Marshmallow reviews One True King by Soman Chainani (Book 6 of The School for Good and Evil series)

Last year Marshmallow reviewed Quests for Glory, the fourth book of Soman Chainani’s School for Good and Evil series, and then A Crystal of Time, the fifth book. Finally the wait is over, and today she writes about her thoughts on the sixth and final book in the series: One True King.

Marshmallow reviews One True King by Soman Chainani (Book 6 of The School for Good and Evil series).
Marshmallow reviews One True King by Soman Chainani (Book 6 of The School for Good and Evil series).

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like fantasy, twisted fairy tales, and Soman Chainani’s books, then you will enjoy this book! If you haven’t read the first five books of the School for Good and Evil series though, then you might want to read them first.

Here is how I introduced the series in my earlier reviews:

It all began in The School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainani’s first novel. This was a school of fairy tales, where witches and princesses, warlocks and princes were trained. In the end a select few would become the heroes and the villains of future storybooks. The tales would be recorded by a magical pen, The Storian. We learn about this whole world through the eyes and experiences of Agatha and Sophie, two friends whose destiny takes them to different places and brings them back together.

The first book is followed by A World Without Princes, where witches and princesses are friends, and warlocks and princes become accomplices. The dividing line now becomes gender, instead of good versus evil.

The third book of the series, The Last Ever After, reorganizes the world of the School, and Sophie and Agatha have many new adventures.

The fourth book, Quests for Glory, started the Camelot Years, when both Agatha and Sophie have graduated and now expect that their stories are finished. We know of course that that is definitely not the case. They face many new challenges, both in Quests for Glory and in A Crystal of Time.

The book under review here is the sixth and final addition to this series.

The Book Bunnies were so enthusiastic about One True King by Soman Chainani (Book 6 of The School for Good and Evil series) that they pre-ordered it twice. So now Marshmallow can pose with two beautiful books at the same time!
The Book Bunnies were so enthusiastic about One True King by Soman Chainani (Book 6 of The School for Good and Evil series) that they pre-ordered it twice. So now Marshmallow can pose with two beautiful books at the same time!

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Tedros, the fiance of Agatha and the heir of King Arthur of Camelot, is now an outlaw. In the fourth book, we meet Rhian and Japeth, the twins with a plan: Japeth would attack and pillage kingdoms while Rhian would come and “save” them. When Tedros fails to pull the famous sword Excalibur from the stone, like his father had done once, people of Camelot begin to lose faith in Tedros. When Rhian manages to fool Excalibur and successfully pulls it out, they crown Rhian as king and declare Tedros an imposter. And Sophie becomes Rhian’s queen.

Marshmallow is looking at all the Excaliburs in One True King, the sixth and last book of Soman Chainani's School For Good and Evil series.
Marshmallow is looking at all the Excaliburs in One True King, the sixth and last book of Soman Chainani’s School For Good and Evil series.

Then in the fifth book, Rhian is killed by Japeth, the Snake, who takes the place of his twin. As Tedros and his friends investigate, they learn more and more about Japeth. But all the evidence that they find eventually leads to one shocking conclusion. It seems like Japeth and Rhian were correct. There is another heir to King Arthur’s throne. 

Marshmallow is reading One True King by Soman Chainani (Book 6 of The School for Good and Evil series).
Marshmallow is reading One True King by Soman Chainani (Book 6 of The School for Good and Evil series).

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that One True King is a really good book, because it has a lot of surprises. The plot is very intriguing and how the story wraps up is very well written. I felt sad about some parts of Merlin’s story—though it was also hilarious that he became a baby–“Mama llama!”

Just like the fifth book, this sixth book is very long, with over six hundred pages. But it still makes you want to read it fast so you can learn what’s going to happen in the end. I read it in one sitting because I wanted to know what would happen. It was very intriguing.

One True King is probably more suitable for older kids, because it has some mature moments. It is probably best for kids of age thirteen and up. 

One True King wraps up the whole story of Sophie and Agatha, and the amazing fantasy world Soman Chainani created. I will miss this world and the characters.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates One True King by Soman Chainani (Book 6 of The School for Good and Evil series) 100%.
Marshmallow rates One True King by Soman Chainani (Book 6 of The School for Good and Evil series) 100%.

Marshmallow reviews Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Marshmallow enjoys reading stories that take familiar fairy tales and twist them in various ways to see what will happen. See her reviews of School for Good and Evil: Quests for Glory and School for Good and Evil: A Crystal of Time by Soman Chainani, and A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz. Below she reviews another such book: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

Marshmallow reviews Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.
Marshmallow reviews Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

Marshmallow’s quick take:  If you like books that twist classic fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Ella of Frell has a big secret. She has to do everything that everyone tells her to. Lucinda, the fairy, gave Ella the “gift” of obedience when she was a baby. The “gift” of obedience makes Ella do everything that anyone tells her to do. If someone told her to cut off her own head, she would have to do it.  

