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A Deadly Education (The Scholomance #1 ) by Naomi Novik, #89 review

Publication date : 29 September 2020

Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.

There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.

El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

Does A Deadly Education live up to the dark academia it promises per its title? Read on to find out!

Thank you @times.reads for sending me a review copy.

There are mixed opinions regarding this recently released YA fantasy. It is quite controversial and it raised many questions. It also provided discussion topics to the cliche stereotypes the world has about certain cultures and race. Example: Asians are the best at technology and maths, black hair maintenance is a hassle. To some, they might oversee these issues and take it as the author’s world-building element. However, some like myself will not excuse it as such.

The reason being that black people are encouraged to maintain a short hairstyle or chop it all of is because there are mals (monsters) that will lay eggs in hair and their babies will eat their way into the person’s brain which inevitably causes death. The best-suited nests for these monsters is… no surprise – black people’s hair. Why? Excellent question! In terms of their science, it is thicker and richer and of best quality for those species to live in. Now, what about long lushes Asian hair? Well, unless you’re from wizard decent (extremely powerful magical hair = high value ) or rich enough to prioritise the upkeep of your hair in the Scholomance where hordes of monsters and cursed artifacts are hungry for blood and nana . . . chop chop, find yourself a pair of quality scissors (supplies are extremely hard to acquire due to the storeroom being home to many types of Mals) , chop it off!

” I love having existential crises at bedtime, it’s so restful.”

Naomi Novik, A Deadly Education (The Scholomance, #1)



I think that there are many established platforms that amped the book too much since the Naomi Novik is New York Times Bestselling author of Uprooted. That goes to her credit for being reputable as a good writer. I was a tad dissapointed that I didn’t rate the book higher. I read the book with knowledge of the controversial content having seen many reviews which only fueled my need to read the book. I did enjoy some parts, especially after past the 50% benchmark. Before that, nothing much was happening except El showing us her day to day routine, aka literally surviving day to day without getting eaten by monsters or give in to the dark side of her affinity whilst every day some kid in the school is dead before the end of the day or devoured in their sleep by a Mal. *casual shrug* Happens so often, they don’t even get surprised that a hammer is trying to smush them. Crazy world right?

I like how it is written in a diary-style but you don’t realise it until the end. I enjoy watching El from a one-person team to her cleverly calculated outcome of having someone to watch her back, vice versa. The enclave system reminds me of Shadowhunters since they are categorised by countries. I guess this is the author making the book more appealing to all races around the world so there’s something everyone can relate to or a familiar word from home? I DUNO! IT LEFT A LOT OF GAPING HOLES! BIG ONES (ones that Mals can emerge from). Some scenes made me laugh, some left me inquiring for answers that I’m pretty sure are lost to the black void, some made me proud of how far our protagonist has come. It all really is in terms of perspective. If you like it, you like it. If you do not like it, you don’t like it. But please keep your opinions respectful 🙂

If you enjoyed “The Cruel Prince”, enemies to lovers kinda troupe, you might just enjoy this book. The protagonist, El is very much like Jude from TCP.

You know, it’s almost impressive,” he said after a moment, sounding less wobbly. “You’re nearly dead and you’re still the rudest person I’ve ever met. You’re welcome again, by the way.”
“Given that you’re at least half responsible for this situation, I refuse to thank you,” I said.

Naomi Novik, A Deadly Education (The Scholomance, #1)

I think this is a great book to read if you want to challenge your reviewing skills and your fantasy thinking. I do suggest that if you were to read the book, pay attention to the long lecture lessons about their magic. It is a deadly education after all.  If you’re confused why W# x L07R = :p  , chances are that you weren’t listening to Professor Galadriel during one of her talks.

ALSO: Tolkien easter eggs in the book, if the protagonist name wasn’t obvious enough.

Thank you for reading.

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

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