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on March 09, 2012 :
This is a great read for anyone liking middle grade stories. I love the way the MC is forced to go to a school for villains. There, he has to figure out the differences between good and evil on his own to get expelled, but since most actions are ambiguous at best, he has a hard time.
The closer I got to the end, the more I hoped the book would be longer -- and that's quite something for a 43-yr old reading a kid's book. The author managed to keep me interested from the first page to the last, and the characters grew so much on me, I hope there will be a sequel.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Feb. 15, 2012 :
A School For Villains is not simply a parody of epic fantasy stories about wizard schools – it’s a new take on the trope and an imaginative reversal of genre expectations.
When Danny is sent to a School for Villains and has to leave his father’s forge, he’s horrified. He doesn’t want to be evil, doesn’t want to hurt anybody and doesn’t like the fact that he has no say in all this. He has no love for evil lords and hates maniacal laughter (I love him for this!) In all, Danny is a normal boy and he will do anything in his hand to escape the School and its mad teachers. I will say no more because there are many twists and surprises in the plot and I can’t give them away, but trust me, it is an interesting story.
Danny’s character is dynamic and active. He spends a big part of the book looking for ways to escape the school, and these are often hilariously funny and imaginative. However, I must admit I was a little put off by his whiny nature at first. Happily, he comes into his own in later chapters and goes through an interesting transformation.
The characters surrounding him are beautifully crafted, and although they may first appear as stereotypes (done on purpose, obviously, to add to the satirical nature of the book), as the story progresses they become rounded and real. I really enjoyed discovering their other facets.
I admit I laughed out loud at the portrayal of the boy hero coming to challenge Danny and the letters they exchanged, and I loved this author’s imagination in crafting the school and all its crazy magic and great characters. Although the book addresses a younger public than I’m used to, I greatly enjoyed reading a School for Villains and look forward to a sequel.
I recommend a School for Villains for all readers who enjoy a funny take on fantasy, such as satires of wizard schools, and especially for teens and young adults.
For Good Book Alert.
(reviewed long after purchase)