It’s a school completely off the grid, hidden by dense forest and surrounded by traps. There’s no electricity, no internet, and an eye-for-an-eye punishment system. Classes include everything from Knife-Throwing and Poisons to the Art of Deception and Historical Analysis. And all of the students are children of the world’s most elite strategists—training to become assassins, counselors, spies, and master impersonators. Into this world walks November Adley, who quickly discovers that friends are few in a school where personal revelations are discouraged and competition is everything. When another student is murdered, all eyes turn to November, who must figure out exactly how she fits into the school’s bizarre strategy games before she is found guilty of the crime…or becomes the killer’s next victim.
Killing November by Adriana Mather
Series: Killing November #1
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on 26/03/2019
We both read Killing November by Adriana Mather recently so it was the perfect time for another buddy review. Adriana Mather did a live chat in the TBR and Beyond group and that made for a good excuse to pick this book up. We both had it on our radar and wanted to read it, and because of the live chat we did pretty soon after the release at the end of m=March. Let’s see what we thought about this story.
Candyce If I didn’t know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, I probably wouldn’t have grabbed this one. The way this picture is taken, it’s clear something is going on. It’s just not my cover though!
Isabelle You probably know by now that I really don’t like people on covers. And this is a cover with just that… But I have to say it does work for this cover. I get the feeling I’m looking at a poster for a cool new tv show and I would definitely want to watch a show with a poster like that. So all in all it’s not my favorite cover, but considering it has people on it, I do like it somewhat.
Candyce In all honesty, I really wasn’t sure about Killing November at first. The blurb had me interested, but the fact that this was a group read for TBR & Beyond is what got me to buy this book. And in the end, I’m so happy I read Killing November. This whole story took me by surprise!
After reading some reviews, I saw people complain about the fact that it took awhile for the world to be explained. I actually loved that aspect. We start off kind of in the middle of a story. November wakes up in a strange place and has no clue what’s going on. As the story continues, November starts following classes, learning more about the families at this school and her own history.
Adriana Mather set up a really interesting school system.The classes are really interesting (learning accents, fighting, etc.). My favorite part of this whole story has to be the politics though. From the start November really can’t trust anyone. The school takes “an eye for an eye” rather seriously, so when they think she’s the prime subject after a student dies, things get interesting! We slowly start to get to know more about the families and how things work at this school. The author did this in a really creative way.
I loved that Killing November was dark and unique. There are many books that take place at a boarding school, but nothing like this. Imagine ending up somewhere unfamiliar with no electricity or any modern things we’ve grown to love. On top of that, I didn’t figure out who the murderer was before everything was revealed. I love when authors make it hard to figure out who’s behind everything in a story!
Isabelle Killing November took me by surprise. I was interested in the story because of the synopsis, the school reminds me a bit of the school in Deadly Class. Before I started the book I read a couple of reviews and after that I wasn’t sure what to think. A complaint that I came across a couple of times was the fact that it took forever for things to be slightly explained. But I have to say, I really enjoyed that aspect.
We follow November to her new school and she doesn’t know anything about the place. So together with November we slowly learn more. She takes us to her incredibly cool classes, we slowly get to learn more about some of the other students and November also learns more about her own family.
And family is a very big part of this story. I absolutely loved the world and system Adriana created for Killing November. As it does take a while before everything becomes clear I won’t say much more than this. But if you like the politics part of a lot of fantasy stories, like the assassins storylines than you will probably enjoy this story.
One of the students is murdered and November is a prime suspect. I has spoiled myself slightly beforehand and knew one characteristic about the killer. But I still couldn’t be completely sure who the killer was. And that was something I enjoyed a lot. In the end it all made sense but it wasn’t a super obvious review in my opinion. Apart from the killer reveal, we get some other twists and turns as well and I enjoyed all of them.
The ending isn’t a big cliffhanger but it definitely ends with the start of a new book. I enjoyed this first book a lot and am looking forward to the sequel. November made some really dumb choices and I hope she learned from them before she stars in the sequel.
Candyce November is our main character and an interesting one at that. She may be a bit naive at times and I questioned what she chooses to do on multuple occasions, but I know for sure I wouldn’t have handled everything as well as she did. She slowly realizes she doesn’t know a lot about her family and is determined to know more.
She’s determined to find out what is going on and how this school works. In the beginning she really needs to find her way, but doesn’t let things get her down. I loved how smart she was and how eager she was to learn everything. I think the next part of her story will be a battle, but I think she’s up for it.
A lot of characters play a part in Killing November, but not all of them are featured as much as others. Some of them are just there as part of the story and you get to decide what you think of them. There are some faculty members I wouldn’t mind knowing more about.
The two characters we do get to know more about are Layla, November’s roommate, and her twin brother Ash. Even though they’re so different, they are very loyal to each other. It was interesting to see what characters could be trusted and who couldn’t. They’re both very smart, so they kept it very interesting!
Isabelle November is obviously our main character, but there are some amazing secondary characters in this story as well. Layla, November’s roommate, and her twin brother Ash are both important to the story. There are more interesting students and some faculty members but they aren’t featured as much. And it would be more fun for you to make up your own mind about them.
November is very outgoing and ask questions all the time. She doesn’t fit in at her new school right away but she never stops to try. It is evident that November’s family kept a lot of secret from her and it was fun unraveling them with her. November is a very optimistic person and I liked that this was a trait she kept throughout everything that happened. She can be pretty naive and made some dumb choices. But for the most part I liked reading about her.
Layla and Ash are almost polar opposites. They are Egyptian and star students. I really enjoyed getting to know both of them. Like I said, they are very different, but I appreciated different qualities in both of them. They also had some amazing skills and I would’ve loved to learn some!
Books that take place at boarding schools are always interesting. Add a mystery element and it just gets better. What is your favorite book that takes place at a boarding school? Let us know in the comments!