A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers. Victor and Eli started out as college roommates?brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognised the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find?aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge?but who will be left alive at the end? In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this. I’ll admit, I’d not read anything of V.E. Schwab’s before Vicious and I had heard wonderful things about it. I knew it was an adult book, but I didn’t expect the back and forth “flashbacks” as it were, with the characters Victor and Eli. It helped me, because I think if it had been purely “adult” I might have struggled. I don’t know. It usually has nothing to do with the writing style, but more because I generally PREFER YA.
In any case, Vicious was a great tale of super heroes gone rogue. Or something like that. Eli and Victor didn’t always start out as enemies, but something happened when they both took on an experiment. How were EO’s (ExtraOrdinaries) created? Were they born or made to become through death? It was truly fascinating the research that went into this on the characters behalf. Please humour me, it felt like Victor and Eli were REAL. It’s such a thrill to find a book that does that to me. To make me so invested in the characters lives. I don’t usually like superhero stories, either. Not like this, anyway. It had an element of ‘Steelheart’ by Brandon Sanderson to me, but at the same time, the story was SO much better than that.
I had liked Eli and first, but then after a while he started getting a bit too…I wanna say preachy? I think my non-religious mind was getting too “eye-rolly” of his attitude. The whole “He made me like this for a reason.” nonsense. Um…no. Sorry but that got annoying. He did nothing. YOU did this. Anyway, my ranting apart, it was nice to have a bad character have their reasons, as opposed to just being ‘evil’. He thought HE was the hero of his own story, and he really wasn’t. Neither, admittedly, was Victor. They both had their reasons for doing what they did, and it intrigued me. At one point I was getting restless, I just wanted to know what was going to happen. But I didn’t want to skip any pages. I was HOOKED!
Sydney and Serena were like opposite ends of the pole. I instantly became attached to Sydney. I felt for her on every level, I understood her (though not from personal experience, but because she was so well written) and I stuck by her when her sister, Serena, became someone to be feared.
Serena irritated me. She seemed to think she was the exception and though she apparently hated her power, and wanted people to fight back, she still continued to do bad things. It bugged me to no end.
Every other character was so…well done. Mitch was a person I didn’t expect to like so much, but like with the others, he made a mark. Same with the investigators. They all became important to this story. I was left stunned at the ending. I was like “What? That’s it? No!” Because of how it ended, I thought there might be a sequel. I thought this WAS a series, or something.
Anyway, I am so glad I gave this book a shot. I think it’ll be one to reread in the future. I give this 4 stars. 1 star knocked off because of the irritating Eli and Serena. Everything else was perfect. 🙂
Seventeen-year-old River doesn’t know what to do with himself when Penny, the girl he adores, breaks up with him. He lives in LA, where nobody walks anywhere, and Penny was his ride; he never bothered getting a license. He’s stuck. He’s desperate. Okay . . . he’s got to learn to drive.
But first, he does the unthinkable—he starts walking. He stumbles upon a support group for teens with various addictions. He fakes his way into the meetings, and begins to connect with the other kids, especially an amazing girl. River wants to tell the truth, but he can’t stop lying, and his tangle of deception may unravel before he learns how to handle the most potent drug of all: true love.
So. I received this as an ARC from Rock The Boat, but this does not sway my vote. I thoroughly enjoyed this incredibly short book. Only something like 200 pages? Honestly, I could have read another 200 pages. It was so good.
The basis of this story is that River has just been dumbed by his girlfriend – the completely and utter bitch that is Penny – and he doesn’t know what to do with himself anymore. He walks home – all 10 miles of it – and discovers a sign promising a new chance at life. Second Chances. He goes in there, completely heartbroken, lost, and confused. Only, the circle of people he comes across all have far deeper, far more serious problems than River.
When River is asked what he’s there for, he doesn’t know what to say. He can’t exactly just say it’s because of a girl. So instead he says he’s addicted to weed. I mean…why? WHY WEED, IDIOT?! I’m laughing and cringing so hard by this point, I can barely see the page. It’s unreal how deep he virtually digs his own grave with his lies. It never gets any better, and soon he’s making friends with his group and falls for girls way out of his league.
