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ARC Review: A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik


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.


A Deadly Education is slightly different to this author’s usual fairytale fantasies and not quite what I was expecting, needless to say I really enjoyed it and it is such a fun read.  The premise of the story is fascinating, in that the students of this Scholomance school will either graduate or die trying to graduate.  The school is not run by teachers but by magic and infested with all manner of creatures called Maleficaria or ‘Mals’ who lurk in every corner and crevice waiting to pounce.  The story is dark, but written with an edge of humour and there are some really entertaining and amusing moments.  The book is well written with some wonderful attention to detail, the world building is complex and the magic system is very interesting.  

The characters are all portrayed really well and I liked all of them.  In particular Galadriel (El) who is a perfect lead heroine, she is a bit tetchy and prickly, but completely driven to succeed in graduating.  I particularly liked the bond she had with Orion and their interactions with one another were hilarious at times, they bounced off each other so well.  They have a very begrudging friendship and El resents the fact he always seems to come to her rescue like a knight in shining armour, but maybe there is also the tiniest hint of a brewing romance?

My main problem is there is no riveting main storyline, pulling the reader through the book and at times my attention wandered with all the information to take in.  The author spends a lot of time on the school’s history and the back history of El’s life and the main focus of the book is El’s escapades in school and her interactions with other students. 

That cliffhanger last sentence really got me….and I definitely need to read the next book!  All in all a great read packed with magic and world building, which I’m sure will interest Harry Potter and younger YA fantasy fans alike.

Publisher:  Random House, UK, Cornerstones
Publication Date:  29 September 2020
Rating: 3 Stars

Thank you to the publisher via Netgalley for my advanced copy of this book.  

I hope you enjoyed this review.  For my current reads, recommendations and anything else book related, please give me a follow on Instagram , Goodreads or Twitter. Happy reading.



Published by twistedinpages

Reader • Reviewer • Blogger

11 thoughts on “ARC Review: A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

  1. Yeah I’m about halfway through this one and it feels a little off. It’s weird I’m definitely enjoying it but I haven’t yet managed to shake that not what I expected feeling yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I agree with everything you’ve said on it, I also loved El’s sarcasm and the way she told this novel…hope there’s not this much info-dump in the sequel!


    1. I loved Spinning Silver too, although I haven’t read Uprooted yet. I would definitely read this new one, especially as it’s had so many mixed reviews, you can then make up your own mind 👌🏻😀

      Liked by 1 person

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