Cover Image: Gothikana


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This was delightfully spooky, sexy, and just a little bit suspenseful.
This would be a great book to read around Halloween and I can't wait to recommend it.
This is actually a spooky college and our heroine is late to join so she is 21 years old. And our hero is a doctoral student and teacher so he is 27, so the age gap isn't really a huge thing, its more taboo because of the power dynamic than anything and I really enjoyed it.
Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Was this review helpful?

Gothikana is a popular title that was indie-published and is not being traditionally published and let me tell you it's a great story. This book follows Corvina who ends up in Verenmore to start up her life but random people are dying and there is a secret to her professor's life. I really enjoyed this book and loved the vibe I was getting from the book. The story is dark but also light in some ways as it shows the development of Corvina and the dangers of Verenmore. There were many conflicts and mysteries to this story that kept me entertained. I do wish we got a bit deeper dive into the world of Verenmore as there is so much to learn and a lot of mystery that I felt got hidden. This book is mainly told from Corvina's pov but has some of others.

Corvina is the FMC and I liked her character. She has had a difficult past and wants to have a bright future but she hears voices. I enjoyed seeing her develop in this story and the way she would not be afraid to go on an adventure. There are many side characters in this book but the main one is Vad, a morally grey professor who is attracted to Corvina. He's a mystery that I wish we got his pov to understand more of him but loved the parts we did get. There are a lot of great people and some betrayers in this book. The romance is age gap, forbidden love, and student/professor with some minor steamy scenes. There was chemistry between the characters but I have to say that their trust for each other was not so good.

The ending was well done and open-ended to the fact the author might pick it up to write a second book with possibly different characters. I think there is more to Verenmore and I'm excited to figure out what can possibly happen next. This was a great book and I missed reading a good, dark academia story with such great characters. I recommend checking this out because you don't want to miss out plus there are sprayed edges on the first print runs.

*this arc was sent to me by the publisher to give an honest review in return*

Was this review helpful?

Corvina receives a mysterious acceptance letter from the University of Venermore and accepts it with want of reinventing herself. However, upon her arrival, she notices a dark and looming mystery surrounding Verenmore. Adding to her unease is the enigmatic professor, Vad, who exudes an air of mysteriousness. Despite knowing they shouldn't be drawn to each other, they find themselves irresistibly pulled together as they unravel the mystery of Venermore. Corvina must use her intuition to uncover why people keep disappearing from the university and find a way to stop it.

Gothikana is a delicious blend of paranormal, dark academia, and steamy gothic romance. The romance between Corvina and Vad starts as electrifying as it slowly builds to a sizzling heat. Both characters have their demons and fears, but when they are together, they can overcome them. They must face their past and prevent it from destroying their future.

RuNyx does a gorgeous job of creating a dark atmosphere that leaves you yearning to know more about the mysteries of Venermore. Her writing will pull you in and keep you engaged, making you eager to discover where the plot and romance will take you.

If you are a fan of Keri Lake, dark academia, forbidden love, paranormal activity, spice, and dark romance, check out Gothikana!

Was this review helpful?

I feel like this book will be very popular with its target audience, but I don’t think that I am that audience. The atmosphere was well done, for the most part, but I couldn’t get past some of the names (Vad? Verenmore?) and a lot of the language. Every time the author built up some good gothic vibes, someone threw in a modern swear word or reference and it kind of took me out of it. I also am not a fan of insta-love, which is what happened between the two main characters. Plus, there was really no good resolution to the mystery and the ending was rushed and out of nowhere.

Was this review helpful?

I have been having a time trying to collect my thoughts regarding gothikana. I finished this a couple weeks ago and as time has gone on I find this book entering my thoughts often and I find myself loving it more and more. Gothikana is such a unique book. The romance, the mystery, the twist. It was all amazing against the backdrop of a creepy Gothic castle turned school, Verenmore, which is as much of a main character as Corvina and Vad.
The description of verenmore made me feel like I was there.
The legends and mystery regarding the school was my favorite part.
The romance of course was top notch- dark but beautiful.
There are a couple of mysteries left to unfold and I cannot wait for the next book to find the answers.

Gothikana contains:
-Forbidden romance
-Dark academia
-Gothic romance
-Questionable reliability/mental stability of the fmc.

Was this review helpful?

