Why did I choose to read this book?
Ever since I read Uprooted as one of my first ever book reviews, I have been hunting for another Naomi Novik book that hooked me. I tried Spinning Silver but got bored so early that I didn’t think it was fair to write a review. I loved the first book of the Temeraire series (His Majesty’s Dragon) but got bogged down in the second (Throne of Jade) and never finished it.
But then A Deadly Education came along, and I aaaaaallllmost gave up in the middle. But then Novik grabbed me by the throat and dragged me at 100mph through the second half, and at the end she left me demanding to know what happened next. The Last Graduate was just about the same thing, but now I understood that persevering through the middle paid off in Novik’s writing AND BOY DID IT EVER. I was screaming once that final word was read.
So why did I choose to read this book? Because I had to, or I would never feel complete.
What is this book about?
This book shows that sometimes we need to tear everything down and build something new in order to move toward a better future. Galadriel (El) goes on her quest to create Golden Stone Enclaves (based on the sutras that came to her during her senior year) and in the process she discovers something so much worse than anything we’ve read about yet that stands in her way.
What is notable about this story?
This book goes so deep into the concept of generational trauma and sacrifice that at points I was just sobbing. I’m not even sure how to express this to you, other than to say that Novik takes the ideas “the ends justify the means” and “sacrifice one so that many may thrive” and blows them to smithereens. If you are a Millennial or Gen Z you have to read these books – it’s everything that’s been done to us and so much more, but in this book we get an ending that we deserve while in life we may never see one.
This trilogy hit me so hard – as a former student and as a teacher – and the fact that Novik kept even my attention through the entire trilogy is notable enough.
Was anything not so great?
The. Saggy. Middle. But now I know better and I can tell you too. Persevere through the middle bit, because Novik is waiting to get you in the last 35% of the book.
What’s the verdict?
This is a trilogy that I will want to own in hardcover and display in the future home I hope to have. It’s beautiful from start to finish, but this 3rd installment is the best book of the three. 5 stars on Goodreads and honestly you just have to read it to believe it. Exceptional.