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ARC Review: The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik


The specter of graduation looms large as Naomi Novik’s groundbreaking, New York Times bestselling trilogy continues in the stunning sequel to A Deadly Education.

In Wisdom, Shelter. That’s the official motto of the Scholomance. I suppose you could even argue that it’s true—only the wisdom is hard to come by, so the shelter’s rather scant.

Our beloved school does its best to devour all its students—but now that I’ve reached my senior year and have actually won myself a handful of allies, it’s suddenly developed a very particular craving for me. And even if I somehow make it through the endless waves of maleficaria that it keeps throwing at me in between grueling homework assignments, I haven’t any idea how my allies and I are going to make it through the graduation hall alive.

Unless, of course, I finally accept my foretold destiny of dark sorcery and destruction. That would certainly let me sail straight out of here. The course of wisdom, surely.

But I’m not giving in—not to the mals, not to fate, and especially not to the Scholomance. I’m going to get myself and my friends out of this hideous place for good—even if it’s the last thing I do.

With keen insight and mordant humor, Novik reminds us that sometimes it is not enough to rewrite the rules—sometimes, you need to toss out the entire rulebook.

The magic of the Scholomance trilogy will continue in 2022

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I jumped right into this one immediately after finishing the first so they’ve blurred together a little bit, but I can say for sure that I absolutely loved it.

The writing style is gorgeous and I love El. She has the best sarcasm and knee-jerk angry reactions to things. Her default state is basically seething with fury. And having her as a narrator and seeing the Scholomance through her eyes made me love it so much more. She has such a vivid personality and is basically a force of nature that makes it impossible to look away from her.

I loved seeing El grow through the story as she learned how to be herself when not alone all the time, how to depend on (and like, and even care about) other people. I also love the incredibly wide variety of terrible monsters that Naomi Novik has dreamed up. It’s impressive, really, in a horrifying sort of way.

I saw the twist at the end coming from a ways off (really it was inevitable) but it still got me and that cliffhanger was terrible! I can’t believe I have to wait a year for the conclusion lol.

As with the first book, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I started, and I’ve spent rather a lot of time since finishing it dreaming up potential ways it could continue. Honestly I’ve got no clue where the story is going next but I will be happy to be along for the ride.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey for providing an e-arc for review.

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