Cover Image: A Deadly Education

A Deadly Education

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Member Reviews

Although this book didn't 100% hit the mark for me, I would have preferred it to be more adult (but that's a me problem - I generally don't enjoy YA so take my opinion with a pinch of salt) - there were plenty of things I enjoyed about the book, the world-building, the general concept, the humor and sarcasm, and the found family feel.
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Harry Potter vs The Hunger Games.
Let's not dive into the controversy around this book, you have Google: use it! There's rambling, huge chunks of info-dumps and a slugging narrative, just forget it.
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As a huge fan of Novik’s previous work I was super excited to see what her much hyped venture into dark Academia would look like. What did I find? That it’s as dark and twisty and messed up and clever as I’d hoped. I’m hooked. Can’t WAIT to get my hands on the rest of the series.
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Naomi Novak is a favourite author of mine, I can't count how often I've recommended her books and Deadly Education will be no exception!
By far my favourite aspect is the world building, from the inherent danger of magic itself to the school attempting to murder it's students, I was fully engrossed in the world from the moment I picked this one up.
The characters and their relationships build believably and I was truly rooting for them to succeed the entire time!
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I absolutely loved this! Novik's writing is always great and El's snarky character was a lot of fun. The whole concept of the Scholomance as a dark, dangerous wizarding school is fab, and I particularly enjoyed the reluctant ally to friend pipeline with the cast of supporting characters.
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An incredibly unique fantasy novel, and a brilliant start to the series! The magic system and society is so different to anything I've read before, and El as a character is in equal parts endearing and hostile. The writing is so engaging and despite there being a quite complex magic system, the story is fast paced and immersive. I loved it so much, it's for sure one of my favourite fantasy books.
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Thank you for my eARC of this book!!
I loved this story and absolutely love Noviks writing style.
The characters are brilliant and engaging and the writing and dialogue is clever and witty and dark. Brilliant.
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I so wanted to love this book, but it really wasn't for me. When reading this genre I want to imagine myself there with the characters...but I couldn't picture anything worse than attending this school!
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I've always been a fan of Naomi Novak's writing, from Temeraire to Uprooted, she's a fabulously talented fantasy author. So naturally, I was dying to get my paws on a copy of A Deadly Education, and I ended up loving it.

I love the magic school trope, and A Deadly Education is a dark, funny, and brutal look at the most dangerous magic school you could possibly imagine.  I loved the school setting, the idea of 'graduation', the monsters and magic, everything. The characters were wonderfully written and complex, and I really loved the relationships (or lack thereof) between them.

Highly recommended if you like your magic dark, your cinnamon rolls muscular, and your heroines snarky. I'd also highly recommend the audiobook, which was well narrated and totally addictive. Novak has blessed us by making this series a trilogy and I'm so hyped to read them all!
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Unfortunately the story was not able to catch me. The idea was quite interesting but I was not able to build a connection to the main protagonist El. The story felt long and slow moving and I could not warm to the story. Unfortunately the book was not for me  though it sounded quite nice
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I enjoyed this book as i found the school setting and the world building interesting but the characters felt a bit flat.I will read the second one and hopefully it will pick up I'm interested enough in the plot to carry on
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The only way to begin to describe this book or the Scholomance more accurately is “Hogwarts on steroids” because I was not ready for that level of chaos and student danger to be honest. Whilst I like to think Dumbledore perhaps just had a bit of a lax attitude to student safety or, I don’t know, thought it was “character building”, and didn’t actually go out of his way to threaten students’ lives every day. Whereas the Scholomance does exactly that; for four years the students have to survive on their own in a magical school where your graduation is more of a “congratulations on making it out alive”.

The problem for our protagonist, El, is that she is a dark sorceress, but doesn’t really want to hurt everyone around her and destroy everything she touches. So she’s doing her best to get by but not do too well in case her class mates decide to get to her rather than a monster, and yes that has been known to happen too. El’s natural affinity to dark spells and destruction make for some rather humorous scenes particularly early on in the book when it’s all still very unexpected; though the sort of dry and somewhat-dark sense of humour present in A Deadly Education is right up my street.

As a character she’s abrasive though primarily it would seem a defence tactic as fitting in isn’t exactly her speciality; but as the book goes on, and she manages to start forming some alliances with fellow classmates, she also opens up as a character a little and the reader starts to learn more of the complex and unique qualities of the protagonist. Whilst initially I wouldn’t say El is particularly disagreeable as a character, she’s certainly one that becomes more likeable as the story progresses. There is a particularly interesting and fun dynamic present following El’s near miss with death (but no big deal at the Scholomance) and Orion’s brave heroics that bring the two together in a very unlikely alliance; with his saviour complex, and El’s insistence that she’s doing just fine on her own, the stark contrast between characters and personalities makes for an amusing twist in the narrative.

