The Last Graduate (Scholomance #2) by Naomi Novik
Reviewed by GGGinny
**We received an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. We’d like to thank Naomi and Del Rey Books for the opportunity. This book comes out on Sept 28th and you can get it here or at your local independent bookstore.**
What I drank: There’s this place near me that does a great Strawberry Zinfandel beer (obvi it’s a sour beer) that’s quite delightful. Also, it’s been a crazy week so I definitely ordered Chinese food and played video games all evening.
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 . . .
Drunk Overview: So… it’s senior year for El and her friends (including her may-bf Orion). The Scholomance is doing some weird shit that requires El to actually ask for help. And she starts to get this eerie feeling as the year keeps going on and she can’t help but to think it had something to do with the end of the first book (FYI, trying not to spoil, but if you’re reading this and you haven’t read the first book, what are you doing?) Meanwhile, she and her crew are fighting through the training grounds and legit being badasses.
Drunk Thoughts: Man, this is one of those books that I can just abbsolutely breeze through because I just want to know what’s going to happen next.
- El is such a compelling character because she’s constantly fighting against her nature, the nature that she doesn’t want.
- Reading as she comes through the realizations and has to decide if she’s going to do the easy thing or the thing that helps the most people is kind of fascinating.
- Because she’s written as a character who could so easily become a villain.
- And then you have Orion, her opposite, who is so clearly meant to fit an archetype, and seems like the paragon of good, but at the same time, he has the same dichotomy, but has never thought about those hard decisions because he’s not hte one to deal with the consequences.
- I will admit, I did have trouble keeping track of some people in this book. There were a lot of new names and also names that may have been mentioned before that I just straight up forgot existed….
- While I love her crew, this book didn’t really need to focus on them as much as previous books outside of them helping El figure shit out and then help her when she needed it.
- Don’t get me wrong. There were some important revelations they were needed for, but they didn’t feel as integral as they did in the previous book which was a bit of a bummer.
- At least part of my complaint is due to the fact that they brought some of the coolest magic with them, and I missed getting more of that side of things.
- Now, the Scholomance, the interesting thing is it’s both the location and a character (I can’t tell you why but I feel weird writing that about somewhere that isnt’ New York considering that seems like the most common location to get that tag.).
- I enjoyed finding that the school itself had some agency, and could use that to direct people, usually without them knowing.
- But also, every time this book explores a little more I kind of loved it. I love the creepy, semi-sentient magic school kind of vibe.
- I will say, the plot of this seemed fairly straightforward, and for the most part it was. But that didn’t change the fact that there was still lsome fantastic tension. And definitely a few different sections where I didn’t pick up on what was probably blatant foreshadowing
- Also, without details. I both saw the ending coming and got so up in arms that Sam got a text that just read MOTHERFUCKER, and then she checked up on me to make sure I was okay.
What I’d Pair it With: Fuck you, just fuck you. I have to wait a whole ‘nother year before I get to read the end of this trilogy… Fuck it. AGed whiskey. Unfortunately for you, there’s still a year left in the aging process. So suck it up and drink it in a year you asshole.
Rating: 5/5. This book just hits all the right buttons for me. Angst, weird magic schools, far-fetched plans, and at least one person suggesting “why don’t we let the adults handle it” before someone looks at that person with an arched eyebrow as if to say ‘they’re the ones who got us here, what do you think they’re going to do?’, etc.