Penny dumps him for not thinking things through enough (among other reasons) and by golly does he end up thinking about everything afterwards.
Daphne is one of a kind and she grew on me the more I read of her. Whereas Penny was just annoying and so ungrateful. All the characters in this were unbelievable in the sense of brilliance and no one was left out, no one was useless. Natalie, River’s sister, was cute and fabulous. Even his parents were funny and involved in his life, unlike some parents in books.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
There’s humour to tickle your funny bone, heartbreak to make you cry at night, enough angst and seriousness to have you thinking and the romance is cute and adorable at every angle, that you won’t go away empty handed.
I rated this 5 stars, and I do not regret it. It’s been one of the best reads of 2016 (so far. I mean, we’re only in April.)
Guys, this is a winner! 😀
(p.s. I was going to do a video review and then got half way and realised I suck at them so yeah…here we are. )
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
So hey guys! Long time no see on a Tuesday! I bring you today’s installment of 10 books…and this time it’s Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed, whether that be less love, more love, complicated feelings, indifference or that I thought it was great in a genre until I became more well read in that genre, and on and on. You get the idea. I had to really think hard about this one because I either lose love or gain love, I don’t really get many feelings in between when I haven’t read something in a while. I’m usually not thinking anything at all, to be honest. So maybe that’s called indifference or just plain ignoring …I don’t know. Ha ha. So the list below is pretty…well…obvious, if you know me well. It’s not to say I dislike any of these books, but you’ll see my reasons behind them anyway.
1: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer- I absolutely loved this when I first read it. Maybe not so much the writing, although I certainly didn’t know a lot better than I do now. But the story hooked me. Perhaps I read it too many times, but now, years later having read so many different kinds of books, I can’t get through it again. I tried, multiple times, but I’m always snagging on things that bother me – grammar wise, or just phrases – and I can’t go past. This makes me sad, but the series will always hold a dear place in my heart.
2: Sabriel by Garth Nix- Another one I adored when I first read it a good ten or more years ago. It was brilliant, and I devoured the entire series. But now, I’ve tried to reread it, and it’s just not the same. Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m just not into that kind of fantasy or maybe it was the mood I was in at the time. I will never know.
3: Darren Shan Saga by Darren Shan (duh! 😛 ) – As with the ones above, I read this series a long time ago, and since then have read all sorts and I guess my style or taste has changed because I’ve tried to reread this series and it’s just not…agreed with me.
4: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell- Now here’s one that I can safely say I have loved more and more each time I read it. Four times! I’ve read it 4 times and have not yet become bored.
5: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- The love I have for this book is ever growing and no matter how many times I read it (3 times!), I’ll never get bored.
6: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – Now here’s one that I’ve read at LEAST 5 times, maybe 6? I lost count, honestly. It’s not that I’ve lost love for it, but the more I reread it, the less excited by it I am. I still love it, don’t get me wrong, but I suppose there is only a certain amount of times within a certain time period that you can reread something.
7: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – much like City of Bones, I’ve reread this between 4 and 5 times, but unlike with above, my love has grown. Though I still get irritated by certain things (like Jem, and the Magister, among other things) but my love for Will Herondale supersedes anything that might hinder my enjoyment. 🙂
8: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – I loved this originally, but I tried rereading it recently and, maybe I wasn’t in the right mood, but it didn’t…sit well like before. It wasn’t as gripping. I’m hoping it was just mood, because I want to, NEED TO, read the rest of the series. I hate Chaol, but I can ignore that…I hope.
9: Poison Study series by Maria V. Snyder – Okay, this is one where I’ve not recently tried to reread, but thanks to someone claiming Valek is actually in his 40’s <_<, It’s put me off completely. I loved this series when it first came out, like 10 years ago or more, but now…I guess it’ll always mean something to me, but it’s ruined the images I had in my head, and ruined the character for me. So yeah.
10: Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan – Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Rick Riordan’s writing, and storytelling, but I have to admit, since reading Heroes of Olympus, I prefer that 100% more than Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Sorry not sorry.
Tell me, what books have you felt differently about since you first read them?
“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.
Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
I was struggling to find a book that I knew was coming out this year and one I was excited for and then WHAM I remembered this one and WOAH! I love fairy tale retellings, and since I adored the Lunar Chronicles (after many unsuccessful tries, I finally got the hang of it), I’m so excited for this Wonderland retelling.
