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A Deadly Education

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A Deadly Education is the first book in a new series by Naomi Novik and follows Galadriel (El) during her penultimate year at The Scholomance. The Scholomance is basically a deadly high school for wizarding teenagers and there are strict rules, such as curfews and not skipping classes but absolutely no teaching staff or authority figures, the school runs itself. It took me a while to get my head around the concept of this school which is hidden in The Void with only one entrance to the actual world in order to limit the amount of mals (monsters) who can force their way into the school and feast upon the young wizards.
El is a bit of an outcast, she has no friends and hints are made throughout at the powers she possesses although she manages to keep these hidden from the other students even though she knows that this would make her more appealing to the enclavers. At the beginning of this book, her life is saved by another student, Orion, and he seems to have made it his mission to save as many lives as possible from the mals who live within the school itself but this has disrupted the balance of the scholomance and this must be put right. Throughout the story, it seems that everyone is mainly concerned with survival and forming the most advantageous alliances before Graduation Day, where the senior students leave the school via the gates to the world outside where hundreds of mals are hungry and lurking and not many will make it out alive. This made it difficult for me to really connect with any of the characters as they all seemed to have their own agenda at the expense of those around them.
I was intrigued by this school and its characters and although I enjoyed it overall, it wasn’t my favourite Naomi Novik book. Once I had grasped an understanding of the background of the story, it was easier to follow and it flowed better and I think this will be beneficial in reading the future books. I am interested to follow the story as it progresses throughout the series especially as this book ended on a curious cliffhanger.

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Absolutely love this! It's like grown up, dark Harry Potter. I adored the whole premise - the magic school with no faculty, the mysterious dark entities skulking in the shadows, the girl with more power than she knows how to use. I'm a big fan of Naomi Novik and this did not disappoint.

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A Deadly Education was an interesting read for me.

I’ve read Spinning Silver by Naomi before and found myself disappointed at the ending. However, A Deadly Education whipped up the rule book and made me fall in love with Naomi’s writing style. The style in question lends itself to the stories own discovery plot and mysterious goings on. Involving the reader bit by bit and the whole setting of the story really allows you to lose yourself amongst the pages.

However, something some readers might not enjoy would be the huge info dump that is the first few chapters. I myself enjoy an info dump as I adore each new lore and location by authors. The schoolmance itself, does need explaining so I can understand why the first few chapters focus on giving you all the information- I loved it but some readers who aren’t so keen on info dumps be aware that this book has them (but does need them).

The relationship between Orion and El was so beautifully written. I enjoyed El’s eagerness to distance herself from appearing weak and looking like she needs help. When Orion saves her from the Mals, there is a turning point in El’s former status of no friends and we as readers get to see how that causes her mind to shift from the expectance of pain and disappointment to accepting love and happiness.

Before I ramble on, this book happily surprised me and created a wonderful magical world with a deeply entrenched lore that I loved. I will be reading the rest and all the other books Naomi has to offer!

Thankyou to Netgalley and Del Ray for my advanced copy. It was a pleasure to read!

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Thanks to NetGalley and Del Ray for my Arc in exchange for an honest review.

Ok so first off let me just say that this school is utterly horrible. I know that's the point but it cannot be said enough.
Monsters that want to eat teens, a school with no teachers or safety, no proper friends, potentially tainted food, no contact with the outside world, only being able to bring what's on your person to the school when you're 13 and then of you want more stuff you have to try and make or trade items.
Not being able to go to bathroom alone so just not washing often. Having one wall of your room be the Void.
In one instance, Galadriel (El) vomits into the void and from then on all I could think was - Do they poop in the void as well? Like, if you need to go to the bathroom in packs and a lot of people, El included, are often alone, when would you be able to go to the toilet?

