I decided that Orion needed to die after the second time he saved my life. ~ Opening of A Deadly Education
Galadriel, aka El, comes from a small commune in Wales, the daughter of a well-respected healer. All her life El has been ostracized and treated poorly, despite her mother's reputation. Not to mention, she seems to attract all the mal (monsters) who are drawn to her. Like other magically gifted children, she is sent to Scholomance to study. The school is supposed to be a safe haven for young magic users who are often the most attractive food for the maleficaria (mals) in the world, perhaps because they are untrained and still so young. However, the school is full of its own monsters who the students must regularly fight off. Hence their rules of never walking alone anywhere, not even the bathroom, and to beware of monsters who may be lurking anywhere and everywhere. There are no teachers and no holidays. It's really more a game of survival as the students learn new spells, form alliances, and try to stay alive.
El is very much a loner. She keeps to herself mostly, reaching out only when she needs something or can make a good trade. She is not an easy person to like. She is rude and does not take grief from anyone. Perhaps that is why she is so surprised when everyone's hero, Orion Lake from the New York enclave, takes an interest in her. She wants nothing to do with him, and yet he keeps saving her (and everyone else's) life. And now he's following her around everywhere.
El knows she holds great power. The spells the school keeps sending her way to learn lean more toward mass destruction. Not exactly the kind of spells that a person would find useful. She tries to keep her head down as much as possible--not only for her sake, but everyone else's as well. El is not in this for the glory. She simply wants to make it out alive so she can live her life, whatever that may be. She makes hard choices, is willing to take risks, and has a strong moral compass.
Although I felt sorry for El right from the start, it took a little bit longer for me to like her. She is pretty rude and, well, obnoxious. But it isn't without reason given her past. She's had to build a hard shell of defenses around her to protect herself and keep from getting hurt. Only, it's obvious that even she is not going to be able to get through Scholomance all on her own. And now that she's a junior, joining an existing enclave or forming her own alliance is something she needs to give serious consideration to.
Over the course of the novel, El learns to trust others to some extent, but never loses her edge completely. She has a right to be suspicious of motives. It can be hard to tell who is using who for what given the environment they live in.
I liked the juxtaposition between El and Orion. Everyone looks to Orion to be the hero. He has always gone after the monsters and people rely on him to do so. They depend on him and he even has his own fan club. But does anyone really see him for who he is? El and he make unlikely friends given their status at the school. He's popular and she couldn't be more of a pariah. And yet they both suffer under people's perceptions and expectations of them. I don't mean to focus so much on El's relationship with Orion. While that is an important part of the book, there are other characters whom El interacts with that are also noteworthy and who I am dying to know more about.
There is plenty of teen drama and while the novel takes a bit to get off the ground, I was still drawn into the novel and could not wait to see how everything would unfold. There is always a sense of building tension throughout the novel, which really takes off in the second half. Overall, I really enjoyed A Deadly Education. It was dark and full of magic, set in an interesting time and place, not to mention has a great set of characters. I want to see where life takes them next.
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I have this one checked out from the library, I picked it up on a whim. Guess I'll have to get to it now :)ReplyDelete
Tara - I hope you enjoy it when you read it!Delete
I've heard so much buzz about this book--thanks for sharing your thoughts.ReplyDelete
Catherine - I am glad I read it. I still need to read her Spinning Silver which I have in my TBR pile.Delete
I love that opening line! And I really loved Novik's Uprooted. So this one is definitely going on my TBR list. :)ReplyDelete
Lark - I like that opening too. :-) I think I liked Uprooted more, but I think this is a strong novel too. I really enjoyed it.Delete
I'm anxious to dive into my copy too, although it might not be until December. I just saw the cover for the sequel so now I have to read this!ReplyDelete
Tammy - I hope you enjoy it when you read it! I will have to take a peek at the cover for the sequel as I haven't seen it yet. Thanks for the head's up!Delete
I have a copy of this one on my shelves that I haven't had the chance to start. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed this one.ReplyDelete
Carole - I hope you like it when you read it!Delete
This has been on my TBR list since it came out! I'm glad you enjoyed it - I look forward to the book even more!ReplyDelete
Eustacia - I hope you enjoy it when you read it. I liked her Uprooted more, but this one was good too. :-)Delete
I enjoyed Uprooted so I'll definitely have to add this onto my wishlist.ReplyDelete
Melody - I hope you like this one if you do read it!Delete
I haven't read Uprooted yet but it's high up on my list and I even bought a copy because I planned to read it. Nothing like buying a book to ensure you never read it, eh, lol! I do love the sound of Deadly Education - it sounds so different and unique.ReplyDelete
Athira - Uprooted is so good! I think anyway. :-)Delete
I'm like that too sadly. I have so many unread books that I was excited to read when I bought them--and yet there they sit still. Haha
I hope you enjoy this one if you decide to read it.
That is one intriguing opening line for sure! :)ReplyDelete
I really want to read this one, so I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it!
Lindsey - I hope you enjoy A Deadly Education if you do read it. :-)Delete
This isn't my kind of book, but it sounds like it is really well done!ReplyDelete
Helen - I thought so! It was a little slow at first, but still hard to put down.Delete
I have a copy of these waiting to be read and after reading your review, I really need to make it a priority. It sounds wonderful!ReplyDelete
Suzanne - I hope you enjoy this one when you read it!Delete
That is such a pretty cover. I didn't realize this was YA which I don't often read but next time I'm in the mood I think this would be a great book to pick up!ReplyDelete
Iliana - I hope you enjoy it if you do decide to read it!Delete