Gothikana is my first exposure to RuNyx. I started reading this during ‘spooktober’ (obviously well in the past at the time you’ll be reading this) thinking that it would sate my desire for a darker read.
Gothikana is an insta-lust story between Corvina Clemm and Vad Deverell. Vad is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Verenmore and a professor in his own right, while Corvina is his student. The University itself is shrouded in mystery, leaving Corvina to wonder if everything she experiencing is a byproduct of the ghosts of her past, or because of the University itself. Her curiosity drags her deeper into a web of horror stories, ghosts, and deaths, and is getting dangerously close to unearthing the truth. This means that Vad has no real choice but to keep a close eye on her.
I feel like “Gothikana” middled for me. I was immediately taken with the idea of the book (having never seen a Dark Academia romance novel) and was drawn in by the book’s description. But a lot of it… fell flat for me.
I will say that the world-building was gorgeous. I appreciated the lore surrounding the university. I appreciated the mystery, the atmosphere. I felt that it was well developed and unique to this world.
Where it fell flat for me was our main characters. I didn’t feel like there was much chemistry between them as I was reading. It felt more like, “these are the two main characters, so obviously, they’re going to get together.” My heart didn’t ache or break for them. In fact, most of the time, I remained largely indifferent. I think this is, in part, because of the many sex scenes in this book. It felt more like they had a physical attraction/relationship, which would have been fine, were it not for how it was being presented as ‘love’.
As a general rule, I’m indifferent to smut. I can take it or leave it – and I’ve been around the block enough times to have been exposed to some very, very bad smut. I will say that RuNyx did write it well. My issue came with the sameness of a lot of the scenes. Variety is the spice of life, after all. I would have much rather two-thirds of those scenes be ‘fade to black’ or alluded to. Or, in an ideal world, I would have loved for those scenes to be re-purposed into something that allowed us to feel like they were connecting on a deeper level.
I really want to rate this book higher because there was just so much potential. I just can’t get over the lack of development where the story really hinged. There was, generally, just a bit too much telling instead of showing.
That being said, I would be interested in reading something else of RuNyx’s. Her writing is stunning, and I feel like, perhaps, this was just a case of reaching for the stars and not quite making it.
Have you read Gothikana? What were your thoughts? If you’ve read anything else by RuNyx, do you have any suggestions?
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