Home Book Review: An Education in Malice (ARC)

Book Review: An Education in Malice (ARC)

by Bookworm Liz

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

Upcoming Publish Date: February 13, 2024

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Plot Thickens…

A loose retelling of the classic vampire tale Carmilla, An Education in Malice is a dark academia novel set against the backdrop of a religious college campus in 1960’s era Massachusetts.

Laura Sheridan is a freshmen entering the school for her first semester, and is immediately thrust into an intense academic rivalry with Carmilla, the other most promising student in their professor’s poetry program.

Their professor, De Lafontaine, takes a special interest in both of the girls, stoking the fires of their deep rivalry at every turn. As De Lafontaine brings them further into the fold of her private world, Laura and Carmilla’s obsession with one another deepens, and a Pandora’s box of secrets is unleashed.

My Thoughts…

Much like the spell that De Lafontaine put upon her protégés, Carmilla and Laura, S.T. Gibson put me into a trance with the unfurling of this trio’s story in An Education in Malice.

A retelling of the classic vampire novel Carmilla, An Education in Malice explores a dark rivalry and obsession turned relationship between our two main characters. Carmilla and Laura each have their own POV chapters throughout the novel, and I felt that their individual voices were well defined. I was equally obsessed with the dynamics of Carmilla and Laura as the two were with each other. Their interactions and thoughts of one another made this book hard to put down.

Gibson’s prose is lovely as well. I found myself pausing at many turns to highlight and reflect upon certain paragraphs or sentences. The poetic influence of the two main characters’ education carried through many of Carmilla and Laura’s perspectives on their world and the events surrounding them.

My main qualm is in regards to pacing. For example, there is a main conflict introduced around halfway through the novel, and then that plot point is rarely touched upon again until the final 10% of the book.

Nonetheless, readers who love explorations of dark themes in romantic relationships, vampires, and dark academia will adore An Education in Malice.

As for me? After reading this novel and A Dowry of Blood last year, I can safely say S.T. Gibson is an “auto-buy” author for me!