ARC Review: The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik


The dark school of magic has always done its best to devour its students, but now that El has reached her final year, and somehow won herself a handful of allies along the way, it’s suddenly developed a very particular craving….for her.

As the savagery of the school ramps up, El is determined that she will not give in; not to the mals, not to fate, and especially not to the Scholomance. But as the spectre of graduation looms the deadly final ritual that leaves few students alive, if she and her allies are to make it out, El will need to realise that sometimes winning the game means throwing out all the rules.


The Last Graduate is the second book in the Scholomance series, the third and final one is due to be published in September next year. It starts off more or less where The Deadly Education left off and dives straight into the melee of the story, with El now in her new senior year. For this reason you really need to have read book to get a gist of the world and story. The writing style took a bit of getting used to, some of the sentences are incredibly long, often punctuated with a dash or a semi colon instead of a full stop, resulting in longwinded narrative. This, coupled with the occasional interruption of thought processes and information dumps and it was a bit of a slog to get through. However, I really enjoyed the wit and sarcastic comments sprinkled throughout and there are some really humorous moments.

The characters are brilliant and very varied.  El is the queen of sarcasm and I loved her characterisation.  I enjoyed following El’s and Orion’s relationship and, after a lot of build up over nearly two books, it finally arrived where we wanted it to be.  That being said I would have loved to have seen more interactions between these two, some of the best scenes in the book were when they were together, I enjoyed their banter and I’m sure it would have helped me to commit more to the storyline.  The storyline itself wasn’t quite up there for me and I struggled to engage with it’s repetitiveness.  I think the novelty of this world has started to wear off, having seen it all before in A Deadly Education, and I became bored with the constant Mal decimation.  The whole premise of this world didn’t quite work for me, I didn’t like the setting and I couldn’t keep up with the plethora of different Mals.  A glossary would have been a useful addition.

This is definitely a book to read if you enjoy stories about schools of magic, wizardry and deadly creatures.  However, even with the slightly absurd and extremely blatant cliffhanger ending, I don’t think I will be exploring this series any further.  It was an enjoyable time, but I’ve had my fill of this world for now. 

Publisher:  Del Ray
Publication Date (UK):  28 September 2021
Series:  #2 Scholomance
Format:  eARC/eBook
Page Count:  388
Genre:  Fantasy
Rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to the publisher for the gifted advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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

Please do not hesitate to comment below if you liked my review or have any comments about this book 😊 

Happy reading!


Twisted in Pages Blog

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