The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) – It’s Okay

I committed to The Scholomance Trilogy by Naomi Novik after “A Deadly Education” because I adored the world concept Novik created in this series and because of the main protagonist El.  Her snark, quirks and powerful dark magic, that she desperately wanted to reject, were too much for me to not commit. I was hooked! Here’s the thing. At the end, the best thing about The Scholomance Trilogy is El and the rest just fades into the background.

There were some issues with “A Deadly Education” because of Novik’s choice to write a diverse cast with what appeared to be minimal or no pre publication sensitivity readings, but I thought she did a fair job of responding to those, appropriate, critiques and I kept reading.  And now, as I finish these books, I am not sad that I read them, I’m just not sure I’m glad I read them either.  

Throughout these novels I longed to be swept away by the story and I think I was a bit in the first book, but this last one was a slog to get through. Novik’s writing includes so much atmospheric description and internal monologue that I’m pretty sure less than 10 things actually happened in the whole novel but it’s a 407 page book, so? I will say this though, if you’re a reader who loves an atmosphere and the deep inner workings of a character’s brain to the cost of everything else, you should definitely read this book. 

I like El. I still like El and I want to know more about her, but I just couldn’t find any connection to the rest of the characters, world building or plot. “The Golden Enclaves” was a more grounded read for me than “The Last Graduate,” but it still didn’t elicit any great emotional connection beyond El. I wouldn’t steer anyone away from this series if it captures your imagination. It has some great elements, they just didn’t come together in a captivating way for me.

Happy Reading!

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