A Deadly Education (Book 1)
The Last Graduate (Book2)
Book 3 (currently untitled) is coming in 2022
This review is on Books 1 and 2 of the series.
What I Loved
The Scholomance Series by Naomi Novik is an exciting, original, and fascinating story of a magical school and its students. El, the main character, is the story for me, and I adore the character. She sets the tone and pace of the book, which is sardonic and fast, respectively. El (Galadriel) is a strong young woman who doesn’t see herself as others see her. She thinks everyone sees a black cloud destined to doom life as they know it, as was predicted by her father’s family when she was born. What I see is a young woman coming into her own. She’s a natural-born leader who solves problems creatively and with ease. Her magical powers are beyond compare, and her relationships are held solid and firm in mutual respect and love. She is one of the best, most admirable characters I have experienced in a long time, and the growth she has been experiencing during this story leaves me in awe.
I also adored her pet mouse, Precious, who is intelligent and sassy, just like El. A pet has never reflected its person more than Precious does El, and it adds bits of humor throughout the story. And how fun is it that the small group of friends she surrounds herself with each has their per mice, and they all carry them in a container around their necks.
The themes in the story are universal. The prophecy versus free will theme reflects the importance of not letting other people define us and the importance of our choices. At the same time, the theme of community is probably the most important one. The kids in this school tend to think on individual terms—every man for himself and survival of the fittest. There is no room for “we.” Only thinking of the “I” is how you might survive. Yet each student longs to be part of an enclave. The students who were born into one are the most likely to survive this school. They have the means and the resources to aid them. They traverse this dangerous world in a pack rather than as individuals.
Lastly, the romance between El and Orion Lake is funny and sweet and adds truly heartwarming components to the story. Orion has made it his mission to save everybody from killer mals that infiltrate the school anytime a portal is opened. El quickly became the one he enjoyed saving the most. In book 1, A Deadly Education, El realizes that Orion is around her a lot, and her reaction is priceless. There is much about them that fits, and it is to the point where it feels like they are two parts of a whole.
I’ve already said a lot about El, but she is also surrounded by the most well-developed support characters that I just loved reading about. Aadhya, Chloe, and the rest are a collection of misfit toys that don’t have an enclave and enclave friends. Their friendship is solid and true, and the genuineness feels right.
Reminds Me Of
You would think a magical school would resemble Harry Potter, but it is nothing like Harry Potter. I find it a fresh and original story.
What I Wish
My only wish is that there was more dialogue in the story. With a large amount of exposition, I sometimes felt like I was reading and reading and not advancing very many pages. The story is very dense, and more dialogue would free it up and make the pages turn more quickly.
To Read or Not to Read
If you love original fantasy stories with incredible world-building and characters that shine with relatable quirks and issues, you need to read the Scholomance series today.