ARC Review: The Last Graduate

Can’t believe I got my hands on this book, thanks Netgalley and Random House. Naomi Novik destroyed me with this book, I don’t know how I’m going to wait for the next one. It builds on the foundations of A Deadly Education and throws our girl El into a new role in the Scholomance beginning right after the end of A Deadly Education. I was so curious to see where this plot would go, and wasn’t disappointed.

Star rating: 5 stars

In A Deadly Education, El went from school loner to forming a tight alliance with her new friends Aad and Liu, feeling wanted for the first time in her life. She also attracted the attention of school hero Orion and the two formed a weird friendship / relationship. The Last Graduate builds on these relationships as El and the crew enter their senior year and work their way up to their own graduation, facing a hoard of mals down in the graduation hall to escape the school and head back into the real world.

El goes from outcast to a key player in the senior’s escape plan, much to their frustration. Alliances grow and enclave politics come even more into play, all while El navigates a nasty academic schedule and protecting the new freshmen she shares a period with. The plot hints at enclave drama in the outside world which makes me so excited for the next book, that hopefully will widen the world-building more outside of the Scholomance itself. At the end of A Deadly Education El’s parentage is revealed to the rest of the class – I was expecting this to come into the story a little more than it did so that was a bit of a surprise to me.

Both El and Orion’s character journeys were exceptional in The Last Graduate. Both are wonderfully complex individuals and their dynamic is definitely one of this book’s strengths. In some ways, El has become the centre of attention while Orion is feeling a bit empty when there are few mals to protect others from. They grow closer romantically, and I appreciated the way their first experiences of intimacy was realistic.

Anyway, this book has twist after twist and reveal after reveal, and warning it ends in a massive cliffhanger that I’m very angry about (haha). It’s hard to write a review without ruining everything so I think I’m going to leave it here, and wait impatiently for book 3. If this is how I feel after book 2….the next one is going to end me and reading forever. I still want to know so many things!!! I want answers!!!

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