A Deadly Education (Scholomance, #1)
Lesson One of the ScholomanceLearning has never been this deadlyA Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

A Deadly Education (Scholomance, #1) Details

TitleA Deadly Education (Scholomance, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 29th, 2020
PublisherDel Rey Books
ISBN-139780593128480
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Fiction, Magic, Young Adult Fantasy, Adult, Science Fiction Fantasy, High Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror

A Deadly Education (Scholomance, #1) Review

  • chai ♡
    January 1, 1970
    [bursts through the wall] did someone say this book is:- pitched as “a dark feminist harry potter” - set in a magical school where failure to graduate means death - the mc is a half-indian, half-welsh dark sorceress - reluctant-allies-to-lovers- features ravenous monsters
    more
  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
    January 1, 1970
    Magical school? Instantly added to my never ending TBR!
  • Mary S. R.
    January 1, 1970
    If Hogwarts was a prickly sentient professorless school infested with demons, and the lead was an angry, dark Queen of Sarcasm and prophesied harbinger of death, trying to study, survive, and graduate....or die, you’d have this book.Do I have your attention yet? You have to ration sympathy and grief in here the way you ration your school supplies. Naomi Novik’s new series Scholomance is, obviously, inspired by the folkloric Scholomance, a fabled school of black magic in Transylvania ru If Hogwarts was a prickly sentient professorless school infested with demons, and the lead was an angry, dark Queen of Sarcasm and prophesied harbinger of death, trying to study, survive, and graduate....or die, you’d have this book.Do I have your attention yet? You have to ration sympathy and grief in here the way you ration your school supplies. Naomi Novik’s new series Scholomance is, obviously, inspired by the folkloric Scholomance, a fabled school of black magic in Transylvania run by the devil.There are apparent differences, of course; in that no one runs this school except for magic, and that this deadly version of the academy is the closest young witches and wizards can come to a protected and safe environment during their vulnerable teen years, as they happen to live in a world where their magic-filled bodies are to the monsters what marshmallow crunch brownie bars dripping with chocolate are to yours truly:That is, y u m m y. Nobody gets to live or not live because they deserve it, deserving doesn’t count for a thing. With an awesome unlikeable MC (just my type), LOL-producing writing, mouthwatering world-building, YA highschool-ish vibe, and chilling, gag-causing creatures roaming the hallways, bathrooms, and all the nooks and crannies of the insubstantial and magical structure of the place (one of which nearly gave me—Queen of Being Unperturbed By Dreams and Thrilled By What Most Consider Nightmares—nightmares) this could’ve easily been a five star read, if not for the info dumps.I enjoy info dumps, I do, but some really shouldn’t have been where they were. There is something called “out of place” m’dear, especially when the reader is excited about an imminent occurrence. It’s too easy to call people evil instead of their choices, and that lets people justify making evil choices, because they convince themselves that it’s okay because they’re still good people overall, inside their own heads. I’ll just continue to appreciate the tackling of struggles rising from mixed ethnicity, applaud the diversity that extends to even food, fall in love with the dominant theme of injustice, inequality, and privilege so thoroughly explored, make puppy eyes the attention to science and technicalities, and be absorbed by the focus on carefully and creatively crafted lessons and study strategies, all while listening to my book playlist on repeat (which you can find at the end of the review) and waiting for the sequel. Storyline (Most) all memorable heroes have a prophecy. Well, so does El. It just so happens that hers isn’t a prophecy of saving the world blah blah, it’s one of death and destruction. Charming, right?Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, no one else thinks so.Thus our snarky little main character will have to navigate school without allies, the consequence of which would not be a lonely, dejected life, but rather death at graduation when she will have to pass through a hall of monsters to get out of the damned place without anyone watching her back.She intends to avoid that, of course, which means this dark witch needs to focus on smooth talking the politics and sitting arrangements of school life and establishing herself as a powerful addition to any interested group (much like peacocks tidying their feathers and attracting mates, one might say), while at the same time studying and surviving and making sure she doesn’t slaughter thousands to do so. Easy peasy.So I believe you realise how annoying it is for a shining hero by the name of Orion Lake to swoop in, repeatedly, and turn her into a damsel in distress. Selfish of me, you’ll say, to be contemplating with murderous intent the hero responsible for the continued survival of a quarter of our class. Well, too bad for the losers who couldn’t stay afloat without his help. We’re not meant to all survive, anyway. The school has to be fed somehow. Storytelling I didn’t want to actually become a maleficer and then go bursting out of this place like some monstrous butterfly