Read this if you love:
📚 dark academia
⛔️forbidden love
🕯️gothic romances
🔮tarot reading
🎭 mascarades

We have a girl with purple eyes who hears voices who finds herself in a forbidden romance with one of her teachers, who has white eyes. The attraction and sexual tension between the two of them is electric from the moment their eyes meet. Corvina’s background is tragic and puzzling, and Vad is dark and dangerous.

Not only is this a deeply sexy forbidden romance, but there is something seemingly paranormal going on. Without warning students who have never displayed suicidal tendencies are killing themselves, there are old legends about serial killers on the property, and there is a ball that always ends in death.

Thank you so much to the publisher for my ARC in exchange for my review!

Was this review helpful?

This is such a different type of story. There is a supernatural element, but it has a very Gothic atmosphere. It’s almost like a Gothic fairytale. Corvina and Vadare both fascinating characters and the more you learn about them the more you are intrigued. It’s a romance, but in the style of Dracula also with a touch of beauty and the beast. It’s beautifully written, and keeps you enraptured from start to finish.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this one! I am a sucker for dark academia so I was very excited to give this book a try. I loved the gothic feel of the story and liked Corvina right away. It took me a minute to warm up to Vad but I did end up liking his character as well. I loved that the story kept me guessing and there were a few twists and turns that completely surprised me. I had a hard time putting this entertaining book down once I started reading.

When Corvina is invited to attend the University of Verenmore, she doesn’t hesitate. Since her mother is no longer at home, nothing is holding her back. She is a little older than other incoming students but quickly starts to form a bond with her new roommate. Then she meets Vad, who just happens to be a professor, and they are immediately drawn to each other. Some strange things are happening at the university and Corvina and Vad hope to figure out what is going on before someone else disappears.

I wasn’t sure about Corvina and Vad at first but I was eventually convinced. He is a professor at the school but he is also a thesis student so the lines are a little more blurred. There isn’t much of an age gap between the pair but Corvina was a lot more innocent. I thought that the chemistry between the pair was palpable. The emotional connection between these characters felt authentic and I wanted to see them find their happily ever after.

I ended up grabbing a copy of the audiobook and thought that Aiden Snow and Scarlett Dorian did an amazing job with this story. I am not sure if I have listened to either of these narrators’ work in the past but I appreciated their performance with this story. I liked the fact that they were able to capture the characters’ personalities through their reading which added a lot to my enjoyment of the story. I would not hesitate to recommend this entertaining and atmospheric romance to others.

I received a review copy of this book from Bramble.

Was this review helpful?

This is the perfect title for anyone seeking their next romantasy with a dark academia setting. Corvina Clemm receives a mysterious letter granting her admission to the University of Verenmore, which ends up being an isolated castle on a mountain. However, the mysteries don't stop there as Corvina starts her semester, she catches the attention of a professor, a forbidden relationship, and wrapped up into a decades old mystery. This is a fun read, especially for fans of romance and magical school settings.

Was this review helpful?

This book was almost like re-reading an old friend. I know I haven't read it before but it was so reminiscent of something dreamlike that everything fit into this world, this story.

It has its cliches but it all works for this book. The intrigue and dark mystery, the gothic romance fits the bill when your looking for something that fills the dark places in your heart.

** Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion **

Was this review helpful?

DNF - I really struggled with the writing style, as well as some of the aesthetic elements. It felt somewhat clunky and awkward at many points, and while some people can take worn out fantasy tropes (like a protagonist with violet eyes) and play with them so they're interesting or thoughtful, a lot of them here seemed to be taken on uncritically and unthinkingly, and it just made it feel simplistic.

But the main problem was the writing style - it's very direct and simple, to the point of patronising. Short sentences, limited descriptions, very little abstract thought, just a straightforward summation of events, without any flavour or character. I thought at first it was meant to represent the child's perspective of the character in her early chapters, but it persisted well into the parts where she's 21, where it no longer felt relevant or reasonable, so clearly is just the style of the prose. Very much did not feel like a grown up story, more middle-grade, in terms of the prose, but the content is very much for adults, so it's a weird mishmash.

Disappointing, as I was hoping for a fun, gothicky escapist read.

Was this review helpful?