We follow Galadriel (El) as she's in her penultimate year of The Scholomance; she has no friends, 2 t-shirts, world ending powers and a knack for languages. She's a sarcastic cow and I genuinely found her very funny; she's pragmatic, clever, stubborn, ruthless and only cares about survival.
One night, Orion, the resident 'hero' of the school, saves her from a Mal (monster) and she is furious as she believes it'll make her look weak. Everyone in the school has an affinity for different types of magic and his is killing mals, so he kind of can't help himself. They eventually form a prickly alliance after El is attacked by another student and because of her connection to the beloved Orion, things start to look up for her.
In their world, one of the main ways to survive is to become part of an enclave (a group of magicians who live together for protection) and lots of large cities around the world have them - this kind of reminded me of Shadow Hunters because two of the main ones are London and New York but there are a lot more, even in the UK so it's not your typical Western Centric fantasy academy. Orion comes from the New York enclave but as we learn more about him, it's clear that his only true friend is El.

I loved the relationship between El and Orion, that coupled with her humour were definitely some of my favourite parts of this book. I also really enjoyed El trying to make friends.

In this world there are two main way to create energy for magic (Malia and Mana) Malia is kind of evil as you take others life force for magic whereas Mana is more honest like doing things that create energy (and you can sometimes store) e.g. exercise, crocheting, welding etc.

I also really like the fact that at this school you have to be able to build things in the workshop and are assigned objects to make on a regular basis, based on your powers. This aspect especially really reminded me of The University in The Name of The Wind too.

Now, the first two chapters of this book are HUGE info dumps and this school is very complicatedly horrible so there are a lot of world building facts often dumped by the MC when something relevant happens but I think if you can get through the first few chapters you'll be fine!

However, I do have some critiques.

I know Naomi has already issued an apology and is planning on removing this passage about Loc Leeches but because I had an arc it was still there. Now, there's a Lot of horrible things on this school - it's truly awful. And there were a lot of random tidbits of information thrown in but this felt so off kilter, especially for a school that's meant to be international, if theses mals (monsters) were going to burrow into hair, why would it specifically be locs (dreadlocks) that they chose? It doesn't make any sense and was clearly not thought through at all.

I also feel that this book suffers a bit from the fact that the author is white and is trying to write a mixed indian MC. And because the MC only mentions it a couple of times, mainly in relation to her backstory I genuinely kept forgetting.
And I knowww in this horror show of a school you've got other things on your mind but I think that certain perspectives can come from being mixed race and these weren't highlighted nearly enough. There is one part where she mentions that she feels out of place in Wales but not in India and that's pretty much it. But also because she's magic and prophecised to lay waste and sorrow to the world and has an aura that makes people miserable, that could also be why she has no friends. However, I'm not mixed race and I know there is a lot of diaspora for mixed race people so it's not my place to say whether this is 'authentic' or not.

And lastly, I don't necessarily think it was intentional but this book suffers massively from ableism. As I've mentioned (REPEATEDLY) this school is awful, there are monsters everywhere and you're constantly trying to not be killed - because of this you cannot be ill or you'll die. In one instance El gets stabbed and still goes to classes because otherwise the mals will get her. And yes, obviously in a school where survival is low anyway, the strong are more likely to survive but it just annoyed me. I don't suffer from any chronic illnesses but I'm often poorly (migraines, stomach issues, low blood pressure etc etc) and it just felt like a bit of an 'eff you' - if you're going to be poorly, you're going to die.

Also the fact that there are no teachers and it's never really explained why so there's no one to help when things go wrong.

I genuinely did enjoy this book and the characters however I hate the Scholomance with a passion. And also the (kind of) cliffhanger ending!!
I'm going to choose to believe that there's been a miscommunication but we'll see!