hatching from a gigantic chrysalis of doom to lay waste and sow sorrow across the world as per the prophecy. A Deadly Education is my first book by Naomi Novik so I can’t compare her writing in this novel to her previous work. BUT, can I just say that I stan her style??Witty, humourous, and sprinkled with exactly the right amount of absurdity in her genius similes and metaphors, Novik has immediately established her herself as a new fave author of mine with her technique. I’m telling you, even the (admittedly too frequent and unflattering) info dumps were done with such a unique touch that I’m simply impressed! The banter. The hilarious moments brewed and executed so aptly. Ahhh.The best part of the story-telling was, however, the way the author somehow threw thriller and humour in the same pot and unbelievably got a delicious unputdownable stew out of it. I mean, we would encounter a petrifying monster that had me on the verge of screaming and we are about to die and yet Naomi proceeds to kindly point you toward more books for further information. Like, WHAT. My expression was something between 😱 and 😂; upon messing around with the emojis, this is the closest I’ve gotten: Characters ▼ Galadriel aka El: Meet the protagonist; a powerful witch with an affinity for dark magic so deadly even minor spells can turn into catastrophes, lonely, angry, bitter, sarcastic, smart, creative, natural with incantations, and shunned by anyone and everyone. And, whadayaknow, I was never ever annoyed by her snappish ungrateful behaviour. “You feel like it’s going to rain.”“What?”But Aadhya was already waving her hands around and elaborating. “You know that feeling when you’re a mile away from anywhere, and you didn’t take your umbrella because it was sunny when you left, and you’re in your good suede boots, and suddenly it gets dark and you can tell it’s about to start pouring buckets, and you’re like Oh great.” She nodded to herself, satisfied with her brilliant analogy. “That’s what it feels like, whenever you show up.” It’s painful to be judged before you’ve had a chance. And El, my baby, has always had the worst assumed about her, even as a child, because of her power and the wrongness it projects to others. And so, tired and full of hate, she becomes the angry bitter person everyone now rightly avoids. I understood how she wanted to be wanted for herself and didn’t even care for being wanted by the many self-serving people around her. I shared her emotions and bitterness at what kept happening to her. I loved her acknowledgement of her anger issues. So yes, I spent the entire book chanting go dark go dark kill them all, praying she’d end up going down the lethal terrifying sorceress path prophecised for her. And yes, I am still praying.(I see her as Disney’s Megara) ▼ Orion Lake: Meet the love interest; initially annoying, generally unbelievable and bewildering, messy, clueless, also lonely bulldozer of a hero who is such a hero that, at some points, it stops being annoying (to me, I mean, the evil soul who can’t stand these Gryffinpuffs) and starts being hilarious and even adorable. I swear, somewhere in there, I actually went “okay I like him UGH.” How I ended up loving this privileged, sheltered boy acting all gloriously good and gracious and going around killing monsters for everyone as if they are the real badies of this unjust world...is anyone’s guess.(To me he’s a total Hercules) ▼ Everyone Else: I think I need to stop rambling before you guys come hunt me down and kill me in the most gruesome ways you can imagine for writing and writing and writing and WRITING nonstop like a typing machine gone rouge. I’ll only say the rest were fleshed out as well and even our Mean Girl was More Than Just A Mean Girl. Relationships The dynamic of Gal (protagonist) and Orion (love interest) is practically Megara and Hercules from Disney’s 1997 animation. In short:So thank you, Naomi Novik, for giving me a new cute, crazy, impossible-to-handle, quietly-brewing romance with such a funny bond that jumps right out of the page, grabbing me by the throat with its grasping hands made of iconic banter and scenes. And thank you, for the beautifully written journey of discovering what loyalty, understanding, and acceptance in friendship feel like.See? I can keep it short, too. #yayme Worldbuilding This world. THIS WORLD. What can I say to encompass the massive amount of awe-inspiring information delivered in these 300+ pages? A magical moody school in the place between nowhere and everywhere that relies on belief to stay upright, so dangerous you have to check every step lest a nightmare jump out from beneath the table and eat you alive. A world with magic-eating monsters where the privileged live in protected enclaves and the rest of the rabble fend for themselves and, inevitably, die.Though you’re probably wondering: How in the world would an academy with no adults and teachers actually function? Why would students be crammed into a building, all as perfect bait for the hungry demons? And trust, dear Naomi has thought of every possibility, every criticism and argument and counter-argument (like someone y’all know *wink*), even ones you wouldn’t think to raise, and made impossible “I’m possible.” *raises hat*Fascinating and insane, that’s the only way to put this world, this book.An Scholomance-library-sized thanks to my superhero for sending me an eARC from Edelweiss! Companions Book playlist: Spotify LINK Books in series: • A Deadly Education (Scholomance, #1) ★★★★☆• Untitled Sequel (Scholomance, #2) ☆☆☆☆☆
