Book Review | A Deadly Education

I’ve been looking forward to reading this for such a long time, and I’m glad to finally delve into it.

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. 

Amazon | Goodreads | Hive

A Deadly Education will be released on the 29th September 2020.

What I hate the most about a book that I love is that I feel like I don’t always have enough words to write a decent review, I absolutely loved this book so it feels extra difficult.

This was so different to any fantasy book I’ve read in a while, the story takes a well known concept and completely flips it, giving it an original edge and making it really interesting to get stuck into. A magic school where there is danger lurking around every corner, yes please, it adds tension throughout the story and I actually found it funny at points to see what the mals (monsters in the school) ended up disguising themselves as.

I love that the school was a character in itself, the fact that it reacts to the students and usually not in good ways makes it all the more interesting. The magic system was so clever and I liked that the school tailored the education to suit each student, especially because in El’s case it provided a lot of amusement for me.

El was a great main character, her magic is powerful and tends towards the dark end of the spectrum much to her annoyance. Due to this most of the rest of her class try to avoid her and in a school that relies on connections to get ahead, El has to be creative about navigating and creating advantages for herself. I love that she is unapologetically herself, she doesn’t suck up to the popular people, she actively avoids them and is usually a bit rude and sarcastic, but in a way that I very much enjoyed reading.

Her relationship with Orion Lake was great, his hero complex and shy personality worked perfectly against El’s outspoken nature, add to that the fact that El is the only one who actively criticises him. It’s the most unusual and interesting friendship and of course, El can’t help but use it to her advantage and pays that forward for those who have shown her some form of kindness. I did like how things developed between Orion and El, it’s hard to describe how well it works the kind of almost friendship that teeters into the territory of something more but in an awkward way.

I also loved the relationships that she has with Aadhya and Liu, that they are tolerable acquaintances that become unlikely allies and that it progresses to a deeper friendship as they get to know each other better and see past their first impressions.

I cannot believe that it was left on that ending though, I actually cannot wait to see what happens in the next book, I feel like it can’t come soon enough.

Reviews of other Naomi Novik books


3 thoughts on “Book Review | A Deadly Education”

  1. I preordered the book and read the advance chapter – can’t wait to read the rest of it. It is an original take on a familiar scenario – really, after Hogwarts what could there be to say? But Novik gives us a dark and snarky tale with an anti-heroine who is irrisistible. I’ve loved everything she’s written so far and this promises to be the – poisonous? – icing on the cake!

    Liked by 1 person

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