Review | The Golden Enclaves – Naomi Novik

I feel like I have said this multiple times this year but this book was truly one if not the highest anticipated read of the year for me. And of course I had to read it as soon as it released, because unlike for book 1&2 I didn’t get an eARC haha. I was super busy so I didn’t read it as fast as I wanted to but nevertheless I finished it and I wanted to share my thoughts with you all today. So let’s jump in!

Review | The Golden Enclaves – Naomi Novik

Saving the world is a test no school of magic can prepare you for in the triumphant conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Deadly Education and The Last Graduate.
The one thing you never talk about while you're in the Scholomance is what you'll do when you get out. Not even the richest enclaver would tempt fate that way. But it's all we dream about, the hideously slim chance we'll survive to make it out the gates and improbably find ourselves with a life ahead of us, a life outside the Scholomance halls.
And now the impossible dream has come true. I'm out, we're all out--and I didn't even have to turn into a monstrous dark witch to make it happen. So much for my great-grandmother's prophecy of doom and destruction. I didn't kill enclavers, I saved them. Me, and Orion, and our allies. Our graduation plan worked to perfection: we saved everyone and made the world safe for all wizards and brought peace and harmony to all the enclaves of the world.
Ha, only joking! Actually it's gone all wrong. Someone else has picked up the project of destroying enclaves in my stead, and probably everyone we saved is about to get killed in the brewing enclave war on the horizon. And the first thing I've got to do now, having miraculously got out of the Scholomance, is turn straight around and find a way back in.

The Golden Enclaves (The Scholomance, #3) by Naomi Novik
Published by Del Rey Books on 27/09/2022
Pages: 407

First off, I LOVED LOVED LOVED it, I even had a book hangover afterwards. And I hardly ever get book hangovers. But I wasn’t able to read another book or enjoy another book after finishing The Golden Enclaves haha.

I’ve seen reviews from people who loved it and from people who hated it. And I feel like it mostly depends on what you loved about the first two books. If you were mostly in it for the romance, you’re probably not going to enjoy this one. But if you were in it because of El or because of this world, there is a much bigger chance for you to enjoy it. Even for those people there seems to be a divide and I guess this will just be one of those you either love or hate it. Which is unfortunate if you loved the first two books haha. Naomi doesn’t write a cliche story in my opinion and takes the story in a different direction than expected.

“we ought to have gone back up and started at the library, but we didn’t, in the same way you know perfectly well you ought to stop reading and go to bed and you’ll feel hideously groggy in the morning if you don’t, and yet you keep going.”

I loved that we got to see more of the world and some of the different enclaves. This series has quite some info dumps in it but I never minded them as I loved knowing more and more. All of the details were interesting to me! And I loved seeing more in this instalment. We fly all over the world and see at least 4 different enclaves.

My favourite characters had roles in the story, some important roles I might add. I will say, I hoped we would see even more of El’s friends. They were one of the highlights of The Last Graduate and weren’t featured here all of the time. Which made sense for the story but I did miss them haha. And another character I didn’t even like before had a pretty big role and managed to grow a bit on me. There wasn’t much character development for most of them but they were already established characters so that wasn’t really necessary for me.

“They pretended they saw a noble hero, because he’d tried so hard to fit himself into that picture, and they loved the picture: that made his power something for them, something that would help them. The same way everyone looked at me and my power and saw a monster, because I wouldn’t play along with what they wanted. But they’d loved Orion only in exactly the same way they’d hated me. Neither one of us were ever people to them. He just made himself useful, and I refused to.”

El is a great character in my opinion, we get a lot of her thought process and I think it’s interesting to see how she views the world and tries to find her place in it. Especially with her great grandmother’s premonition hanging over her to influence her decisions. People have always looked at her in a certain way and it’s no wonder that had such an impact on her. She is grumpy and reluctant, but also does the right thing all of the time.  Talking about her great grandmother, we get another premonition and I really liked how her gift worked!

We get a lot less mals in this book but I didn’t mind it. The world is still very brutal and that has also formed the people in it. Especially in the enclaves people make some brutal decisions and it was so interesting to read about. I was in awe when I realised that Naomi probably thought out the important things before writing book 1. Things that happened in book 1&2 are explained or make sense after this one and I personally loved that so much. It really shows how much thought goes into these books and how much more the writer knows when you just get a small part of the world in the first book.

“It was their responsibility to do the terrible thing for everyone else. To bear the scars of it like a burden, as if there was something noble in doing something so horrible that most people couldn’t stand doing it, for the sake of those squeamish people.”

This story also had some very high stakes and I think overall they were handled quite well. I was shocked by a couple of twists! There was one thing I normally really dislike (I won’t specify because of spoilers) in the way of resolving something but I didn’t mind this time around. It was done pretty well and I was okay with this outcome. Especially as I had been crying over what was going on just before that haha.

Also I wouldn’t mind a novella set in the near future or even another book (or trilogy haha). The world isn’t all fixed by the end of the book. There are still horrible people in play but there is a plan to slowly make the world a little better. Since the magic in this series basically works like manifesting, I’m going to go right ahead and manifest more books for us all. This remains one of my favorite series and I’m so happy I’ve read this book.

“I didn’t want to get up and go on in the world, agreeing that it was in any way acceptable for the world to keep going itself.”

Have you read The Golden Enclaves? Or the first two books in the series? Do you plan on reading this one? And what were your favorite parts of the series? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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