A Lesson in Venegance

February 9, 2022

by Victoria Lee

In this book we follow Felicity who’s a student at Dalloway. She lives in a house together with four other girls. Felicity is a senior, who not only had to do her senior year twice, but who also had to be institutionalized because of an incident during her time at the school where her girlfriend Alex died. Felicity feels responsible for Alex’s death because she believes she’d conjured the malevolent spirit of a rumored witch. This year, she’s determined to let the past stay in the past and graduate without incidents. But then Felicity meets writer prodigy Ellis who she forms a close friendship with, and history seems to repeat itself when the ghost of her ex-girlfriend seems to haunt her. 

I’d read about this book prior to reading it, and I loved the idea of dark academia and secret societies and what not. But as I started to read it, I was both happily surprised by the ease of reading, but also disappointed in the overall feel. 

In the beginning, this read like a Ninth House fanfic, and honestly it didn’t help that the dead girlfriend’s name was Alex (which is also the name of the main character in Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House). The language was at times repetitive, especially with all the similes that just never seemed to end. There could be two in a row sometimes which made for a very odd reading experience. 

After a while, though the book sort of learned to stand on its own, even though I still felt a strong likeness to Ninth House, and not in a good way. 

The book was also extremely predictable. There wasn’t a single surprising detail about it, which was very disappointing. It could have been so much more. I’m not going to go in to details here because I don’t want to spoil anything, but well, you can see all the end “twists” coming from basically the first page.

So, why am I still giving this book such a high rating one can wonder. Well, it’s a solid read with enough entertainment value that it’s worth reading. It’s not bad, not at all. It’s good, but not great. 

The language is easy to read, at times in need of serious editing. There are very little unnecessary details and information that bogs down the story, so it’s fast and full of character. I love the queer representation and same sex relationships, even though I think there are aspects of both that could have been done better. The tone is consistent, and there are moments that I really enjoyed. The dark academia tone feels more present for aesthetic reasons than anything, though. Which is a bit disappointing. 

So, like I said: It’s a solid read and a good book that’s worth a read. Just don’t expect any wonders and wow moments. What you see is what you get and I suppose that’s okay.

Wrap Up

A Lesson in Vengeance

  • 7/10
  • 6.5/10
  • 6.5/10
  • 4.5/10
  • 4/10


  • Easy read
  • Well paced
  • Queer rep


  • Extremely predictable
  • Ninth House fanfic
  • Repetitive writing
  • Forgettable

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