Payback or Pardon?: Ann Aguirre on the Pros and Cons of Revenge

Despite its chilling nature, revenge is something we all have craved at some point in our lives. Whether it be against that coworker who taunts you on a daily basis or the ex who cheated on you. But revenge isn't an easy task to carry out, which is something Ann Aguirre's newest heroine, Edie, discovers in Mortal Danger. Today, Ann discusses the pros and cons of revenge.

The cover of Mortal Danger

Revenge is a common and often times, delicious concept in our society. We have entire TV series devoted to it, books that revolve around it and phrases you hear on a regular basis, such as the tagline for the book, “Revenge is dish best served cold”, have burrowed deep into the common consciousness. In a quick search, I found tons of great quotes (and I’ll get to those in a bit), some in favor and others arguing for forgiveness. But let’s be honest: Who doesn’t enjoy a hot, steaming pile of comeuppance?

Say you’re running late for your morning train, really hustling, but some jerk cuts in front of you. Because of him, you end up missing it by a hair. Consequently, you’re late and your boss reams you out. Pretty much your whole day sucks after that. The next day, you see that guy again. While you’re glaring at him, he spills coffee down his sparkling white Brooks Brothers shirt and he steps in gum. How do you feel? (You’re laughing your ass off, am I right?) That’s schadenfreude. (In German, that literally means harm-joy.)

Revenge is taking matters into your own hands. If you don’t trust the universe to even the score for you, maybe you nudged him from behind and that’s why he spilled his drink and stumbled into the gum. Is that too far? Hey, he ruined yesterday for you. Fair is fair. Or is it … ? Let’s back up and break it down for a minute.


  1. 1. Winning: You get the upper hand. At least in the short term.
  2. 2. Closure: The last word is always the most satisfying word.
  3. 3. Satisfaction: Revenge. Feels. Good. 


  1. 1. Karma: Whatever you put into the world comes back to you. Maybe.
  2. 2. Consequences: Evil schemes almost always have legal repercussions.
  3. 3. Guilt: Unless you’re a horrible person, you probably can’t live with it.
  4. So … revenge. Yes or no?

That’s exactly the question my heroine, Edie, has to face. At first she agreed with Meir Kahane, who said, “No trait is more justified than revenge in the right time and place.” Edie definitely felt like she deserved some payback, after everything the bullies at her posh prep school put her through. Then she saw the damage and she started leaning toward Francis Bacon’s opinion: “In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior.”


But oh crap, a quest for vengeance has its own momentum, a snowball rolling downhill. Just as Inigo Montoya found out. He had no idea he’d be hunting down the guy who killed his father for that long. Likewise, Edie gets cold feet pretty soon after she starts on her scheme, mostly because she’s a good person, just young and terribly wounded, and it took a little time for her to realize what a mistake she’d made. But some screw-ups can’t be fixed, and you just have to live the consequences. *maniacal cackle* Read the book to see how dark I’ll go.

What’s your choice, readers? Payback or pardon?

- Ann Aguirre

Mortal Danger is out today, so be sure to purchase your copy! And for more YA buzz, check out our Everything YA page.