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A Deadly Education

(The Scholomance #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  93,285 ratings  ·  14,888 reviews
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of Uprooted and Spinning Silver comes the first book of the Scholomance trilogy, the story of an unwilling dark sorceress who is destined to rewrite the rules of magic.

FINALIST FOR THE LODESTAR AWARD • “The dark school of magic I’ve been waiting for.”—Katherine Arden, author of Winternight Trilogy

I decided that Orion Lake needed
Kindle Edition, 337 pages
Published September 29th 2020 by Del Rey
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James Obviously people can do what they will. The author definitely got some things wrong about which cultures subscribe to which mythological creatures, an…moreObviously people can do what they will. The author definitely got some things wrong about which cultures subscribe to which mythological creatures, and apparently invoked a racist stereotype about a certain hair style. It would be good if she did better in the future. Not denying it.

However, I would say that most of the problems in the book stem from an attempt at inclusion that applied some effort, but not enough to get everything perfect. The author could have gone full Harry Potter and just had white people, and 90% of the issues that are being discussed would not have been present in the text. But it would have been a worse book for racial inclusion.

The author has made an apology, and has committed to taking actions to repair her most prominent mistake and prevent future mistakes of a similar nature. If you think that this is behavior that, nonetheless, deserves your boycott, that is your prerogative. I personally don't think it is helpful.

I also question whether you will be able to apply this policy consistently. I doubt you'll be able to read many books by people that contain a mix of ethnicities and cultures where mistakes like this don't happen to some degree or another. The question will simply be whether the dragon that is Twitter has noticed or not. I think you'd be better off reading what you want, and supporting anti-racist policies like more taxation for the rich, voting rights, healthcare, and better schools for the poor. These types of policies matter vastly more to most racially underprivileged people than some relatively subtle and unintentional racist tropes in a fantasy novel.

Note: I am a socially progressive white person who generally supports BLM and similar anti-racist organizations. Take the above opinion with the appropriately sized grain of salt based on that knowledge.(less)

Community Reviews

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Maryam Rz.
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: comedy horror young adult fantasy fans
⇓ Edited to Add: On the Controversy ⇓

Since its release, this book has been accused of racism. I respect those who have been hurt and am sorry for their pain, but I want to say that—as a Middle Eastern who has also strived to be as aware of racism as possible—I personally did not find this book racist. Most of the accusations I’ve read have seemed insubstantial to me—if you view words out of context with the aim of finding something offensive, of course you will succeed.

The school giving El c
Oct 07, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Harry Potter’s massive cultural impact means that we haven’t seen the last of magic schools set in Britain, and we probably won’t for a long while. In some ways, the fantasy genre’s response to Rowling’s work is tiresome. In others, it’s exciting—because a generation of readers and writers have grown up to bring their own perspective to the limits of Rowling’s work and push it beyond the limits of its author. However, if you’re looking for a transgressive magic academy book that interrogates the ...more
Oct 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite part about this book was the relationship between El and Orion. El’s prickly attitude towards Orion, who does nothing but nice things for her, totally amused me from beginning to end and I found their dynamic to be silly and endearing. The writing style very much rambles since it’s directly from El’s voice, and is therefore peppered with sarcasm and brooding petulance. This book would be better enjoyed by people who like reading dark academia YA stories (it definitely steers younger ...more
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
I got 50 pgs in and just did not care for the writing style at all. It’s a lot of stream of consciousness kind of rambling that is just throwing buckets of info at you at once and just did not make me interested in the slightest. Probably could’ve given it more of a chance but the rest of the book seems to have the same style of writing and I’m just not interested enough to push through
Nilufer Ozmekik
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hogwarts meets Deadly Class’ world building with sassy, smart, humorous vibes, completely badass, snarky, grumpy, sarcastic queen as a heroine and a clueless hero walking between the lines of being irritating and hysterical.

I was waiting more bloodshed, bleak, horrifying, gory premise but instead of that I got dark comedy with creative ideas, deliciously absurd twists, extremely entertaining, addictive story with a sassiest and smartest ( of course she is half Indian, half Welsh) heroine called
Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
ARC provided in exchange for an honest review - thank you!

EDIT: I do NOT believe this book is racist.

I'm suddenly noticing that a few people are levelling accusations of racism at this book. I don't believe these accusations are justified. IMO, all the complaints are attributable to the fact that a) El is very antisocial, meaning she struggles to connect/care about anybody, regardless of what race they are; and b) she grew up in Wales away from her Indian family. Of course she's not goin
2021 reread: Yes, of course Carol is right (as she always is) — the protagonist *is* a Murderbot. How did I not see it myself???