Based on what I’ve seen from other readers, this is a book that you’ll either love or you’ll hate, and I have to say - I LOVED IT. It’s a gothic romance with deeply flawed characters, a creepy castle/school, and a decades-old mystery about missing and murdered students. There’s also an ambiguous element that it’s hard for me to describe, but suffice it to say that I just loved the way this book made me feel. For me, that’s the big difference between a 4* and 5* book - did it cause an emotional response in me, and this book definitely did.

It’s my understanding that this book was originally published in 2021 but is being rereleased under a different publishing house and with a new cover (and hello sprayed edges and illustrations!). I got to read the ARC from NetGalley and Bramble by Tor, but I have already pre-ordered my hardcopy! I am unsure if the book has been revised from its original version, but I felt like it was well-written and edited.

Some parts of this book were relatively predictable, but I was way off base with which characters I trusted and how I thought the book was going to end. There are a lot of red herrings that you think are going to be important, and not everything gets explained, but to me that just added to the whole gothic atmosphere of the story. I can definitely understand why some readers don’t love this book, and it’s by no means a literary masterpiece, but its writing was both lyrical and evocative, and I really felt “in” the book if you know what I mean.

This is my first book by this author, but it won’t be the last! I used to say that I didn’t like reading romance, but I’ve since realized that what I meant was that I don’t like contemporary romance. This dark gothic romance was everything!

Was this review helpful?

I wish I could lay the blame for this rating either on poor writing or poor editing but unfortunately it's both. And then some.

But right away, at a sad 2%, I had a bad feeling. By 4%, I could see the (poorly structured) writing on the wall. And then as the main character was introduced to us through her own surroundings.. it got worse. Corvina's characterization is a mash-up of everything I hate to see in a main character, especially a female one, but they also contradict. She's somehow both sheltered and naive but also faux-edgy (she eschews bras and underwear so you know she's just nOt LiKe oTheR giRLS and we discover this in like chapter three so, I mean, there you go); she's completely out of touch and unsocialized, but manages to dress like someone who grew up in a Hot Topic instead the.. woods, and seemingly accepts of the fact that she transitions so easily into a new experience that encompasses friends and school and romance (none of which she's had or done before) even though the author <b>tells</b> us all the time that she makes people uncomfortable or is quiet and awkward despite.. almost never acting that way. She gives off main character manic pixie dream girl energy but isn't deserving of the title and stupidly everyone around her reinforces her speshulness and I just can't make sense of it.

Also, the nicknames. Please. I cannot.

The fact that her love interest couldn't keep his mouth off her nose ring just added to it. Seriously, was everyone in this book an alien? Acting like everything she did was unique and that every facet of her being had never been seen before by human eyes.

This also applies to the fact that people were out here wandering the woods with a lantern when flashlights exist. When I started this book I honestly thought this was supposed to be a weird historical fantasy but no. The author just tried very hard to hold onto the spooky dark academia vibes for the marketing cachet but ultimately this was just a spoiled rich people academy in a crumbly old building for no reason whatsoever.

But back to the love interest. He can be summed up with one word : no. Okay fine, three words : no thank you.

Truly, the more I think about this, the more my brain breaks. This was a romantic concept buried into a plot that doesn't make sense to attempt to provide tension in and around the horribly cliche and typically rote scenes the characters interacted in only to drag out the inevitable and, again, market off the vibes. Now that I've finished suffering through it all I'm realizing just how angry about the whole thing I am.

Between the inconsistencies, incomprehensible character choices, choppy writing and poor word choices alongside minimal (or so it felt) editing and consideration for pacing (nothing happens for like 80% of the book except some "I want you but can't/won't have you okay I want you and will have you now" push and pull, followed by countless sex scenes [smushed up against the most cringey horrible romantic dialogue exchanges I've ever read], and then a bunch of unsatisfying action that gets summed up and rushed through in like two pages), as well as just my overall dissatisfaction with the plot that couldn't manage to even fractionally redeem the rest.. this was not it for me.

Was this review helpful?

Extremely old castle turned into a university, possible curse that happens every five years under the full moon, enjoyable professor, some spice, and an intriguing FMC with violet eyes makes for an amazing story. Going into the book I was not sure what I was getting after reading, I want more! I loved the mysteriousness of the castle, not being able to trust almost anyone the FMC comes into contact with, and tragedy made this book amazing. I am hoping there will be more of this story continued in the future!

