Cover Image: The Last Graduate

The Last Graduate

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Member Reviews

The adventures in the scholomance continue - and if it's fun, deepening romance and teenage angst mixed with magic then look no further! 

The style of this series is exposition heavy and the large information dumps about the scholomance can be distracting - however El's voice is also clingy - so you'll find you absolutely can't wait to find out what happens next!
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The second in a series set in a school of magic. A new term has started almost before the old one finished and El (Galadriel) finds herself in a home room with all new students, the timetable from hell and abilities nor previously apparent. A note from her mother telling her to stay away from Orion Lake is too late to achieve it's aim - El very definitely not keeping her distance from the American enclave's chief protector who seems to have lost some of super protective abilities due to a lack of mana. The narrative explores why El is in this position, what she is supposed to do about and how Orion fits into the picture. It also develops some of the other characters from the previous book. It is difficult to say more about the plot line without giving away important factors.

At timesi found it a difficult read - so much going on, so much to hold onto - but I do think it is better than the first book which emphasised scene serttingand I am looking forward to the next in the series
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If you read the 1st book, you'll know exactly what I mean when I say you either love this or you hate it. As always, the Schoolomance is absolutely mental with all sorts of magical creatures and evil demons clambering out of the walls to try and kill the students attending the school. The 1st book ended on a cliff hanger and we expected, or rather I expected, for some answers in this novel. However, don't expect all of your answers to come immediately.

There is a little bit of a character shift in this novel, with Orion not being in pride of place as one might expect.

Prepare for another Cliffhanger and another absolutely mental ride!
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I think most of the people that liked the first book would enjoy this one as well. 
For me though, it wasn't what I expected. I really wanted this to be an anti-chosen one story with an anti-heroine that flirts with the dark side from time to time. At least from the first book I assumed this was going to be the case with this series. The first book honestly seemed to be subversive and intelligent, but The Last Graduate was a typical chosen one story. I wouldn't have been this annoyed if I didn't feel like I've been misled by the first book. But like I said, I had some expectations for this series that weren't met.
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Fantastic follow-up to 'A Deadly Education' - perhaps not quite as good as the first but better than most second books of a trilogy. The pacing felt a little off at times, partially due to the chatty style of El's first-person narrative and also the wait for the inevitable battle at the end. We know it's coming, the characters know it's coming, and there were times where I got a little impatient and skipped ahead slightly. I expected a cliffhanger. It was still annoying. 

I'm very much looking forward to reading the next one 'The Golden Enclaves' out 27/09/2022.

(ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley)
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2.5 stars
I want to like this book so badly, but the writing style really just is not my sort of thing. 
Admittedly,  I much preferred this book to the first (A Deadly Education) and the last 20% was super engaging. I just wish that we didn't have the excess detail as it would make the story more immersive due to you not having to wade through a sea of descriptions before getting to the actually important parts of the story. 

Way too much detail which made the dialogue painfully dull. However, the cliffhanger at the end shocked me so much that I just have to know what happens next!

Many thanks to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.
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Thank you for my earc of this book!
This was a great follow on and was engaging, dark and delicious. Loved the fantasy aspects and felt like it added to the first book.
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Dark, delicious, and magical.  I haven't read the first book, which was a mistake on my part, but I'll definitely be picking it up after this, then giving it a re-read!  Brilliant diversity, character development, and a well-thought-out magic system, I was absolutely enthralled from start to finish.
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The Last Graduate is book 2 in the Scholomance trilogy by Naomi Novik that follows student El as she studies magic and tries to stay alive (and keep her friends alive) in the magical school full of mals. In this middle installment, after helping the seniors last year from Graduation (where they were set to face a room full of mals), it’s now El’s year’s turn.
I struggled a little with A Deadly Education, the first installment, for a number of reasons, the writing style was difficult to get into, which feels a travesty to say about Naomi Novik, but it left me feeling very distant and detached, and the characters themselves left me feeling very much the same. The Last Graduate improved on the areas I struggled with, although it did give me a few new ones.
The concept is still brilliant, this magical school that churns and rotates each year, bringing it’s students closer to Graduation and a face down with mals, all while learning magic and trying to survive amongst monsters, it’s brilliant and you can absolutely tell Novik has envisioned it all, down to spells, different mals, different strategies to survive etc. Somewhat frustratingly this means sometimes you’re given a little more information that necessary, a bit of a Tolkien habit, because you can get a page, even 2, on something that doesn’t really contribute much, but that of course depends on what kind of story telling you enjoy, of course for some this added depth and detail makes it more wonderful, it’s just for me it at times felt a bit more than I needed.
El is a lot more likeable in this book also. My dislike of El in book 1 made me not particularly care about her survival, actually there were very few characters I did like. It wasn’t that El was morally grey, she was just unnecessarily provocative and antagonistic, complaining that people don’t like her or give her a chance while being rude, cold and distant to everyone. By this book, El has changed, she has friends, she has accepted an alliance and she feels more real. Is she still annoying? Of course, she gives Orion grief for his hero complex while acting a hero and/or martyr throughout the book and is actually pretty smug about it. But it’s development from who she was, in book 1 she knows she is powerful, now she uses that power for something and you feel her growth and her open up to being a hero and not a fated villain, with the door held even wider for this for book 3.
Orion is still, bless him, absolutely unrelatable, there is no chemistry between these 2 characters, no intimacy or build up, he serves a purpose but doesn’t feel like his own character. I did enjoy more Liu and, in particular, Aadhya though and getting to know them better and this more open Ell. But yes, I do not understand the need for the romance, at all.
The pacing of this book is pretty slow, again like book 1, you follow El through the school year, studying, preparing and strategizing, but the pay off is worth it because the last 20% really hits it’s stride with the face down. Also special mention for yet another cliff hanger and plenty of hints at what book 3 will involve, Novik clearly has big plans for the conclusion of this series.
Thank you NetGalley for the copy in exchange for my review.
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I really enjoyed this - I listened to the first as an audiobook, and now I want to go back and read it as a physical copy because I feel like I missed things!

