Book Buzz Episode 13 – A Deadly Education & The Exiles

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Air date: Sept. 3,2023 

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A Deadly Education

The Exiles

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Hello, this is Jessica Russell. I’m the Assistant Director of Collection Services at Sno-Isle Libraries. And welcome to Book Buzz.

Today's reading recommendations include two different books about surviving hostile environments.

First, we’re going to hear from Kristi, library associate in Library on Wheels, who will introduce us to the first installment of a fantasy series. Over to you, Kristi.


Do you dream of attending a school for magic? Well, you may want to reconsider if you get an invitation to The Scholomance, the magical school featured in Naomi Novik’s fantasy novel, “A Deadly Education.”

At this school, monsters roam the halls and not everyone gets out alive. We follow an outcast dark sorceress named El as she battles the malicious monsters that routinely break into the school to eat the students. This is a fast-paced, richly detailed series starter that will draw you in from the first sentence.

Prepare to embark on a thrilling adventure as El forms a shaky alliance with the school’s star monster slayer, Orion Lake, to help their classmates survive a deadly graduation ceremony. I loved El’s snarky dialogue, the well-developed and clever magic system, and the diverse cast of side characters that make the story so engrossing.

Do I personally want to go to the Scholomance? Absolutely not, I would die immediately. But I loved following El’s high stakes journey and rooting for the characters as they hatch a plan to support each other through the dangerous coursework. With two other books in the series, it’s easy to become invested in the characters and get lost in the story. Pick up “A Deadly Education” today and find out if you’d survive the Scholomance.


Thanks, Kristi! This premise sounds gruesome and engaging, and so much fun.

Next, let’s switch gears to historical fiction as we hear from Jordan, library associate from the Lakewood/Smokey Point Library. Go ahead, Jordan.


Life was extremely hard in the 1840s and author Christina Baker Kline does a great job portraying this in “The Exiles.”

This is the story of several women in England who were unjustly convicted of crimes and imprisoned under horrendous conditions. They endured barbaric treatment as they were shipped off to penal colonies in Australia. The story invokes all 5 senses while bringing to light a little-known history of convict ships.

Evangeline is a young naive governess who is accused of theft. Mathinna is an orphan who was yanked from her home to become "civilized" only to be gawked at then thrown away when she’s no longer of interest. Hazel is a young Irish girl sentenced to transport for stealing a silver spoon.

What drew me into the book is the uncommon setting, themes of isolation, and focusing on more than one protagonist. Character development is important to me, and each character was vividly brought to life with dialog that was spot on. The tone was dramatic and moving with unpredictable outcomes.

Don't expect a tied up satisfying ending for each character. This book shows that life is hard and cruel.

If you’re interested in stories of women who fight to keep their spirits alive in the worst of circumstances, you’ll appreciate “The Exiles.”


Thanks, Jordan! This book sounds like it’s still sadly relevant and relatable to women’s experiences today.

Our recommendations this week are: “A Deadly Education” by Naomi Novik and “The Exiles” by Christina Baker Kline.

Join us next time, when we’ll explore more great reading recommendations – interesting books you can find at your favorite local bookstore or at your local library.

Until then, I’m Jessica Russell from Sno-Isle Libraries.

Thanks for joining us for Book Buzz on KSER.

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