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This is a fun novel which blends one of my favourite tropes - magic schools - with hilarious snarky banter, gentle horror, and a fast paced adventure. Galadriel, or 'El', is a teenager born with not just resting bitch face, but resting bitch entire body, personality, and all round vibe. She opens the story pissed that the golden boy of her school, Orion, has saved her life AGAIN. Their magic school is crawling with Mals, which are vague monsters with either a distressing number of teeth or tentacles. Orion is exceptionally gifted at killing them, and El is exceptionally gifted at destruction too, but keeps her gift hidden to avoid accidentally murdering her fellow students. Thus begins her relationship with Orion, who starts hanging around her thinking that she's a maleficier (evil wizard).

The story is entertaining from start to finish, and I absolutely loved the characters. El made me laugh multiple times, which is more than I tend to laugh at straight comedy novels, and I had a lot of sympathy for her by the end of the novel. Orion was a thorough idiot, but a soft idiot, and who doesn't like a soft idiot? The secondary characters were varied and likeable as well.

The style of writing won't be for everyone. El narrates the novel with a dry voice and often rambles for pages and pages. Personally I found all her ramblings and changes of subjects very funny. Novik really can write a consistent and unique voice. However, I do wish there was a little more dialogue, since what there was really shined.

Finally...the finale. I loved it and the last line made me say "ooOoOh" out loud. It's rare that I really want to read the next in a series straight off, but I'll be first in line to read Scholomance 2.

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This was actually my first Naomi Novik book. I always wanted to read her work so this one was really great to start for me. I loved the premise of this book and the whole dark academia vibe. It was very fast paced and I loved the detailed world-building. I can't wait to read the next book. And one little tiny detail. I loved the Scholomance mail. It was very interesting and lovely.

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A Deadly Education, The Scholomance 1, is the best book I’ve read this year, and I’ve read quite a few. I like Novik’s Temeraire series set in an alt-history Regency universe with dragons, so I was eager to read this one. Her new series couldn’t be farther from the sophisticated historical fantasy—and it’s all the better for it.

The book is being advertised as Harry Potter meets The Fight Club, and it’s sort of accurate and not accurate at all. It’s young adult (urban) fantasy set in a school for sorcerers. But unlike in Harry Potter, it’s not a safe haven from the scary real world. The students are inducted at fourteen and they graduate four years later—if they’re still alive. Because the school is actively trying to kill them. There are no adults to help them, no sage elders. There are no teachers. There are only the students and hungry monsters. And the fight is constant. There are no safe places and they can’t get out except at graduation, and for that they have to exit through a huge hall teeming with the killer monsters. Not everyone survives.

Galadriel is on her second to last year, and she’s doing fairly well. She would do better if she gave into her affinity to dark magic, but she knows that if she does, she’ll become an unstoppable monster. So she hides her true nature and sticks to the good magic. But other students shun her, for no reason that she can understand. In a school that tries to constantly kill one, she need friends and allies. She can’t even take a shower without someone watching her back. She has no one.

Then Orion Lake, the hero of her year, takes interest in her, saving her from a monster after another. That’s what he does. He’s brilliant at keeping people alive. Galadriel resents him for it—the book starts with her contemplating his murder—but he seems to be impervious to her anger. And to her amazement, he starts hanging out with her. And with him, come other people. Not being alone is a new experience for her. What follows is basically a growth story about an angry loner, a fairly typical one at that, with popular kids versus the shunned ones and finding one’s true friends. There’s a little bit of romance there as well, but in a school where anyone can die at any moment, one doesn’t want to get too attached. Especially since it turns out that by saving all those students, Orion has only managed to make the monsters even hungrier—and they’re out to get the entire school.

What makes this book so brilliant is the world Novik has created. It’s rich and terrifying, and the narrative doesn’t spend a moment longer than necessary at explaining things. We learn as we go with Galadriel, her stream of consciousness describing both the school and the outside world in an exhausting but unputdownable manner. The chapters and paragraphs are long, but the reader plunges right in there with her and is in for a ride. The ending is satisfying, with a hook that guarantees I’m going to want to read the next book. Instantly, if that were possible.