    more
  • Helena of Eretz ✰
    January 1, 1970
    I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.This is actually a 3.5-star rating, rounded up to 4, because Goodreads likes to be difficult. :PWhen I heard the pitch of “a twisted, super dark, super modern, female-led Harry Potter”, I audibly squealed in joy and thought that THIS would be my most anticipated and best read of the year. After all, this is the same author who wrote two of my favourite books, Uprooted and Spinning Silver…but that’s not what ha I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.This is actually a 3.5-star rating, rounded up to 4, because Goodreads likes to be difficult. :PWhen I heard the pitch of “a twisted, super dark, super modern, female-led Harry Potter”, I audibly squealed in joy and thought that THIS would be my most anticipated and best read of the year. After all, this is the same author who wrote two of my favourite books, Uprooted and Spinning Silver…but that’s not what happened. In fact, I found myself bored by a lot of the actual story. The world building was phenomenal and where this book truly shined. However, Novik threw paragraphs upon paragraphs of infodumps at the reader, continuously throughout the book (it could’ve been excused if it were only the beginning, but it wasn’t), that it seemed like so much effort went into the world building that she didn’t know what to do with all of the information. So, what could’ve be a dark and dangerous, magical tale was more of a tedious slog to get through. I’m frustrated by the sheer amount of squandered POTENTIAL. Considering this trend of YA authors transitioning to adult, Novik did the opposite by transitioning from adult to YA. I thought that this would have a university setting à la Brakebills in the The Magicians, but this was a magical high school. If I had to pitch this, I wouldn’t have used Harry Potter as a comparison. Rather, it was more like The Iron Trial meets Sorcery of Thorns. It’s a magical school with no professors – you have to teach yourself – where you have to use mana (light magic) or malia (dark magic) to channel actual magic in order to master spells. All the while, the school is crawling with monsters, picking the students off, one by one, so graduation is literally a case of fighting for survival. Galadriel (yes, named for the elf from LOTR) or El Higgins is our female anti-heroine. At first, I loved her, thinking her so funny and sassy…but then she got on my nerves. Eventually, I realised that she was abrasive, rude and mean to everyone who came across her (especially the love interest, Orion Blake, who she has literally no chemistry with). Considering how much I love Naomi Novik as an author, and how much the cliffhanger reeled me in for the sequel, I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series. However, I’m just disappointed that this wasn’t what I thought would be a definite five-star read for me. I’d still recommend Novik’s earlier works to those who are unfamiliar with her bibliography, rather than this new venture of hers. However, I will say that this will most likely appeal to fans of The Magicians and Vita Nostra. Here’s to hoping the sequel is an improvement (fingers crossed)!!!
    more
  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    [rest]Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Blog | Spotify | Twitch [rest]Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Blog | Spotify | Twitch
  • Nick
    January 1, 1970
    Sabrina Spellman?
  • Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided in exchange for an honest review - thank you! OH MY GOD this book is bloody GENIUS. I've never been one of Novik's more rabid fans. I thought Uprooted was okay, and I actively dislike Spinning Silver. But this book blows them both of out of the water. It's smart, wicked, dark, and thrilling. Sixteen-year-old Galadriel 'El' Higgins is a sorceress. Like other magic wielders, at the age of fourteen she was bussed into the Scholomance, a magical school without any teachers or a ARC provided in exchange for an honest review - thank you! OH MY GOD this book is bloody GENIUS. I've never been one of Novik's more rabid fans. I thought Uprooted was okay, and I actively dislike Spinning Silver. But this book blows them both of out of the water. It's smart, wicked, dark, and thrilling. Sixteen-year-old Galadriel 'El' Higgins is a sorceress. Like other magic wielders, at the age of fourteen she was bussed into the Scholomance, a magical school without any teachers or authority figures whatsoever. She hasn't left since. The only way a student leaves school is by graduating, and that involves a frantic race for life through a horde of ravening monsters. Only about half a senior class ever make it.These monsters - maleficaria, or 'mals' - are absolutely everywhere, and they love nothing better than consuming sorcerers. True, the school is infested with mals, but students still come to the Scholomance because your chances of survival are even worse if you pass through puberty on the outside. Every day, El wakes up, tries desperately to find someone who'll let her walk to breakfast or the bathroom with them, and then settles down to learning all the things you need to get out of the Scholomance alive.