9 Best Dark Academia Books for Dark Days

Lea Plörer
All Dark Academia Book Covers mentioned in the blog post

As autumn arrives and the days grow shorter, many of us yearn for books that reflect the gloominess of nature – and with that, I warmly welcome you to the sinister world of Dark Academia! A literary genre that combines a touch of darkness, intellectual depth, and mysterious schools in one place. So, if you’re looking for books that perfectly match the gray autumn days, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s blog post, we will be exploring the dark and mysterious realms of Dark Academia.


Book cover of the dark academia classic "babel"

1. “Babel” – R. F. Kuang

England in the 19th century. The young Chinese Robin Swift is left an orphan in his hometown after an outbreak of cholera and is brought to London by the English professor Lovell. There he spends years studying Chinese, Latin, and ancient Greek in preparation for his admission to the Royal Institute of Translation at Oxford. This institute is known beyond its own borders as Babel. For Robin, this is a dream come true, for at Babel, not only is translation taught, but magic as well. The magic that has helped the British Empire to its greatness and worldwide influence. But even knowledge obeys power, and Robin must face the question of how far he can find fulfillment in Babel without betraying his homeland.



2. “The Secret History” – Donna Tarttthe dark academia classic "the secret history" by donna tartt

At a Vermont college, five students and their professor of ancient Greek lead an extravagant life that earns them the reputation of isolated misfits. Freshman Richard Papen is magically drawn to these misfits and succeeds in being accepted into the selected circle. At a celebration in honor of the Greek god Dionysus, the group aims to experience the feeling of immortality, but the ritual ends fatally. What began as a mysterious, elitist game ends in a murder that is never solved and tensions among friends who can no longer cope with the situation.



Book cover of the dark academia novel "the atlas six. knowledge is carnage"3. “The Atlas Six: Knowledge Is Carnage” – Olivia Blake

What if the Library of Alexandria had never been destroyed, but instead is the greatest secret in the world? A place that for generations has kept the most hidden knowledge of mankind. The only people who get access to this mystical place are the ten most talented magicians of their generation. But not everyone is given the honor of studying this knowledge, because whoever wants to gain access to the knowledge of Alexandria must first assert themselves in a duel for life and death.



4. “If We Were Villains” – M. L. RioBook cover of the dark academia classic "if we were villains"

A group of talented students at a prestigious drama school are a sworn community, obsessed with Shakespeare and the classics of the theatrical arts. So consumed by their interests, the lines between their true selves and their stage personas blur. But when a tragic event rocks the group, dark secrets and obsessions begin to come to light.



Book cover of the novel "vicious"5. “Vicious” – E. V. Schwab

Victor and Eli plan their death. However, they don’t plan on staying dead for long, but of returning back to life with supernatural powers. What they could not have foreseen, however, were the fateful developments that occurred around them as a result of their powers. A novel that shows that powers alone do not make superheroes and leaves readers wondering, who the actual villain in this story is.



6. “Truly Devious” – Maureen JohnsonBook cover of the young adult novel "truly devious"

Stevie Bell is obsessed. Obsessed with crime stories, unsolved mysteries, and dark happenings. When the opportunity arises to go to one of the most gifted private schools in the country, where an unsolved murder occurred years ago, Stevie can’t help but jump into the adventure. But as she begins to uncover the secrets of the past, she finds herself endangered in the present day.



7Book cover of the dark academia novel "the starless sea". “The Starless Sea” – Erin Morgenstern

Zachary is supposed to be working on his doctorate but is magically drawn to a book that captures all of his attention. One day, this book shows him the seemingly impossible – he finds a narrative of his own childhood written down. In search of answers to the question of how this book could possibly know his past, he discovers a subterranean world of books, which quickly travels him to different adventures.



8. “Ace of Spades” -Faridah Àbíké-ÍyímídéBook cover of the dark novel "ace of spades"

Niveus Private School is the epitome of a cadre school. The hallways are made of money and the students are seemingly flawless people. This changes, however, when an anonymous tip reveals the dark secrets of some of the students. But who is behind this ace of spades that wants to reveal the secrets of both the head girl Chiamaka and the school favorite Devon, no one knows. Do the revelations really stop there?



Book cover of the novel "bunny"9. “Bunny” – Mona Awad

In this compelling novel, we are immersed in the world of an exclusive literature class where a group of fellow students, calling themselves “Bunnies,” form a bizarre and conspiratorial community. The main character, an outsider, is reluctantly accepted into this strange clique known for its bizarre rituals and disturbing secrets. As the lines between reality and madness blur, she is drawn into a disturbing and surreal spiral.



Are you ready to dive into the dark and intellectual worlds of Dark-Academia? Then we at Faircado are happy to help you find these books used! And if you’re looking for more reading recommendations, feel free to browse our blog even further.