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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

From the author of Uprooted and Spinning Silver comes the story of an unwilling dark sorceress who is destined to rewrite the rules of magic.

“The dark school of magic I’ve been waiting for.” (Katherine Arden, author of Winternight Trilogy)

I decided that Orion Lake needed to die after the second time he saved my life.

Everyone loves Orion Lake. Everyone else, that is. Far as I’m concerned, he can keep his flashy combat magic to himself. I’m not joining his pack of adoring fans. I don’t need help surviving the Scholomance, even if they do. Forget the hordes of monsters and cursed artifacts, I’m probably the most dangerous thing in the place. Just give me a chance and I’ll level mountains and kill untold millions, make myself the dark queen of the world. At least, that’s what the world expects. 

Most of the other students in here would be delighted if Orion killed me like one more evil thing that’s crawled out of the drains. Sometimes I think they want me to turn into the evil witch they assume I am. The school certainly does. But the Scholomance isn’t getting what it wants from me. And neither is Orion Lake. I may not be anyone’s idea of the shining hero, but I’m going to make it out of this place alive, and I’m not going to slaughter thousands to do it, either. Although I’m giving serious consideration to just one.

With flawless mastery, Naomi Novik creates a school bursting with magic like you’ve never seen before and a heroine for the ages - a character so sharply realized and so richly nuanced that she will live on in hearts and minds for generations to come.

Praise for Deadly Education

“The can’t-miss fantasy of fall 2020, a brutal coming-of-power story steeped in the aesthetics of dark academia.... A Deadly Education will cement Naomi Novik’s place as one of the greatest and most versatile fantasy writers of our time.” (BookPage, starred review) 

“A must-read.... Novik puts a refreshingly dark, adult spin on the magical boarding school.... Readers will delight in the push-and-pull of El and Orion’s relationship, the fantastically detailed world, the clever magic system, and the matter-of-fact diversity of the student body.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

©2020 Naomi Novik (P)2020 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“The Scholomance is the dark school of magic I’ve been waiting for, and its wise, witty, and monstrous heroine is one I’d happily follow anywhere - even into a school full of monsters.” (Katherine Arden, New York Times best-selling author of The Bear and the Nightingale)

“Eyeball-meltingly brilliant...Novik is, quite simply, a genius.” (Kiersten White, New York Times best-selling author of And I Darken)

“At the Scholomance, monsters are everywhere and the breakfast might kill you, but the wonderful cast of characters will grab ahold of your heart and you’ll never want to leave this deadly school. Naomi Novik skillfully combines sharp humor with layers of imagination to build a fantasy that delights on every level. I loved this brilliant book.” (Stephanie Garber, number one New York Times best-selling author of the Caraval series) 

What listeners say about A Deadly Education

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  • Jey
  • 2020-11-22

Snarky magic school

This book is fantastic. I was gripped from the start, and couldn’t stop listening untill I was done. There are so many scenes that I found spooky, and the attitude from all the student is so fun.

1 person found this helpful

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wicked

wicked awesome book worth the time little slow to start but picks up great throughout 👍 👌

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Super creative and great world building

It's like a very violent Harry Potter with one of the most involved magic systems I've ever seen, and a setting that's as much of a character as any of the people. Highly recommend to fantasy readers!

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Brilliant use of an unreleable narrator

It took me a couple of listen throughs for me to understand why I liked this book so such. Ultimate got it. With El, Naomi Novik has created that very rare type of character: an unreliable narrator in a fantasy setting that works. The reason why it works is because El is an emotional overwrought 16-year-old (and I challenge you to find any teenager who isn’t emotionally overwrought, at times) with self esteem and mommy issues. We can see this looking in from the outside so (I at least) took a lot of what she said in her rants and descriptions of ‘how the world works’ with large grains of salt. So, the payoffs were double enjoyable because we can share in her joy of finding friends and people, she can be close to and we have the smug gratification of knowing we were right all along. This combined with a school that could of only be designed by a tabletop roleplaying evil gamemaster makes for a great read. The really great narration by Anisha Dadia adds the bonus of making it one that can be listened to more than once.

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Great new story idea!

This book was a great new story idea! I really enjoyed the premise and the storyline. Even though it is set in a school it isn’t a juvenile story. I did find that the pacing was a bit strange and some parts seemed kinda slow. My only complaint is the narrator. I loved the way she read the characters and the differences in accents are great but there are certain words that she just cannot pronounce. Once I got used to it it was ok but in the beginning it almost made me stop listening to the book. Overall - a great story and I can’t wait for the next one!

