Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy. I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings. Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them. In my final Waiting on Wednesday for the year I take a look at two epic upcoming fantasy novels that I think will be some of my top reads for 2021.
Ever since I read the first Harry Potter novel many years ago, I have had a particular fondness for fantasy novels that are set within the environs of a magical school. Something about intrigue and adventure occurring around magical classes really appealed to me, and I have since enjoyed several great novels that have made good use of this setting (The Kingkiller Chronicles are a particularly good example of this). As a result, it looks like I am going to be rather spoiled in 2021 as two of my most anticipated upcoming releases are going to feature a magical learning environment, although both have an intriguing twist to them.
The first of these novels is The Last Graduate by bestselling author Naomi Novik, which will serve as the second entry in her Scholomance series. Novik is a talented author whose work I have greatly enjoyed in the past, such as her bestselling 2018 release, Spinning Silver. However, the Novik novel that I liked the most was A Deadly Education, which came out earlier this year. A Deadly Education was the first novel in the Scholomance series and follows a powerful magical user as she attempts to survive an exceedingly deadly magical school filled will betrayal, intrigue, unnecessary heroics, and innumerable student eating creatures. A Deadly Education was one of my favourite books of 2020 and I am deeply excited that Novik is releasing a sequel in 2021.
The Last Graduate Synopsis:
A budding dark sorceress determined not to use her formidable powers uncovers yet more secrets about the workings of her world in the stunning sequel to A Deadly Education, the start of Naomi Novik’s groundbreaking crossover series.
At the Scholomance, El, Orion, and the other students are faced with their final year—and the looming specter of graduation, a deadly ritual that leaves few students alive in its wake. El is determined that her chosen group will survive, but it is a prospect that is looking harder by the day as the savagery of the school ramps up. Until El realizes that sometimes winning the game means throwing out all the rules . . .
The Last Graduate is currently set for release in late June 2021, and I am really excited to see where the story goes next. I cannot wait to revisit the fun and inventive magical school that Novik introduced in A Deadly Education, and I am sure that she has some fantastic new ideas to make it even more dangerous. Based on how the first entry in the series ended, the protagonist is in for even more intrigue and classroom politics in this next book and I am rather excited to see what chaos, destruction and drama gets thrown her way in the future. I have some major expectations for The Last Graduate, and I look forward to powering through it just like I did with A Deadly Education.
The next novel I want to highlight in this article is the awesome-sounding It Ends in Fire by Andrew Shvarts. Shvarts is a relatively new author who debuted back in 2017 with Royal Bastards, the first book in his series of the same name. The Royal Bastards series was an epic and compelling young adult fantasy series that followed the bastard daughter of a treacherous lord as she and her friends attempted to survive and end a terrible war that ravished their nation. I absolutely loved this series and each entry in it was very impressive, such as the second novel, City of Bastards, which has one of the best, most explosive endings I have ever enjoyed, or the final novel, War of the Bastards, which was one of my favourite books of 2019.
Due to how much I enjoyed Shvarts’ first series I have been eagerly keeping an eye out for his next project, and you cannot imagine how damn happy I was when I heard that his upcoming book was going to be set in a magical school. This new novel, It Ends in Fire, is a cool and exciting read that is currently set for release in July 2021.
It Ends in Fire Synopsis:
ALKA CHELRAZI IS ON A MISSION:
1. Infiltrate Blackwater Academy
2. Win the Great Game
3. Burn Wizard society to the ground
As a child, Alka witnessed her parents’ brutal murder at the hands of Wizards before she was taken in by an underground rebel group.
Now, Alka is deep undercover at the most prestigious school of magic in the Republic: Blackwater Academy, a place where status is everything, where decadent galas end in blood-splattered duels, where every student has their own agenda. To survive, Alka will have to lie, cheat, kill, and use every trick in her spy’s toolkit. And for the first time in her life, the fiercely independent Alka will have to make friends in order to recruit the misfits and the outcasts into her motley rebellion.
But even as she draws closer to victory — to vengeance — she sinks deeper into danger as suspicious professors and murderous rivals seek the traitor in their midst, and dark revelations unravel her resolve. Can Alka destroy the twisted game…without becoming a part of it?
This sounds really, really good! I love the idea of someone trying to start a rebellion in the middle of a treacherous magic school and it sounds like it could be the basis of a compelling story and an awesome new series. Based on this cool plot synopsis and because of how incredible Shvarts’ previous series was I am extremely confident that that this new novel is going to be another five-star read and I very much looking forward to enjoying It Ends in Fire.
As you can see, 2021 is definitely looking up for me with the inclusion of these two books on my upcoming reads list. I have extremely high hopes for both novels, and I am sure that they are going to be some of the best books of the new year.