A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
Themes: Fantasy, YA, historical fiction, romance, paranormal creatures,
Trigger warnings/Potential concerns for readers: Death, gore, violent deaths,
Format: I received an E-Arc copy from NetGalley but I believe it will be available in hardback, audiobook and kindle. You can check the book out here.
Price: £13.99 at Waterstones.
Rating: 4 STARS
Release date: 29/09/2020
I feel like I always start my NetGalley review posts like “wow, I can’t believe I got approved to read this” or something to that affect, but I swear it’s the truth haha.
I get a lot aka most of my book recommendations from social media, so when everyone on book twitter started hyping up Naomi Novik’s new novel I knew it was time to jump on the bandwagon. I’ve previously read Spinning Silver also by Novik and loved it, Uprooted has been on my tbr list for an age so I was so excited to read this!
Enter a school of magic unlike any you have ever encountered.
There are no teachers, no holidays, friendships are purely strategic, and the odds of survival are never equal.
Once you’re inside, there are only two ways out: you graduate or you die.
El Higgins is uniquely prepared for the school’s many dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out untold millions – never mind easily destroy the countless monsters that prowl the school.
Except, she might accidentally kill all the other students, too. So El is trying her hardest not to use it… that is, unless she has no other choice.
A Deadly Education is one of those incredible novels where even though you’ve only read a few chapters you just know you’re going to devour the whole thing. This is a pretty fast paced book, though I did find that there was a bit of an info dump throughout the book but I guess with a new series and one where there’s a magical element, it’s kinda needed. We do get to learn about how The Scholomance works, the magic system and the climate/world outside of the school, basically life in Novik’s new world is brutal. I hope this is explored in the rest of the series though.
I found A Deadly Education to be really well written though a very different style to Spinning Silver (the only other Naomi Novik book I’ve read), I also I really enjoyed the world building. Like I mentioned before, there’s a lot happening in this book and it can be a little hard to keep track of but the world building is very intricate and sets up the rest of the series.
I’ll be honest, I did not know what to expect with this book, I thought it would be some sort of Hogwarts/St Trinian’s mix up. Where everybody’s a Slytherin and off battling dementors everyday. Hogwarts it is not, this is dark academia (I googled dark academia and feel fairly confident A Deadly Education falls under this category!), life at The Scholomance is merciless, only half of the seniors survive graduation! A lot does happen in this story, the characters are constantly on the go but I’m also really interested in what’ll happen in the next book.
Galadriel or El as she prefers is the brilliantly strong and incredibly rude main character, normally I can’t stand rudeness but you can’t help but love and root for her. My heart breaks for El (can we talk about how fab her name is!) she is so lonely and Novik did a great job of this, you can practically taste her longing to belong. I enjoyed reading the snippets from her childhood as I think it helps us to understand why she acts and thinks the way she does. El is very funny, she has this snarky/sarcastic kinda humour that I love. I love how her character develops and her developing friendships. The Scholomance is very cut throat so it’s nice to see genuine friendships develop from being reluctant allies and using each other to actual friends.
There’s not a lot of romance in this book, which for once I’m quite happy about. There was a little hint at the end of the book which sets it up nicely for the rest of the series. There was a little hint at the end of the book which sets it up nicely for the rest of the series, I’m not sure this is even a trope but I’m feeling a reluctant allies to possible lovers vibes though!
Novik’s take on the magical school trope is brilliant and I have very high hopes for the rest of the series.