New Release Review: Nocticadia by Keri Lake

April 28, 2023

Title: Nocticadia
Author: Keri Lake
Genre: Dark Academia Gothic Romance
Release Date: April 25, 2023


Mortui vivos docent.
The dead teach the living.

After watching my mother succumb to a mysterious illness, I promised myself two things. I’d find the cure for what ravaged her. And leave the godforsaken city where she abandoned me.

Four years later, I receive an acceptance letter from Dracadia University, one of the oldest, most prestigious schools in the country. Nestled on a secluded island off the coast of Maine, it’s rumored to be haunted by the souls of the mental patients exiled there centuries before. Those whose bones are said to make up the island’s white sandy shores.

And restless ghosts aren’t even its most daunting peculiarity.

Devryck Bramwell, known on campus as Doctor Death, is a brilliant pathologist in charge of the midnight lab. He’s also my devastatingly handsome professor, who seems to loathe tenacious first-years, like me. Except, his dark and enigmatic gaze tells me all the ways he’d devour me if given the chance, and his stolen kisses burn my lips with forbidden jealousy.

I crave his authority.
He aches for redemption.
Together, we’re toxic. Delicious fodder for the prying eyes hellbent on exhuming the rotted skeletons of our pasts.

For the dead have much to teach, and it’s only a matter of time before Dracadia’s most depraved secret is resurrected.

Honestly, I should be ashamed of myself. I've been adding Keri Lake's books to my tbr for years and have listened to more than one enthusiastic friend fangirl over her, but did I pick up any of her work? No. Why? The world may never know why I do the things I do. I certainly don't. All I know is it was a big mistake. I could have been in Keri Lake heaven all these years, because let me tell you, I definitely was this week! My expectations couldn't have been higher after all the aforementioned waiting and high praise, but she blew those expectations right out of the fucking water! 

Nocticadia is a forbidden, gothic, age gap, dark academia, slowburn romance with horror/sci-fi vibes. It's set on the fictional island of Dracadia where our heroine, Lilia, is invited to attend a prestigious university on a full scholarship. Up until that invitation, Lilia is barely surviving, working long hours to pay rent and half of her sister's expensive boarding school tuition while managing a couple of community college classes on the side. Her dreams of earning a degree and providing a decent life for the only family she has left seems far out of reach, so when this seemingly too good to be true opportunity presents itself along with an additional way to afford her sister's schooling, she takes it despite her skepticism and any other concerns she may have.

Devryn is an aloof, brilliant, and hot as hell professor at Dracadia University with a deadly reputation. He's studying a peculiar species of worms Lilia suspects are responsible for her mother's strange death, so she makes it her mission to become his lab assistant by any means necessary despite the rumors responsible for his nickname around campus, Doctor Death. Devryn and Lilia's chemistry in and out of the lab is intense, and before long, the sexual tension is just too much to bear. 

Devryn and Lilia's story gave me everything I could have hope for! It's mysterious, atmospheric, intriguing, chilling, and macabre with a healthy dose of naughty student/teacher taboo. Both characters have interesting, tragic backstories that will break your heart, and if you're into sexy, morally gray antiheroes and smart, strong heroines, you'll absolutely adore these two. 

Nocticadia is a slow moving, beautifully written romance that is worth every bit of the journey. I usually devour books I'm loving as quickly as possible, but with this one, I actually prolonged my reading experience, because I wanted to live in this world for as long as I could. It's so well done and unique that I know it's going to be hard to find something that will give me similiar feels and that I'll enjoy as much as I did this one. 

Gothic romance fans, this one's for you!

P.S. I would love a book with Lilia's sister and a certain someone, especially after that ending!



Free in Kindle Unlimited


Keri Lake is a dark romance writer who specializes in demon wrangling, vengeance dealing and wicked twists. Her stories are gritty, with antiheroes that walk the line of good and bad, and feisty heroines who bring them to their knees. When not penning books, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughters, and their rebellious Labrador (who doesn’t retrieve a damn thing). She runs on strong coffee and alternative music, loves a good red wine, and has a slight addiction to dark chocolate.



  1. I can't believe this is the first time you've tried Keri Lake. I really can't. But I'm glad your first try was so freaking amazing!! Brilliant review, Jess xo

    1. Right?! I can't believe it either honestly. Lol I've always known her books would be for me. I don't know what the hell is wrong with me. 🤣 Thank you so much, babe! ❤️