A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee | Book Review

Hi friends! How are you? Did you find something interesting to read so far? As you might know from my September Reading Plans, this month I participated on The Novice Path to Orilium Academy as part of Magical Readathon in September. I’m getting excited with the books I picked as well as interacting with fellow travellers to Orilium Academy. I don’t know which words I have to use to describe this readathon, but I get absorbed into the world of Aeldia. If you are curious about what this readathon about, you can check the link I left in my September Reading Plans.

When I finished my third book of the month, it made into my 100th book I read (since I recorded my reading journey on Goodreads around 2019). So, I decided to make a blog entry about my experience and thoughts about this book. I rarely put reviews about books or anything (because sometimes I find it difficult to choose the right words to represent my feelings and thoughts about them), and that mirrors on my Goodreads account where I only started giving real stars this year and sending reviews last month. Maybe, as I read more books, I find some new vocabularies, so I can be better at giving opinions. Who knows. So, officially, this is my first book review entry in this blog.


A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee Book Review


A Lesson in Vengeance

Author : Victoria Lee

Goodreads rating : 3.79

Genre / Keywords : Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary, LGBTQ

Pages : 377 pages

Language : English

Released date : August 3, 2021

Reading date : September 7, 2021 - September 9, 2021

Trigger Warnings : death, gore, murder, animal death, anxiety attack, abandonment, violent, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, a lot of alcohol and smoking


Blurb :

"Witchcraft is woven into the Dalloway School's history. The school doesn't talk about it, but the students do. And most memorable of all is the Dalloway Five--five students who all died mysteriously one after another, who some say were witches.

Before her girlfriend's tragic death, Felicity Morrow was drawn to the dark. But after a year away from Dalloway's ivy-covered campus, she's determined to leave all that behind her, focus on her senior thesis, and graduate. Only 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 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."


My thoughts :

“It's dark and has eerie vibes because I lived inside Felicity's head all the time without knowing what really happened in the outside. This book shows someone's beliefs can heavily influence of how they view everything and how everything comes into their view. Victoria Lee's smart narration that easily builds the environment around the main character without taking too many words (shortly not to be drowned in a too detailed narration of what's happening which can be too distracting from the main story).”

That’s what I left on my Goodreads review section under this book.

Yes, it’s a dark academia taking place in Dalloway School. This book has a school map in the first page before the story started to help us visualize where this building and where someone goes. Our main character (Felicity) lived at one of the houses named Godwin Houses along with the other 4 students. Written in the first person point of view we are living inside Felicity’s head all the time. It’s uncertain, it’s inconsistent and then we question whether or not the reality we saw is real.

I rarely choose books under mystery, horror, or anything dark, or which involves alcohol and smoking inside. When I picked this book to fulfill one of my character building prompts, I knew this book would be dark, and I was right. Despite the eerie and dark vibes this book offered, I adore Victoria Lee’s writing style. I love how smart she is to build the environment around Felicity in not too crowded paragraph. I could get instantly dropped anywhere Felicity found herself in. It might also be influenced by my own background where English is not my first language. So, the shorter paragraph and different writing style can be a crucial part for me to understand the story from the world building. I avoid such detailed narration on death or murder or corpses because I can feel the pain whenever I try to visualize it. It’s different with this book, yes, I saw everything on the trigger warning lists clearly from the narration, yet I can detach myself from the situation. That made me going through A Lesson in Vengeance until the end.

This book also shows me that someone’s beliefs can heavily influence how someone views about everything around them and how everything comes into their lives. Someone’s strong idea about how something works and what caused it to be what it is can be different from person to person due to the beliefs they hold. It’s interesting that this book is told through an unreliable character who might be seeing something that didn’t exist because of her beliefs about witches and curses. Beside, the past experiences of someone can be something that controls them for everything they decide to act, to say, to think or just to feel. We get to see both Felicity and Ellis past experiences and family background. How family and their presence can be an important part which shapes someone’s character.

Also, when something you have strongly believed for some time finally is shaken by other people’s beliefs which contradict yours, you started to questions and tried to see once through that different lens. How this book gave Felicity room to question her own beliefs even though throughout the story she still held hers and did what she thought as the solutions over and over again, didn’t make the reader bored.

Due to the unreliable nature of the main character, when it came into the last few chapters where something really happened, reader’s brain might question the scenes or anything Felicity’s eyes captured. This made the attachment to the “reality” cracked. Even when the revelation about what really happened is brought to the reader, it wasn’t shocking rather it showed more layers about the characters which haven’t revealed before.

Even after it ended, we don’t know what really happened, the real motives and everything that clouds the school’s past. Yet we could move on and accept its closure.

The only thing I expected from this book is a deeper look into the community inside Dalloway school.

My rating : 4.5 / 5 stars


Where you can purchase and read this book :

Amazon Kindle


Book Depository Hardcover | Paperback Pre-Order

Periplus Hardcover


Okay, so that’s all for today’s review in celebration for my 100th book read. What do you think about this book? Tell me down below.

Photo by ND&LD Afforable Designs on Unsplash

Title picture was edited and used for aesthetic purpose only


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