When I asked my friends on Facebook to share their favorite book from 2020, a librarian I used to work with didn’t hesitate to brag about A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik. It had been on my To Read list since before it came out, but I hadn’t made it a priority. After this recommendation, however, I moved it to the top of the list, and I’m so glad I did.
I chose to listen to the audiobook version, and narrator Anisha Dadia did an amazing job bringing the main character, Galadriel, to life.
Naomi Novik has crafted a darkly beautiful version of our world, where dangerous creatures called Maleficaria swarm adolescent wizards to devour their magic. To give their children a better chance at survival, a school was built in the void. For four years, these children learn spells, forge alliances, and do whatever they can to survive. Because while the school is safer than the outside world, it is not safe. Maleficaria do get in, and only half the graduating class is expected to survive each year.
Galadriel – or El – is a junior at the Scholomance, and she hasn’t managed to make a single friend or alliance since her arrival. She doesn’t mind a solitary existence, despite all the precautions required to remain alive. El desperately needs an alliance by senior year, however, if she wants any hope of surviving graduation and securing a guaranteed slot in one of the big enclaves around the world.
Growing up outside an enclave, poor and vulnerable, El has dreamt of living in an enclave her entire life. And she has a plan.
A Deadly Education captivated me from the beginning. I didn’t want it to end, and I can’t wait for the sequel. The Last Graduate, Lesson Two of The Scholomance is slated for publication September 28, 2021.
A Deadly Education cover design and illustrations credit: Faceout Studio/ Jeff Miller, based on imagery © Shutterstock
A Deadly Education book design credit: Simon M. Sullivan
A Deadly Education endpaper illustrations: Elwira Pawlikowska
A Deadly Education endpaper design and art direction credit: David G. Stevenson
The Last Graduate, Lesson Two of The Scholomance is slated for publication September 28, 2021.