A Deadly Education – Naomi Novik

A Deadly Education

A Deadly Education (2020)

Author – Naomi Novik

Genre – YA Fantasy, Book 1

Page Count – 336 pages

I have heard great things about Naomi Novik‘s earlier books, Uprooted and Spinning Silver and that her writing is unlike any other fantasy writers. I was very excited when I got my copy of A Deadly Education. Reader, I wish I had ran away.

Scholomance is a school for young wizards where all the rules of schooling are defied. The place seems to be hell bent on killing all the students and after the initial few days of shock, they get very used to their classmates dropping dead every day. Danger lurks in every corner – it may be hiding in your room, in the mail box and even in your pudding.

Galadriel is a hald-Indian, half-Welsh girl who is strictly mana which means she drives her energy from only the good things but she has a secret. She has the potential to be the deadliest wizard in the world if she starts to use malia which draws energy from other living beings.

As the school year passes, Galadriel, now close to being a senior, must form an alliance with other students if she wishes to come out alive on the Graduation Day or have a safe life post-Scholomance.

A Deadly Education - Naomi Novik


I’m struggling a little to find good things about this book.

The book was eloquent and would have been decent if it didn’t rely so heavily on info-dumping.

The side characters are lovable. Oliver Lake, our future love interest to Galadriel, is a good amount of hero and buffoon which makes him fairly tolerable. I personally loved Aadhya as well.


Ah! So many things.

Starting with the world building. There is so little clarity in what is being described and even less organization that the longer the book goes on for, the more difficult it becomes to understand it.

The book is dull and downright annoying at times as it intersperses action with stream of consciousness sort of narrative and that constantly takes you in and out of the story. Sometimes it feels like the entire world was conjured as the story was written and it makes very little sense.

Galadriel is a typical YA fantasy heroine. Rude but secretly hoping that somebody would realize that she’s actually very nice without giving them a reason to.

The book overall would appeal to people who like the regular tropes of cold heroines and lovers-to-haters but it wasn’t for me

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