A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
Series: The Scholomance #1
Publisher: Del Ray, Paperaback, 313 pages

Galadriel is just trying to survive until graduation, she’s not interested in worshipping at the heels of Orion Lake, savior of all at the Scholomance, whether they want it or not. If she wanted she could level the school and everyone in it, she does not need his protection. This year though, things don’t seem to be going quite to plan. And that means dealing with Orion Lake saving her life, more than once.

This book is everything. Everything I never knew I was looking for, but am so so glad to have found. I don’t quite know how to describe this, but the best I can come up with in relative terms is if all of Harry Potter took place in the maze from the Triwizard Tournatment, but 1000 times deadlier and more interesting magic. It’s amazing. The school is this living thing almost, there aren’t teachers guiding you, the school itself is guiding you, but if you don’t pay attention the school is going to screw you over. There are also tons of magical creatures, but most of them are going to try to kill you. In fact, chances are good that you’re NOT going to make it to graduation without the help of your classmates looking out for you and even then it gets questionable. I also love how the magic works in this book. Everything has a cost, and if you cheat – well, that has a cost too.

Galadriel, or El for short, our main character is so refreshing. She’s not perfect, and she isn’t going to try to be for anyone. She’s certainly not going to go out of her way to be nice to you if she doesn’t feel like it. She’s just so human, for a wizard that could pretty easily kill anything and anyone in her path. I loved watching the bond between El, Aadhya, and Liu grow throughout the whole story and look forward to seeing their bond grow more in the next book (hopefully!).

The writing, the pacing, everything that was happening was great. The book doesn’t take itself too seriously, except for when it needs to. There is this great sarcasm, which I’m ALWAYS here for. The author also brings this world to life through her descriptions of how magic, or the school, or creatures can exist.

Wizards don’t have faith in magic. We believe in magic, the way mundanes believe in cars.

page 191

It’s these tidbits that bring everything to life and kept me reading. There was no point during my read, which took all of two evenings after work because I was so enjoying this, that I wanted to put the book down. Even if there was something I didn’t like, I don’t know if I could dock points off this book. I truly enjoyed this book with all of my being and cannot wait to read book two. I cannot recommend this book enough. 5/5 stars.

The Scholomance Series:
1. A Deadly Education
2. The Last Graduate
3. The Golden Enclaves (Expected publication September 27, 2022)

6 thoughts on “A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

  1. Cyberkitten May 22, 2022 / 9:32 am

    Sounds like a LOT of fun! I *think* this might be on my ‘of interest’ List – but when I checked last night it had over 6K items on it so it might take a while finding out if I already have it listed or not [grin]

    It’s always good when the Magic System *works* and makes sense in the world were it’s set. I so hate it when authors just make stuff up that’s obviously bonkers taken in context. Proper World Building is just SO important!

    • Hannah May 22, 2022 / 12:16 pm

      It was definitely a lot of fun to read this one and it was just so different from any other book I’ve read with a magic school setting.
      It sounds like you‘ve got quite the „of interest“ list! Is that books only? Or mixed media?

      I totally agree with you about magic systems and world building. If it‘s too far fetched it takes me right out of the story – can’t really enjoy it that way!

  2. Cyberkitten May 22, 2022 / 12:58 pm

    The ‘interest’ list is just books. Essentially it’s a folder on my PC called ‘Book 2 Review’. It’s a mix of downloaded covers for my Blog reviews – which is how it started – plus covers for anything that piqued my interest during Internet searches. As of today there’s 6,656 items in there. At my present reading speed that’s an entire lifetimes reading! [rotflmao]

    I always loved the part in SF books where the author builds their worlds/universes. Partially it was things like FTL drives or Time Travel and how the physics of that worked, but my real interest from very early on was how the future or alternate or alien societies worked (I think I was a natural Sociologist even back then before I recognised it). As you say, failed systems leave you “all raised eyebrow” and out of the story which sucks.

    • Hannah May 22, 2022 / 9:36 pm

      Wow, that’s quite a list, but it gives me anxiety to think about keeping that organized, lol.

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