Was this review helpful?

The physical arc I received as well has beautiful chapter page artwork and I love the purple sprayed edges this new edition will have. I had heard all the hype about this book and was excited to read it.
I was very surprised by all the things when I actually read it. I love a good dark academia romance or mystery but I don't think this one was it for me. Maybe I am not the targeted audience because all of the characters felt very young and overall it gave a ya vibe, which made all the steam feel out of place. But this may be a total me issue.
My favorite character was actually Verenmore itself. I believe the new edition will include a map and that will be awesome. It is such a cool spooky place. There were quite a few loose threads by the end (particularly about Verenmore) and I would have loved to tie those up but we did at least get some closure on the romance between Corvina and Vad.

Was this review helpful?

A dark gothic romance that takes place on the estate of Verenmore, a university full of students with troubled pasts. Corvina and Vad are inexplicably drawn toward each other while trying to not to fall into an affair. Teachers at Verenmore are forbidden to be involved with students but Corvina proves too tempting and anyway, it seems to be fated.
There is also the mystery involving strange disappearances every 5 years and perhaps the university's own serial murders. All in all, a very entertaining read. (Seems like there may be more to come!)

*Special thanks to NetGalley and Tor for this e-arc.*

Was this review helpful?

Gothikana brilliantly merges Beauty and the Beast with Dracula, creating a interesting tale of dark romance, mystery, and murder. This gothic masterpiece is set in a spooky dark academia, where supernatural elements add an extra layer of intrigue. The steamy romance is heightened by picturesque descriptions of the academy, making every page an immersive experience. If you crave a captivating blend of classic tales, mysterious academia, and intense passion, Gothikana is an absolute must-read. Prepare to be entranced by its dark allure and transported to a world where every shadow conceals secrets.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you so much @torbooks @macmillanusa and @brambleromance for sending me this advanced reader copy of the republished edition of this book, I really enjoyed this one. I love the gothic dark academia vibes and all of the creepy haunting things, and the twist at the end was both surprising and unexpected! My only complaint is that the ending seemed a little rushed and left a lot of unanswered questions. However, overall I would definitely recommend if dark academia is your jam!

Was this review helpful?

“If this is madness,” she whispered almost against his lips, “drown me in it.” ✨

Intoxicating, stunning, bewitching, and sensual are some of the words I’d use to describe this book.

We have a girl with purple eyes who hears voices who finds herself in a forbidden romance with one of her teachers, who has white eyes. The attraction and sexual tension between the two of them is electric from the moment their eyes meet. Corvina’s background is tragic and puzzling, and Vad is dark and dangerous.

Not only is this a deeply sexy forbidden romance, but there is something seemingly paranormal going on. Without warning students who have never displayed suicidal tendencies are killing themselves, there are old legends about serial killers on the property, and there is a ball that always ends in death.

Not only are the characters and the romance captivating, but so is the scenery and the atmospheric vibes. If you couldn’t tell by the cover art, this is a dark academia book/gothic story and they’re all staying at a big castle on a mountain, which is also a university.

There wasn’t a ton of twists, but the few twists there were made me gasp. This book is on Kindle Unlimited and deserves way more attention.

I also used an audible credit and the audiobook was soooo wonderful. My only complaint is that there was a male narrator, but he only narrated a few short chapters. I wish they could have swapped back and forth for the dialogue.

Read this if you love: dark academia, forbidden love, gothic romances, tarot reading, all things spooky, possessive but considerate MMCs, crows, witches, pianos, masquerade balls, and lighting candles while you read romances in the dark.

⚠️ also, please look up the TWs for this one. I already mentioned suicide, but there are some others.

Thank you so much NetGalley and Tor publishing for this ARC in exchange for my honest review!!!

Was this review helpful?

Overall, I really enjoyed this gothic, dark romance written in alternating points of view. I felt invested to the main characters and enjoyed the chemistry between the two of them from the start. I loved the dark academia aesthetic throughout the book. I can't give it five stars because the ending was a little strange. I thought things were neatly wrapped up, and Vad and Corvina had their happily-ever-after ending. But then there were two more chapters at the end that left me with questions. Maybe this was intentional so there could be a sequel? I can't tell.... But if you're into Dracula, Beauty and the Beast, or Jane Eyre, you'll love this book.

Was this review helpful?