As described by Wikipedia, dark academia is an aesthetic centered on higher education, writing, the arts, and classic Greek and Gothic architecture, as well as romantic longing and death — think 19th and early 20th century at private schools in England; bitter black coffee; blazers; vintage jewelry; and dark colours.
Today I will be talking about some books I’ve read with this theme, as well as books I want to read.
If We Were Villans by M.L. Rio
If this cover does not scream dark academia, I don’t know what does; that skull is making me think that this book will be eerie and mysterious. I haven’t read this one yet, but it has a really good rating on Goodreads and the plot sounds intriguing. The protagonist, Oliver, is an actor studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college. One of the actors in the play ends up dying, an the other actors have to convince the police that they didn’t do it. However, Oliver had gone to jail for 10 years for the crime, so it sounds like we as the reader have to figure out if he actually did it or not.
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Whoa, skulls on the cover again. I guess skulls are a thing for dark academia, which would make sense if death is part of it. I have read this book, and I feel like this might be a controversial opinion, but personally, I wasn’t a fan. However, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it exudes allll the dark academia vibes. This is the story of college roommates, Victor and Eli, who in their senior year start conducting experiments surrounding near death experiences. Victor goes to jail, and when he gets out, tries to find Eli, who is now his enemy. I guess jail is another dark academia thing, because both this book and If We Were Villans seem to have that going for them. 🤷♀️
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
So this book is one I started ~ a year ago, haven’t finished, but plan to start over and complete. From what I’d read, it was really good! I think the intimidating part is that I own an e-copy but don’t own a kindle, so I had to read it on my phone, and given the fact that it is 771 pages in paperback, it was a little daunting to read on such a tiny screen 😬 but anyway, that’s besides the point! This book is about a boy named Theo who survives a tragedy that kills his mother. Theo clings to a small painting that reminds him of his mother, and that draws him in to the world of art. Ultimately, this book is about love, identity, and art – all at the forefront of dark academia.
Has anyone read any other good books with a dark academia vibe? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned? I’d love to know your thoughts 🙂