Reviews tagging Injury/injury detail

A Lesson in Vengeance, by Victoria Lee

7 reviews

aqulia's review against another edition

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dark mysterious reflective
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes

3.75

For my first dark academia book, I was not disappointed.  The characters in it are great.  Felicity and Ellis are wonderfully complex, and I liked the side characters to.  The twists are very well done.  I also liked the setting, and the overall vibe.  This book goes into darker places than I was expecting, even from reading Story graph's general trigger warnings.  One big thing I disliked about the book was the repetitiveness of the plot.  Felicity and Ellis go on secret spooky hangouts with each other too many times.  The pacing also suffered towards the end.  All in all, this is a great book.

Who do I recommend this to? People who like dark academia, people who like unreliable narrators, and people who like complex relationships between characters
Who should skip this? People who don't want to read about a very toxic relationship, people who like lighthearted books, and people who dislike a repetitive plot.
Will I read more by Victoria Lee? Maybe.  This book was pretty good, but I wasn't super thrilled by it.

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sarahmreads's review against another edition

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

3.5

Booktok has raved about this book as a high stakes lesbian dark academia all year long, and it's been pretty high up on my TBR for October. However, I hate to say that this story fell flat for me.

Felicity Morrow is back at the Dalloway School after coping with the death of her girlfriend Alex one year ago. She wants to put the past, both Alex and the mysteries of the Dalloway Five behind her. Enter Ellis Haley, a young published author with a thirst to write her next novel about the Dalloway Five, and she needs Felicity's help.

I'm gonna start with the positives. I like how this story doesn't make you trust yourself. There is always this seed of doubt, from the story being in Felicity's perspective to Ellis' own goals for her writing project. You don't know who to trust, or even if the "magic" associated with the Dalloway Five even exists. You're left completely in the dark at the end, although it kind of insinuates one thing over the other. It adds to the thriller factor of this story.

I also moderately liked the worldbuilding of the story. I couldn't always keep exactly straight who had died in what way, but I liked the dark and pompous air around Dalloway and the school.

Now let's talk characters. I was extremely torn about Felicity. She is an extremely unreliable narrator who already has a habit of lying to herself to forget things, like Alex's death. She's easily persuaded one way or another, like when it comes to the magic spell books inside the library. She even keeps telling herself she'll stop drinking like her mother but fails at that. She's surrounded by tragedy and failure, so how can we even trust her as readers? I didn't like her in that regard. I'm surprised she was not put off by Ellis earlier in the story but I digress.

ELLIS HALEY. I am SO TORN on her. She is the dark academia I wish to embody, straight down to the outfit and the writer aspects. I thought she was fine until halfway through and immediately realized how dark of a path this story was going down. I felt like more could have been done with her character besides what was planned out for her. I just wanted a happy sapphic love story and that was NOT what was given to me.

I will say I liked the LGBTQ+ rep in the story. Why Felicity felt the need to come out even though her and Alex were openly a couple (I thought?) but hey, still proud of her. Also I wish there was a bit more nonbinary rep for a story that was praised for having no male-identifying individuals. Only one character used they/them pronouns and they were a minor character.

The ending also felt kind of deserved but also... not really? I'm still super torn on the ending and how it turned out. Guess that solidifies the fact that this is a stand alone.

A Lesson in Vengeance is a good scary dark academia book for October. Will I be reading it again? Probably not. 

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starccato's review against another edition

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

2.75


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emmyb's review against another edition

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

3.75

This book DELIVERED on the dark, spooky, atmospheric vibes, though heavy on the dark and very light on the "academia." It definitely had the aesthetic down, but for being set in a school there were barely any school scenes taking place besides the library and social events resembling college sorority parties. For being labeled as a dark academia, this story felt very isolated to the Godwin house dorm. Most of the book was spent in one-on-one time between Ellis and Felicity, with occasional appearances from the three other girls in the dorm.

There were some things that kept me from enjoying this book more:
- The stakes felt low for most of the book, without much tension or urgency
- I didn't feel much chemistry between Ellis and Felicity for the romance to feel believable and deep
- I was expecting actual witches, but it was really just suspicions and doing witchy things as an act
- The relationships between Felicity and the other Godwin girls went from cold to hot without any development. One second they were shunning her, and then five pages later they were BFFs.

The best part of the book was the last 80 pages. It was pretty predictable
SpoilerI knew early on Ellis' desire to recreate the killings would end in her actually committing murder.
but I still found it intriguing. The epilogue, however, left me unsatisfied.
SpoilerSo she's committed TWO murders and just walks free, no consequences, no guilt on her part? She just goes on with her life?
I couldn't tell if we were supposed to be on you-know-who's side or not, but it felt unresolved.

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laurel_leaves12's review against another edition

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dark emotional 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

4.0


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luxvestravitae's review against another edition

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

4.75


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plumpaperbacks's review

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

4.0

I didn’t think I’d read anything else from Victoria Lee after DNFing The Fever King a couple of years ago, but this book’s synopsis intrigued me enough that I changed my mind. Though I haven’t read much dark academia, I definitely want to read more after this.

From the first page, I found Felicity and her story enthralling, and desperately wanted to know what happened to Alex and the Dalloway Five. Dalloway was such an interesting setting, with intense eerie vibes that drew me in each time I picked up the book. I rarely knew who to trust or what was real, and I love books that mess with my head that way. Kudos to Lee for that.

I will say, one of the biggest twists was fairly easy for me to guess, and that’s the main reason I didn’t give this book a higher rating. However, everything that came after that reveal threw me for a loop, which definitely makes up for that shred of predictability. I liked the epilogue because, even if it wasn’t a typical happy ending, it was unexpected.

Overall, A Lesson in Vengeance was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. I look forward to seeing what Lee does in the future.

Representation
  • lesbian protagonist and love interest
  • sapphic romance (f/f)
  • side characters of color (includes Black and Indian rep)
  • nonbinary side character (uses they/them pronouns)

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