(In case you're wondering how this school works without teachers, Novik does a great job of explaining. Basically, you do the work, or you die). El is half Indian and half Welsh, but she doesn't fit in for more reasons than just her mixed ethnicity. She's a dark sorceress: she was born with an affinity for death and destruction magic, which she has to be very careful to keep herself from using. It would be far too easy for her to destroy the Scholomance - and everyone inside it. So, no matter how much she's ostracised for the weird vibes people get off her, and her abrasive personality, she keeps a tight lid on her self-control.  Orion Lake is pretty much at the other end of the social spectrum from El. He's a wealthy New Yorker with access to almost limitless magic, and as if that wasn't bad enough, he has a hero complex. He's saved hundreds of students from mals... and she's one of them. She can't stand that. But he needs someone to save him from himself, and that someone looks like it might have to be El.  I don't think there's anything about this book I didn't LOVE. ✔️ El's character is perfect. She's prickly and snarky, because she's been hurt so much, but she's loyal, smart, and incredibly relatable. Her development over the course of the book - from furious loner to someone who lets Orion in, and realises that maybe she's garnering real friends too - is beautiful to behold. Oh, and also, she's hilarious. ✔️ The worldbuilding is brilliant. It's clear Novik put an insane amount of thought into this series, and it really shows. I guess you might call some paragraphs infodumping, but I was so fascinated by this whole concept that I absorbed all of it greedily. Nothing seemed too much for me. I just wanted to know more about the whole world Novik has created here. The Scholomance is described exactly as I'd imagine it, and I'm so glad she's done justice to it.✔️ The romance is just right. It's barely even a romance, just the lightest touch of one, but it's set up very well for the next book. Orion is such a great character.✔️ I love the diversity. The Scholomance is very multicultural, taking in literally all the magical students from around the world. This is incorporated into the book without feeling like we're being beaten over the head with it.  Overall Go read the damn book. I've been purposely vague on the plot, because this is something where you really will derive maximum enjoyment form going in blind. [Blog] - [Bookstagram]
    more
  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    January 1, 1970
    I'm sold! After Uprooted and especially Spinning Silver, I'll read pretty much anything by Naomi Novik.
  • Nenia ☀️ My Snark Is Worse Than My Bite ☀️ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    This sounds like a cross between The Scholomance and Vita NostraClose up shot of me crying bc I still don't have a copy This sounds like a cross between The Scholomance and Vita NostraClose up shot of me crying bc I still don't have a copy
  • Emily Duncan
    January 1, 1970
    Chef’s KISS
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    This book is exactly as perfect as you want it to be after devouring Spinning Silver and Uprooted. The worldbuilding is IMPECCABLE, coming on like a freight train and never stopping yet so crisply, vividly done you never get lost. I read it in the early days of quarantine when my brain was alphabet soup and anxiety and it was the only thing that got its hooks into my head. I'm not sure how many more ways I can say, "YOU NEED THIS YOU NEED THIS EVERYONE NEEDS THIS."
    more
  • Mara YA Mood Reader
    January 1, 1970
    Hoping this is like all those Slytherin fanfics I died for over the years!! 🐍 7/4/2020
  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    This is everything I never realised I need in 2020.
  • Anna Luce
    January 1, 1970
    DNF 40% If you like prickly 'I'm a bad guy (but not really)' kind of protagonists chances are you will like A Deadly Education. Maybe I approached this novel with the wrong expectations. The premise made it seem as a fantasy meets dark academia sort of thing but in actuality what we get is closer to The Hunger Game by way of Rick Riordan. A Deadly Education is very silly. Which could have worked if it hadn't been for the writing. El's narration is bogged down by exposition and more than once the DNF 40% If you like prickly 'I'm a bad guy (but not really)' kind of protagonists chances are you will like A Deadly Education. Maybe I approached this novel with the wrong expectations. The premise made it seem as a fantasy meets dark academia sort of thing but in actuality what we get is closer to The Hunger Game by way of Rick Riordan. A Deadly Education is very silly. Which could have worked if it hadn't been for the writing. El's narration is bogged down by exposition and more than once the action is interrupted by info-dumping. For example El will be about to fight some creature or she's having a conversation with something, and then we get pages and pages of El explaining things to us. I understand that the author wanted to give a context to certain scenes but I've personally never been keen on narratives that are a heavy on the 'telling' and light on the showing. It didn't help that I found El to be a less entertaining version of Meda from Cracked. The world building left a lot to be desired and I wasn't keen on the 'magic' system. I just was unconvinced by the whole school-thing (even if El 'explains' why the school exists and why it is the way it is). The joke-y tone also didn't quite work for me, it was a tad too juvenile. The setting lacked atmosphere, which is saying something since the school did have the potential of being a perfectly creepy location.Anyway, I'm sure that there are readers who will be able to enjoy much more than I did.
