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The Last Graduate (Scholomance #2)

[A quick note: This was one of my HIGHEST anticipated reads of 2021. No joke. I was bummed when the release got delayed from July to September. I love this series so much and canโ€™t wait for the 3rd book. While the second didnโ€™t quite live up the first, I still really like this one. These are both the UK editions. The top one is standard. The bottom one is the Illumicrate version.]

โ€œ๐ˆ ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐ ๐จ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก. ๐ˆ ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐ ๐จ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก ๐ฎ๐ง๐ญ๐ข๐ฅ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ.โ€โ€”Naomi Novik

Slime monsters, thousands of students, and a school that wants to kill you? What more could you want from a dark academia setting? How about a badass female MC whoโ€™s prickly as a cactus? What about a cute teddy bear of a romantic interest whoโ€™s viewed as a hero and wants to hunt monsters all day? The Scholomance is back again! The second installment of this series was so much fun. I really enjoyed diving back in to this increasingly familiar world. While I did experience a few minor disappointments, overall I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

El is aโ€ฆdifferent character. Sheโ€™s imperfect. Sheโ€™s not very friendly. She is completely unapologetic. And until now, sheโ€™s been content to lookout for herself and only herself. Until she realizes that she has the power to save her classmates. Hello internal conflict! My favorite part of the storytelling is all of Elโ€™s asides. It can take ages to get through a sequence of events because El takes so many detours in explaining and offering background information. Some might find this boring. I enjoy it. Plus, it feels like itโ€™s part of Elโ€™s character.

Things have severely changed in the Scholomance this year. Suddenly, monsters arenโ€™t attacking students anymore. Unless youโ€™re El. In which case theyโ€™re out to get you. But why the change? Why is El the new target? Why is the school out to get her? Or is it? Suddenly El is viewed as the necessityโ€”the only student capable of getting everyone else safely through Graduation. She goes from being a nobody to being extremely important. This is a bit much for her to handle. And she doesnโ€™t handle it all that wellโ€”sheโ€™s prickly, remember? Sheโ€™s always been the reject.

And poor Orion!!! My big doofus of a teddy bear. I love him. Truthfully heโ€™s my favorite character because heโ€™s different from most male romantic interests, so I was bummed that I didnโ€™t see much of him for the first 30% of the book. But he does play an increasingly prevalent role as the book goes on. In the first book, Orion was the hero. Every monster attackโ€”he was there to defend. But when all the monsters disappear and begin only attacking El, Orion finds himself out of work and out of โ€œmanaโ€. Now heโ€™s desperate to do some slaying. He takes to patrolling the halls just in hopes of coming across something. Itโ€™s pretty funny because heโ€™s so obsessed that his grades and performance begins to drop.

The plot went in a direction I was NOT expecting, and Iโ€™m still not entirely sure how I feel about that. Mostly I wish it wouldnโ€™t have. It felt too desperate. I like this story for its dark academia vibes and seeing a school that suddenly isnโ€™t as darkโ€ฆkinda messes with the vibe for me? This was one of my biggest negatives. My other negative is Iโ€™d have liked to see more of Orion + El earlier on. It became a frustration point during the first half of the story. And finally, the BIGGEST frustration point was the cliff hanger. IT DROVE ME NUTS. Really nuts. Iโ€™m still pretty salty about it.

Buuuutttt, I really do love this world and the story. So itโ€™s hard to be too upset over any of my negatives. I will be eagerly awaiting the next book. ๐Œ๐˜ ๐‘๐€๐“๐ˆ๐๐†: ๐Ÿ’/๐Ÿ“โญ๏ธ


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