Official book description:
A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die!
The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school.
The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students. Sold yet?
This book has been described as a super-dark, female-led Harry Potter. Harry Potter goes to a boarding school and has magical powers – that’s really where the similarity ends. Every single character in A Deadly Education is more interesting and well-rounded than any of those in the many books about ‘Larry Porter, boy wizard’ (the value brand knock-off my husband made up), and there is a lot more diversity as well. The Scholomance is a boarding school like no other, and the blurb isn’t lying – it really is utterly deadly, and a large amount of the students there are not expected to survive past graduation.
Galadriel (who goes by El – her mother is VERY hippy-dippy) is half Indian, but was rejected by her father’s wealthy family due to the very sinister prophecy her grandmother proclaimed about her when they first saw El as a baby. Instead, she was raised by her mother (her father died during graduation to save El’s mother, who was pregnant at the time) in a yurt in rural Wales. El’s mother is all that is good and kind and self-sacrificing, so the balance of the universe has seen fit to give El dark powers that could literally destroy continents if she gave into temptation and really let herself get down with her bad side.
In this world, when magically gifted children start coming into their powers, all manner of malevolent creatures want to kill and eat them. To protect themselves, most magically adept people unite in various powerful enclaves, where they can fight off said monsters and demon-spawn. Apparently, adolescents are the tastiest, and are in so much danger outside in the real world, that a magical school was built to house them and keep the magical attacks contained to one place. There are no teachers in the Scholomance, and deadly challenges face the students every day, either from external malevolent supernatural forces, poisons, or just other students trying to kill them to strengthen themselves. The graduation ceremony is literally the surviving seniors being sent through the lowest levels of the school, where all the deadliest, fiercest, and hungriest monsters all dwell. If they can make it out alive, they graduate and can probably expect to go on to make a difference in the world of magic.
Full review on my blog.