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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

From the author of Uprooted and Spinning Silver comes the story of an unwilling dark sorceress who is destined to rewrite the rules of magic.

“The dark school of magic I’ve been waiting for.” (Katherine Arden, author of Winternight Trilogy)

I decided that Orion Lake needed to die after the second time he saved my life.

Everyone loves Orion Lake. Everyone else, that is. Far as I’m concerned, he can keep his flashy combat magic to himself. I’m not joining his pack of adoring fans. I don’t need help surviving the Scholomance, even if they do. Forget the hordes of monsters and cursed artifacts, I’m probably the most dangerous thing in the place. Just give me a chance and I’ll level mountains and kill untold millions, make myself the dark queen of the world. At least, that’s what the world expects. 

Most of the other students in here would be delighted if Orion killed me like one more evil thing that’s crawled out of the drains. Sometimes I think they want me to turn into the evil witch they assume I am. The school certainly does. But the Scholomance isn’t getting what it wants from me. And neither is Orion Lake. I may not be anyone’s idea of the shining hero, but I’m going to make it out of this place alive, and I’m not going to slaughter thousands to do it, either. Although I’m giving serious consideration to just one.

With flawless mastery, Naomi Novik creates a school bursting with magic like you’ve never seen before and a heroine for the ages - a character so sharply realized and so richly nuanced that she will live on in hearts and minds for generations to come.

Praise for Deadly Education

“The can’t-miss fantasy of fall 2020, a brutal coming-of-power story steeped in the aesthetics of dark academia.... A Deadly Education will cement Naomi Novik’s place as one of the greatest and most versatile fantasy writers of our time.” (BookPage, starred review) 

“A must-read.... Novik puts a refreshingly dark, adult spin on the magical boarding school.... Readers will delight in the push-and-pull of El and Orion’s relationship, the fantastically detailed world, the clever magic system, and the matter-of-fact diversity of the student body.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

©2020 Naomi Novik (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“The Scholomance is the dark school of magic I’ve been waiting for, and its wise, witty, and monstrous heroine is one I’d happily follow anywhere - even into a school full of monsters.” (Katherine Arden, New York Times best-selling author of The Bear and the Nightingale)

“Eyeball-meltingly brilliant...Novik is, quite simply, a genius.” (Kiersten White, New York Times best-selling author of And I Darken)

“At the Scholomance, monsters are everywhere and the breakfast might kill you, but the wonderful cast of characters will grab ahold of your heart and you’ll never want to leave this deadly school. Naomi Novik skillfully combines sharp humor with layers of imagination to build a fantasy that delights on every level. I loved this brilliant book.” (Stephanie Garber, number one New York Times best-selling author of the Caraval series) 

What listeners say about A Deadly Education

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Love Naomi Novil....but this one I don't like

Wish this would have been listed as YA, because it is clearly that kind of book.

Got 1/3 the way through and gave up. Didn't like the main character AT ALL. I have no desire to listen to such childish behavior.

Just not for me, narrator just okay, not great at all

One of my favorite books is Spinning Silver and it is awesome, and narrated perfectly.

when I stopped listening to A deadly Education, I listened to Spinning Silver again. I never get to much of Spinning Silver

**** Tried again, can not finish. returning

32 people found this helpful

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Conflicted about canceling JK Rowling? No worries, this is better.

Novik is queen of the remake/ upgrade.

In the way her dragon series remade Horatio Hornblower, this book is Hogwarts cleared of all the useless teachers and an extra level of danger added. Boring Harry has been sidelined to make room for a much more interesting heroine with a deeper and funnier inner life.

This is the escape to the high school from hell read we all need in 2020.

