Reviews tagging Panic attacks/disorders

A Lesson in Vengeance, by Victoria Lee

14 reviews

olivia_manes's review

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5


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strawbeb's review

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dark emotional mysterious reflective tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

I just finished it a few minutes ago and that was….. what a journey. It is definitely for those craving a horror, dark academia, lesbian, boarding school tale. The writing was beautiful to read and the characters were interesting to know. I especially love love loved all the parallels, especially at the end of the book. A great read. 

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allisonwonderlandreads's review

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dark sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

In this ya thriller, Felicity arrives at Dalloway, a private girls' boarding school with a dark history, for a second chance at her senior year. She returns from her mental sabbatical to her same room, but all her friends have graduated and her girlfriend is dead. As she faces the rumor mill and her own fears from the night Alex died, she falls into orbit around a prodigy writer, Ellis.

This thriller just wasn't a good fit for me. First, the relationships are sapped of any altruism. Felicity has an absent, rich mother, a cruel, dead girlfriend, and faces manipulation, gaslighting, and fear of being outed as a lesbian while grappling with her psychotic depression. Everything is toxic.

In terms of characters, Ellis especially pissed me off from almost the start. She uses her semi-celebrity status and charisma to pressure everyone around her into getting her way, even when the others push back or bubble over with doubts. While much of my energy was devoted to the anti-Ellis train, I didn't develop equally strong positive connections with the other characters, even the protagonist. Felicity's motivations were always murky to me, and while I think this was a tactic to keep her secrets safely hidden until the right moment, it left me detached from her in the (lengthy) interim.

It's also one of those thrillers where I spent the whole time asking: but WHY would you do that? Also, please don't do that. It lacked the spookiness of supernatural thrillers and the visceral tension caused by more human threats, though the story plays with elements of both. It's a very slow build. By the time things kicked off right at the end, I was hanging on out of a need to know the outcome for a fully informed review, not any sense of excitement.

So what might someone else like about this book? Mental health and queer representation are central to the story, although both feature difficult journeys and toxic situations. If you like a literary intelligentsia or witchy vibe, I think you will enjoy the atmosphere and references here.

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bookbabereads's review

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dark emotional mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

Dark Academia is a genre I’m always fascinated with but don’t read enough of. Out of most LGBT ones I have read recently, this one was authentic in its queer characters and allowed them to exist with their identity without it becoming cliche or just a footnote representation. With a hint of meta self-awareness, A Lesson In Vengeance is a study of an unreliable narrator, that in turn causes the reader to question the realities of fact, manipulation, or teenage pranks. 
 
Mental health is represented here as complex and nuanced, building off the meta self-awareness of Felicity’s own thesis of how women’s “hysteria” and mental health is represented in the horror literature. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the Dalloway School and how feminist literature played a big role in the character's personalities and interests. I enjoyed this one, but the ending left me wanting a little bit more or a better explanation. There were a few questions unanswered and the motivation of some of the character's actions left me unsatisfied. 
 
This is a twisty, thriller for fans of Dark Academia who want to see LGBT representation and touch on the stigma of mental health (though, this could have been explored a little more in-depth). 

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