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Another powerful MC but no one knows it...

Good story but irritating. It's one of those stories where the MC is all powerful but situations and her own choices make it so no one knows. Oh and she's hated by everyone, but still can't manage to show people she is useful because reasons...oh, and she'll risk other peoples lives before using her power...idiot

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Awesome world-weaving!

This is a fantasy book that sets out to create a unique magical world and it goes into every detail about it. I personally love well defined magic systems like these and the setting was just so well described, really laying the groundwork for a great series. Characters were a little cliche but they had complex backstories for how they got to that point, which broke the cliches for me and made them feel unique. Add onto the narrator, who did a great job breathing that last bit of life into the characters, and you have an excellent audiobook.

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addicting

entertaining story: just enough detail, well paced action and enough complexity in the characters.

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Enough with the school’s blueprints!

It’s a 3 star when comparing Novik’s other novels. For a regular novel, good enough to be a 4, maybe a 5 if it was read with the rest of their series quickly, (which is impossible at the moment because the series just started). The idea is cute, student in a magical school where they are competing for not only their life inside the school but also their future lives outside of school. The two main characters are intertwined fast enough, almost on the first sentence to be interesting. And with the first person character narration, we don’t know Lake’s views or thinking. So it was interesting to understand him as the story developed. Not only in what he says, or are told by other characters like Chloe but also in the narrators reality. But... that main charter is almost ironically so the stereotypical high school girl. “Ooh no one likes me, but I don’t like them anyways, they think their better, but I’m better, if only they knew; I was shunning them, how dare they do the same; I’m brilliant they just don’t see it; of course he likes me I treat him differently; they are all sycophants, only I know him) The very typical She’s All That / walk to remember type girl or any other 90s 2000s high school girl in American love story, if she was to be written as conceited b...witch. It’s a lot of what she thinks other people are thinking of her. It’s gets old. But not as old as the pages and pages, even chapters dedicated to the structure of the building, how the magic works, how the books come to you, the grading system, etc. I swear it’s 1/2 or 3/4 of the book! And barely relevant. It could have easily been the books section magical and come when they come and may leave when they wish, good now lets get back to why this book actually matters to the story. Seriously it’s a series, weave it in! The main character and the over description of the school really made me questioning if this was the Great Novik! And then in a description of, I don’t even remember what, the narrator says a cliche phase eg, “and just like that” maybe 4 times in 3 pages. That’s just bad editing, not writing. Change it, it’s easily edited to not sound like an inexperienced writer with only a few English idioms. The story was interesting. At least how things( THE PEOPLE INTERACTING NOT THE BUILDING) worked. The ending was good too, not the part where she’s “I knew not to expect” and of course she gets what she wasn’t expecting another cliche writing. But the cliffhanger is interesting enough to make me want to read the next in the series. The best way I can describe it, is like watching KDramas. They are entertaining, sometimes a little roll your eyes at the “poor me” breakdowns of the main characters, and the over cliche of car crash, false breakups, amnesia, or mother with the cash envelope. But if you skip those long boring secondary relationship story lines, that really don’t add much to what your invested in, it’s more interesting. I am hoping that the next book will not need more or repeat the descriptions of how the dinning hall works or the library. And maybe the narrator will be less inward thinking of what other people think and more what her thinking is. That will make it more interesting and more equivalent to Novik’s other stories, like Spinning Silver and Uprooted.

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Couldn’t stop listening

I loved this book! Definitely recommend it for others to try out; Novik hasn’t disappointed me so far! The narrator did a good job and was a good fit for the protagonist imo

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  • Sandy M
  • 2020-10-06

Love Naomi Novil....but this one I don't like

Wish this would have been listed as YA, because it is clearly that kind of book. Got 1/3 the way through and gave up. Didn't like the main character AT ALL. I have no desire to listen to such childish behavior. Just not for me, narrator just okay, not great at all One of my favorite books is Spinning Silver and it is awesome, and narrated perfectly. when I stopped listening to A deadly Education, I listened to Spinning Silver again. I never get to much of Spinning Silver **** Tried again, can not finish. returning

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  • Anna
  • 2020-10-02

Conflicted about canceling JK Rowling? No worries, this is better.

