Friday, 14 August 2020

Review: A Deadly Education (Scholomance #1) by Naomi Novik

I love Naomi Novik's folklore-inspired fantasy novels. One of my all-time favourite books is Spinning Silver, which is a re-imagining of Rumpelstiltskin so I was thrilled to get my hands on an early copy of A Deadly Education. It wasn't quite what I was expecting but I really enjoyed it. Imagine a kind of Harry Potter where everything is out to get you, not just the bad guy!

El (short for Galadriel) has been born into a magical family and is now studying at the Scholomance - a school for magic that (unlike Hogwarts) seems to actively want to kill its students. All El wants to do is learn magic and survive the first year - without the help of popular rich boy Orion. Oh yes, and there's a prophecy that says one day El will bring death and destruction to all the magical enclaves in the world...

Naomi Novik has created an amazing, original and incredibly detailed world. Sometimes it's best to just go with the flow rather than try to understand everything. The story is fast-paced (with near-death experiences in practically every chapter) and completely thrilling. I truly had no idea what was going to happen next. Part of the fun is to see El slowly forced to make friends - she is so used to people assuming she's into dark magic, she has always kept her distance from everyone and prefers to work out things on her own. Her relationship with Orion (who is determined to save everyone, whether they want it or not) is also sweet and funny.

A Deadly Education is a school-of-magic story with a slightly darker edge that Naomi Novik's regular readers will love. It should also appeal to fans of authors such as Soman Chainani (The School for Good and Evil). I loved El and Orion, and was completely swept away by the novel's originality and exuberance. I can't wait for the next one!

Thank you to Naomi Novik and Del Ray/Cornerstone for my copy of this book, which I requested via NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.

A Deadly Education will be released on 29th September 2020

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