I’ve just read The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani.
I wasn’t expecting much from this book, mainly because I found it in the bargain bin at the newsagents’. The concept got me to buy it anyway — I’ve always been a sucker for symmetry between good and evil.
To a certain extent, I got what I expected. The story seems to leap forward a bit too quickly, without properly introducing characters and ideas; and there isn’t enough space to relax between some of the big reversals.
Even so, the plot is still compelling. Chainani establishes clear rules for her fairy-tale world, which seem to completely rule out a happy ending. Then she subverts the rules just enough to give you a glimmer of hope.
I don’t know what children would think of it; but if you can get past the writing, I can definitely recommend The School for Good and Evil for its take on fairy-tale morality.