Novik is queen of the remake/ upgrade. In the way her dragon series remade Horatio Hornblower, this book is Hogwarts cleared of all the useless teachers and an extra level of danger added. Boring Harry has been sidelined to make room for a much more interesting heroine with a deeper and funnier inner life. This is the escape to the high school from hell read we all need in 2020.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Rune
  • 2020-10-13

Intersting concept, way too much self pity

I was very excited to read another book by Naomi Novik, as I absolutely loved Uprooted and Spinning Silver. However, once I realized I was 2 hours in to this one and nothing had happened beyond a few monster attacks and the main character whining about how hard her life is, my enthusiasm waned. I love stories about underdogs just as much as the next person, but when the underdog is constantly comparing everything they have to everything everyone else has and feeling sorry for themselves *all the time*, it gets old. The main character is also blessed with amazing insights into other people's thought processes, allowing her to look past people's seemingly kind actions to herself and others and see them for the greedy attempts at manipulation that they invariably are. I kept waiting for someone to explain to her that the reason she didn't have any friends wasn't really because she has a bad aura or whatever, but because she's an absolute jerk to everyone. Then she could have slowly realized it was true and changed her ways, though of course keeping much of her snarky nature. But no one did, and she didn't. She is a bit nicer by the end of the book, and will probably improve further with the next one, but the revelation about the way she treats people never came. After all that it may sound like I hated this book. I didn't, although I found much of it very tiresome. Once things actually start happening and there is a plot to follow I would say it's a decent book, with a lot of really cool concepts and fun ideas. I wanted more when it ended, things were just starting to become really interesting. I just hope in the next book there is more plot and a lot less self pity.

19 people found this helpful

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  • BAE
  • 2020-10-01

Fully realized, completely engaging, unexpected protagonist

And she’s mixed race, good (but it’s a struggle) and never saccharine. Naomi Novik is a master storyteller and while some of the tropes are familiar, they are made fresh by her characters. The narrator is absolutely pitch perfect.

17 people found this helpful

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  • R. MCRACKAN
  • 2020-10-07

So creative you'll forget you're not enjoying it

Extremely creative world building which is somehow whimsical while lacking fun. I think the tiring part is largely due to the fact that the main character is entirely unlikable. I also wasn't expecting it to be so painfully YA. All of the parts that aren't world building are high school social politics. On this plus side: this would have been a better "Welcome to Night Vale" book than any of their official novels.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Ray peek
  • 2020-10-05

Edgy Teen Girl goes to Magical HighSchool

The story wasn’t my type of thing. A lot of teen drama and cliques, great performance though.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-10-02

All Shall Love this book and Despair!

That this is the only one of the series that is currently available. It is absolutely fantastic.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Eric W. Brown
  • 2020-09-30

Loved it

I loved it, started a bit slow, but it's worth it. Harry potter meets forging hephestus meets Dresden Files..

7 people found this helpful

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  • Mary
  • 2020-10-08

Another home run from Naomi Novik

I found Naomi Novik through her marvellous Temeraire series and was pleased to find she had tried her hand at the well-trodden Magic School genre. But she does something new and fresh with it, and every minute is enjoyable. Novik builds an intriguing world - I am so glad this is a series because I want to know ALL about it and I have so many unanswered questions - and our heroine is smart, cynical, and wrong in all the right ways from moment one. (Those who liked Sarah Rees Brennan’s In Other Lands will definitely want to give A Deadly Education a go.) Going with El as she puzzled through problems, yells at everyone, and tries assiduously to survive school, is a great ride, and Anisha Dadia’s reading brings her to life. I can’t wait for book 2; till then, I am listening to A Deadly Education all over again.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Heather
  • 2020-11-18

Not your average YA

This series is YA in the same way The Hunger Games is YA: teenage protagonist but deadly stakes. Yes, there’s a focus on cliques and interpersonal drama, but in this world being part of a strong clique means you have a better chance of not getting eaten by monsters, so it’s just not the same as your average petty teenage gossip. Here’s the thing that will be make or break for a lot of readers: one of the themes of this series is privilege. The school is basically a war zone and all the kids are trying to survive, but the kids with resources and connections have a much better chance at survival. The story is told from the perspective of a Have Not who openly resents the Haves. Some reviewers seem to interpret this as making the main character whiny, but I think this story will resonate with a lot of people. The narration was pretty good too. There were a few places where I thought the flow was a little off – like a verbal comma in the wrong place – but it really was in only a couple of places and overall the tone of the narration seemed just right for the voice of the main character: acerbic and dryly witty. I love this book and I am so looking forward to the next in the series. The main character is complex and cynical and intentionally a little hard to like at first, but she reveals herself to be absolutely amazing. There are strong supporting characters and plenty of action. Overall, just a really great listen.

3 people found this helpful