22 people found this helpful

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Intersting concept, way too much self pity

I was very excited to read another book by Naomi Novik, as I absolutely loved Uprooted and Spinning Silver. However, once I realized I was 2 hours in to this one and nothing had happened beyond a few monster attacks and the main character whining about how hard her life is, my enthusiasm waned. I love stories about underdogs just as much as the next person, but when the underdog is constantly comparing everything they have to everything everyone else has and feeling sorry for themselves *all the time*, it gets old. The main character is also blessed with amazing insights into other people's thought processes, allowing her to look past people's seemingly kind actions to herself and others and see them for the greedy attempts at manipulation that they invariably are. I kept waiting for someone to explain to her that the reason she didn't have any friends wasn't really because she has a bad aura or whatever, but because she's an absolute jerk to everyone. Then she could have slowly realized it was true and changed her ways, though of course keeping much of her snarky nature. But no one did, and she didn't. She is a bit nicer by the end of the book, and will probably improve further with the next one, but the revelation about the way she treats people never came.
After all that it may sound like I hated this book. I didn't, although I found much of it very tiresome. Once things actually start happening and there is a plot to follow I would say it's a decent book, with a lot of really cool concepts and fun ideas. I wanted more when it ended, things were just starting to become really interesting. I just hope in the next book there is more plot and a lot less self pity.

20 people found this helpful

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So creative you'll forget you're not enjoying it

Extremely creative world building which is somehow whimsical while lacking fun. I think the tiring part is largely due to the fact that the main character is entirely unlikable. I also wasn't expecting it to be so painfully YA. All of the parts that aren't world building are high school social politics.

On this plus side: this would have been a better "Welcome to Night Vale" book than any of their official novels.

20 people found this helpful

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Fully realized, completely engaging, unexpected protagonist

And she’s mixed race, good (but it’s a struggle) and never saccharine. Naomi Novik is a master storyteller and while some of the tropes are familiar, they are made fresh by her characters. The narrator is absolutely pitch perfect.

17 people found this helpful

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Edgy Teen Girl goes to Magical HighSchool

The story wasn’t my type of thing. A lot of teen drama and cliques, great performance though.

11 people found this helpful

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All Shall Love this book and Despair!

That this is the only one of the series that is currently available. It is absolutely fantastic.

7 people found this helpful

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Loved it

I loved it, started a bit slow, but it's worth it.
Harry potter meets forging hephestus meets Dresden Files..

7 people found this helpful

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Another home run from Naomi Novik

I found Naomi Novik through her marvellous Temeraire series and was pleased to find she had tried her hand at the well-trodden Magic School genre. But she does something new and fresh with it, and every minute is enjoyable. Novik builds an intriguing world - I am so glad this is a series because I want to know ALL about it and I have so many unanswered questions - and our heroine is smart, cynical, and wrong in all the right ways from moment one. (Those who liked Sarah Rees Brennan’s In Other Lands will definitely want to give A Deadly Education a go.) Going with El as she puzzled through problems, yells at everyone, and tries assiduously to survive school, is a great ride, and Anisha Dadia’s reading brings her to life. I can’t wait for book 2; till then, I am listening to A Deadly Education all over again.

6 people found this helpful

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Not your average YA

This series is YA in the same way The Hunger Games is YA: teenage protagonist but deadly stakes. Yes, there’s a focus on cliques and interpersonal drama, but in this world being part of a strong clique means you have a better chance of not getting eaten by monsters, so it’s just not the same as your average petty teenage gossip.

Here’s the thing that will be make or break for a lot of readers: one of the themes of this series is privilege. The school is basically a war zone and all the kids are trying to survive, but the kids with resources and connections have a much better chance at survival. The story is told from the perspective of a Have Not who openly resents the Haves. Some reviewers seem to interpret this as making the main character whiny, but I think this story will resonate with a lot of people.

The narration was pretty good too. There were a few places where I thought the flow was a little off – like a verbal comma in the wrong place – but it really was in only a couple of places and overall the tone of the narration seemed just right for the voice of the main character: acerbic and dryly witty.

I love this book and I am so looking forward to the next in the series. The main character is complex and cynical and intentionally a little hard to like at first, but she reveals herself to be absolutely amazing. There are strong supporting characters and plenty of action. Overall, just a really great listen.

3 people found this helpful