This first book in this series was a bit hit and miss but I loved the main character and her negative attitude lol. so here I am again 🙂 and I have a lot to say!
This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you.
The Last Graduate
by Naomi Novik
A budding dark sorceress determined not to use her formidable powers uncovers yet more secrets about the workings of her world in the stunning sequel to A Deadly Education, the start of Naomi Novik’s groundbreaking crossover series.
At the Scholomance, El, Orion, and the other students are faced with their final year—and the looming specter of graduation, a deadly ritual that leaves few students alive in its wake. El is determined that her chosen group will survive, but it is a prospect that is looking harder by the day as the savagery of the school ramps up. Until El realizes that sometimes winning the game means throwing out all the rules . . .
- The school
- the magic
I went in remembering the issues and discussion surrounding the MC attitude towards her own heritage from book 1. I hope book 2 would fix it in some way or address it. But no. We got more. yay…
This story (same as with the first book) has minor racism and stereotyping and white saviour issues. I wouldn’t say they are severe issues but they are very annoying and unnecessary. Because a few pages later they’re “fixed” and I realised that it was only done to create tension which made it sit wrongly even more. And yes I know it was done to reflect the politics outside the school (and real-life throughout history) but there are so many different ways it could have been instead. And yes, there are some discussions on the white men creators of the school etc. So some good points but also there will be another rant online about this book, same as book 1.
The story follows on straight from the end of book 1. I don’t even think there has been more than a minute since book 1 finished. The plot doesn’t reveal itself for a while but we all know she is a senior and will graduate that year.
I have issues with the worldbuilding in here. We have a very narrow view in the book. It’s all told from El’s point of view and we are only told what she choices to tell us. We are only (for example) given the information about the 5th floor being the top floor and has no ceilings but the walls run up into infinity when she inspects a 5th-floor room and mentions it because she didn’t bother checking the ceiling cause there is none… The is a constant stream of new information. Some will call it breadcrumbs, I would call it intentionally leaving your readers blind.
It’s frustrating mainly because I love this world and I want to see more of it by already knowing. Instead, I get drip feed surprises. When I have already made an internal image, and then get told there is no ceiling I need to change my entire internal image. etc. it tiering.
But I do love this world and the school and the void etc.
Love the magic in here. I love how you have two types of magical energy, one good and one bad. You can choose which one to use, but once you go bad you can come back. And I love how the school teaches the students based on their affinity. Poor El can vanquish an army but not clean her room lol.
El is the main character and the narrator in this book. She is sarcastic, angry and annoyed. She always has issues with emotions but in this book we see her becoming more focused on doing good rather than keep to herself. With great friends comes great responsibilities.
There is one side character who is in a m/m relationship and El doesn’t really care as long as they are happy.
The writing is frustrating, but I think I’ve figured out why. The paragraphs are endless and the sentences are just as long. By the time a sentence has stopped I’ve forgotten where it started. It’s heavy to read and difficult in places to understand.
The reason it’s told this way (I think) is because El is telling her story to the reader. She is not writing it down for us but she is telling it to someone or something. That’s my theory. So El is only giving the information we need because she only remembers to tell it there and then.
I love the school and I love the magic. I don’t enjoy the way it’s written but I’m curious to see if my theory is right, that there is a reason for it. I’m definitely not sure about the issues in the book which was only used for tension and not to further the plot. It really pissed me off and felt racist. But then the ending of the book happened and I realised I was super emotionally invested. I know don’t know what to do for the next instalment. Do I not read it because there are always issues with it in terms of racism? or do I get an ending and a conclusion? I think I’ll have to wait until it comes out and see how I feel.
I can’t wait to see what people have to say about this book.
Have you read this? What did you think?