Anyone could control me with an order. It had to be a direct command, such as “Put on a shawl,” or “You must go to bed now”. A wish or a request had no effect. I was free to ignore “I wish you would put on a shawl,” or “Why don’t you go to bed now?” but against an order, I was powerless. If someone told me to hop on one foot for a day and a half, I’d have to do it. And hopping on one foot wasn’t the worst order I could be given. 

But soon her mother dies and she is left without a mother and with a father who she thoroughly dislikes. During her mother’s funeral, she meets a prince named Charmont. They become friends. Then Ella meets Dame Olga and her horrific daughters. And even worse her father marries Dame Olga whose two daughters, Hattie and Olive, start treating Ella badly. Hattie soon discovers that Ella needs to obey orders and so then Dame Olga, Olive, and Hattie start treating Ella like a slave. (Sounds like Cinder-Ella, with her evil stepmother and step-sisters, doesn’t it?) 

The rest of the story intertwines parts of the standard Cinderella fairy tale (she does lose her slipper at a palace ball) with some new ideas (the fairy who “gifted” her with obedience, for example). In the end there is love and happiness, so there it is quite like a fairy tale. But I won’t tell you how things get resolved. You just might have to read the book (or watch the movie, I guess…)

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a very good book that makes you think about how we are so lucky to be able to say no. If a fairy had given me the “gift” of obedience, it would be very bad if I could not say no to an order such as to cut off my head. It must have been scary to be in constant danger. If someone found out that you had to listen to any thing that anybody tells you to do. (Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe Ella could have asked someone to order her to not listen to commands unless she wanted to. I wonder if that would have worked.)

Ella Enchanted is a great book that makes you think about how we can just say no. Ella is a fifteen year old who acts normally and is not as flawless as in the fairy tale Cinderella. The characters, Lucinda, Hattie, and Olive are really quite despicable and are easily disliked. (I really disliked Hattie and Lucinda sometimes.)

Marshmallow’s rating: 95%

Marshmallow rates Ella Enchanted 95%.
Marshmallow rates Ella Enchanted 95%.

Marshmallow reviews A Crystal of Time by Soman Chainani (Book 5 of The School for Good and Evil series)

Last week Marshmallow reviewed Quests for Glory, the fourth book of Soman Chainani’s School for Good and Evil series. Today she writes about her thoughts on the fifth book: A Crystal of Time.

Marshmallow reviews The School for Good and Evil: A Crystal of Time by Soman Chainani.
Marshmallow reviews The School for Good and Evil: A Crystal of Time by Soman Chainani.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about fantasy, twisted fairy tales, and Soman Chainani’s books, then you will enjoy this book! If you haven’t read the first four books of the School for Good and Evil series though, then you might want to read them first.

“In the forest of primeval
A school for Good and Evil
Twin towers like two heads
One for the pure
And one for the wicked
Try to escape you’ll always fail,
The only way out is
Through a fairytale.”

It all began in The School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainani’s first novel. This was a school of fairy tales, where witches and princesses, warlocks and princes were trained. In the end a select few would become the heroes and the villains of future storybooks. The tales would be recorded by a magical pen, The Storian. We learn about this whole world through the eyes and experiences of Agatha and Sophie, two friends whose destiny takes them to different places and brings them back together.

The first book is followed by A World Without Princes, where witches and princesses are friends, and warlocks and princes become accomplices. The dividing line now becomes gender, instead of good versus evil.

The third book of the series, The Last Ever After, reorganizes the world of the School, and Sophie and Agatha have many new adventures.

The fourth book, Quests for Glory, started the Camelot Years. If you want to learn about the book, see my review from last week.

This review is about the fifth book of the hexalogy.

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): When “King” Rhian puts a bounty on her head, Agatha is on the run. With her true love about to be executed, her best friend forced to be the “king’s” queen at the tip of a knife, and everyone else who could help her in prison, Agatha has nowhere to go. That is, until she meets her wild-haired canary-like Beautification teacher who takes her on stymph to the School for Good and Evil. (A stymph is a ginormous bird with no skin or flesh. It is practically a skeleton that is alive.)

The students there are all first years and have barely unlocked their finger glows. (Every student at the School for Good and Evil has a finger glow that is a unique color. For example Agatha and Tedros’ finger glows are different shades of gold, while Sophie’s is hot pink.) In other words, they are not very good at magic yet, but they are still eager to help Agatha rescue Tedros and the rest of the rebels.

