The Last Graduate (The Scholomance, Book 2)
By: Naomi Novik
My Rating: FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS!
Best for: 18 and up
I need a hyperventilate emoji…
Gah! Guys, I’m torn between raving and ranting. I loved, LOVED this book–but that cliffhanger!
In book 1, A Deadly Education, we were introduced to this wonderfully imagined world from the endlessly impressive mind of Naomi Novik.
The Scholomance is where the world’s wizard families send their children for training–except this isn’t comfy Hogwarts where every meal is a feast, there’s always a warm fire, your bed is preheated, and good friends are all around. Inside The Scholomance it’s The Hunger Games x The Lord of the Flies x H.P. Lovecraft. The food might be poisoned, one wall of your room opens to an endless void, and there are floor drains for ease in cleaning up after all the spilled guts. The kids with the best alliances and the most friends are the safest. The loner kids who don’t have much to offer? They’re low hanging fruit the scary things that roam the dark corners want to munch on. The only way out? Survive until senior year so you can sprint through a gauntlet of terrifying monsters to get to the exit doors.
If they only had a budding dark sorceress powerful enough to get everyone out safely…
Book 2, The Last Graduate, picks up exactly where A Deadly Education left off (literally…like the next sentence). The newly minted seniors have to figure out how to get themselves out of the school without being melted, flayed, drained, dismembered, murdered, or thrown into the endless void. The whole experience is as harrowing as you can imagine, and the story kept me on the edge of my seat all the way to the heart-stopping climax!
As with A Deadly Education, we experience the entire narrative through the eyes and mind of the deliciously snarky, many layered, and perfectly named Galadriel (aka El): the super-powered-but-doesn’t-want-anyone-to-know hero of our story. I’m in love with her character arc, and this creepy story actually found a way to pull my heartstrings as El grew into her relationships and became comfortable with who she is.
Like book 1, there is a good bit of the four-letter kind of expletives and plenty of creepy, monster violence. There’s some sexual content in this book, including a pretty spicy scene that’s significant enough to move this out of YA (accessible to teens) and firmly in to NA (best for adults). It starts on page 340 if you want know what to skip (or maybe head straight for it lol).
And, of course…that cliffhanger. Holy crap. I haven’t read many bigger than that. I’ve calmed down a bit after a few days, but I expect to randomly suffer from chills and an increased heart rate over the next year whenever I think about that ending while impatiently waiting for closure in the finale!
The Last Graduate is a wonderful story and is best for 18 and up.