Alice in Wonderland is one of my most FAVOURITE Disney stories ever. Seriously. So this makes me eager and also slightly nervous because I have read a few attempts at retelling it in rather…unimpressive ways. I have faith in Marissa Meyer, so I’m keeping my nerves in one piece.
What are you looking forward to?
Though the Greek and Roman crew members of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.
The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it “might” be able to stop a war between the two camps.
The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea’s army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.
I had ultimately delayed the end of this series, and then when it came time to reading it…It took me ages. I had left it too long. And then I fell into a reading slump. I read a few others books, and then came back to this. Finally, finally I finished it.
This final book in the wonderful series by Rick Riordan is just amazing. Yeah, there were moments that I felt dragged, and after what so many people had claimed to be a bad ending, I was pleasantly surprised when I was grinning like an idiot with the sweet ending.
Anyway, on with my thoughts.
My favourite characters, Leo, Jason, Piper, Percy, Annabeth, Hazel and Nico. Oh wow what a journey they’ve been on. Not to mention Reyna, who I wasn’t sure about at first. She soon got me on her side. I think that’s the best part when character development is done well, that joy of actually liking them. The story continues from House of Hades, where Annabeth and Percy are finally out of Tartarus and Reyna, Nico and Coach Hedge are transporting the Athena Parthenos across to Camp Half Blood. I think if I didn’t like this book for anything, and this is really nitpicking, it was because there wasn’t as much of Leo or Jason in it. I know, silly, right? A lot of the chapters were from Nico and Reyna’s POV and though, yeah, they’re okay, I prefer the others. I was hot and cold with Nico, because I couldn’t get a grasp on who he was…if you know what I mean. He was always so hostile with people and it had me being all “mehhhh.” Then you have Octavian who is a complete piece of work. I swear, I thought he needed a slap upside the head because he was so stupid and gullible and ugh. In the end, he made me laugh.
I loved how the Romans and Greeks worked together to get the job done. Defeating Gaia wasn’t going to be easy, but in a way…I felt it was. I don’t know what I was expecting but she kinda…didn’t impress me. All that talk of taking over the world, bla bla bla, and then…yknow. She was pathetic. The Gods were also kind of pathetic. Sure, they kick ass, but then they have the nerve to blame the demigods for causing all this. They never get the credit they deserve.
I’m so sad this series is over, but now I can read Apollo’s and Magnus Chase’s story. It shall be splendid. I have enjoyed this series far more than Percy’s, but I prefer Percy in this. I’ve said that in previous reviews, so I won’t go on.
If you haven’t read The Heroes of Olympus, I implore you to start NOW!
You guys know I went to YallWest, right? Well, I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the brilliant Alexandra Bracken, author of The Darkest Minds trilogy and the recent Passenger, the sequel to it being Wayfarer which is released January 2017.
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.’ to
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.
So what was your inspiration for the Darkest Minds? Because it’s a very dark read. Ruby is an angsty teenager…
Alex: *laughs* Yeah, and you know me now, so you’re like “but that’s not you.” I know, it surprises people. And I plotted that story…Do you know the brand Lily Pulitzer?
No, I haven’t…
Alex: It’s super bright, super Key West, animal pattern clothing. I plotted that entire book out in a bright pink Lily Pulitzer coat, which felt very funny and ironic. *laughs* Inspiration was a lot of little things. I was a freshman in high school when September 11 happened, so I felt, by the time I graduated, I saw the whole world essentially change and how quickly the government could change things when provoked, and how people could be emotionally manipulated in the wake up of great national tragedy. But also, what really inspired the story was my own… How should I put this? My own self interest, because I had just moved from college, because I was in Williamsburg -which is super small and colonial – then moved up to Manhattan, and I was really having a hard time adjusting to that. And I had kind of a tough boss at my first job, and I was really pretty unhappy, and I was like: I just need to write a story that’ll make me happy. And so this one has all of the elements of things that I love.
Yeah, it’s good because it’s got romance, drama, and action…
Alex: Yeah, exactly. It’s like…Road trip! That’s why it seems so random, it’s like classic rock, road trip!
