Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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


Title: A Deadly Education (Scholomance, #1)

Author: Naomi Novik

Pages: 336

Publisher: Cornerstone Digital

Release Date: 29th September 2020


Blurb from Goodreads:

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.

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

My Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Random House UK, Cornerstone and NetGalley*

Galadriel 'El' Higgins attends a school for magic where there are no teachers, but there is an infestation of creatures that try to eat the students.

El doesn't have any friends, partly due to her prickly attitude, which is a problem if she wants to survive graduation. Which she does. El needs to make an alliance with some of the other students in order to make it through the infested graduation hall, something many students die attempting to do each year.

El is a powerful - evil sorceress powerful according to a prophecy - but can she control that power and use it to survive?

I nearly DNF'd this book after the very first chapter as it was pretty much a huge info-dump. However, I continued reading and I'm glad that I did.

El was a good protagonist and I liked her most of the time, but there were a couple of occasions when her prickly demeanour did grate on my nerves a little bit. However, I thought the way she acted was understandable given what she'd been through. I enjoyed reading El's interactions with other characters, especially Orion.

Orion Lake was treated as the school hero because he kept saving people from the student-killing monsters and it was interesting to find out more about him.

The setting of the school was interesting, especially the idea of there being no teachers and the students essentially being left to fend for themselves. I really liked the idea of some books disappearing for years at a time and having to tell them how special etc they are to make sure they stay with you.

The magic was intriguing, especially needing to have energy - mana (light) or malia (dark) - to be able to do spells. I liked that to get mana you had to do things like push ups and crochet.

The info-dumps were definitely my least favourite thing about the book - there were some in odd places and some that felt overly long (see the first chapter). There also wasn't really that much that actually happened plot-wise. This book definitely focuses on the relationships between the students, which was probably due to it being the first book in the series, and while I did enjoy getting to know the intricacies of school-life, I would have liked a bit more plot.

I liked the diversity at the school. El herself was half-Indian, half-British.

There was a hint of romance, which was just the right amount for me. I think any more wouldn't have worked.

The writing style was easy enough to follow, but most of the time it did feel like I was being told things rather than shown them.

I am planning to continue with the series, mainly because of the cliffhanger at the end of the book which has me very intrigued to see what happens next.

This may not have been a gripping, on-the-edge-of-my-seat read for me, but it was instead a book that slowly lured me in and kept me entertained.

This may not be a perfect book, but it was an enjoyable read overall.

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