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Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for letting me read this book. I absolutely loved this book! When I found out Naomi Novik had a new book out I jumped at the chance to request it and I’m so thankful I got the opportunity to read it. This book is amazing just like all her other books, Naomi is definitely one of my go to authors and I will read anything she writes. The story, the characters, the characters and the plot were all so great and so easy to read and get on with the characters. I highly recommend this book and I give the book 5 stars.

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Thank you to the publishers for the copy of this book. To be completely frank, I received this arc almost a full month after the publication date, and at this time I've already read and reviewed a finished copy of this book. So, here are my thoughts on A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik:

I loved this book! The premise of this book is of a magic academy with no teachers, monsters everywhere, and few chances of survival – and to be frank, it sounds a bit confusing when you read the synopsis. Intriguing, yes, but it gave me a different idea of what this book would be, though to me it was a pleasant surprise.

The book just throws you right into the middle of the action and you learn about this world and magic as you go, so to speak. The Scholomance is very interesting compared to the usual magic academy and I won’t go into much detail not to spoil the surprise but this is a pretty intense and brutal world. The magic system is quite interesting as well. The rules of magic aren’t all that strict, it’s more fluid. In general, there are three principal disciplines and two sources but it’s pretty unpredictable and original like anything can happen – and if you can’t find a spell for it, you can write it, probably. But magic doesn’t solve everything and wizards have to work really hard for even just a little bit of it.

The main character, El (short for Galadriel) has always had the worst luck so she turned out as a sarcastic, rude and hostile person because she has an unfortunate magical affinity for death and mass destruction – despite being a pretty good person at heart. I loved everything about her – the brutal honesty, her efforts to prove everyone wrong and survive, when she surprised even herself… (Plus, I though her inner self was so relatable and hilarious.)

The other characters were great as well, but we don’t really get to know many because El doesn’t have any friends, just barely allies at first. I especially liked Aadhya, though. She was so clever and didn’t automatically judge or dislike El based on some rumors. Orion was adorable from the start but also a bit of a mystery and I’m interested in learning more about him after that ending.

The writing style was so different than what I read by this author before. It was more modern, more suited to this story as opposed to the the more lyrical style in Uprooted. It was told from El’s point of view so like I said it was hilarious, but also very insightful and engaging at times. It did feel a bit like a rant sometimes, like El as a narrator got a bit sidetracked right in the middle of the scene and that was slightly annoying but I really enjoyed the writing style in general.

Overall, A Deadly Education is an amazing, very unique story. PLEASE GO READ IT. One of my new 2020 favorites? (The only thing I regret with this book is that I was invested in the story and reading it so fast I didn’t write down any of the quotes I loved!!)

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So, this book was an odd read. The world is kind of non-sensical even though Novik has clearly tried very hard to create and give us a lot of backstory and ideas. Basically, there are no teachers at the school. And the school is sentient and trying to kill all the students with the help of a bunch of monsters.

I know that this book has been highlighted as problematic particularly for a section about hair. I didn't find this offensive but if someone else says something is offensive I at least want to try to understand why they feel that way. In this particular case there are some leaps of logic from hair type to group of people they i just don't make so then I can't follow the rest of the case. I'm not saying it isn't there, just that my mind doesn't go that way in the first place.

I do think Novik at least aimed for a more inclusive school than everyone's problematic favourite.

My main problem with the passage is that it adds little and I'm not sure why it was added late in the editing process after sensitivity readers and other editors had read the manuscript. Because, our narrator El already understands the world there is way too much info-dumping.

The sections where action happens or we're given information directly related to the action are good but there are so many boring over explained sections in between about the world that don't add anything to the story.

I did like El as a main character and this book built up some interesting connections between people, but it could have been stronger. I will probably read book two but am in no way desperate for it like I sometimes am after book 1 of a duology.

My thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Oh, I liked this. A lot. I know that inevitably any 'magical school' theme means there will be Harry Potter comparisons, so let me just say - nope. If anything it's got more in common with the tone of 'The Magicians' by Lev Grossman, or 'Magic for Liars' by Sarah Gailey. This is not Hogwarts, and there's no kindly magical mentor coming to bestow wisdom or save your ass when you get into trouble.

The world building behind this book is incredible. The layers and depth woven around the concept of the Scholomance and the structure of the society are carefully considered, and it shows. I loved the way this was written, and the way it showed how easy it is for just about anything to become normalised over time. Reasons and history get forgotten, time turns them into tradition, and after a while no-one questions why things are the way they are. The graduation survival rate is in the single figures? OK, let's just throw more people in there to up the chances of any one kid surviving, rather than addressing the monstrous root cause of the problem.

Also, El is just fantastically sassy in that scrappy underdog way, and I enjoyed the second-hand stress of wondering whether she was about to get eaten every time she opened a door or walked down a hallway.

Not a magical school I'd ever want to visit in person, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading about. The fact that this book is labelled #1 of a series makes me very happy; although it stands alone as a complete story, I'd love to read more about the fascinating world Naomi Novik has created here.

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It's an interesting start to a book when the protagonist wants to murder someone for saving their life.

Fair warning, the book front-loads a lot of lore and world building at the beginning but personally, I was very interested. I genuinely didn't want to put the book down at any point.

Galadriel is a very compelling protagonist, dark enough to be intriguing but certainly not evil despite what she thinks of herself. And Orion was interesting just because I want to know his secrets. How does he not get attacked? How is he so strong?

The side characters were strong too, and I loved slowly getting to know them.

The writing was simple, and I was a little surprised it was as young adult as it was, considering students are getting murdered by the monsters in the school a lot, and it's about a bunch of unsupervised teenagers.

The fact that there's so many laughs in this book surprised me.

I'm very much looking forward to the next book.

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I read Novik before and I'm aware that she can take the long way to reach to a place. So, I wasn't surprised about the slow info-dump part at the beginning.
I think this book overall was intriguing enough for me to continue reading. I liked the school setting and the characters. I like her writing. So, it was an enjoyable time.
Thanks a lot to NG and the publisher for this copy.

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The Scholomance is a school for the magically gifted. There are no teachers, no holidays. You graduate by surviving until your final year, battling monsters, your classmates, and the school itself. El is determined to make it through alive without allies, all without calling on the destructive dark power within her that could kill everyone around her. But then the school hero, Orion, saves her life one too many times, disrupting the carefully maintained balance of her life...

I was looking forward to Naomi Novik's new book so much, and am happy to say that it has surpassed my highest expectations. This book is absolutely brilliant: funny, fast-paced, with a unique and interesting concept at its very heart.

El is a fabulous main character: snarky and sarcastic, she maintains an iron facade of wanting to be left alone (spoiler alert: it starts to crack), and following her story through this book is absolutely wonderful. She is multi-faceted and incredibly likeable, and I found myself rooting for her so much.

I am completely in love with the world this book is set in. Naomi Novik manages to describe the magic system and the school itself in such a perfect way that it feels real--everything is completely believable, most characters are given brilliant backstories that never interrupt the flow of the story itself. I cannot wait to find out how El's story continues!!

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Filled with morally grey characters and great dynamics, this is dark academia expertly mixed with fantasy. Novik uses her great world building skills to bring Scholomance to life. This was so interesting to read after being a fan of the rest of Noviks books, it felt like a totally different direction for her, darker, weirder bu with the same level of world building I've come to expect from her. However, it did take me a moment to get into this novel, there is a lot of info dumping about the world which, though probably necessary for later on, felt forced in a lot of cases. I'm hoping that as the series progresses this becomes less frequent as Novik begins to show us the world rather than tell us about it. Nevertheless, I plowed through the book and was on the edge of my seat most of the time. I loved El and the team she builds for herself. Her dymanic with Orion was fun and it was nice to see the grumpy outcast be the woman and the everyone-loves-me-hero be the man. I also appreciated how they showed both of these characters not having the lives that everyone thinks they do.
I'm eagerly awaiting the next novel and I only hope that it improves from here because I can see so much potential from this series.

