A Deadly Education

Del Rey: Ballantine. (Scholomance, Bk. 1). Sept. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9780593128480. $27.
From the time she was young, living with her mother on a commune, Galadriel has had a special bond with magical forces. As this novel opens, she is in her third year in the Scholomance, a school for magically gifted children. In Scholomance, students are tested daily on not only their magical abilities but their ability to survive the other students, the magical inhabitants of the school, the creepy cafeteria, and the dangerous coursework. Outcast Galadriel can rely on no help from the other students, except for Orion, who appears to be “some kind of inhumanly heroic monster slayer.” But is he trying to help, or does he have sinister ulterior motives for always showing up when she’s in danger? An unresolved ending leaves readers eager for the next installment.
VERDICT This latest from Novik (“Temeraire” series) launches a new series that should appeal to aficionados of fantastical fiction as well as to those who have felt they never quite fit in and don’t understand why. The magic and mystery of this chillingly lovely novel will appeal to both YA and adult fans of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. [See Prepub Alert, 3/18/20.]
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