From the New York Times bestselling author of Uprooted and Spinning Silver comes the story of an unwilling dark sorceress who is destined to rewrite the rules of magic. With flawless mastery, Naomi Novik creates a heroine for the ages—a character so sharply realized and so richly nuanced that she will live on in hearts and minds for generations to come.
We rounded up a couple of bookworms to share their first impressions of Naomi Novik's latest tale of magic and adventure, A Deadly Education. We've got Your Tita Kate, Prin of Princess and Pages, Salve of Cuckoo for Books, and Shealea of Shut Up, Shealea.
Read their thoughts below.
Kate says: I'm intrigued! I started reading it over the weekend and really find myself drawn into the universe Naomi Novik created her. For me, the best speculative fiction books let the readers jump into the deep end of the pool, so to speak, but toss in floaties very quickly. The balance between exposition and good storytelling is a thin line, but so far it seems like the author has an incredibly good grasp of that.
Prin says: I'm really loving the main character El. She is deliciously feisty without being annoying. She is definitely not your average YA heroine, nor is she a stereotypical anti-hero. The book starts really strong. There is no sense of gradual build up, you just know that you'll have to do your best to keep up with El, and I'm saying that as a compliment. I also love how the world building is not just there as a backdrop, but it's a dynamic element that really affects the plot. I feel like Scholomance is really a character on its own.
Salve says: From the first sentence of A Deadly Education, I was hooked—what a way to start off a novel! Within the next paragraph, I was already completely charmed by the heroine, El. Even though in the book, her character is shunned by her peers for being an strange outsider, as a reader, her quick wit & dark sense of humor were utterly entertaining. I loved getting to brave the dangerous world of the Scholomance by her side!
Shealea says: Right from the get-go, A Deadly Education lives up to its title: a school where learning powerful magic can mean losing yourself or losing your life. More specifically, it introduces the dangerously high stakes imposed on Scholomance students who can either succumb to dark magic (and risk corrupting themselves) or fall prey to monsters or their own classmates. My first impression of El, our protagonist in A Deadly Education, is angsty, resentful, and viciously determined. Her immense power makes her both a threat and a liability -- and this puts her at a very precarious position within the school.
Kate says: The concept of magical schools in fantasy has always been fascinating - my personal fave is the Earthsea series - so I'm really excited about this trope being reworked to be darker and more feminist. Looking forward to ravenous monsters and dark academia aesthetics!
Prin says: I'm looking forward to El's character development. Will she show a sweeter, gentler side? Will she make real friends?
I also really want to see how she will find a way to control her strength. I want her to finally have her moment, and be able to showcase her impressive potential without worrying about harming others. I am thrilled with the direction Naomi Novik is taking us in showing that evil is not defined by who we are (in terms of race, gender or family background), but by the choices that we make every day. I can tell there's still a lot more to discover and learn from this book.
Salve says: I can’t wait to see the rest of El’s journey to graduation, and perhaps in the sequels see a little bit more of the magical world outside of the school!
Shealea says: I'm anticipating a lot of huge twists and stomach-turning suspense in this book. But most of all, I'm looking forward to seeing El strategize her way to graduating from Scholomance and securing her future.
Kate says: Death. Chaos. Darkness.
Prin says: Immersive, unique, unapologetic.
Salve says: Cheeky, fearless, and fascinating.
Shealea says: Grim, angsty, and ominous.
Where to find these bookworms
Pre-order A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik at Fully Booked Online.