Upping to 4.5 stars on reread, given how much absolute delight it brought me.


“We’re not meant to all survive, anyway. The school has to be fed somehow.”
Scholomance is an isolated magical boarding school in the Void that you enter at fourteen and - maybe, possibly, if you are *very* lucky - get to leave four years later. But before you sign up, keep in min
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
well, its official - third time is not the charm.

i assumed because this is NNs first try at the YA genre, her storytelling would feel more modern and less stuffy than her adult fairytale retellings. but nope. this is the exact same slogging narrative i have come to know and dislike. NNs style of 80% internal monologue/narration is just not for me. theres just a lot of info-dumping, tedious and repetitive descriptions, and too much telling/not enough showing for my liking.

i also had a massive p
Sep 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of outsider changing the story
Why didn't anyone tell me the lead is a Murderbot? I would have read this much, much sooner.

Alright, the full review is here, with sub-spoilers:
(view spoiler)
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
I love magical schools but this was disappointing.

Didn't care for the characters, the setting, the story... most of it tbh.
ELLIAS (elliasreads)
Oct 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, 2021-books

That's it. That's my review. Am I a professional or what.

Honestly a super super strong 4 STARS for me. Hmmmm 4.5? I reaaallly enjoyed this; I actually didn't think I would at first. But after the hurdle through the first fifty pages, dannngg I really ate this up.

If anybody asks me what this book is about, I literally still don't have a clue. I would say 60% went over my head with all the mechanics and magics and works of the place, system, school, whatever. And the e
Miranda Reads

Just released my Top 10 Books from 2020 BookTube Video - now that you know this one made the list, click the link to find the rest!

Annnd here's my original reaction to this book!


Couldn't resist doing a Video Review for this dangerously good book!!

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Helena Paris
I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
EDIT 1: It seems that some people have gone out of their way (and, likely, minds!) to label this book a racist one. Well, I'd advise them to have their brains checked since they seem to be morons. There isn't anything even remotely racist in here. Races aren't even discussed.
The languages that are. Discussed. Are discussed in a general multicultural way. So no need to go crazy. Amen!

EDIT 2: It seems that NN was forced to apologise for the passage on dreadlocks that can get infested with magi
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hamad by: Farez, A and Helena
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

I just went through some reviews before starting this reviews and I am seeing a lot of “I am a big Naomi Novik fan but this was not for me/ DNFed/ not as good as her other books”. Personally, I preferred this over Uprooted and Spinning Silver but I still am giving it 2.5 stars. The book has been the center of a recent drama while I was reading it this week and I will touch upon that in this review a bit.

My biggest problem with No
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
$1.99 Kindle sale, August 29, 2021. I was a bit on the fence with this first book, but I have to say that I really loved the second one, so overall this fantasy series gets a strong thumbs up from me, so far.

Review first posted on FantasyLiterature.com:

The Scholomance: It’s kind of like a semi-sentient Hogwarts with extra teeth (actually, more like a mouth bristling with razor-sharp fangs), no teachers, really brutal cliques, and an out-of-control infestation of all sorts of magical monsters (ca
myo (myonna reads)
Omg i had so much fun reading this! I mean, of course i did. it’s dark academia. I enjoyed this world so much. This book in particular did have a lot of world building but i didn’t mind because there were so many things i found cool. For Example the moving stairs you couldn’t be on after classes because you don’t know where you’ll end up or the fact that you can’t be in your room after curfew. Also, these kids were crazy as hell and literally was trying to kill the main character El.

I know a lo
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Note: I received a free copy of A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik in exchange for my honest review.

I’m surprised by how much I liked this book. It has a very dark Hogwarts type feel, but with way more monsters and death. 🙃 I enjoyed the hate/love relationships between El and well... pretty much everyone. 😜 And sweet Orion is the golden retriever who you just have to love ❤️ I’ll be looking forward to reading that sequel! Update: I’m having dreams about this world and am still thinking about it..
3.75 stars

Before I outline my thoughts on this book, if you’ve missed it, please read some reviews from BIPOC reviewers in response to some of the missteps about race in this book. I read reviews from both sides before deciding to proceed with reading it myself as planned. My review will not speak on any of the accusations against this book, as it is not my place to say whether something is harmful to a marginalized group that I am not a part of. Based on what I read from reviewers, the misstep
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

I feel like I don't get ARCs because people think I'm mean. I'm NOT mean. I'm just honest. If I tell you I love your book, I freaking love your book. And if I tell you that I don't like it, it's because I want you to do better. LOL. I'm basically the tough love mom on Goodreads who isn't afraid to tell you not to go out like that.
Oct 28, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dark-academia
never mind. i don't like anything about this book.

read Asma's review


i like a lot of things about this book, but my favorite thing is that the title sounds like if you ran "dark academia" through a thesaurus
This is my kind of fantasy.

