Reviews tagging Sexual content

A Lesson in Vengeance, by Victoria Lee

19 reviews

oliverreeds's review against another edition

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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

4.25

good. it’s just that it got slow sometimes. it could be repetitive but the set up was great and the characters were very compelling. the ending wasn’t predictable but it was hinted at and i liked it

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bookrecluse's review against another edition

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dark emotional mysterious sad 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
A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee is a dark, gothic young adult book set in a high school boarding house.

The book is strongly character based, with most of the plot only being moved along due to the characters. The start of the book was slow. It was an attempt to set the gothic scene and build up tension. It also went on too long. There were other parts of the book where it stalled, but not for long. The last part of the book had me hooked. I stayed up late into the night to finish.

The main character, Felicity, is an unreliable narrator due to her own mental illness. It was fascinating how this was done, and how it was built into the main character herself. However, mental illness is real and not just a plot device. It felt like that could have been respected more. Also, the med rep is horrible in the book, and it didn’t have to be.

There were a few inconsistencies and a few unbelievable things. It was hard to know if they were due to the narration or writing. I think it was a bit of both. The two biggest to me - antidepressants do not stop hallucinations. Also, Felicity dug a large hole six feet in the ground during winter in three hours. Not possible.

There is LGBTQ+ rep with F/F relationship and a Non-Binary side character that I wanted more of.

Overall, the book was haunting and will stay with me. I appreciated the writing and also felt more could have been done for accuracy. The strength of this novel is the characters. 

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hannahlberg's review against another edition

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adventurous dark funny mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

This book was really easy to get lost in. I wish I had read it closer to halloween! Spooky and dramatic 

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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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nausicaaskraken's review against another edition

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dark mysterious slow-paced

2.0


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samschub214's review against another edition

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

2.0


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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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gulegardiner's review against another edition

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

1.0


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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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