Monday, October 4, 2021

The Last Graduate (The Scholomance #2)


The Last Graduate is the second book of The Scholomance trilogy by Naomi Novik. Released 28th Sept 2021 by Penguin Random House on their Del Ray imprint, it's 400 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats.

Naomi Novik is a gifted author. This time she turns her sights on the YA fantasy magic wizard school in trilogy format and the result is engaging, readable, and a full-octane-out-of-control roller coaster ride from start to cliff-hanging finish. It's very much a series book, and there are *major* spoilers for readers who choose to jump in here instead of reading the books in order.  

The prose is so immersive and the tension arc so perfectly controlled that the reader is swept along breathlessly. Although the book is chock full of threat and violence, it's cleverly enough not graphic violence, and will undoubtedly be devoured by readers of YA fantasy in droves. The staging and scenes are quite visual throughout and during the entire read it was very easy to picture the action; it's written very cinematically. When the (inevitable) films come out, the screenplay writers will have likely mostly just transferred the book directly to script and turned the special effects engineers loose with the rest of the film budget. 

I'm not the target audience (by several decades), but this series could easily prove to be the current generation's Maze Runner or Hunger Games. (Note, I did not compare to Twilight or Harry Potter, it's much better written than either). There is a strong romance element but the "kissy bits" are easy to ignore if that is the reader's wish. 

The author's nod to traditional eastern European folklore is duly noted, however, as a die-hard World of Warcraft player, I twitched every time I read "Scholomance" (the school where the action takes place). 

Five stars. Strongly suggested to read the series in order. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes. 

1 comment:

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