Novels That Are The Perfect Mix of Literary Thriller and Dark Academia
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Novels That Are The Perfect Mix of Literary Thriller and Dark Academia

The books in the dark academia shelf are often literary thrillers, delineating the main characters' spiral into insanity while surrounded by beautiful Gothic structures and college campuses. The following books are among the classics of dark academia, all of which are must-reads when it comes to this 'aesthetic'.

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Unsplash / Stefan Steinbauer

What is 'dark academia'? Dark academia is an aesthetic that revolves around passion and eagerness for knowledge, largely the study of classics and literature, and it is characterized by mainly dark, Gothic and Greek architecture. Going to bookstores, libraries, and cafes, reading, writing poetry, etc. are all considered activities that fuel 'dark academia.'

The books in the dark academia shelf are often literary thrillers, delineating the main characters' spiral into insanity while surrounded by beautiful Gothic structures and college campuses. If you are looking for slowly spiraling literary thrillers, deep in the forest of academia and cults and societies, then the following books are great places to get started.


'The Secret History' by Donna Tartt

The Secret History is the ultimate classic of this aesthetic, and a gripping tale of friendship, obsession, and murder, and how simple it can be to spiral out of control. The Secret History is a must-read, rich with vivid imagery that engulfs you, and it stays with you long after you read the last page. Visit the link, linked in the title, to learn more.

'If We Were Villains' by M. L. Rio

If We Were Villains follows a group of Shakespearean actors/theater majors at a renowned Conservatory, whose friendship yet underlying rivalry spirals into murder, creating their very own Shakespearean tragedy and tasking them with proving their innocence to the police, to one another, and to themselves. Visit the link, linked in the title, to learn more.

'Dead Poets Society' by N. H. Kleinbaum

The Dead Poets Society is another renowned classic, and film, that revolves around a group of English students that resurrect the Dead Poets Society with help from their teacher and, in the process of finding their freedom and passion, become encumbered by the tragic consequences of too much freedom. Visit the link, linked in the title, to learn more.

'The Night Climbers' by Ivo Stourton

The Night Climbers also revolve around a group of Cambridge University students -- all members of the secret society the 'Tudor Night Climbers' -- and their friendship, tests, crime, and the extents to which you'll go to save yourself. Visit the link, linked in the title, to learn more.

'Black Chalk' by Christopher J. Yates

Set at Oxford University, Black Chalk is a psychological thriller that follows a group of students whose childish games transgressed the line into high stakes, viciousness, unpredictability, and tragedy. Now 14 years later, the group meets again for the final round. Visit the link, linked in the title, to learn more.

'Ninth House' by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House is a thriller that meets dark magic, surrounding a group of Yale students whose newest member, Alex Stern, is given a second chance after near death with a mysterious, full ride admission to Yale University. Once there, she's met with Ivy-League elites and is sucked deep into their occult, sinister activities. Visit the link, linked in the title, to learn more.

'The Basic Eight' by Daniel Handler

And last but not least, The Basic Eight follows a group of high school students whose normal drama mixed with cruelty, alcohol, and tragedy spiral into murder and the spotlight is on them. With complex characters and rich imagery, The Basic Eight can't be put down. Visit the link, linked in the title, to learn more.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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