Reviews tagging Drug use

A Lesson in Vengeance, by Victoria Lee

20 reviews

wondernaut55's review against another edition

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dark mysterious 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

2.0


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racheldoesthings's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5


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thatbookishfamily's review

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dark mysterious tense fast-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

5.0


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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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caitlyn_baldwin's review against another edition

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dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • 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

 I enjoyed this novel! I thought that the overall plot of this novel was fairly easy to figure out, however I was impressed by the way the author kept revealing more information and providing details to keep you guessing. 

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kathleenmc's review against another edition

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

1.75

I wanted to like this sapphic, witchy thriller but it just didn't do it for me. It has a good aesthetic for Halloween but it ultimately lacked substance. First, I understand the concept of an unreliable narrator but it was hard to keep track at times. In my opinion, the pacing was a bit off too; sometimes the book seemed to drag and the ending was kind of abrupt. As a result of both of these things, I had a hard time mustering the energy to care about any of thr characters. 

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foreverinastory's review

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dark emotional 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

5.0

Damn. I have never felt so betrayed by a book before.

Rep: white Lesbian female MC with depression and PTSD, white lesbian female love interest, white sapphic female ex-girlfriend (deceased at start of novel), Black female side character, South Asian (Indian-American coded) female side character with depression.

CWs: Alcohol, alcoholism, animal death, blood, death, drug use, gaslighting, grief, gun violence, mental illness, murder. Moderate: sexual content and discussions of racism.
 

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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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missbreathing's review against another edition

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

4.5

“A Lesson in Vengeance” is a YA dark academia set in an all-girl prep school with a dark past. It’s full of intrigue, witchcraft, and dark passions. I really enjoyed it! I’m giving it 4.5/5⭐️. Some thoughts:
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Lee instantly creates a deliciously dreary atmosphere and a relentlessly dark mood. She really nails the dark academia vibe and finds ways to infuse even the most mundane moments with haunting detail. Both in the plot and thematically, this book pays homage to gothic writers like Shirley Jackson. It’s very sophisticated in that way. And, with themes of vengeance, murder, witchcraft, and ghosts, this is a perfect October read. 
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This book is full of twists and surprises. It’s never dull. Although, in retrospect, the pacing is a bit off. The beginning can drag a bit, and the ending feels rushed. There are certain plot points and revelations that could have been dwelt on more. But it’s such a captivating read that one barely notices. 
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This book also has lesbian rep, wlw relationships, and a non-binary secondary character. It was refreshing to see LGBTQIA+ rep so explicitly stated in a dark academia novel. The genre seems saturated with homoerotic subtext, but Lee went beyond subtext and made it a key part of her novel. 
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The prep school setting and the characters’ ages do feel a bit incongruous with the story though. This is not a criticism I like to give because I believe every book has its ideal audience, but I wish this was set in university. It would have been much more believable as a new adult book than a YA book.

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nraeag's review against another edition

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

4.75


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