    more
  • Lauren James
    January 1, 1970
    [Gifted]I stayed up until 5am reading this in one glorious burst, and I feel dead today but it was so worth it. If there's anyone in the world I stan, it's Naomi Novik (she MADE ARCHIVE OF OUR OWN!! she writes stories which INFECT MY BRAIN! her plot mechanisms are feats of engineering!) so I was incredibly excited for this. This is a take on the 'magical school' trope, which examines the idea that magic is a free, unlimited resource for students who are good enough at casting. Instead, you have [Gifted]I stayed up until 5am reading this in one glorious burst, and I feel dead today but it was so worth it. If there's anyone in the world I stan, it's Naomi Novik (she MADE ARCHIVE OF OUR OWN!! she writes stories which INFECT MY BRAIN! her plot mechanisms are feats of engineering!) so I was incredibly excited for this. This is a take on the 'magical school' trope, which examines the idea that magic is a free, unlimited resource for students who are good enough at casting. Instead, you have to put real effort into collecting enough energy to cast spells (knitting or doing sit-ups are popular choices). Otherwise, you have to take life force from other living things to cast spells. It's something I examined in my next book The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker, where I wanted to examine the source of ghosts' energy - they have to fight amongst themselves to get the most power, or disintegrate. So this hit me in my sweet spot, in a topic I've thought a lot about recently. It's the most brutal, wonderfully cutthroat world of death and horror, within the closed environment of an ancient, falling apart school made entirely of metal, under siege by creatures desperate to consume the students' magic. The characters are great too: a girl who is destined to be evil, and a boy who is destined to be a hero. Both of them aren't entirely happy with accepting their fates, and rebel against it in different ways. El's mum was also brilliant - I love how the truth about her crept in slowly, starting with little references and growing into something really impressive. The beginning of the novel is a little exposition heavy, but that's only because once it gets going, it literally does not pause for breath until the final page. Novik is a master at setting up a plot to unfurl in a series of staggeringly well-thought out bursts of action, weaving together into an imaginative climax. This is no exception, and I am so, so excited for the sequel. I want more of vicious El and her lovely, besotted Orion.
    more
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Pub date: Sept 2020Loved this so much! This YA urban fantasy is very different from Ms Novik's fairytale-like fantasies Uprooted and Spinning Silver, both of which I loved. Comparing it to some of my other YA favorites, it has the darkness of Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo and the fun snark of In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan.El (Galadriel) Higgins is an angry, beleaguered junior, who is more powerful than anyone knows. Think dark sorceress/devourer of souls, if she lost control. Her classmate Pub date: Sept 2020Loved this so much! This YA urban fantasy is very different from Ms Novik's fairytale-like fantasies Uprooted and Spinning Silver, both of which I loved. Comparing it to some of my other YA favorites, it has the darkness of Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo and the fun snark of In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan.El (Galadriel) Higgins is an angry, beleaguered junior, who is more powerful than anyone knows. Think dark sorceress/devourer of souls, if she lost control. Her classmate, Orion Lake, is the golden boy hero who keeps saving her, much to her chagrin. Their dynamic is fun and very entertaining as they attend a magic school hidden in a void infested with beasties and terrible monsters that they have to continually fight to survive until senior graduation. I loved the magic system, the crazy dangerous school, the character growth in El, and that there is more to come. Ms Novik writes great characters and I can NOT wait for the next one!
    more
  • Navessa
    January 1, 1970
    yes, burn them all, i am with you, my queen yes, burn them all, i am with you, my queen
  • Rachel (rachandbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    Years ago, I discovered a cover and a title to a book that intrigued me immediately. It had a fairytale feel to it, so naturally, I was drawn to it, and upon reading the description, I had a feeling that Naomi Novik would be special to me. And so I picked up Uprooted and read the first page, and I was done for immediately, and by the end, it cemented itself into a list of books that did something good for my heart and soul. My admiration only grew by reading Spinning Silver, a book so perfect I Years ago, I discovered a cover and a title to a book that intrigued me immediately. It had a fairytale feel to it, so naturally, I was drawn to it, and upon reading the description, I had a feeling that Naomi Novik would be special to me. And so I picked up Uprooted and read the first page, and I was done for immediately, and by the end, it cemented itself into a list of books that did something good for my heart and soul. My admiration only grew by reading Spinning Silver, a book so perfect I can’t praise it enough, and it quickly became one of my favorite, most talked-about books. And so, when Naomi Novik announced that she was writing a darker Harry Potter with feminism in mind, I knew that I had to get my hands on it. I also knew that my expectations would be high. I’m excited to say that it did not disappoint, and I’m thrilled that I get to talk about and review it.In A Deadly Education, the Scholomance school is not run by teachers, but by the school itself. In order to graduate from the Scholomance, magically gifted students must stay vigilant and guide themselves to success graduating or die trying. Unfortunately for the students of the school, death can be inevitable, but chances of survival of puberty are better inside of the school than outside of it. In order to avoid an untimely demise, students must never walk the halls alone, and keep in mind that