The specter of graduation looms large as Naomi Novik’s groundbreaking, New York Times bestselling trilogy continues in the stunning sequel to A Deadly Education.
In Wisdom, Shelter. That’s the official motto of the Scholomance. I suppose you could even argue that it’s true—only the wisdom is hard to come by, so the shelter’s rather scant.
Our beloved school does its best to devour all its students—but now that I’ve reached my senior year and have actually won myself a handful of allies, it’s suddenly developed a very particular craving for me. And even if I somehow make it through the endless waves of maleficaria that it keeps throwing at me in between grueling homework assignments, I haven’t any idea how my allies and I are going to make it through the graduation hall alive.
Unless, of course, I finally accept my foretold destiny of dark sorcery and destruction. That would certainly let me sail straight out of here. The course of wisdom, surely.
But I’m not giving in—not to the mals, not to fate, and especially not to the Scholomance. I’m going to get myself and my friends out of this hideous place for good—even if it’s the last thing I do.
With keen insight and mordant humor, Novik reminds us that sometimes it is not enough to rewrite the rules—sometimes, you need to toss out the entire rulebook.
The magic of the Scholomance trilogy will continue in 2022
Picking up immediately after A Deadly Education, Novak offers an engrossing continuation of her dark fantasy series set at the deadly Scholomance boarding school. Galadriel "El" Higgins, a prophesied future dark sorceress and current high school senior, worries she has a target on her back after she and Orion Lake helped wipe out most of the monstrous maleficaria, or "mals," that prowl the school and prey on students. Then she learns that the school itself has a driving, supernatural need to protect as many magical children as it can, however it can and it thinks this year's senior class will be the ones to fix the endemic problems with its system, forcing loner El to work together with her classmates. The propulsive plot and high stakes make for gripping reading, but readers hooked on the enemies-to-lovers dynamic established in book one will be frustrated that Orion has so little to do here and so few scenes with El. An extremely abrupt cliffhanger comes on the last page, which will have readers chomping at the bit for the next installment but leave many frustrated, especially as it threatens to undercut the book's themes of breaking damaging cycles and finding a solution to systemic inequality in collective action. Readers will hope for answers in the finale. \n