Marshmallow loved Soman Chainani’s School for Good and Evil series, and reviewed three of the six books for the book bunnies blog. So she was delighted to get her paws on Rise of the School for Good and Evil, the much anticipated prequel to this fascinating hexalogy. Below she shares her thoughts on this book, just published in May 2022.
Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about family, fairy tales, and magic, then this might be the book for you. This will be even more of a joy to read if you have already read and enjoyed the six School for Good and Evil books.
Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Rhian and Rafal have been ruling the School for Good and Evil as School Masters for years. Both twins are immortal as long as they can uphold the balance between Good and Evil and that they both love each other, despite the fact that one is Good and the other is Evil. The Storian (the pen that writes all of the fairy tales happening in the Woods) selected them to be the next School Masters. The School for Good and Evil is where all of the people in fairy tales are trained. Heroes, princes, princesses, fairies, and other Good people/creatures are trained at the School for Good. Witches, warlocks, giants, and other Evil people/creatures are trained at the School for Evil. Students at this school train in the hope that the Storian will one day write their stories.
The Pen never specified which brother was the Good one and which one was the Evil one, but the twins were sure they already knew. Rhian was the Good one (described as tan with golden, wild hair), and Rafal was the Evil one (described as pale with white, spiky hair). Still the two brothers get along well and love each other.
Unfortunately, the arrival of one student turns their dynamic upside down. What starts out as a joke between Rhian and Rafal creates a rift between them. Challenge after challenge threatens to tear them apart. Will their love for each other be enough or will the rift between them eventually tear the School apart?
Marshmallow’s Review: WARNING! DO NOT READ THIS BOOK UNLESS YOU HAVE READ THE OTHER BOOKS IN THIS SERIES! I generally don’t recommend reading books in any certain order, but in this case, reading this book before the others would be a mistake. I think that Rise of the School for Good and Evil is a book meant to be read after the others. The story fits in well with a lot of things that we saw in the other books, and fills some gaps, but you wouldn’t understand it unless you read the other books. Let me also add, without spoiling anything, that the ending of this book is not definite and would definitely not be satisfying unless the reader had already read the other books. One does not have to have read the entire series, probably just the first three books. However, I feel that this would definitely be better as an addition to the series, not an introduction.
However, this is a great book that is a great addition to the series. It doesn’t go fully into some of the details discussed in the previous books, but it definitely shows the events that led up to the hexalogy. I especially liked how we saw characters who were completely Evil in the previous books in a different light. I also enjoyed how we saw the ancestors of some of the characters in the previous books, as this book is set much before the rest of them.
Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.