A Deadly Education is book one in The Scholomance series by Naomi Novik.
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.
A Deadly Education is the first book by Naomi Novik that I have read and it has me hooked. A Deadly Education has been described as a dark Harry Potter novel and it does have key aspects of Harry Potter.
I enjoyed meeting El at Scholomance, a school of magic but not like Hogwarts at all. There were a variety of subjects that didn’t copy the world from Hogwarts. Novik did a fantastic job creating a new world of magic that was more darker than what has been created before.
El has an interesting dynamic with other students in her year, and only has a handful of people she can actually trust. El is the protagonist and a powerful witch with an affinity for dark magic so that any minor spell seems to have possibility of turning into a catastrophe. I loved how sarcastic, smart, creative and natural with incantations she is as well as she is the odd one out. Although she was being shunned by everyone, things start to change when Orian starts paying attention to her.
Orion is the typical love interest, strong, popular and has brawn that is typical of a hero. He starts off annoying but throughout the book, I enjoyed seeing the interaction between El and Orion change and they develop into something more. We also learnt more about Orion and how he was also going around killing monsters even though he was privileged and sheltered.
I truely enjoyed the writing and the world building that was done. The moody school is in a place between nowhere and everywhere that relies on belief to stay strong and dangerous that has you checking all around you constantly, even when getting food. The world is full of magic-eating monsters where only the privileged are protected. To graduate the school means to live, and if you don’t means death. I truely enjoyed the school with no teachers but still the students learn. Novik is truely refreshing in this take of a magic school.
I am looking forward to returning to Scholomance in the second book The Last Graduate. I definitely recommend this book to lovers of magic who want to see a new take on a magical world.