Hey, fellow ramblers! Today I bring to you a book review. I haven’t done one of these in forever and I love the feeling that comes with writing one again, even though I’m not the best at them. I read A Lesson in Vengeance in September and really enjoyed it! So without further ado, let’s get into the review!
Author: Victoria Lee
Genre(s): Young Adult, LGBT+, Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
Release Date: August 3rd, 2021
Published by: Delacorte Press
click to view content warnings
death, violence, manipulation and emotional abuse, past child neglect, mental health issues (specifically psychotic depression), panic attack/disorder, alcohol consumption, substance abuse, suicide references
Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School. Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumoured to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds. Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget. It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource. And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.
Ex Scientia Ultio
From knowledge comes vengeance.
I don’t usually lean towards horror, or thrillers for that matter but A Lesson in Vengeance just looked too good to pass up! And it definitely did not let me down.
It follows Felicity Morrow, a senior at Dalloway school who is still trying to get over her girlfriend’s untimely death last year, and Ellis Haley, a method writer working on her second book and seeking inspiration from the Dalloway Five, a group of girls presumed to be witches that died in mysterious ways centuries ago.
I have to say, reading it at night probably wasn’t the best idea but this book was more of a cozy horror story than a terrifying one and I appreciate that! Both the leads are tied in ways only they can understand and they’ll do anything to get to the bottom of what’s happening. It was pretty fast-paced and there was always something happening that would give rise to a longer list of questions.
It deals with quite a few mental health issues, and while I can’t comment on them through personal experience, I would like to say that the author did a pretty good job immersing the reader into the different elements of the story and connecting with the characters by giving them depth. Each character had their own story and I loved how they were all given a goal that they strived towards.
The romance was definitely a really good part of the book and I loved that it didn’t overshadow everything else. Of course, it played quite a big role in the plot but it was handled with the other subplots pretty well. I liked the dynamics between the characters, whether it was a friendship or something more.
The question isn’t whether magic is real. It’s whether I can touch it without being consumed by it.
The ending really caught me off guard, especially the last few pages. I literally sat in my seat for so long processing everything that just happened. It certainly shakes you to the bones! The atmosphere of this book is so eerie and every plot twist gave me goosebumps all over.
In the end, I would love to recommend this to everyone who would love a thrilling dark academia story, and of course some amazing queer representation!
And that’s all for today! Have you read A Lesson in Vengeance? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!