Review: A World Without Princes (#2) by Soman Chainani

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After saving themselves and their fellow students from a life pitched against one another, Sophie and Agatha are back home again, living happily ever after. But life isn’t exactly a fairytale. When Agatha secretly wishes she’d chosen a different happy ending with Prince Tedros, the gates to the School for Good and Evil open once again. But Good and Evil are no longer enemies and Princes and Princesses may not be what they seem, as new bonds form and old ones shatter.

It’s been a few weeks since I finished this book, and I am unsure how to feel. I’ll be honest, these books have blurred into one a bit and I can’t quite differentiate them from one another. After a pretty strong first book following Agatha and Sophie, discussing female friendships, this one did let me down a bit. And I definitely wasn’t the only one.

We go into this book with a new challenge – the school has been split down the middle with girls on one side and boys on the other. Instead of the school for Good and Evil, it is pretty much the school for Girls and Boys. I’m sure we can see the problems emerging here.

It’s the problem with fairy tales. From far away, they seem so perfect.

I did still enjoy this book while I was reading it, but I had to overlook a lot of the gender issues to appreciate it. But this series does continue to be a solid middle grade fantasy in a lot of ways, and I did enjoy the magic elements and school setting. The audiobook was also brilliant in the narration.

I’ve seen a few reviews claiming that this book kind of feels like the author wanted to go in certain directions (with gender, sexuality etc), but didn’t feel like they could carry it out in a middle grade book. Which I agree with – especially as I was surprised by the mentions of kissing throughout the first two books when these characters do seem to be quite young.

But up close, they’re just as complicated as real life.

I have such mixed feelings about this book, as you can probably tell. I’m intrigued to see where the next one goes, but I can see why people have so many problems with this one after the first book.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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