The third and last book in the Scholomance trilogy, The Golden Enclaves, by Naomi Novik was published 27 September, 2022.

The first two books in the series weren’t as bad as I had originally thought. Meaning, I had expected YA dark academia romance, but in fact it was actually more dark academia than romance.

Book three on the other hand, was not the conclusion I had hoped it would be; El taking down the large and rich enclaves and offering save havens for all magical families.

[The following might contain spoilers.]

While her main objective is to open Golden Enclaves, El travels the world with her tiny entourage of allies to, find Orion whom she suspects isn’t dead after all. In her grief for Orion, El acts very out of character, for example she hooks up with Liesel, whom she neither likes nor trusts. Then, once she’s found Orion and rescued him from the dark edge he seems to be balancing on, she sends him back to his mother, fully knowing this is the worst idea ever.

The ending of the story is very “Elizabeth Swan & Will Turner”. El and Orion stay together, but apart from each other. El is opening Golden Enclaves all over the world and hunting maw-mouths, while Orion keeps the Scholomance free of mals.

The whole plot seemed as if it was thought up on a napkin after having watched a few films and played a few video games. El levels up with every stop on her journey and she acquires tools that help her in her final “boss-fight”. It all ends on a slightly high note by telling the reader that El and Orion are together after all and that Liesel was just a fluke to help El feel good in her body.

I’m not sure what I had expected, but it wasn’t this.

PS: El is from Great Britain, but her language is definitely American English. She uses Americanisms so often that I actually wondered why Novik gave her a British background.

1/5 Harpy Eagles