Agatha and her accomplices are eventually able to save their friends, but some people are left behind, including Sophie. The rebels go back to save them and do so, but at a cost. Clarrisa Dovey, the dean of Good, who was Agatha’s godmother, dies, and is finally reunited with her true love, Lady Lesso, the deceased dean of Evil. (Lady Lasso was murdered by her blood-thirsty son, Aric, in The Last Ever After.)

But during the time Sophie was at Camelot, she discovered that Rhian and his twin Japeth are not only trying to be the king of Camelot but of the world. They plan to do this by destroying the Storian’s hundred rings that secure the very life of the Endless Woods. By the time the whole rebel team learns about this, there is only three left and time is running out. Will they be able to stop Rhain and Jaspeth before it is too late?

Marshmallow is studying the crystal of time.
Marshmallow is studying the crystal of time.

Marshmallow’s Review: The longest of the series so far (624 pages!), this was a great read! My new favorite character is Nicola, a first year, who saves the lives of Agatha and her friends many times. Agatha’s cat is pretty cool, too. He’s funny. And if you’re wondering, Sophie is not as bad in this book as she used to be, but she’s still annoying.

This book answered some open questions from previous books, and posed a lot more new ones. Can’t wait for the sixth and final book!

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%

Marshmallow rates A Crystal of Time 100%.
Marshmallow rates A Crystal of Time 100%.

Marshmallow reviews School for Good and Evil: Quests for Glory by Soman Chainani

Before digging into the fifth book of the School for Good and Evil series by Soman Chainani, Marshmallow reviews the fourth book: School for Good and Evil: Quests for Glory.

Marshmallow reviews School for Good and Evil: Quests for Glory by Soman Chainani.
Marshmallow reviews School for Good and Evil: Quests for Glory by Soman Chainani.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like twisted versions of fairytales or books by Soman Chainani, then this might be the book for you. If you did not read any of the first three books in the School for Good and Evil series, you can still enjoy this one, but I would definitely recommend reading the previous books before reading this.

It all began in The School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainani’s first novel. This was a school of fairy tales, where witches and princesses, warlocks and princes were trained. In the end a select few would become the heroes and the villains of future storybooks. The tales would be recorded by a magical pen, The Storian. We learn about this whole world through the eyes and experiences of Agatha and Sophie, two friends whose destiny takes them to different places and brings them back together.

The first book is followed by A World Without Princes, where witches and princesses are friends, and warlocks and princes become accomplices. The dividing line now becomes gender, instead of good versus evil.

The third book of the series, The Last Ever After, reorganizes the world of the School, and Sophie and Agatha have many new adventures.

This is the fourth book in the series.

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): After graduating from the School for Good and Evil, Agatha and Sophie think that their story is finished. Sophie as Dean of Evil and Agatha as the future queen of Camelot seems like the perfect ending. But their story is not over, the Snake has yet to strike.

We learn about the story of the Lion and the Snake from Agatha:

“Once upon a time there was a beautiful new kingdom without a king.” The Lion and The Snake stepped up to be the king. To decide who would be king, there was an election. Those who thought that a king should be clever voted for the Snake and those who thought a king should be strong voted for the Lion. It was a tie. “And so the Eagle was brought in to make the final choice, since he flew high above and saw the world in a way no one else could.” The Eagle asked them a question, “If you were king, would the Eagle be subject to your rule?” The Lion said yes, the Snake said no. The Eagle chose the Snake.

That night the Snake with his minions ambushed the Eagle and his clan and killed them all. The Lion and his comrades were too late to save the Eagles. As the Lion was about to kill him, the Snake uttered the following:

“You dare not kill a king. The Eagle chose me because he wanted freedom. He got that freedom. What happened after does not change the Truth. The throne is mine. I am your king. Just because you do not like the Truth does not mean that you can replace it with a Lie. And if you kill me, your new king will be a Lie. Kill me and I shall return to take my crown.”

Tedros, whose destiny is to be the king of Camelot, can’t pull the sword Excalibur out of the stone. His faithful knight Chaddick lies on the shores of Avalon, betrayed by the Lady of the Lake and killed by the Snake. The Quests of all the fourth years fail seconds after Chaddick’s death; there is now a new Quest: Defeat the Snake. Once they begin the new Quest, the Storian begins writing a new story.

Marshmallow’s Review: The plot, as you can see from the above, is kind of complicated. But once you get into it, the story is captivating. The author is extremely successful in evoking strong emotions from the readers about the characters (I hate Sophie sometimes!) If you read the first three books, expect a surprising ending!

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%

Marshmallow rates Quests for Glory 95%.
Marshmallow rates Quests for Glory 100%.