A World Without Princes: The School for Good and Evil, Book 2

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
A World Without Princes: The School for Good and Evil, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
A girls-vs.-boys twist in magic-filled sequel.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 14 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

A World Without Princes explicitly plays with the conventions of familiar fairy tales and urges readers to challenge the assumptions they bring to the material, especially in regard to gender roles. Readers will recognize versions of favorite characters from folklore, but with a fresh twist.

Positive Messages

The characters in A World Without Princes spend much of their time worrying about whether they're working for Good or Evil. But the story demonstrates that people are not simply good or evil; they are human and contain a little of each. The important thing is to strike a balance and be true to yourself and the ones you love, without obsessing about how your behavior might be rewarded.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although she turned into a witch during her last visit to the School. Sophie struggles to be good throughout A World without Princes. Agatha remains loyal to her friend but feels attracted to Tedros at the same time. But telling the difference between Good and Evil is more difficult than anyone believes. Even in a world run by fairy tale magic, there are a lot of gray areas.


As with traditional folktales and fairy tales, A World Without Princes contains its fair share of violence. For much of the book, the mayhem is implied rather than shown, and when there's a violent encounter, it tends be be cartoonish rather than realistic. Exceptions in this volume include some scenes in which Tedros is tortured and the climactic battle, in which a sympathetic supporting character is killed and Evil seems to triumph.


There's some flirting and kissing, but the girls and the boys find each other unappealing for most of the novel. Ultimately, a kiss will seal everyone's fate.


"Hell" is used a handful of times.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A World Without Princes picks up the story begun in The School for Good and Evil. It offers a fresh take on fairy tale devices and cliches, upending the expectations most readers have about princesses and villains. The language is very mild, with nothing worse than "hell" used. Would-be princesses and princes flirt with each other, and there are some kisses. As in most fairy tales, violence and the threat of it are fairly constant, but most characters escape actual harm.​

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byNicvan July 13, 2019
Teen, 13 years old Written byBookNerd1842 February 5, 2015

Oh my gods, you have to read it!

I absolutely love this series and the second installment is almost as perfect as the first. It has a perfect balance of action and emotion, making you want to l... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bylizzy0801 December 15, 2014

Epic Tale- But Not For Those Wanting A Light Read

I will say I'm 13 and a very good reader, and I found this pretty dark in some spots. It's certainly not for younger kids, and some tweens might not l... Continue reading

What's the story?

A WORLD WITHOUT PRINCES finds best friends Sophie and Agatha back at home, seemingly with all their problems from the first volume of The School for Good and Evil solved. But when Agatha inadvertently wishes for a happy ending with Tedros, her handsome prince, she and Sophie find themselves whisked back to the School -- only everything about it seems to have been changed. Now the boys and the girls are separated into two institutions, without regard to who's evil and who's not. As a war between the sexes brews, Agatha and Sophie must decide whether their friendship is worth saving ahead of true love.

Is it any good?

A World Without Princes has its moments of fun and excitement, though the narrative often feels rushed and repetitive. This second book finds a new wrinkle on the premise presented in the trilogy's first volume: By switching up everything up so that the main conflict is now between the Boys and the Girls, author Soman Chainani finds more opportunities for epic confrontations, underhanded scheming, and some satirical observations about the nature of fairy tales.

Unfortunately, the plot sometimes seems as if it's merely marking time until the climactic battle. Complications arise in every chapter, but they can be only minor variations on a theme. And Chainani's prose is much sloppier this time around. He never misses an opportunity to use a synonym when "said" will suffice, and he frequently makes odd verb choices.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why fairy tales are so popular in so many different media: literature, film, TV, theater, comics, etc.

  • Are there fundamental differences between boys and girls? Is it better to keep them apart or together in school?

  • Could you make a choice between your best friend and your "true love"?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and magic

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate