Thank you to Netgalley and Del Rey Books for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: The Last Graduate (Scholomance 2) by Naomi Novik
Release Date: September 28th 2021
Tags: Fantasy | Young Adult | Dark Academia | Friendship | Romance | Being Different
Trigger/Content Warnings: Murder Attempts
Other books in this series I reviewed
A Deadly Education
At the Scholomance, El, Orion, and the other students are faced with their final year—and the looming specter of graduation, a deadly ritual that leaves few students alive in its wake. El is determined that her chosen group will survive, but it is a prospect that is looking harder by the day as the savagery of the school ramps up. Until El realizes that sometimes winning the game means throwing out all the rules . . .
The Last Graduate starts off almost right after the ending of A Deadly Education. No summer vacation for these kids. Its right on into their senior year!
El is being seen as a commodity now and special. Instead of being the odd one out she is the odd one in. Which is quite the shock to the system to our El who isn’t sure she likes it. Even more so she doesn’t know if she likes all these feelings that are going through her, towards her friends, towards the end of the school year, towards her future but mainly towards a certain boy called Orion. Which was both entertaining and frustrating in different parts.
The writing is very much similar to the start of A Deadly Education. There is a lot of continued world building going on and we spend a lot (and maybe too much) in El’s head completely which is one of the reasons this series won’t ever be a 5 star read for me. The plot trudges on at the start as the school seems to want something from them. But why now? For me the explanation was a little on the weak side.
The ending also seemed so very easy and I had so many questions leading up to it. And nothing went wrong and then it did right at the end and Novik slams us with it right at the very last paragraph and I just wanted to throw the book. Fortunately I held myself in since I was reading an e arc at the time.
It made me realize that I had gotten quite attached to the characters in these books. El wants to be that dark girl but when it comes down to it she is helping out so many others. And while she needs an alliance, that alliance is made up out of friendship. As the book continues they ally themselves with other students and other alliances. And then there is Orion who is such a cinnamon roll. He has such heart eyes for El and she has no idea why. And it is so cute. But he also has his own deepening in this book regarding his character. About his past and his worries and his fears.
Which is to say that this book isn’t perfect in anyway. But I still enjoyed reading it for the characters and the school setting.