monsters, called maleficaria or “mals” or short, lurk everywhere, waiting for students to let their guard down, and some students are better suited to fight the monsters than others. The school may give you spells if you ask for it; however, it may be in a language the student doesn't know and must learn. Everything the school does is to make or break a student.Galadriel, or El for short, never lets her guard down, and is always preparing for the next task. El is uniquely prepared for the brutal world of the Scholomance, for she has a particular talent for mass destruction and death magic. El is just trying to survive graduating without taking out the rest of her class by accident, remaining a loner that never gets too close, while the hero of the school, and El’s nemesis, Orion Lake, is trying to save everyone he possibly can, no matter the cost. El and Orion come from opposite ends of popularity but form a reluctant alliance when El realizes that Orion needs someone to save him from his hero complex or face the consequences of his actions. This book was a ton of fun. Even though we are all extremely used to the magic school trope, Novik made it feel new again, which I consider a huge accomplishment. If I had to compare it to another magic school book, my first thought would be to Vita Nostra, because both of these books have the same “succeed or die” theme of the school and heroines who refuse to stop fighting for what they want. El is a fantastic MC, and I was rooting for her the whole time. El is smart, driven, and loyal, and even though she has vowed to remain on the outskirts of any kind of real friendships, she starts to let her walls down and show some vulnerabilities. I absolutely adored that her power is so devastating and that no one at the school knows just how deadly it could be. Because El is essentially destined to be evil because of her brand of magic, and Orion is destined to be a hero, they make quite the pair. I cannot wait to see where their stories go from here.The only part of the book that gives me some pause is that I was expecting it to feel distinctly Adult Fantasy and it instead felt more on the YA side. Which is fine! I just felt like it was marketed way differently. That’s all. Besides that, I have no other complaints at all. I was riveted by this book!The worldbuilding is super fun, and very clever, just as you’d expect from Novik, and the magic felt unique to any I’ve read about. I don’t want to go into too many specifics because it’s entertaining to find out more about the world as you go along, but *how* magic is used can say a lot about someone, and it just further endeared me to El. Novik thought through every inch of the magic system for the Scholomance, and I commend her for it.All of these elements put together made for a fantastical and compelling book that began to crescendo to a point where I could not put the book down. It’s a subverted heroes’ journey with magic, adventure, humor, and intrigue abound. I was basically screaming at the ending and already cannot wait to read the second book in the series. Naomi Novik is truly such a special writer, and she has shown us once again how wonderful her storytelling is in A Deadly Education.4.5 stars!
    more
  • Shawn Speakman
    January 1, 1970
    Woo! So good! Will write a much longer review when I’m allowed. I’ll just say Naomi always delivers in new and unexpected ways.
  • Madison
    January 1, 1970
    Anyone who has read any of my reviews knows I'm a huge Novik fan. I uphold her as an example of what happens when someone puts in the work to tell thoughtful stories and develop their craft.Unfortunately, it seems she's come out on the other side of that continuum, and has written a self-indulgent, overly precious slog of a book.The premise is interesting--a school that's bent on killing its students, a handsome but overbearing hero, and a grouchy and begrudgingly powerful sorceress in the middl Anyone who has read any of my reviews knows I'm a huge Novik fan. I uphold her as an example of what happens when someone puts in the work to tell thoughtful stories and develop their craft.Unfortunately, it seems she's come out on the other side of that continuum, and has written a self-indulgent, overly precious slog of a book.The premise is interesting--a school that's bent on killing its students, a handsome but overbearing hero, and a grouchy and begrudgingly powerful sorceress in the middle of it all. Uprooted and Spinning Silver are dark, rich, beautifully told stories. I was so excited to see Novik's take on this concept--I expected it to be exciting and fanciful and vivid, like her other works.A Deadly Education, by contrast, is hampered by absolutely constant editorializing and description. The premise is complicated, sure, but the first chapter is a massive info-dump during which absolutely nothing happens except El, the narrator, explaining her world to the reader. I assumed once I crossed that hurdle, the actual story would begin. But action sequences, and conversations, and literally anything else that happens is couched in massive paragraphs of context. Even as El is walking into the mouth of an enormous flesh-eating monster, she's describing the history of the monsters, and how her mom feels about them, and how they live at school, and on and on and on and on. This book is like a 300-page stream-of-consciousness description of this school and El's family history with little snippets of story thrown in around it. I found myself skimming massive swaths of this book because the pages and pages of information weren't relevant to what was happening. There's absolutely a situation of "too much of a good thing" here. Novik seems so in love with the world she created that she neglected to actually do anything with it. An info dump in the beginning of a book is surmountable. An entire book that's just an info dump is not.This is tonally and structurally completely different than her recent work and has more in common with Temeraire in that it's slow and meandering as hell. Obviously she's gotten to the point in her career where she can write anything and someone will publish it, and that's great. But this could have been a sharp and interesting story with some serious cuts, and it is instead absolutely the opposite.
