The Last Graduate
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 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.
“The climactic graduation-day battle will bring cheers, tears, and gasps as the second of the Scholomance trilogy closes with a breathtaking cliff-hanger.”—Booklist (starred review)
HUGO AWARD FINALIST • LOCUS AWARD FINALIST • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Polygon, Thrillist, She Reads
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 continues in The Golden Enclaves
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.
Ow my feelings
Wow just about broke my heart and now I gotta wait for the next one 🥲
I would have given this a five star if not for the cliffhanger
A solid entry for the middle of the Scholomance
The Scholomance series is slated to be a trilogy, making this book the middle volume. In trilogies that’s the hardest one to pull off. The author has to build on the story setup from the entry book without recapping it too much, and go on to set up for the conclusion in the final volume. But the book also has to stand on its own.
Novik succeeds with a story that continues the development of her characters as they move on to face challenges that take things to a new level. There are some good plot twists and surprises capped at the end by a real cliffhanger - just as the first volume did.
If there is one drawback to the story, it’s the way the main character El spends a lot of time filling out events with extra details and observations that provide a lot of context, but at the cost of slowing the story down at times.
But, this also sets the stage for revelations and insights as the story progresses - and puts a fair number of “Chekhov guns” on the wall. Quite a few of them are likely to go off in the final volume.
This series is a hero’s journey - coming of age tale; we get to see El and the cast of females around her play out what is more often the kind of story reserved for male characters.
The one primary male character, Orion Lake, gets fleshed out a bit more, but we also get to see how limited his life has been. He’s only starting to realize how much more there is to living towards the end of this book. In a way he demonstrates how narrow the classic ‘young hero’ can be as a clichéd stock archetype.
A good read - which makes the wait for the final volume all that more irritating.