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I started reading A Deadly Education the night before social media exploded with accusations that this book and it's author were racist. But I am not an own voices reviewer with regards to any controversial character in this book so I am not going to comment on it. I will focus this review on the writing, plot and my enjoyment of the story with over analysing anything.
I had super high hopes for A Deadly Education despite never having heard of the author before. As a huge Harry Potter fan I was more than ready to be transported back to a magical school where the kids face a whole host of evil beings. Our protagonist El (Gladriel) is a grumpy and unsociable but somehow I really liked her. She was a refreshing change from the cheery, upbeat, little Miss perfects that we often come across in YA fiction. I could feel her frustrations pouring from the pages, especially when it came to dealing with the school 'hero' Orion. The story takes place in the Scholomance (magical school) where the only way that students can leave is to graduate or die! They are constantly being attacked by all sorts of maleficaria (evil beings) and students are forced to learn skills and languages that will help them to survive.
Unfortunately I didn't love this book as much as I thought I would. There wasn't much of a plot to be honest and most of the book was taken up with world building and info dumps. I appreciate that there has to be a certain amount of this as the book is set in an alternate reality but still, it just felt like it was done in a clunky way. The smaller action scenes earlier in the book were over and done with very quickly with little detail or atmosphere. However, this is the first book in what will be a trilogy and so I definitely will read the next book in the hopes that now the world has been built we can get on with the story.

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DNF @ 20%

Unfortunately the writing style really didn't do anything for me! It's very British which threw me off , and on top of it at 20%, there still wasn't anything of a story to be seen. I'm all for an infodump if it's speckled with a story moving forward, but I still have no clue what this book is even about.

I will say that I would like to try again with it in the future, it's just maybe not for me right now.

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A Deadly Education is a YA fantasy and its the first of a trilogy. There has been controversies around Novik’s latest novel, I was even tempted to not review this book. However, considering I received an arc and I was so grateful for it at the time, I figured I’d review it. Also, I’m known for advocating for diverse books and especially for Asian characters. So it seemed right for me to write about my feelings about this book and the misrepresentation of many ethnicities.

I’m going to review the book solely on how I felt about certain characters and world building, in general plot! Just like my usual reviews. Also, the misrepresentation of many ethnicities will play a huge role of my rating. But I want people to come to their own decision whether this book is for them, to see it weighed up as a book as a whole and the diversity Naomi tried to include. But just keep in mind that I am not the only #ownvoices reviewer who feels this way about A Deadly Education – there must be some truth in our words. There are many, many books by POC authors that represent ethnicities correctly in magical schools , please consider supporting these authors!

Diving Into The Controversies Of A Deadly Education
Our main character Galadriel, or El, is biracial (half Indian, half White). What I find odd to start of, is that in the synopsis, it’s never mentioned that El is biracial. To me, this seems like diversity was included as an afterthought and research wasn’t done thoroughly. El doesn’t really express any connection to being Indian, which okay fair enough, her father died whilst her mother was pregnant with El. However there are microaggressions in this book which made me uncomfortable given that I’m British Indian. El is regarded as being unclean and just having a lack of cleanliness which didn’t sit well with me.

It was brought to my attention from Asma’s review that El associates people by the country they’re from and the language they speak. They are only needed when El requires their language for magic reasons. Whilst this didn’t bother me that much as they were side characters, it is to be noted.

Apology And My Opinion About The Misrepresentation
Finally, the misrepresentation a lot of readers might already be familiar with. She incorrectly referred to locs as dreadlocks, a racial stereotype. But know that this paragraph was included after the sensitivity read and to be honest didn’t add any value to move the book forward. Naomi Novik issued an apology and the book will be reprinted.

