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The Last Graduate (the Scholomanc #2) by Naomi Novik, #121 review

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟/5

Publication date: 28 September 2021

Synopsis:

A budding dark sorceress determined not to use her formidable powers uncovers yet more secrets about the workings of her world in the stunning sequel to A Deadly Education, the start of Naomi Novik’s groundbreaking crossover series.

At the Scholomance, El, Orion, and the other students are faced with their final year–and the looming specter of graduation, a deadly ritual that leaves few students alive in its wake. El is determined that her chosen group will survive, but it is a prospect that is looking harder by the day as the savagery of the school ramps up. Until El realizes that sometimes winning the game means throwing out all the rules . . .

Review:

I must say that you will only enjoy this book if you enjoyed the first book. If you disliked the first, please do not waste your time reading the sequel because the things you disliked about the first book will not be ”improved” in the second book. Especially when it comes to her writing style, this is her style for this book and it is important to keep in mind that The Schlomance is a different story from Uprooted, with a different set of characters and story, each in its unique way. It is written in a monologue style, with a lot of information dump as though you are reading a textbook. Very much like you are in school, I find that is a unique experience for readers. it made me feel as though I am studying in the Scholomance. *trembles at the thought of the MALS*

Now, moving on. Opps. Let me just kill that mal lurking at the corner of the ceiling on standby to jump onto our heads and devour us through our brains. ZAP. All clear!

Now, I went into this book with high expectations despite the usual controversies and the negative feedback carried on from the first book to this sequel. I loved that “The Last Graduate” started right off from the ending of “A Deadly Education”, not many books do that, which is what made this book even more interesting. Our babies are off with their final school year, they are seniors!! And with each passing day, it is a countdown to graduation day and the fest for the mals. Aka a full buffet of students! Can you imagine! Scarry…

Let’s talk about Chinese Representation:

I really have to clap for Naomi for doing her research properly when it comes to writing in another language. I’m Chinese Malaysian, I speak three languages, including Mandarin. In the book, there is a sentence in Mandarin, with the pronunciations, pinyin as well. I am impressed, it was correct. Many authors get it wrong or they do not risk adding the pinyin in case they misrepresented the culture. There was a mouse named Xiao Xin, without the pinyin. I assume she intended for it to be an English name. Since for Chinese people, some of our English names are our Chinese names without the pinyin. However, for me, since she used pinyin for the 1 Mandarin sentence, I would have enjoyed seeing the consistency throughout the book when Mandarin language is used. It was clever of her to pick this name since XiǎoxΔ«n means careful. And wowwww, all the students need to be XiǎoxΔ«n or they get killed by Mals. Naomi, 不错 BΓΉcuΓ²n not bad.

Characters:

Character-wise, the characters did a lot of mature thinking and growing up. Unlike the first book, they cared for their survival full time and others’ survival only when their compassion strikes. When it comes to saving yourself and using your mana, you prioritise yourself or you die. That’s the rule. However, in the second book, our main cast started looking out for one another to ensure each other’s safety. They started caring about one another more and not just on an ally level, I-Need-You-Alive-So-I-Can-Get-Out-Safely-Kind. They became true friends that you trust with your life. There were some philosophical conversations about growing up, embracing your identity and following your heart. They were all very bittersweet to read. Knowing these characters and how their brain works made reading them more emotional. I’m especially proud of how far El has ventured to trust people and Orion’s self-realisation of his power after growing up in a toxic environment. These two were truly made for one another, they were written for one another.  ❀ I don’t want a boyfriend unless he banters with me while we are fighting for our lives. The moody angst and short-tempered attitude plus sarcasm from our El was 1000% in the sequel. Oh, how I miss her already! 3rd book where are you??! HOW RUDE OF YOU TO BE HIDING!!!

Conclusion:

The ending was as I predicted, which wasn’t a surprise anyway, given that El’s mother sent her a warning note. Ya’ll should not trash the ending just because it was what you expected. It was so obvious from the to go.

I must emphasise that you will only enjoy this book IF you enjoyed the first book. It is very character-driven, However, feel free to read the book and share your feedback respectfully as everyone is entitled to their own opinion and preference. Thank you to @times.reads for sending me a review copy! I squealed loud enough to burst the eardrums of the smallest Mal. My dark academia hunger is quench, for now. 3rd BOOK PLS!!! I think about them too much!!!!

You can get your copy here.

By elysianbooksish

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

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