cover of A Lesson in Love and Death by W. H. Lockwood

Anna James dreamed of only two things in life: to read books and to not die.

The day she is offered a scholarship to study literature at the beautiful, exclusive and gothic Endymion College is the happiest day of her life, but soon after arrival, Anna finds it is nothing like the brochure.

Instantly thrust into a dangerous conspiracy, sent to live in a haunted dormitory with a captivating rival, Anna struggles to keep control of her only chance at a better life and to maintain her already tenuous grip on reality.

Things soon go from bad to worse when a séance goes awry, and finding herself pursued by a terrifying spectre, Anna finds comfort and a kindred spirit in her professor of literature: young, devastatingly handsome and completely off-limits.

Anna must find a way to fight both her desire and a relentless supernatural force out for blood, all while completing her work on time to hold on to her precious scholarship.

Darkly humorous, crushingly awkward, deeply romantic, Endymion College: A Lesson in Love and Death is a celebration of the books we love and an action-packed, supernatural, feminist, horror story all rolled into one.

My Review of A Lesson in Love and Death

I feel like dark academia should be right up my reading ally. I love magic. I love school stories. I especially love magic school stories. But for whatever reason, I really struggle with dark academia. I’m nothing if not persistent, though, and I occasionally try a new dark academia title to see if the genre clicks.

That’s a long-winded way of saying that, while I liked this book, I didn’t quite love it. So, it didn’t break through my dark academia funk, but the setting and subgenre aren’t necessarily why this just didn’t click. I felt a bit distanced from everything that went on here. The school seemed so cool, and the characters felt like interesting people. But there was something that kept me from really feeling like I got to know either. It might have been the occasional omniscient POV—it happened just infrequently enough to drag me out of the story and not like it was an intentional choice. There were also some character details/thoughts at the end that didn’t really seem to be supported by the rest of the story. Like, this character suddenly needed to feel a certain way about themself, and so they did.

All in all, I didn’t get as into this as I hoped. Dark academia continues to elude me, but I’ll give it another go at some point, probably. So, that said, if you’re a big dark academia fan, you may eat this up. And if it sounds interesting, give it a shot.

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