- Author: Naomi Novik
- Page Number: 313
- Genre: Fantasy
I read this book in about a day and a half because I simply could not bring myself to stop reading. If you liked the Harry Potter novels, you’ll like this.
Galadriel “El” Higgins is not destined to save the world from any evil wizards; she is–according to her own great-grandmother–destined to become the most evil and most powerful sorceress of all time. She has an affinity for dark magic, meaning that dark magic spells are always throwing themselves at her and casting a death curse barely costs her any mana at all.
At the dangerous Scholomance school she attends, having an affinity for dark magic could keep her alive, if she actually wanted to be the evil sorceress she prophesied to become.
Orion Lake is the opposite. He has an affinity for battle magic, and he uses it to fight off the monsters that are always trying to eat his fellow classmates, who worship him as much as they despise El. Somehow, these two form a friendship that baffles the rest of the student body, and together, they might just change the hierarchical system within the walls of Scholomance.
First of all, El is a snarky, rude character who would rather stab herself with a crochet hook than socialize with the popular kids, and I absolutely love her for it. I’ll admit, at first I found it a little frustrating that she was so rude, but then I learned more about the character and realized she has every reason to be the person she is. That says, her character growth and development is one of the things that make this book magical (see what I did there?), and her relationship with Orion makes for some laugh-out-loud moments.
It’s definitely an action-packed adventure, so if you read the Harry Potter books or The Hobbit and thought, “I really wish they had more monsters to fight,” this is definitely the book for you. It seems that monsters jump out at the protagonists on every other page, though the action is surprisingly balanced. It’s definitely one of Novik’s strength.
The only issue I had with the novel is that there is a lot of exposition that seems to break up the story. The magic system is like nothing I’ve seen before so there is reason for the constant explanations, but I wish that the author could have found a more creative way to do that without random exposition-dumps that made me want to skip ahead.
Overall, if you like a good fantasy story that plays with the usual themes of “fate” and the “chosen one,” I strongly suggest this novel. Then you can wait with me for the sequel to come out in 2021!