Six More Satisfying Novels about Revenge
More Revenge Fantasies...and Revenge Enacted
Mwaa haa ha! Whether it's about righting wrongs, saving face, renegade justice, or playing the long game, I love a book about enacting revenge.
My first Greedy Reading List of books that focused on this theme was Six Satisfying Novels about Revenge. But I have even more Greedy Reading Lists' worth of books I've loved that have this irresistible setup for a story.
Here are six more novels across genres that kept me hooked on their revenge-filled storylines.
Have you read any of these? If so, I'd love to hear what you thought.
Do you have any favorite books that involve revenge?
01 Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
When tough, stubborn Alex Stern is offered a new start after surviving a mysterious multiple homicide, she becomes an unlikely member of the Yale freshman class. But the darkness of her past may only be matched by the danger of the magic and rituals being used by the secret societies she's meant to be monitoring.
Alex dropped out of high school and into a world of shady drug dealers, cruelty, and taking desperate measures to stay alive.
But none of that broke her. She was the only survivor of a gruesome multiple homicide, and now she's the most surprising member of the Yale freshman class.
Alex was handpicked by unknown benefactors to track the activities of Yale's secret societies--including the magical forces they use and questionable rituals they regularly take part in. She soon learns how nefarious their intentions are--and how much danger she is in because of her involvement.
Ninth House is sometimes dark, especially as related to male-female power dynamics and sex, and the story undercovers secret societies, explores betrayal, and follows faulted characters on kind-of-noble quests. It's intriguing, and I was definitely hooked for the second book in the series.
The second book in this series is Hell Bent.
I mentioned Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone series in the Greedy Reading List Six Royally Magical Young Adult Series. She also wrote the King of Scars duology (you can find my review of book two, Rule of Wolves, here).
For my full review of this book, check out Ninth House.
02 Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
I loved this young adult Western, and not just because of its amazing cover.
Kate is a tough young woman posing as a male cowboy. She's got revenge on her mind, and she and her unlikely band of allies aren't afraid to shoot first and ask questions later. But Kate also slowly, reluctantly finds a little bit of love to soften her hardened heart.
In Vengeance Road, Erin Bowman offers up great action along with what I thought were perfect amounts of self-actualization and character development, without ever being heavy-handed.
Vengeance Road is a rough and tumble story with enough suspense that I wasn't ever confident that the main characters would emerge alive.
I wished a little more care had been taken with the resolutions at the end, and I would have liked some more justification for characters' decisions late in the book, but I loved this. The cowboy dialect didn't distract, although it was notably distinct throughout.
Vengeance Road is the first book in Bowman's Vengeance Road duology; Retribution Rails is the second.
For my full review of this book, please see Vengeance Road. This book appears on the Greedy Reading List Six Great Historical Fiction Novels Set in the American West. You might also like the books on the list Six More Great Historical Fiction Stories Set in the American West.
03 Pretty Things by Janelle Brown
Brown kept me happily turning the pages to see who would get what was coming to them in this cross, double-cross, twisty thriller.
A seasoned and a rookie con artist together set their sights on taking advantage of a spoiled socialite—and one of the cons aims to right some wrongs in two of the characters' shared (but mysterious and complicated) history along the way. Not everyone's motivations are clear or remain constant, which allows for the twists and turns.
The characters were largely unsympathetic, yet Janelle Brown kept me happily turning the pages of Pretty Things to see who would get what was coming to them. The resolution was a little neat but also satisfying and made me happy.
Cross, double-cross! This book really hit the spot for me.
NetGalley and Random House provided me with a prepublication edition of this book.
Click here for my full review of Pretty Things.
04 Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn
This fun, darkly funny, feminist story about a retiring female team of elite assassins was the right book at the right time for me: entertainment in the perfect combination of action and suspense, loyal friendship, clever plotting, and the promise of love.
The Museum is an organization that operates outside of governmental control, relying on various trained elite killing forces. Originally formed in order to hunt down and rid the world of lingering Nazis, the Museum's mission has evolved to focus on taking out carefully chosen bad guys of all stripes--drug dealers, human traffickers, arms dealers, and the like.
After four decades of successfully ridding the world of cruelty and destruction one person at a time, the Sphinxes (Billie, Natalie, Helen, and Mary Alice) are set to retire. They're not sure what they'll do with themselves once the work that has shaped them into who they are--both separately and together--is over, but they're getting used to the idea of collecting their pensions and figuring out the rest.
But when the four friends are sent on an all-expenses-paid vacation to mark their retirement, a Museum associate attempts to do them in. The women realize they may know too much about where the bodies are buried--literally--to be allowed to drift away into the world without a fight.
In Killers of a Certain Age, Raybourn has crafted an irresistibly fun, clever, feminist caper that had me hooked the whole way through. I loved the women's complicated bonds, their crafty planning, their fights for justice, and their ability to remain flexible and reinvent themselves.
I love a spy/assassin book and a book that treats dark subjects playfully without being silly. For my full review, check out Killers of a Certain Age.
05 One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
I suspected each of the main players at one point or another and couldn't wait for the big reveal for this young adult mystery, the first in a series.
Five loosely linked Bayview High students walk into detention on Monday afternoon, all busted for having phones in class. The phones in question didn't belong to them, so none of them should even be there. But before they can put together the pieces and determine who might have wanted to get them all together in that room, one of them is dead.
The gossip site run by the deceased student made him detested and feared. And he was about to publish some juicy, devastating tidbits about each of his detention partners. Did one of them want so desperately to stop him that they would kill to keep him quiet?
I suspected each of the main players at one point or another and couldn't wait for the big reveal.
The parents of the disparate teens were significantly faulted characters, and the kids are left to find their own ways emotionally or financially or morally. Bronwyn, Nate, Addy, and Cooper largely feel like stereotypes when the story begins, but as they become more open and honest with each other, they each grow into what feels like their authentic selves.
For my full review of this book, see One of Us Is Lying.
06 Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
In this gothic Victorian tale, Waters offers a slow build to heartbreak, twists and double twists, hesitant attempts at love, and, finally, clarity and satisfying revenge.
Sue Trinder is a teenage orphan, the daughter of a hanged murderess who tries to live up to her fearless mother's bravery and strength. She's being raised in a household of cheats, thieves, and generally crooked characters. Yet she's been largely sheltered from the evils of the underbelly of Victorian London by her unofficial, doting adoptive mother, Mrs. Sucksby.
But when one of their group, Gentleman, comes up with a large-scale con, suddenly the makeshift family's potential fortune depends heavily on Sue.
She's asked to play the role of maid to an unassuming, wealthy young woman in a dastardly plot to take the woman's inheritance and leave her to rot in an insane asylum.
I wasn't certain how Waters would resolve the layers of deceit, secrets, and desires for revenge at play here. The story offers heartbreak, twists and double twists, hesitant attempts at unorthodox love, and, finally, clarity and satisfying revenge.
Waters is also the author of Tipping the Velvet, Affinity, and The Night Watch. I'm eager to read these as well.
Please click here for my full review of Fingersmith.