A Deadly Education - Naomi Novik (ARC)
"Lesson One of the Scholomance
Learning has never been this deadly
A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students."
I received an E-ARC of A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik for free on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much to Naomi Novik, Del Rey UK, Random House UK and NetGalley for this opportunity!
A Deadly Education focuses on a magical school - The Scholomance - which is far from your usual run of the mill school. Here the students must have their wits about them and be aware twenty-four seven because there are only two options for the students who attend here - either they graduate or they die!
Our protagonist is Galadriel, but she prefers to go by El. She is tough, headstrong and learnt from an early age that she has to rely on herself. She has a close relationship with her mother but they don't have an enclave to protect them and her power tends to turn most people away from her the moment they meet, even her fathers' side of the family in Mumbai aren't immune to her destructive potential.
I really enjoyed El as a character and loved her personality. I mean she's named after a character from the Lord of the Rings, how can I not love her?! She can come across as a bit rude and jarring at first but ultimately she is a scared kid who has been ostracised and pushed away her whole life. Her main focus is trying to survive through the day. Throughout the book you get to experience her great sense of humour and biting sarcasm, you come to realise that deep down she wants to be liked but she is scared of rejection which has followed her her whole life. I found her character development really endearing and it was great to see the length she would go to so she could protect those that she has come to care about.
El forms an uneasy truce with Orion after he happens to save her life one day - not that she actually needed the help of course. He is popular, powerful and has a massive hero complex. He wants so badly to be able to save everyone in the school even at a complete detriment to himself. The dynamic between Orion & El was so fun to read, I'm excited to see where their peculiar relationship leads to next.
The worldbuilding was amazing, especially considering that the story is mostly set in The Scholomance which was really interesting and unique. Plus, I really liked the magic system, it was intriguing without being complicated and definitely very brutal! The students definitely had to on be on their guard all the time to make sure that they'd survive. I don't know why but reading this definitely reminded me of being back in law school - however the fearsome monster trying to destroy me was called Equity & Trusts law!
This was the first book that I've read by Naomi Novik and I'm definitely going to be reading more! I loved her writing style and the pace of the book was perfect for me, I'm so excited to see what happens next in the series.
A Deadly Education is a story of friendship with daring escapades and incredible twists, it is one that you don't want to miss!
Thank you so much to Naomi Novik, Del Rey UK, Random House UK and NetGalley for this opportunity!