Rise of the School for Good and Evil

HarperCollins. May 2022. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063161528.
Gr 4-7–In this prequel to the “School for Good and Evil” series, Rafal and Rhian, the twin headmasters for the prestigious academy, have encountered something they never expected. The school’s Storian, a magic pen that writes the stories of good and evil legends, has made a mistake—or has it? When young troublemaker Aladdin is chosen for the school of good, Rafal, headmaster of evil, accuses Rhian, headmaster of good, of magicking the pen to do his bidding, upending the balance of good and evil and brotherly love. How will the brothers mend this rift and save the school? A colorful cast of fairy-tale royalty pepper the pages with all of the classic elements of a good versus evil showdown. Readers will recognize their favorite characters, from Aladdin to Captain Hook, and relish a fresh take on their origin stories. Main characters are white, and diverse secondary characters round out a rich cast. Readers who have no prior knowledge of the series will find this prequel somewhat disjointed.
VERDICT Action-packed and full of adventure, this series prequel is a summer hit. Purchase where the series is popular and hand it to those who have read the series, but encourage new readers to try other books in the canon first.

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