Monday, September 12, 2011
Book Review: Villain School: Good Curses Evil, by Stephanie Sanders (Bloomsbury, 2011)
Recommended for ages 9-12
What do you do when your parents are some of the baddest bad guys in history, and you just don't match up? You get sent to Master Dreadthorn's School for Wayward Villains. Dracula's daughter, Jezebel, is there - she prefers hot chocolate to blood. The Big Bad Wolf's son, Wolf, is in there, too - he saved a human child from drowning. The Green Giant's son was expelled when they realized that his dad was just some green guy trying to get kids to eat their vegetables.
Rune Drexler, Master Dreadthorn's son, is at villain school, too, but he's not getting any preferred treatment - quite the opposite; he can't seem to do anything right in his father's eyes. When his father calls him to his office and gives him a Plot - a dangerous and evil test to achieve his next EVil (Educational Villain Levels) level, Rune sees his chance to be the villain his father wants him to be. But can he and his two friends carry out the Plot without ending up being heroes?
The story takes a little bit of time to get started; Sanders concentrates on exposition early on in the story. Once the Plot is under way, though, the story becomes a fun read with just enough of a twist to take the reader by surprise. I did not feel cheated by the book's end - I wanted to know what Rune was going to do next. Middle grade readers will enjoy the good-natured jabs that the characters throw at one another, and the idea of being good while you're trying to be evil will show younger readers that there is something good in even the baddest of villains.