A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil #2) by Soman Chainani

18004314 ScreenHunter_69 May. 11 03.17It’s not a world without princes, this book is more aptly named “The School for Misandrist and Misogynist”. While I’m not certain whether I am reading the same book as everyone does since I’m still undecided about the entire series and most seem to love it but this book really did embellish what I hate about the last book.

I realize that it was the rigid world structure that strangled my general enjoyment. I can’t understand why you can’t be a flexible in this book. Why can’t these fictitious characters exist normally as a person with in-between characteristics that they somehow defile the idea of each groups that one need to shame them or brain wash those they see different. Why does everyone still need to be at war with those and everyone different than they are. 

Why does a person need to create a world where one can’t have a choice to be who they are and how they’re basically forced to conform with someone’s idea of being someone but at the same time seem to actively endorse this kind of qualities. Why can’t we as a readers get the feel that there are something positive with the flow of the writing and basically hopeful that the characters’ circumstances would be different. Instead we had those who are different or in between being forced to accept their fate “either being evil or forever being a sidekick” and anyone who doesn’t accept their destined fate will be treated very badly. 

While I am certain the author is trying to say something positive or have a meaningful point somewhere but I think this is the first book I read in this recent years where I learn more about hating boys and hating girls that it have to be repeated all the time. I get that the series’ world was based on the idea of dualism but I do think it was just a rewriting of the first book.

One of the things I sort of like about the last book was the fact that the school was clearly psychopathic twisted version of fairy tales Hogwarts based on stories that are twisted to begin with. But I think somewhere around the time when this book began to alter Agatha’s characterizations and retaining Sophie’s attitude is that it forget about the child abuse and child murders going on in the background. Now, I felt like I didn’t have anything to make myself invested with the story as some of that mythos was lost in between the drama. The sequel now seem to be invested in pitting the characters against one another again for the choices they made in the last book which revolve around an emo boy and another session of insecure girls.

Although the first book did try to spin the idea that girls don’t need boys to have a happily ever after but now everything changed in this book. We get a reboot of sorts. Everything as just an alternate version of the world they left prior to this book. Where something change but everything remain the same. The school system still exist in a deus ex machina of sorts. There’s unresolved issues from the last book (ehem, a cursed kid got beheaded last time.. remember).

I’m not sure what sort of empowering message this book trying to sell. Being a character who stand up for herself and her love is wrong. You still have to choose one over another and not both. Being a strong female character is IMPOSSIBLE because the male characters will lose their masculinity and fret about their hate on girls that they have this mob mentality again and very homicidal on the other sex and so on. 

Seeing that there’s no middle ground between these school that allowed the idea that one can have more than two gender identity, I do feel that the entire story structure is crumpling down trying to reason out these inconsistencies. What even weirder, then there’s even a magical option to change your sex just to sneak into the other side because they can’t stand being in the other side. I don’t know about you but that was halfhearted for an author to attempt to discuss gender identity issues. 

I am a feminist myself but it was clear that someone think being misandrist was a requirement to be empowered as a female. I am secure with my gender and accept individual expectations and potential but superficial complete hate of another just because they have differing sex chromosome was ridiculous. Yes, there are men who completely hate anything about female or the idea of being female and having a brain or being self-empowered above theirs. They do exist and these sort of thinking is a chronic disease we face everywhere. We’re living in a patriarchal society and that is factual. I accepted this type of quality in some men and prayed that they might change their mind but I don’t agree that we need a reverse form of misogyny to portray this degree of dualism. Sometimes this is what made this book abhorrent to me. What is it with the persisting idea that princess can only be empowered by completely annihilating the prince or men and the call to render them useless and defeated and emasculated as a form of social justice. Really?

The book could have been better but I do think this book is destructive to young readers. I mean really, girls insisting they’re better off without boys is fine but girls wishing all boys dead. Boys wanting to kill girls for no other reason except they blame someone for ruining their structure of the world. The idea of Queen Guinevere so abhorrent (btw, spoilers, Gwen did take over Camelot in Merlin) Superficial characters, simplified world-building around troublesome complex issues done in a confusing way. I suppose I like the idea that the hero becoming anti-hero but I felt Agatha in this book was a pale version of the one in the first book and Sophie was genuinely repetitive and predictable and changeable. This whole book was a plain disappointment and the plot just scattered in the wind somewhere. I wish I have enough enthusiasm for the next book, I guess we should just wait for it then.


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