A Education in Malice

Synopsis
Deep in the forgotten hills of Massachusetts stands Saint Perpetua’s College. Isolated and ancient, it is not a place for timid girls. Here, secrets are currency, ambition is lifeblood, and strange ceremonies welcome students into the fold.
On her first day of class, Laura Sheridan is thrust into an intense academic rivalry with the beautiful and enigmatic Carmilla. Together, they are drawn into the confidence of their demanding poetry professor, De Lafontaine, who holds her own dark obsession with Carmilla.
But as their rivalry blossoms into something far more delicious, Laura must confront her own strange hungers. Tangled in a sinister game of politics, bloodthirsty professors and dark magic, Laura and Carmilla must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice in their ruthless pursuit of knowledge.

Review
This is the second book I’ve read by Gibson, and I am eagerly awaiting her next release. Her prose hooks me every time, and it’s interesting to see how “An Education in Malice” differs from “A Dowry in Blood.” While the latter was written in the form of a letter, addressing the reader in a familiar way, “An Education in Malice” maintains a distinct narrative style that draws readers into
its Gothic world from the very first page. This is set in a college in Massachusetts, dealing with the intense academic rivalry between Laura Sheridan and Carmilla, under the tutelage of the mysterious poetry professor De Lafontaine.
It quickly ends up becoming an intense relationship between the two women and you see a variety of sexualities in the novel, though the two center characters are both sapphic and take center stage with it. It’s honestly refreshing to read a piece of LGBTQ+ media where the bury your gays trope is not employed and thankfully so.
While the inclusion of vampire elements adds an intriguing layer to the plot, they sometimes feel secondary to the central romance. However, the nuanced exploration of power dynamics and the tangled web of relationships between the three women remains the novel’s strongest aspect. It’s complex, complicated and meaningful with it offering an exploration of love and obsession, and how the two might blur together in some cases. In truth, it was a lovely read as no two relationships between the women were the same and that is something to be celebrated.

In conclusion, “An Education in Malice” is a captivating blend of dark academia and romance, with some horror elements that border on the edges of the narrative. Gibson’s storytelling kept me captivated throughout the book and I was unable to put it down until I had finished it. I highly recommend it to people wanting LGBTQ+ media that doesn’t follow typical tropes and fans of dark fantasy romance.

Author: Gibson, S.T
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Horror, Lesbian Fiction.
Publisher: Orbit, 2024
Publication Date: February 13 2024
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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