The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik #Backlist #BookReview #MagicSchool #fantasy #YA

Saving the world is a test no school of magic can prepare you for in the triumphant conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Deadly Education and The Last Graduate.

The one thing you never talk about while you’re in the Scholomance is what you’ll do when you get out. Not even the richest enclaver would tempt fate that way. But it’s all we dream about, the hideously slim chance we’ll survive to make it out the gates and improbably find ourselves with a life ahead of us, a life outside the Scholomance halls.

And now the impossible dream has come true. I’m out, we’re all out–and I didn’t even have to turn into a monstrous dark witch to make it happen. So much for my great-grandmother’s prophecy of doom and destruction. I didn’t kill enclavers, I saved them. Me, and Orion, and our allies. Our graduation plan worked to perfection: we saved everyone and made the world safe for all wizards and brought peace and harmony to all the enclaves of the world.

Ha, only joking! Actually it’s gone all wrong. Someone else has picked up the project of destroying enclaves in my stead, and probably everyone we saved is about to get killed in the brewing enclave war on the horizon. And the first thing I’ve got to do now, having miraculously got out of the Scholomance, is turn straight around and find a way back in.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik is the third and final book in The Scholomance trilogy, which is the story about a uniquely disturbing magical school. This is a series that should be started with book one.

Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):

I loved the other two books in this series, so I’m expecting to have the story brought to its conclusion in this third and final book.

Actual Reading Experience:

I’ve written this review with enough brevity to not spoil any of the books in the trilogy. I love so many things about this series, and I mention many of them in the sections below this one.

This is the conclusion of a trilogy, and I love how it ended. Everything was not tied up with a nice, neat bow, and I found that perfect for a story where nothing is perfect or ideal. But it was concluded in a way that made my reader’s heart happy.

So on to the other wonderful attributes of the series:


I love El. She is so cleverly crafted with complex layers and scars that shape her into the anti-hero that she is. She is insecure and hides that behind an indifferent facade that has enabled her to survive in her world. She has a snarky way of thinking and talking that I enjoy, reflecting her relatable wit and intellect.

Narration & Pacing:

El narrates this story in the first person. I think any narration would work, but El is a fascinating character, so it’s always interesting to be in her head. The pacing was my only issue with this book in the trilogy, and I don’t remember having this issue with the other two books. Still, The Golden Enclaves became very slow for me on numerous occasions despite all of the actions and dire situations. It really surprised me how slow it read.


The story is set, as are the other two books, at a magical school in the void called Scholomance.  This is a unique school that changes to fit the needs of the students. Also, it is inhabited by monsters that the students are not safe from. I love the oddness of the school and what it represents in a society that is far different than our own.

Read it if you like:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Snarky dialogue
  • Anti-hero main character
  • Magic & a magic school setting
  • A pace that varies
  • A character-driven story

Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

  • Originality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Writing Quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Pace: ⭐⭐💫
  • Character Development: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • ‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • World-Building: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

17 Replies to “The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik #Backlist #BookReview #MagicSchool #fantasy #YA”

    1. It ended just right rather than the easier happily ever after. It is a perfectly imperfect ending for perfectly imperfect characters.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a satisfying end to the trilogy. I’m glad you enjoyed it all. I wonder why this last book seemed to drag a little? Usually, the last book has the most action and moves faster.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that I’m looking at it that way – the bigger action book was the second. This one was more of an internal struggle, which I could see that going a bit slower.


    1. It is a very interesting take on a magic school – the reason it exists and what’s inside are very original ideas. And the romance is like an anti-romance romance, which is also very interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They are for sure but I enjoyed that about it. It gave the story layers that were very compelling.


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