A Deadly Education

A Novel

A Deadly Education (Hardcover, 2020, Del Rey)

hardcover, 336 pages

Published Sept. 29, 2020 by Del Rey.


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4 stars (2 reviews)

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.

There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.

El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

3 editions

Fun all the way through

4 stars

A lot of reviewers complained reasonably that the worldbuilding is pretty unbelievable at times, but I was having too much fun to notice.

I loved the big gimmick underlying the whole book: the protagonist has the talents and affinities to be the most powerful and destructive necromancer of her generation - there’s even prophecies about her! - but she was raised by pacifist hippies and works incredibly hard not to accidentally incinerate or mind-control her classmates, building power not by sacrificing animals but through push-ups and crochet.

It was ok I guess?

3 stars

I've read Uprooted and Spinning Silver and liked those a lot, but this book really clanged for me. I almost gave up on it a few times, but persisted through to the end and found it to be mostly okay. It's a pretty interesting concept for a book (I didn't realize until I was finished that the Scholomance is from folklore) and I could imagine the next book being ok, but I can also imagine that I might not bother reading it.