cover image The Golden Enclaves

The Golden Enclaves

Naomi Novik. Del Rey, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-0-593-15835-7

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. (Sept.)