows up. He’s got a problem, and he needs Janelle’s help. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring – kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths. And Ben, with his unique abilities, is the prime suspect. To make things worse, Janelle learns that someone she cares about – someone from her own world – has become one of the missing.

Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

In this heart-pounding sequel to Unravelling, author Elizabeth Norris explores the sacrifices we make to save the people we love and the worlds we’ll travel to find them.

My rating : 4 of 5 stars


My Thoughts : Before I begin my review, I have a question for the author. Why?

In the last one, you killed Alex, and in this one….okay let’s not make it spoiler, but why Miss Noris?

Why?

And I heard it’s a two book series.

Really Miss Noris? How can you be that unfair?

Okay, let’s start with the story.

In the last seventeen years old Janelle was hit by a truck, and died, but Ben, a boy with unique multiverse travelling ability, brought her back. However, their love story didn't have a quite happy ending and Ben ended up going back to his world, Prima, the parallel earth, one of the finite possible universes.

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal, Janelle, still devastated, was trying to move one with her life. If I may quote Shakespeare, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” But unfortunately for her, it wasn’t. And when the workaholic, perfectionist, arrogant Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up with, with horrible news of a human trafficking racket, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earth and worse Ben is the prime suspect. Now Janelle has no other choice but to team up with Barclay and go after Ben, but what she doesn't have is time.

The book was a thrilling roller-coaster ride for me, roved with action in a way that nearly detonated my brain. First I was a bit sceptical on return of Taylor Barclay, but as the story progressed I actually forgot Ben was the protagonist, not Barclay. Barclay even overshadowed Janelle. I discover a different side of him that was never seen before, the side that led me believe Barclay does have a heart. He was a lot more than the smart ass, arrogant, ambitious guy I met in Unravelling.
Janelle was same as I remember her being in the first novel, the headstrong girl next door. I admired her loyalty to ben, even after spending time another guy. When Ben and Janelle finally reunited, it was not as I expected, and definitely not a sweet one. They went through many ups and downs, crossed many mountains to be with each other (not to mention there was a whinny Prima version of Janelle).

And for Ben….okay let’s not go there. I kinda overlooked him throughout the book. So, yeah! I have nothing to say about him.

The ending. Mhan! That ending. It killed me right there right then. I wish there was a bit more emotion to punch my heart bleed.

To me, Unbreakable was almost everything a sequel should be. I love this book more than the first one. Of course its not same without Alex, but Barclay...you rock wonder boy.





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