I have, in general, mixed feelings about Naomi Novik's style (I didn't get on with Spinning Silver), but this series is JUST GREAT. Dark academia is one of my favourite genres and this one has got it all - interesting world building, complicated plots, young people (literally) being left to fend for themselves, all with a lovely bit of snark from our MC. I do love her - her cynicism is the perfect antidote to a lot of YA books. 

If you've read the first one, you won't need encouragement to read this one (damn that cliffhanger!) and if you haven't tried the series, then give it a go - even if you don't enjoy Naomi Novik. I found this very readable without millions of characters and convoluted multiple plots - it's just a rollicking good read. Definitely recommend.
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The Last Graduate sees El and her cohorts working toward surviving their graduation. Alliances are forged, knowledge is tested and everything the students of Scholomance have prepared for is about to change…

Never has a series conflicted me more than the Scholomance books. I can hear the Siths and Jedi simultaneously saying to me: “I feel the conflict in you…” Yes, well, that’s because of the Scholomance. 

I liked the overall story; the world and its characters are interesting and distinctly memorable. My favourite part of the whole book was the development of El and Orion’s relationship; it was slow-burn sweet. Also, I found myself even more endeared with the sentient school that works against its students (so it seems, anyways). There’s not a student across the world, be it fantastical or real, who doesn’t know that feeling. 

My biggest issue with the sequel, like its predecessor, is Novik’s writing style. I was hoping The Last Graduate wouldn’t feel too bogged down with exposition but this wasn’t the case. The first half felt like wading through mud. However, the second half was much easier to read and engage with. 

Truthfully, the next book, The Golden Enclaves, is not a final instalment I’ll be rushing to read. However, similarly to A Deadly Education, The Last Graduate ends with one whopper of a cliffhanger that insured I MUST know where the story goes next and how it all ends!

I’d recommend the series to people who like information-heavy books and academia based fantasies like The Atlas Six.

Thank you kindly to the publishers for providing me with an eARC in exchange for this honest review.
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I love this series! Wonderful concept, thrilling action, fascinating world-building, intriguing characters: everything we need from a fun fantasy novel. I can't wait for the third!
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I really enjoyed this! Definitely a better read than the first book in the series, and I loved the world that Novik invoked. Full of action, adventure and sarcasm, the cliffhanger has left me really excited for the next one in the trilogy too!
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Once again with this series, it did take me a while to understand what was going on. I wasn't that gripped, but I stuck with it. I'm glad I did as the ending was great, which is strange as I felt the same with the first book in the series as well.

I think Novik's writing can seem a bit rushed at times, but the endings always make you want to read the next book in the series. I am looking forward to reading the last book to find out who escapes the school and what happens to Elle.
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These books are such an outlier for me. Generally I am definitely a reader who is more detail oriented in descriptions of magic systems and world exploration but that seems to go out the window with my enjoyment of this series. 

There's still just something about it that makes me feel extremely present in the story, I'm not sure if it's the atmosphere or the reader being treated as such an insider to this world. 

I really enjoyed tge quite insular setting of the Scholomance, I think it definitely has a draw for those who enjoy dark academia/boarding school aspects. 

We definitely saw a lot of character development in this sequel not just with the main character but as a whole and also ground work was laid to possibly expand the world building further than just the Scholomance going forward, which will be interesting to see. 

I know this writing style won't be for everyone but I think it's a good pick for anyone looking for a new fantasy recommendation that's a little original and outside the box.
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Better than it’s predecessor!

Short summary: it’s all about this girl who everyone including her self thinks will become some dark evil sorceress and she just leans into the vibe and doesn’t give a shit about anything.

It’s based in a world where wizards live in enclaves and are hunted down by mals that are basically demons that want to eat them. Somewhere along the way someone created a school where teenagers can go and study and grow their magics and get through puberty in ‘relative’ safety. Where graduation basically means surviving a trip through what is basically hell. Originally the just for the kids from the enclaves, the school eventually expanded to let in the children of independents. This change highlights a class struggle within the magical society with this from the enclaves being the better or richer classes. The book was excellently diverse, going beyond having people of different ethnic backgrounds to actually including cuisine, styles ect. people of different ethnic backgrounds to actually including cuisine, styles ect.

In many ways, I found this better than it’s predecessor. The world was established and so we didn’t face the same level of info dumps that I has issues with in the first book. I thought the characters continued to be engaging and I absolutely adore El. Once again however, the age of the characters just hits me as too young! Even if they were all aged up a year or 2 I just think  it would read better. But

I absolute adore the authors writing style. She’s so engaging and she tells a story so well. 

I’ll definitely be putting September 22nd in my diary as I can’t wait into read the conclusion to this series with the release of  The Golden Enclaves.
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This book was 100% better then the first book but with a darker vibe that will leave you intrigued!!
gonna be petty and take away a star for that ending ahh!!!!
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I felt like the first 70-80% of this book, like almost all of A Deadly Education, really did not play to Novak's considerable strengths - and then when she starts to do so at the end, you can practically feel the relief! Those strengths include really good kissing scenes and a very beautiful conception of magical systems. The rest of the novel was, unfortunately, just fine for me, but it ticks along pleasantly enough.
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This was such a great second book to the series and wow what an ending. From the start I was totally engrossed in the story and I loved that ever so often Naomi throws you a curve ball so you never quite knew where the story was going to take you.
A truly fantastic read!
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Full review to come on Goodreads and Amazon.  Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for a review copy.
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