Book Review: A Deadly Education – Naomi Novik

Book Review: A Deadly Education – Naomi Novik

The Scholomance #1
Release Date: September 29th 2020
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars


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.


A Deadly Education is the first in an all new series from acclaimed author Naomi Novik, and follows a young girl called El as she attempts to survive her years in the Scholomance – a school for children with magicial abilities. The only trouble is the school is not a typical boarding school – monsters hide in every corner and the only way to escape is to graduate at the end of your time there, or to die.

This book ended up being on my most anticipated releases of 2020, I was so intrigued by the school setting with a deadly twist. A Deadly Education is an action packed read, full of fighting and dangerous beasties. It was a quick paced story that I devoured in a few days and one I’d highly recommend. The world building is pretty fascinating in this story and while it took me a little while to get my head around the different terms I soon settled into this gripping and compelling story. There are a few moments that felt a bit like info-dumps, but generally the magic system were well explained in the story.

The main protagonist El is a fascinating character, she’s stubborn and sarcastic and at times she’s quite unlikeable. Despite all that I really found myself rooting for her as she attempts to survive another year in the school. I liked watching her develop friendships with her classmates and the way she stuck to her beliefs even when letting go would get her everything she wanted. I did feel some of the side characters could have been a little more fleshed out – I wanted to know more about boy wonder Orion Lake and why he’s so desperate to save everyone.

The story focuses on a lot of topics, particularly wealth and class inequalities which was something I did not expect. A Deadly Education is a gripping tale and ends on a pretty big cliffhanger. If you’ve been curious about this one I’d recommend giving it a try and hopefully the wait for book two won’t be too long!

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