Home > The Last Graduate (The Scholomance #2)

The Last Graduate (The Scholomance #2)
Author: Naomi Novik

             The Last Graduate is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

   Copyright © 2021 by Temeraire LLC

   Illustrations copyright © 2020, 2021 by Penguin Random House LLC

   All rights reserved.

   Published in the United States by Del Rey, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

   Del Rey is a registered trademark and the Circle colophon is a trademark of Penguin Random House LLC.

   The illustration on this page was originally published in A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, published by Del Rey, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, in 2020. Copyright © 2020 by Penguin Random House LLC.

   Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

   Names: Novik, Naomi, author.

   Title: The last graduate: a novel / Naomi Novik.

   Description: New York: Del Rey, [2021] | Series: Lesson Two of The Scholomance

   Identifiers: LCCN 2020055382 (print) | LCCN 2020055383 (ebook) | ISBN 9780593128862 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780593357286 (International) | ISBN 9780593128879 (ebook)

   Subjects: GSAFD: Fantasy fiction.

   Classification: LCC PS3614.O93 L37 2021 (print) | LCC PS3614.O93 (ebook) | DDC 813/.6—dc23

   LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/​2020055382

   LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/​2020055383

   Ebook ISBN 9780593128879

   Illustration: Elwira Pawlikowska

   Illustration design: David G. Stevenson

   Illustration calligraphy: Van Hong and David G. Stevenson


   Book design by Simon M. Sullivan, adapted for ebook

   Cover design and illustration: Faceout Studio/Jeff Miller, based on imagery © Shutterstock

   Art direction: David G. Stevenson






    Title Page



        Chapter 1: Vipersac


        Chapter 2: Cushions


        Chapter 3: Leskits


        Chapter 4: Midterms


        Chapter 5: Quattria


        Chapter 6: Spelled Dye & Mortal Flame


        Chapter 7: Alliance


        Chapter 8: Slitherjaw


        Chapter 9: Drencher


        Chapter 10: The Himalayas


        Chapter 11: Enclavers


        Chapter 12: Intermission


        Chapter 13: Martyrdom


        Chapter 14: Patience



    By Naomi Novik

    About the Author



   Keep far away from Orion Lake.

   Most of the religious or spiritual people I know—and to be fair, they’re mostly the sort of people who land in a vaguely pagan commune in Wales, or else they’re terrified wizard kids crammed into a school that’s trying to kill them—regularly beseech a benevolent and loving all-wise deity to provide them with useful advice through the medium of miraculous signs and portents. Speaking as my mother’s daughter, I can say with authority that they wouldn’t like it if they got it. You don’t want mysterious unexplained advice from someone you know has your best interests at heart and whose judgment is unerringly right and just and true. Either they’ll tell you to do what you want to do anyway, in which case you didn’t need their advice, or they’ll tell you to do the opposite, in which case you’ll have to choose between sullenly following their advice, like a little kid who has been forced to brush her teeth and go to bed at a reasonable hour, or ignoring it and grimly carrying on, all the while knowing that your course of action is guaranteed to lead you straight to pain and dismay.

       If you’re wondering which of those two options I picked, then you must not know me, as pain and dismay were obviously my destination. I didn’t even need to think about it. Mum’s note was infinitely well-meant, but it wasn’t long: My darling girl, I love you, have courage, and keep far away from Orion Lake. I read the whole thing in a single glance and tore it up into pieces instantly, standing right there among the little freshmen milling about. I ate the scrap with Orion’s name on it myself and handed the rest out at once.

   “What’s this?” Aadhya said. She was still giving me narrow-eyed indignation.

   “It lifts the spirits,” I said. “My mum put it in the paper.”

   “Yes, your mum, Gwen Higgins,” Aadhya said, even more coolly. “Who you’ve mentioned so often to us all.”

   “Oh, just eat it,” I said, as irritably as I could manage after having just downed my own piece. The irritation wasn’t as hard to muster up as it might’ve been. I can’t think of anything I’ve missed in here, including the sun, the wind, or a night’s sleep in safety, nearly as much as I’ve missed Mum, so that’s what the spell gave me: the feeling of being curled up on her bed with my head in her lap and her hand stroking gently over my hair, the smell of the herbs she works with, the faint croaking of frogs outside the open door, and the wet earth of a Welsh spring. It would’ve lifted my spirits enormously if only I hadn’t been worrying deeply at the same time what she was trying to tell me about Orion.

   The fun possibilities were endless. The best one was that he was doomed to die young and horribly, which given his penchant for heroics was reasonably predictable anyway. Unfortunately, falling in something or other with a doomed hero isn’t the sort of thing Mum would warn me off. She’s very much of the gather ye rosebuds while ye may school of thought.

       Mum would only warn me off something bad, not something painful. So obviously Orion was the most brilliant maleficer ever, concealing his vile plans by saving the lives of everyone over and over just so he could, I don’t know, kill them himself later on? Or maybe Mum was worried that he was so annoying that he’d drive me to become the most brilliant maleficer ever, which was probably more plausible, since that’s supposedly my own doom anyway.

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