    more
  • Umairah | Sereadipity
    January 1, 1970
    What do you get when you mix a deadly magic school full of monsters and Naomi Novik?a) a dark book with a strong female leadb) a bunch of excited bookworms still waiting for their Hogwarts lettersc) a world you could get lost in and never find your way outd) all of the above
    more
  • Jules ✨
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Edelweiss and Del Rey Books for the ARC.
  • Vee
    January 1, 1970
    Year 7 Harry Potter meets Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, except Faithmione is the main character and the school wants to eat you.4.5/5I'm a huge fan of Novik's Uprooted and Spinning Silver (I haven't read her earlier books,) these two books have always skewed sliiiiightly on the literary fantasy side for me and so, I had specific expectations with what I was going to get in A Deadly Education. And, it was unlike anything I have ever read from Novik. I did not expect this book to be as fun Year 7 Harry Potter meets Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, except Faithmione is the main character and the school wants to eat you.4.5/5I'm a huge fan of Novik's Uprooted and Spinning Silver (I haven't read her earlier books,) these two books have always skewed sliiiiightly on the literary fantasy side for me and so, I had specific expectations with what I was going to get in A Deadly Education. And, it was unlike anything I have ever read from Novik. I did not expect this book to be as funny as it was. Novik clearly had a rollicking time coming up with the myriad of insults flung about by Galadriel (El) Higgins, which were predominantly directed at Orion out-loud, but El was an equal opportunity hater in her head. El is Welsh/Indian and a Junior at the Scholomance, which is a multicultural UK based magic school built to protect the students. They need protection because as teenagers come into their power (or mana,) they become ripe pickings for various demon species (maleficaria/mals) to feast on. (Basically, puberty but ten times worse.) The Scholomance has no teachers, is alive and essentially acts as a fortress/prison; keeping students locked inside and keeping the mals out. The problem is that the mals can sense all that juicy power sitting behind the walls, so untold numbers are gathering in the siphoned off graduation hall feasting on each other and trying to gain entrance into the Scholomance. Too bad they have to wait until graduation day.All of the students in the Scholomance are just trying to survive. They faction off into enclaves, which not only gives them a powerful post-school alliance but allows them to tap into shared mana sources. This ultimately makes the popular kids the ones with the most power and the unpopular kids cannon fodder. Anyone who is not already in an enclave spends the majority of their time trying to get into one because it is the only way for them to survive graduation day... maybe. The fight for a space in an enclave is akin to the academic fervour created around getting a space at a top university. El is not in an enclave, she has a secret that would make her a shoe-in but people really don't like her. She is (hilariously) rude and bitter, intentionally friendless and there is something about her that immediately turns everyone off - even the majority of her family. She could go dark at any moment, she has the potential to destroy the entire school and everyone in it if she loses self-control and because of that she is a fortress within herself. No-one gets in. She doesn't trust own power and she doesn't trust any of her peers. Orion Lake is her nemesis. The bright, shining, chosen one. Fast-tracked into the New York enclave because of who his mother is. Insufferable saviour of all, lacking in an sort of self-preservation. And El hates him because he has saved her life far too many times. These two characters are on very different trajectories, yet they're both flirting with a danger that could destroy them. No wonder there is a story to be told there... There was a lot to love about this book. El was an incredibly engaging main character. On the surface she may appear to be a bit one-note but her arc was something to behold. The best way I can think of to describe it is, reclaiming but staying true to the core of herself. Her interactions with some of the female secondary characters were not only important to the overall plot but extremely vital to El's character evolution and I adored it. The more I think about her, the more complex she becomes. Orion also turned out to be quite layered but I get the feeling we have only just scratched the surface there. The world of the Scholomance was detailed. There may be some that don't get on well with the way that El teaches us about day-to-day life - I can see the cries of "this book is entirely info-dump until the third act" a mile off. But, I was completely bewitched by it all. There was a reason for everything. Novik has thought incredibly hard about the way in which magic operates within this world, even down to mundane things like showering and hair length. And if there is one thing that I love more than anything in fantasy, it is a well thought out magic system that has action and consequence. The sections where El goes in heavy on enclaves or the ways in which lessons work or why certain alliances exist were some of my favourite parts because I could not get enough of this world. There were a few occasions where it felt a bit repetitive, but not enough to bore me. In fact, I was voraciously reading this book until 2:30am this morning because I couldn't put it down. I really loved the way in which Novik subverted a lot of tropes but still managed to keep the essence of why we love certain tropes. I'm actually not sure how she managed to pull it off, but she did! And finally, to go back to my earlier comment about how funny this book is. I've watched Naomi Novik take part in a few Q&As with the recent uptake in virtual events, as well as the new Penguin Random House 'Great Fantasy Debate' online series. This was all before I was given the opportunity to read an early version of this book. I have never been to a Novik event and I had never seen her talk before. So prior to diving into A Deadly Education, I had remarked about how funny she was and how you don't really see that nerdy wit reflected in Uprooted or Spinning Silver, but you get oodles of it in her new book. I don't know her and this is only based upon scant few virtual events but, the tone of this book feels more married to who Novik is as person. Not that that changes my opinion of her earlier books, but it's nice to see an author pour a lot of themselves into their writing.