The Scholomance is a magical school infested with monsters (called mals) that all have rather creative ways of killing you. In order to graduate, seniors must fight their way through hordes of ravenous mals. It's not a pleasant reality, folks.

El Higgins, a relentlessly sarcastic, eternally grumpy junior, is trudging her way through her third year of the Scholomance. She's storing up mana, one type of magic source, through exercise and crocheting and punching Orion Lak
dark academia + magic + monsters = a deadly education

Naomi Novik takes the overdone concept of a magic school and refreshes it with darkness, a diverse cast and unique world building. If you are looking for a book to serve all the Slytherin vibes- complete with an unlikeable mc and twisting political alliances- look no further.

The school in a deadly education is truly what the title suggests- deadly. When there are monsters lurking around every corner, you need to be 10 steps ahead at all time
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2020, ya
Yesterday, I started writing this book's review:
I enjoyed this book more than I expected. I have read Uprooted and loved it (back when it was still cool to like this book), I found Spinning Silver okay and dnf the first Temeraire book, in fact, it was my only dnf this year (I was so bored but I loved the dragon). So I thought maybe my taste changed across the years and Naomi’s books aren’t for me anymore. Glad I was wrong.
*throws it in the bin*

I originally gave this book 4 stars. I did not writ
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, one of my most highly anticipated 2020 releases is officially now my most disappointing read of the year so far *cue sad violin music*

This book had so much potential and yet it missed every mark for me.

The story itself could have been something really great but, for me, it was let down in all aspects by the writing and execution. The characters all fell flat and despite a large cast, the MC was the only character with any defining characteristics. The relationships were subpar and pretty
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
UPDATE: $2.99 on kindle US today 2/28/21

I didn’t like it couldn’t get into what I’ve read so far. I am going to come back to it a little later to see if it was my mood 😘

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Yes, I am aware of the controversy surrounding parts of this book. Novik apologized with great feeling for her mistakes, so I decided to read this, and I am so, so happy I did. This female lead is one of my all-time favorites. Her grumpiness is everything.


The dreadlock paragraph is atrocious and definitely needed to be addressed and I'm glad it's being fixed in later editions.

As for the languages as magic and some of the other issues some readers had, I did read a lot of reviews af
Becca & The Books
Usually when I rate a book 3 stars it's either because I liked it but didn't think it was anything special, or I'm super ambivalent about it. Neither of these are the case for A Deadly Education.

I adored and despised this book in equal measure.

I loved the character of El. She's snarky, defensive and downright hostile and I swear I've never related to a character more. The way she is just so done with The Scholomance and all of the obstacles it throws in her path were hilarious to read.
Orion is t
1.5 stars
Wow okay, I did not enjoy this. There were too many info dumps and I wasn’t a fan of the “rambling” and textbook-like writing style. It took me right out of the story.
Being inside El’s head was grating because she would constantly berate Orion and the things around her. Her internal thoughts, however, were witty and entertaining - so I give her that.

Another reason why I did not like this was that the plot had no sense of direction and I was so bored throughout. Initially, I was totally
Charlotte Kersten
“Reader, I ran the fuck away.”

A Deadly Education is quite a departure from Novik’s second-most recent book Spinning Silver, which I read a couple of years ago and loved. I have a lot of respect for an author who can be so versatile, and I can honestly say that I’ve never read anything quite like it before.

I love the idea of the Scholomance itself - how it functions like a malignant organism, trying to destroy, manipulate and devour its students. There are so many wonderful descriptions in the bo
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An avid reader of fantasy literature since age six, when she first made her way through The Lord of the Rings, Naomi Novik is also a history buff with a particular interest in the Napoleonic era and a fondness for the work of Patrick O’Brian and Jane Austen. She studied English literature at Brown University, and did graduate work in computer science at Columbia University before leaving to partic ...more

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The Scholomance (3 books)
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