Review: A Deadly Education

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Remember how charming and supportive Hogwarts was? Remember how the instructors always attempted to shield students from harmful magic, to prepare them (well, until book 5 of the HP series) to defend themselves? Remember the collegiality within houses and the sweetness of friendship. Warning: This is not that school!

Scholomance is a school that opens its doors to admit new magically gifted students and promptly slams those doors shut until, or should I say if, they graduate a few years later. Teachers? Indifferent. Help? Strategic. Classes? Optional plus lots of people cheat. And the school building itself? Your chances of getting eaten by all manner of malevolent creatures that reside within the school, disguised on walls or in chairs, creatures drawn to the children's magic, are really high. (Thank goodness for the library, the only safe place in the whole school!) But, if you're like El, you can probably pretty much take care of yourself thanks to a deep well of dark magic. Unless a super popular boy like Orion Lake keeps getting in your way and "saving" you, damn, him. So annoying!

The first in a new fantasy series, A Deadly Education is full to the brim with diversity, dark magic, and snarky humor. Galadriel aka El, its protagonist, has done everything in her considerable power to alienate her peers, and yet, despite these efforts, she keeps making friends and alliances. The novel is a fun YA read, although El's internal monologue was at the edge of my tolerance at times. But Novik is such a great writer she pulls it off. I'll be looking forward to the sequel, eager to see more of El, Orion, and their friends. I mean, if El doesn't kill Orion. ;)

I listened to the audiobook, marvelously narrated by Anisha Dadia.

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