    more
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this! This is about how our heroine’s life goes through a total turn about in the space of a year. The setting of the school was so well thought out and absolutely nothing like Hogwarts! El (Galadriel) is a girl I thoroughly empathised with from the beginning, although I’m not sure what that says about me! Many thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book.
    more
  • Meaghan
    January 1, 1970
    If I could submit a review that was literally just me screaming for 5 hours, I would. Honestly this book is fantastic on so, so many levels but the ending is making it really really hard to think about anything else (in a good way!)There has been waves of magic school 'knock-offs' since Harry Potter and it's insane success, but I can say with full confidence that this is literally the most unique and amazing magic school novel I've ever read, with the most fascinating and interesting magic syste If I could submit a review that was literally just me screaming for 5 hours, I would. Honestly this book is fantastic on so, so many levels but the ending is making it really really hard to think about anything else (in a good way!)There has been waves of magic school 'knock-offs' since Harry Potter and it's insane success, but I can say with full confidence that this is literally the most unique and amazing magic school novel I've ever read, with the most fascinating and interesting magic system on top of that. A school that literally tries to kill you but is still a safer option than not going? Unique distinctions between types of energy sources, affinities, AND different tracks of magic? There is literally so much to learn about this world and I could honestly just have read a guidebook and rated it five stars too, without the absolutely fantastic story and characters to match. I'm not going to go too much into the plot and characters because people need to go into this book with no spoilers but??? It was just so good??? I love El on so many levels (won't say which, spoilers), Orion is fantastic, and there are some amazing side characters as well. Even the characters that wholeheartedly suck do it in such a well-written way that you still appreciate their suckiness even if you hate them. Then the plot itself is filled with so much intrigue and mystery, so many twists and turns, and a whole lot of dark demons trying to eat your soul. Honestly this is everything I want in magic school novels (and I think Naomi was genius in getting rid of the actual teachers). I'm seriously dying to read what happens next, but until that time, I'm going to definitely recommend this book to everyone I know (including you! read this book!)
    more
  • Jackie ϟ Bookseller
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.3.5/5 stars: ★★★1/2☆"Reader, I ran the fuck away."Y'all, this was pretty good. Witty, dark, and dangerous. A Deadly Education, just like the magical students it follows, starts out slow and uncertain, but gradually becomes deadly fun. The world-building is both exciting and scary, like if Hogwarts got dropped into Hades with all the students still inside, and their only way of graduating is fighting I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.3.5/5 stars: ★★★1/2☆"Reader, I ran the fuck away."Y'all, this was pretty good. Witty, dark, and dangerous. A Deadly Education, just like the magical students it follows, starts out slow and uncertain, but gradually becomes deadly fun. The world-building is both exciting and scary, like if Hogwarts got dropped into Hades with all the students still inside, and their only way of graduating is fighting their way out through thousands of monsters. Meanwhile, the main character El is snarky, revolutionary, and hilarious, all the while teetering on the edge of evil. Her counterpart, Orion, is the "male hero trope" turned inside-out by the end of the tale, and readers are left wanting to know so much more about him. This was so much fun, but "fun" like a roller coaster ride where you're fighting evil creatures that are trying to consume your magical life force and everyone else on the ride is silently hoping you get eaten before they do, with some friendship, subtle romance, and adventure sprinkled in. Fun!
    more
  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    I AM POSITIVELY SURE I AM DREAMING! THIS MUST BE A DREAM, RIGHT?!? *swoons*
  • destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
    January 1, 1970
    I am SO EXCITED and also this cover is just... *wistful sigh* I love. So simple yet flawless.
  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    When I read the series name, Scholomance, my first thoughts are World of Warcraft.
  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS SOUNDS AWESOME AND THAT COVER, AAAH EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS SOUNDS AWESOME AND THAT COVER, AAAH
Write a review