I had the opportunity to attend a virtual advanced readers event and spoke to and listened to Naomi speak about her book. She was very genuine and it is clear that she wanted readers to feel represented by including diversity. I appreciate this, but if you are White and would like to include diversity, I urge you to thoroughly research ethnic minorities, their culture and stereotypes they may face.

Whilst she didn’t address the microaggression towards Indians, she did acknowledge that her book has flaws and mistakes. Overall, I can see what Naomi wanted to do and I appreciate it, but that doesn’t change the fact that communities were hurt.

Thoughts About A Deadly Education From The Plot, World Building And Characters
This review is getting pretty long, so I’ll sum up my thoughts! I thought the world building was well thought out and interesting! In the virtual event, Naomi said that what she disliked about Harry Potter is that their seemed to be no limitations on magic. She wanted her book to include rules and be specific, which I appreciated! But it came to the point where I felt there was a lot of info dump. Mid scenes, an explanation about the world building would pop up. I wouldn’t have minded information about the world if it was done subtly.

The characters stood out to me the most! In a way, El and Orion are the chosen ones. Orion is what would be a typical YA chosen one and El definitely isn’t! Their dynamics are interesting, with El being grumps and Orion being so sweet! The romance between them developed at a good pace.

As there is a lot of info dump, I found myself getting bored and skimming the book so I wasn’t as intrigued about the book as I was in the beginning. To me, the pace picked up towards the last one hundred pages. Readers are left on a cliffhanger, but I didn’t get that feeling of omg I need the next book!

Overall, this book had a lot of potential but it just didn’t do it for me! My rating will be a 2.5 stars, most of this rating is based on the execution itself as well as the misrepresentation of ethnic minorities.

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Gal, short for Galadriel, but don't ask, attends a school for wizards, but Hogwarts, this is not. There are no teachers, no staff, just things magically appearing, based on your behvaviour, so, if you happen to pick up a book written in Latin, you'll find yourself studying Latin. And the place is stuffed with evil creatures, maleficaria, trying to kill the students. Twice a year, a cleansing fire sweeps through to kill them, but the mechanism that allows the fire to do its thing in the graduation hall at the bottom of the school broke a hundred years before, and doesn't work, so the students have to force their way through a horde of creatures to leave. No one looks forward to graduation, no one can leave without graduating, and the students spend most of their time building their stores of power, alliances and networks all in order to face graduation and maybe, just maybe, survive. However, in Gal's year, there is Orion, and where some people have a talent for languages, or creating objects, Orion's talent is killing maleficaria. He has saved so many students, the maleficaria are getting very, very hungry, and the seniors are growing resentful.

I nearly stopped reading this after the first chapter - it is all narration, little dialogue, and it is telling us a story and showing very little, not that I'm obsessed the the mantra 'show, don't tell', but this did seem to be ignoring it wholesale. And then I got further in and I found I couldn't put it down. I'm still a fan of teen fantasy fiction as it relies so heavily on characters and a damned good plot because the world doesn't exist and it harder to visualise, and you can't have steamy scenes, so the characters and plot have to stand up for themselves. And this does that brilliantly.

As I read, I tried to work out if the author was English, Welsh or American, and she does a good job of writing Gal who is English and writing about Wales, but there was a focus on New York that sort of gave the game away. And there was one single mistake that I spotted that sealed it, a Welsh one, but I won't reveal it here - you'll have to read and see if you can find it!

I hope there is a sequel as it does end on something of a cliff hanger, not that it is not satisfying, but the door is wide open for a sequel.

Fun, races along so very quickly, builds a world that leaves you staring up into dark corners and shivering, a perfect novel to read as a locked down Hallowe'en approaches. - you can't get out and scare others, so scare yourself!

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DNF at 30%. This book just didn't hold my attention--aside from having problematic undertones, I didn't enjoy the character arcs or the plot. There was a great deal of info-dumping and little action that actually propelled the plot and my interest.

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