The Last Graduate | book review

The Last Graduate

Author: Naomi Novik
Series: The Scholomance, #2
Format: Audiobook
Length: 13 hours
Narrator: Anisha Dadia
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio
Original Publication Date: 2021
Genre(s): Young adult, Fantasy, Dark academia

It’s El’s final year in the Scholomance. As if last year wasn’t strange enough—actually making friends and falling for a boy and, oh, no big deal, just saving the entire senior class graduate—this year proves to be even more odd. Now that it’s El’s turn to start planning how she and her alliance will make it out alive, it feels like the Scholomance is actively making things extra difficult for her. And when El finds out the reason, she realizes everything is about to change.

What the fuck?

WHAT THE FUCK?????????????

I should have known that’s how it would end. I should have known. And instead I just sat there gaping and wondering why I listened to 13 hours of this book just to have my ears poisoned by that ending??????????

I’m sorry I’m just not okay.

The Last Graduate picks up immediately where A Deadly Education concludes. If you thought the first book had a cliffhanger of an ending, just wait till you experience this one… El is warned to stay away from Orion Lake, but obviously she says ‘fuck that’ and immediately disregards it. I found it difficult to relate to El and connect with her emotionally while reading the first book. I think it just took that entire book to do the trick, because while reading the sequel, I quite enjoyed her character. Hell, I even enjoyed her narration, I think. The way El narrates her story is extremely detailed and tedious, which was my biggest con about the first book. I’m not sure if I’m just used to it by now, or if it’s conveyed especially well in audiobook format, or if I genuinely thought it worked this time around, but I wasn’t annoyed at the book. In fact, I found myself really and truly enjoying every minute of it. Even the slow parts! I won’t pretend this book has good pacing (it doesn’t), but I wasn’t bothered by it. I think I just enjoy the world and the narration enough that it doesn’t matter to me anymore. And for that, I am thankful.

Though the pacing is weird, and there are still some info dumps and breaks in the narration during action scenes and suspenseful moments, I think that’s just how this series is going to go. And I think that’s just how the author writes. So if you didn’t enjoy the writing style or pacing while reading the first book but still enjoyed the story nonetheless, I think you’ll enjoy (possibly enjoy even more?) this sequel. If you hated all that in the first book and cannot tolerate it moving forward, I think this series just might not be for you.

This book is full of worldbuilding, lots of monster-fighting action, a healthy dose of diverse characters, and a nice slow-burn romance between El and Orion. All of it leading up to that cliffhanger that will destroy your soul. And now the wait begins for the final book in the trilogy. I have really enjoyed listening to these books on audio, so I do recommend trying that yourself if you’re unable to get through the physical book. I have an inkling that I may not have enjoyed this series had I tried physically reading it, so thank you, audiobooks, for allowing me to enjoy this world. Because it really is a unique and terrifying world that I wouldn’t want to miss out on reading about, and neither do you.

My Rating

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