The Golden Enclaves (The Scholomance, Book 3)
By: Naomi Novik
My Rating: Three out of Five Stars
Best for: 18 and up
The Scholomance would have eaten Harry Potter alive. Literally.
Welcome to the end of The Scholomance! Book three has been published, read, digested–and now, reviewed.
Already a fan and you just want to know what to expect in book three? Here you go:
What’d I think of The Golden Enclaves? Was it worth the wait? Am I satisfied?
Yes! Well, mostly. With a really significant BUT.
After that terrible, no good, very bad CLIFFHANGER at the end of book two, I (and the rest of the fandom) was relieved to finally get The Golden Enclaves in my hands and pull our friends off the cliff. Book 3 picks up where book 2 left off–quite literally–and quickly heads off into the wide magical world we heard a lot about during the previous books, but never got to see.
I enjoyed the mystery, the unexpected twists, and the big reveals, and I bet you’re going to enjoy that too. All the things we loved in book one are inside. The magic. The monsters. The worldbuilding. The snark. I even thought the ending was mostly satisfying!
The romance gets really wonky, so if that’s part of what’s important to you, I’m afraid you might end up drop kicking this one across the room. In fact, there’s a completely unexpected and very out-of-character sexual relationship between two main female characters that I was shocked to discover and even, a month after I’d read it, I’m still trying to get my head around. Go read other reviews–I’m not the only one who’s feeling confused! I can’t explain why it was there. It didn’t serve any purpose, and it’s so out of place and unnecessary it tainted the whole story for me.
And that, fellow fans, is what you can expect from book 3.
Are you new to the Scholomance? Uninitiated? Curious? Here’s what you’ll want to know!
In book 1, A Deadly Education, we were introduced to a 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.
Heads up that book two ends in that aforementioned killer cliffhanger, so make sure you have book 3 ready to go.
For the content conscious among us, you’ll want to know there’s quite a lot of the four-letter kind of expletives and plenty of creepy, monster violence. There’s some sexual content in book 2, 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!). In book 3, there are three instances of that same spicy sexual content, including two very out of place scenes involving two main female characters.
If you can handle the content, The Scholomance really is a lot of fun. Best for 18 and up.