A deliciously, dark magical story! I loved this book.
Enter a school of magic unlike any you have ever encountered.
There are no teachers, no holidays, friendships are purely strategic, and the odds of survival are never equal.
Once you’re inside, there are only two ways out: you graduate or you die.
El Higgins is uniquely prepared for the school’s many dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out untold millions – never mind easily destroy the countless monsters that prowl the school.
Except, she might accidentally kill all the other students, too. So El is trying her hardest not to use it… that is, unless she has no other choice.
Wry, witty, endlessly inventive, and mordantly funny – yet with a true depth and fierce justice at its heart – this enchanting novel reminds us that there are far more important things than mere survival.
I absolutely loved this book!
The dark humour, sass and danger had me hooked! Though I had this book through Netgalley first (thank you!), my pre-order arrived and I got to see the beautiful map of The Scholomance which is found at the front of the book. It adds some gravity to the story when you have this reference.
Galadriel lived with her mum near Cardigan in Wales (big up my home country! 🏴🏴🏴) before being dropped into the Scholomance. The Scholomance is a school for Wizards where they have to survive until their graduation and then survive the graduation itself. There are creatures lurking in all the nooks and crannies within the school, all waiting for an unsuspecting student to fall into their midst and be eaten. It really is a tough place to be.
Each room has a void which gives you things you ask for such as spellbooks and Galadriel has a particularlly destructive affinity which often gives her spells to wipe out the world rather than one to clean her floor! The school often works against you and punishes you for not doing work or assignments.
Galadriel wants to keep to herself but keeps being ‘saved’ by the hero of the school Orion Lake. He infuriates her and I think deep down, she loves it! Galadriel has to fight her way through everything as everyone seems to hate her, the best way to survive school is through an Enclave and they aren’t exactly fighting over El to give her a spot.
She has one year left before graduation and has to store as much Mana (magic) as she can to help her survive graduation.
Wizards can use Malia or Mana. Mana is stored up and earned, so using it doesn’t take anything other than what you already have. Malia on the other hand, takes from wherever it can. You can cast a spell and kill someone around you through the action. Everything with Malia has a cost. The more Malia you use, the shorter your life and you die in a horrible way.
With a school that technically shouldn’t exist, a void in her room, creatures trying to kill her and an Orion Lake following her everywhere, El has her hands full.
As with any magic, balance must exist and with Orion saving everyone, the balance is thrown off to El is put in a tricky position to fix it.
El doesn’t really have anything to lose but a lot to gain and she must battle her way through and hopefully, make it out alive.
I love the sass that El has and while it is a defence mechanism on her part, you know that if you give her the chance, she’ll surprise you. The other characters in the book such as Aadhya and Liu are wonderful additions and they gel well with El. I can’t help but love how dorky Orion is and given the ending, I need to know more.
This is a witty, sharp and delightfully dark magical fantasy. Naomi Novik has nailed it with this brilliant tale and I can’t wait to see what Galadriel gets up to next.
If this is lesson one of the Scholomance, I cannot wait for lesson 2.