Every 4 years, the Story Master would come to the small town of Gavaldon and take exactly two children over the age of 12. One was always good and one was always evil. The two children were never seen again and would never lead normal lives. All the town knew was sometimes the children would appear in the fairy tales that were magically dropped off in their town.
Sophie grew up wanting to be kidnapped by the Story Master. She kept herself beautiful and did what she considered to be good deeds. One such good deed was to befriend the one girl in town no one liked, Agatha.
Agatha convinced herself she was happy having no friends. She liked her house in the middle of the graveyard and had no dreams of being taken by the Story Master. Yet she had to admit that Sophie was her friend even though she pretended to want nothing from her every time Sophie made the trip to her house.
When Sophie became the right age, she was bound and determined to be the good one kidnapped that year. She wanted nothing more than to be a princess and appear in her own fairy tale. Agatha’s mother prepared her to be taken for evil. Agatha just wanted to remain behind and lead a normal life and was determined to make sure Sophie wasn’t taken either. Sophie was her only friend.
In trying to save Sophie, both Agatha and Sophie found themselves swept off to the school for good and evil. But then something peculiar happened. Agatha got dropped off at the school for good and Sophie was taken to the school for evil. Positive they were in the wrong schools, they set out to correct the problem. Only thing is, Agatha wanted to go home while Sophie just wanted to earn herself a prince and live happily ever after.
I have read a lot of books over the years. I mean a lot of books. I can honestly say I’ve never come across anything like this before. It’s as if the author read a fairy tale, looked at the way we have to go to school to learn our jobs in life, and thought, “What if the princesses, princes, and villains in fairy tales also had to attend school to learn their roles?”
Villains learn how to monologue, princesses are taught how to talk to animals and how to beautify themselves, while princes are taught how to be valiant and sword fight. The book, of course, mocks some of these classes. In one part, the main prince couldn’t come up with a rejoinder to a princess and instantly started a sword fight with one of his classmates instead.
Sophie and Agatha are well-written and it’s fun to read what they will decide to do next to get to what they believed were their proper schools. And since I have never even seen a book like this before–the closest probably being Harry Potter–each attempt was a complete surprise. I was even surprised at the ending, but it was fitting as well.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this YA fairy tale to anyone who enjoys these kinds of things. It’s a fairy tale with a definite twist, some of it dark, but all of it great fun. I will reread this book in the future and I know I will enjoy it again as much as I did this time.