The Golden Enclaves
September 27, 2022 4:57 PM - Subscribe

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 everywhere. 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. And the first thing I’ve got to do now, having miraculously gotten out of the Scholomance, is turn straight around and find a way back in.
posted by bq (19 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Just finished chapter 14 and I’m goosebumps all over.
posted by bq at 4:58 PM on September 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

posted by Literaryhero at 7:53 PM on September 27, 2022

About halfway through. My guess about the mystery of what is happening to the enclaves is that there is no hidden enemy. The sudden removal of mals from the world upset the balance of maleficium supporting the system, and enclaves can’t rebalance themselves fast enough. So it really is a society built on murdered children…. I guess I’ll find out.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:39 PM on September 27, 2022

I'm reading it too!! That's all I'm here to say!!!
posted by potrzebie at 11:38 PM on September 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Mostly here to say that I'm behind on my reread of the first two and I just bought this book and I'm looking at a very packed weekend wheeeee.
posted by Nieshka at 12:00 AM on September 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

Just can't get enough of what a scathing, continuous indictment of winner take all capitalism these books are. Damn
posted by potrzebie at 12:06 AM on September 28, 2022 [5 favorites]

Damn I know this went straight to ‘there is no ethical consumption under capitalism’. Gotta wonder if Novik was watching The Good Place when she conceived this.
posted by bq at 8:47 AM on September 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

Are we talking endings yet? Or reveals? Because DAMN.

I’m not always a “oh that’s what’s going” person but in this case I beat El to the realization of what’s behind the attacks.

Obviously it’s NYC and London who do the most creative financial engineering.

This whole series has been an amazing “you’ll obviously never get a happy ending” fakeout.

It’s also such an excellent repudiation of JK and the Potterverse. Almost an “embrace, extend, extinguish” thing. I also got the taste of a Babysitter’s Club Super Special with all the travelling and friends. (I love BSC, just to be clear.)

I did feel like I spent a lot more time following along with El’s thought processes in this one. Didn’t mind it but the pacing was different.

Stay with us. Be our home.
posted by sixswitch at 9:46 PM on September 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

I loved this so much. A lot of it was El spiraling about Orion and the trauma of the last two books, but...yeah, of course she would! Watching all the pieces fit together was so satisfying, all the clear planning that Novik had done to weave together a tight trilogy with everything raised in earlier books answered by the end of this one (at least that I could tell on my quick tear-through read). The ideas of balance and the cost to every bit of magic were interesting and felt true so that I was on board for the long rambles on magical economics. The dirty secret under every enclave was horrifying and also rationalized in text, and so like our real world it was scary.

So far in the Goodreads reviews of people who have actually read it, I've seen some upset about El sleeping with someone else, which...meh, stay mad. First El thought Orion was gone forever, and then he seemed broken forever and had run away, and besides they're all teenagers who aren't even clearly in exclusive relationships with each other. Honestly it's much more realistic than the HP ending of everyone ending up with their high school sweethearts and popping out babies, and I'm here for more angry bi energy instead.
posted by j.r at 1:00 PM on September 29, 2022 [7 favorites]

Honestly, I think this one is the best of the Scholomance books. The main character has matured, the thematic content is pointed, the humor is sharp, and the plot twists are the best kind — the ones that make you go either “I should have figured that out!” or “Ha! I knew it!” rather than “… What?” Five stars, couldn’t put it down.
posted by kyrademon at 2:22 PM on September 29, 2022 [3 favorites]

Really enjoyed this. Such a fun series. I liked that there was a pretty much unveiled dig at Rowling's Diagon Alley and what I hope was a reference to Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation.
posted by knapah at 5:54 PM on October 1, 2022

Ooh which line are you describing, knapah?
posted by sixswitch at 6:54 PM on October 1, 2022

The Rowling bit was when they're in the London enclave and one street they go down was described as "an odd stretch that was something halfway between a street full of listed buildings and a school diorama of Tudor architecture made by a thirteen-year-old kid who hadn’t done much research."

I might be reading too much into that, but it felt like a dig to me!

And the VanderMeer bit was while they were trying to find the well in the gardens for the climactic battle -
"There's a tower dug down into the ground, somewhere round here," I said, instead. "Help me find it."

Actually, I just looked up the Annihilation tower/tunnel to check something and saw Jeff VM said the location that inspired it was the same location as the one Novik used in The Golden Enclaves.
posted by knapah at 1:56 AM on October 2, 2022 [3 favorites]

Oooh yes, the step well.

And that was an awesome line and I agree, solid hit.
posted by sixswitch at 7:24 AM on October 2, 2022

based on a real place
posted by bq at 8:46 AM on October 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

I cried so much as I was reading this! So much! What a brilliant end to a marvelous series.
posted by merriment at 1:41 PM on October 5, 2022

Really lovely and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.
posted by potrzebie at 11:55 PM on October 5, 2022

So satisfying!
posted by Coaticass at 12:27 AM on October 6, 2022

I enjoyed this tremendously.

And I'd just like to say, called it.

Okay, not completely, I didn't get the bit about her needing to be hidden from Orion's mom, but I can't think of any clues to that in the first two books. I did get that the prophecy was steering El and the magic community to the best future that the great-grandmother could see.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 7:25 AM on October 6, 2022 [1 favorite]

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