Reviews for Gothikana

by RuNyx

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

At 21, Corvina is older than most new undergraduate students when the University of Verenmore offers her a full scholarship. This is particularly unusual given that she was homeschooled and never applied to the university. On the other hand, the town she grew up near treats her as a pariah, so she has nothing to lose by moving to the isolated castle. She quickly learns that the castle may be haunted, with mysterious disappearances every few years—and one theoretically due at the Black Ball this year—along with some questionable suicides. Corvina is distracted by her language and literature instructor, Vad Deverell, an enigmatic doctoral student with whom she shares a fierce mutual attraction despite warnings from her friends and strict rules against relationships between students and instructors. Their intense sexual relationship develops in spite of Corvina’s concerns that Vad may somehow be involved in the disappearances. Tensions escalate as the Black Ball rolls around, and readers are led through surprising twists yet left with some lingering mysteries. Gothikana will appeal to readers who like dark and steamy haunted-school tales.

Publishers Weekly
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RuNyx (The Annihilator) remixes gothic romance tropes in this deliciously edgy and erotic new adult outing. Corvina Clemm, 21, grew up in isolation, homeschooled by her recently deceased mother, who had paranoid schizophrenia. She’s shocked to receive an offer of admission from the elite University of Verenmore—especially as she never applied. She’s older than the other students in the ancient castle that houses the university and the specter of a childhood spent managing her mother’s illness haunts her, coloring her interactions with both her peers and mysterious young teacher Vlad Deverell. Vlad is a gorgeous enigma who is sure to make readers swoon despite his slowly revealed and deep-seated moral ambiguity. As Corvina’s solitary ramblings around the school grounds pull her deeper into Vlad’s orbit, the pair begin a juicy forbidden affair that blurs the lines between pleasure and pain. RuNyx balances this epic romance with danger: students at Verenmore have been dying by suicide for years, while others go missing at the school’s infamous Black Ball, a fabled masquerade dance. Could Corvina be next? The author’s delight in all things gothic is clear, and she leans into both the romance and the darkness. Her unflinching examination of mental health, suicide, alienation, and sexual power dynamics is especially commendable. This brazen, page-turning love story is a winner. (Jan.)