The Scholomance Series #BookReview #YA #Fantasy

A Deadly Education (Book 1)

I decided that Orion Lake needed to die after the second time he saved my life. Everyone loves Orion Lake. Everyone else, that is. Far as I’m concerned, he can keep his flashy combat magic to himself. I’m not joining his pack of adoring fans. I don’t need help surviving the Scholomance, even if they do. Forget the hordes of monsters and cursed artifacts, I’m probably the most dangerous thing in the place. Just give me a chance and I’ll level mountains and kill untold millions, make myself the dark queen of the world. At least, that’s what the world expects. Most of the other students in here would be delighted if Orion killed me like one more evil thing that’s crawled out of the drains. Sometimes I think they want me to turn into the evil witch they assume I am. The school certainly does. But the Scholomance isn’t getting what it wants from me. And neither is Orion Lake. I may not be anyone’s idea of the shining hero, but I’m going to make it out of this place alive, and I’m not going to slaughter thousands to do it, either. Although I’m giving serious consideration to just one.

The Last Graduate (Book2)

In Wisdom, Shelter. That’s the official motto of the Scholomance. I suppose you could even argue that it’s true—only the wisdom is hard to come by, so the shelter’s rather scant. Our beloved school does its best to devour all its students—but now that I’ve reached my senior year and have actually won myself a handful of allies, it’s suddenly developed a very particular craving for me. And even if I somehow make it through the endless waves of maleficaria that it keeps throwing at me in between grueling homework assignments, I haven’t any idea how my allies and I are going to make it through the graduation hall alive. Unless, of course, I finally accept my foretold destiny of dark sorcery and destruction. That would certainly let me sail straight out of here. The course of wisdom, surely. But I’m not giving in—not to the mals, not to fate, and especially not to the Scholomance. I’m going to get myself and my friends out of this hideous place for good—even if it’s the last thing I do.

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.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

23 Replies to “The Scholomance Series #BookReview #YA #Fantasy”

  1. Oh, wow, Tessa.. what a fantastic review! I was intrigued by this before but now I’m actually excited to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes too much exposition can turn me off from a book, but this series sounds like it has plenty going for it. I’m sure fans of YA will love it. Great review, Tessa!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My first thought when you mentioned magic school was that everyone would compare this new novel series to Harry Potter. I get a bit exhausted by that, as if Rowling as cornered the market on magic schools. In fact, there is a review on Goodreads of the first trilogy in the Mercedes Lackey books set in Valdemar that I read that says it’s a rip off of Harry Potter because there is a school for people who learn mind magic. The Lackey trilogy was published in the mid-to-late 1980s… I hope Novik’s books get a fair shot and aren’t compared too heavily!

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    1. It is so original, I hated even mentioning HP for fear it would associate one with the other. Everyone who has read it has loved it so fingers-crossed.

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  4. I have to agree with you about the dialogue – it was a lot to slog through at times. I’m reading one now that’s around 500 pages, but it’s flying by because there’s so much dialogue.

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  5. I’ve been wondering about this series. Great review, I”m so glad you enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s an excellent series. So fresh and original! And the main character is so easy to fall in love with ❤️. Hope you give it a try!


  6. Great point about dense writing. I’ve noticed how 250 pages can feel like 100 or 500. Usually, there’s more than one, but dialog is a big one. 🙂 Otherwise sounds good!

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