A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik is a disappointing novel that fails to reach its potential. While Novik’s world-building is detailed and imaginative, the book is ultimately weighed down by its sluggish pacing and unremarkable characters. Read on for the rest of my book review.
The protagonist, Galadriel “El” Higgins, is a poorly written character who is difficult to sympathize with. Despite her supposed strength and intelligence, El often comes across as whiny and entitled, making it hard for readers to care about her struggles. Her relationships with her fellow students are shallow and unconvincing, and her dry wit and sarcasm quickly become grating rather than endearing.
While the concept of a magical school filled with danger and intrigue is a promising one, Novik’s execution falls flat. The Scholomance, with its ruthless survivalist culture, feels more like a caricature than a fully realized setting. The constant threat of death and danger becomes repetitive and dull, with slight variation in the obstacles El and her classmates face.
The book’s pacing is also a significant issue, with lengthy exposition and character development bogging down the narrative. The action scenes, when they do occur, are often rushed and unsatisfying, lacking the tension and excitement that a story of this nature demands.
Overall, A Deadly Education is a forgettable and lackluster novel that fails to deliver its promise. Novik’s writing is competent but ultimately unremarkable, and the book’s flat characters and sluggish pacing make for a frustrating and unengaging read.
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