Although the story primarily takes place within the Scholomance the world-building is incredible; an interdimensional realm (I would imagine) is never an easy thing to explain in a book, but the fact Novik is able to paint such a vivid picture of the school, its intricacies, and – I guess – rules without distracting from the storyline or breaking pace truly bears testament to her skill as a writer. It’s a book that will grip you from the first page to the last; I think I finished this in less than 24 hours I was so hooked on the story. I’ll definitely be picking up book 2 very soon, and perhaps even branch out to reading more of Novik’s work. In short: highly recommend.
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This had an interesting premise but there were some issues that other reviewers have raised. If you like dark academia you might like to check it out.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this magical and mysterious school. The plot reminded me of all the reasons why I love magical education. I found this very entertaining and I did not want to finish the book. The descriptions of the school and the characters were spot on!
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I have loved every thing Naomi Novik has written  and this was no exception- I loved this new world she has created. A whole new magic system and amazing characters- I need the next book now!
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This was a book I was really looking forward to reading, but it didn’t seem to gel with me. I couldn’t get into it at the start because there seemed to be a lot of narration and info dumping about backstory and the world. I’m also not a fan of 1st person POV so right from the start I wasn’t the right audience for the book. 
The concept of the book really interested me, but I think the writing style didn’t fit with what I like to read and it seems to be written to the younger YA audience.  
I think this would appeal to people who like a lot of detail up front in the story and don’t mind a slower pace.
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Dnf
Sadly not for me. Too much info and not enough going on. Very confusing and the very long chapters made it feel like it was dragging. Loved the sound of it it sounded really interesting and something very different but turns out it just wasn't my cup of tea
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The premise of this book was something right up my alley, but the execution fell short. Most of the book was essentially info dumps and there were many racist remarks too.
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El is in her penultimate year at The Scholomance - a self aware magical school which likes to keep its students on its toes by letting monsters or 'mals' in to kill them.  El has survived almost a full 5 years at the school, with the majority of her year somehow beating the usual odds and surviving too...Orion Lake has a big part in this, having been obsessed with fighting mals since he was small - but El does not need saved, and she certainly doesn't need a friend...pah.

ADE was such a fun read - I loved El's narrative style and she is such a good narrator - her sense of humor was on point; the book is fast paced and entertaining, and once I got to grips with the magic system (well done) it was a really enjoyable read - I'm excited to read The Last Graduate now!
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I wasn't sure if I was going to read this book. It's been on my Netgalley shelf for a LONG time. At some point, it was one of my most anticipated books. Then the early reviews started coming out and I decided to give it some time. The book faced a lot of backlash (check this thread here for a summary). Now I've finally read it and I am ready to give my own thoughts on this turbulent book.

However, I am not an own-voices reviewer for any of the identities in this book. Which is why I will point you to own-voices reviews.

Characters - 8/10
I really like El. She's angry and a badass and she wants to burn the world down. I love her, and I love her anger (because she fucking deserves to be mad). She reminds me a bit of Rin from The Poppy War. Her journey throughout this book really kept me reading and I love the person she became at the end.

Orion Lake is basically a golden retriever. While it's not my usual type of fictional man, I liked him. His personality really works well with El's and I loved their dynamic. I would like to get to know him better, as we mainly get to know him through other people. I think most of the other side characters are well rounded.

Aadhya and El's friendship is also really sweet. I hope we get more of it.

Atmosphere - 9/10
The Scholomance is both a place I want to go to and a place I want to avoid. I really loved the worldbuilding. It's what pulled me into this book in the first place. The idea of a scholomance is fascinating, it's almost like the school is a character on its own. I just love the lore and the way the school functions.

Writing - 7/10
I listened to the audiobook of this and I think that made the book much easier to digest. The writing style is very conversational, and El often veers off into tangents. The audiobook makes those tangents easier to follow. The writing isn't bad, but I can see how some people can hate it. I personally enjoyed it.

Plot - 7/10
The plot is actually fairly simple, but it does tackle one main issue: class disparity. And I liked how it was handled. I would like El to smash the whole system.

I don't think fantasy books need to tackle every single real-world issue at the same time. It's impossible and authors are only human. Also, this is a fantasy book (not real). Novik gets a lot of criticism for not tackling other issues, but she would have gotten criticism either way. I liked the diversity in this book, and that's okay. I enjoyed reading about kids from Johannesburg, even if just in passing since we're hardly mentioned in anything.

Intrigue - 8/10
At some point, the whole "everything in this school is trying to kill us" vibe got old and I got desensitized to it. Novik did a good job of escalating the conflict as the book goes on. I really enjoyed the ending of this book and I'm excited to see where the series goes.

Logic - 9/10
The magic system in this book is AMAZING. It's so simple yet so creative. I think it's one of the best magic system's I've encountered. I love hard magic systems with rules and consequences, and we really FEEL those rules and consequences in this book. Read this book for the magic system alone.

Enjoyment - 8/10
There are a few things I didn't mention in my review, that I'll point you to other reviewers for. 

I will say that it's not for me to decide how you see a book. While I enjoyed this, I know many people didn't. I'd suggest reading this book and forming your own opinion.
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