Title: A Deadly Education
Author: Naomi Novik
Published by: Cornerstone
Release date: 29th September 2020
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.
Firstly, a big thank you to the the publisher for sending me a copy of A Deadly Education to review via Netgalley!
A new book by Naomi Novik? Set in a dark and deadly magical school? AND the first in a series? Instant addition to my tbr. I had high expectations for A Deadly Education and it did not disappoint!
A Deadly Education takes place in the Scholomance, a deadly boarding school for people with magical powers. The school has no teachers and no access to the outside world — it’s a school where you must be on alert at all times, and walk in groups to avoid being attacked by the monsters that lurk in the halls and hide in classrooms. Each year, the school rotates the students down, closer and closer to the deadly graduation hall where they must fight their way back out. Having close friends in the Scholomance is a bad idea, unless you’re prepared to lose them, and the only way to survive graduation is to join an alliance, or, even better, an enclave.
Our main character, El, is the queen of sarcasm with an affinity for destruction, and is convinced that she doesn’t need anyone — although she does desperately need to join an alliance to have any hope of surviving graduation, which makes things difficult. She gets by through making trades with fellow students, and is generally reluctant to make friends, until her tentative alliance with two neighbouring students blossoms into the heartwarming beginning of a friendship. We also have a romance that is enemies-to-friends-to-maybe-something-more excellence, and which was as sweet as it was entertaining. El is irritated at Orion Lake, New York enclave member with a penchant for saving his fellow students, when he saves her life for the third time. She is determined to hate him, and certainly doesn’t want to become friends with him, but she remains completely oblivious to the fact that Orion does indeed like her. In other words, I loved their dynamic!
I did find that this book was slightly info-dumpy at times, especially at the beginning — it was a lot to take in without a lot of world-building, but once I got stuck in and really started to understand the dynamics of the school, I was completely and utterly addicted, and I was whizzing through it. A Deadly Education is so different in tone than what I’ve come to love and expect from Naomi Novik, but it was so fun and refreshing, and I’m excited for more.
Fast-paced, with high personal stakes, and filled to the brim with monsters of every kind, A Deadly Education sucked me in and would not spit me back out until the last page was turned. And even then, that last line had me desperate for more. I am so glad that this is the first book in a series, because that gives me the perfect excuse to reread it again before the sequel!