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The Golden Enclaves
Cover of The Golden Enclaves
The Golden Enclaves
Scholomance Series, Book 3
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.
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.
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  • From the cover Chapter 1

    the yurt


    The last thing Orion said to me, the absolute bastard, was El, I love you so much.

    And then he shoved me backwards through the gates of the Scholomance and I landed thump on my back in paradise, the soft grassy clearing in Wales that I’d last seen four years ago, ash trees in full green leaf and sunlight dappling through them, and Mum, Mum right there waiting for me. Her arms were full of flowers: poppies, for rest; anemones, for overcoming; moonwort, for forgetfulness; morning glories, for the dawn of a new day. A welcome-­home bouquet for a trauma victim, meant to ease horror out of my mind and make room for healing and for rest, and as she reached to help me, I heaved myself up howling, “Orion!” and sent the whole thing scattering before me.

    A few months—­aeons—­ago, while we’d still been in the midst of our frantic obstacle-­course runs, an enclaver from Milan had given me a translocation spell in Latin, the rare kind that you can cast on yourself without splitting yourself into bits. The idea was that I’d be able to use it to hop around from one place to another in the graduation hall—­all the better to save people like enclavers from Milan, which is why she’d handed me a spell worth five years of mana for free. You couldn’t normally use it to go long distances, but time was more or less the same thing as space, and I’d been in the Scholomance ten seconds before. I had the hall visualized as crisp and clear as an architectural drawing, complete with the horrific mass of Patience and the horde of maleficaria behind it, boiling its way towards us. I was placing myself at the gates, right back where I had been when Orion had given me that final shove.

    But the spell didn’t want to be cast, putting up resistance like warning signs across the way: dead end, road washed out ahead. I forced it through anyway, throwing mana at it, and the casting rebounded in my face and knocked me down like I’d run straight into a concrete wall. So I got back up and tried the exact same spell again, only to get pasted flat a second time.

    My head was ringing bells and noise. I crawled back to my feet. Mum was helping me up, but she was also holding me back, saying something to me, trying to slow me down, but I only snarled at her, “Patience was coming right at him!” and her hands were slack, sliding off me with her own remembered horror.

    It had already been two minutes since I’d been dumped out; two minutes was forever in the graduation hall, even before I’d packed it full of all the monsters in the world. But the interruption did stop me just banging my head against the gates repeatedly. I spent a moment thinking, and then I tried to use a summoning to get Orion out, instead.

    Most people can’t summon anything larger or with more willpower than a hair bobble. But the many summoning spells I’ve unwillingly collected over the years are all intended to bring me one or more hapless screaming victims, presumably to go into the sacrificial pit I’ve incomprehensibly neglected to set up. I had a dozen varieties, and one of them that let you scry someone through a reflective surface and pull them out.

    It’s especially effective if you have a gigantic cursed mirror of doom to use. Sadly I’d left mine hanging on the wall of my dorm room. But I ran around the clearing and found a small puddle of water between two tree roots. That wouldn’t have been good enough ordinarily, but I had endless mana...
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 25, 2022
    Novik dazzles in her brilliant and compulsively readable final Scholomance fantasy, which picks up immediately after the events of The Last Graduate. Galadriel “El” Higgins has successfully trapped 92% of all wizard-hunting monsters, or mals, in the magical boarding school Scholomance, now her alma mater, and led her fellow students to safety—all except for her enemy turned true love, Orion Lake. El’s desperate attempts to save Orion from a fate worse than death in the belly of the same “maw-mouth” monster that ate her father can’t succeed unless she gets power from the enclaves, groups of privileged wizards living in protective pocket universes. However, several enclaves have mysteriously vanished into the void, the powerful London enclave is under attack, and the New York and Shanghai enclaves are on the brink of war. To save Orion, El and her classmates must first save the world they have struggled so hard to rejoin and a future threatened by dangers built into the foundations of the enclaves themselves. This exquisitely well-crafted work engages deeply with genre classics like the Lord of the Rings and The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas while offering up its own detailed and original world full of clever parallels and a fascinating magical catch-22. Novik beautifully closes out El’s and Orion’s character arcs, paying off on groundwork laid in previous installments, and her focus on hope, resilience, and collective action makes this finale as moving as it is satisfying. This is a knockout.

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The Golden Enclaves
Scholomance Series, Book 3
Naomi Novik
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