I love road trips in books. They’re so fun.
Alex: I know, I was like ‘at last, a dystopian road trip book.’
It always makes me want to go to those places, although maybe not in those settings. Probably not a good idea. So, do you have a particular process for your first drafts, do you do a certain amount of words per day or just whenever you can write?
Alex: It sort of depends. Because I noticed… I tried with Wayfarer (Passenger sequel) to do 2000 words a day, and I definitely was doing 2000 words a day. But the problem was that I was padding the scenes, when actually I should have been working on the story. So really what I try to do when I sit down to write, is to finish a specific scene, or a specific chapter, versus the word count. But really when I’m starting a story I spend a lot of time brainstorming, and I kind of figure out the main plot beats, the emotional beats, and the emotional undercurrent of the story. And then as I’m writing I will finish a scene and then go ahead and outline the next scene, and do it that way.
That’s another thing I was going to ask you, if you were an outliner or if you just write and hope for the best…
Alex: It really kind of depends on the book. With the Darkest Minds I really didn’t outline that much, and it worked out okay, except for the part where I had to revise and revise and revise. *laughs* But it’s my natural tendency, I think; because I started writing Fan Fiction, is to write like very episodic, which is not helpful when you’re writing a book, because in theory everything should be turning up, upwards, not sloping down like a mountain but…
What kind of Fan Fiction did you write?
Alex: Oh my god, I wrote Star Wars Fan Fiction. I wrote Sailor Moon, I wrote Gundam Wing Fan Fiction. I wrote everything that was on Toonami at the time.
I used to write Fan Fiction, but then I had to stop because I wanted to write my own stuff.
Alex: Yeah, that’s kind of where I got to. Eventually I felt confident enough to be writing my own books, but I love Fan Fiction.
So, the characters in your books, did you base them on anyone you know?
Alex: I try really hard not to directly base characters off people, ’cause I’m always worried they’ll figure it out and think I’m passing judgement on them. But I have been known to steal funny things my friends say, so a lot of Chub’s lines are from my friends.
Chub’s is one of my favourite characters.
Alex: Yeah, he’s so sassy.
I like Vida as well. She’s the best. She comes out with some the strongest words.
Alex: I know, I know, she swears beautifully. She swears fluently, as I always say. She’s really super creative with her lingo.
Outside of writing, do you have any other hobbies?
Alex: I always feel really sad when I answer this question, because reading is really the only other hobby I have, other than taking care of my dog. But now that I’m settled, my issue is really that for a long time I had a day job and I was writing, so I had no time for any sort of hobby other than shopping, which is less of a hobby and more of a habit. *laughs* So I didn’t really have time to cultivate outside interests because I was constantly work, work, work, work, nonstop. So now that I’m like settled in a place in Arizona, I wanna start taking classes, I don’t know. I want to experiment, I almost want this to be a recurring series in my author newsletter ‘Alex Tries…’ I wanna learn how to cross stitch, take a photography class. Like, I wanna actually have hobbies outside of writing ’cause I think it only helps you.
Yeah, I know that from my own writing, if you’re not careful, you can end up in that same bubble and see nothing outside of it.
Alex: Yeah, exactly.
Like you’d walk out the door and be all “Sunlight! It burns!” *laughs*
Alex: Yeah, and you need life to help your writing.
Do you have any advice for writer’s block?
Alex: For me it’s usually indicative of something in the story that’s not working, and I am subconsciously trying to avoid it somehow. So I actually say it’s okay to stop writing and have writer’s block, it’s okay to sit back, assess, and edit instead of drafting. Writing is editing, too, so it’s okay to go back and work on that for a while and figure out what it is that’s not working. Or if it’s really just distraction for instance – I let myself get distracted really easily, I’m distracted by anything shiny and bright. *laughs* Um, really all I have to do is switch the medium that I’m writing on. So I will move from the computer and write it out by hand. And I was talking about this with my friend, Susan Dennard, that we both have a hard time facing a blank screen, a blank document. So we, the two of us, almost always (hand) write the first couple chapters, and then transfer it over, so we can have a start and then dive in.
Do you ever have trouble keeping in the correct tense, do you slip from third person to first person?
Alex: That’s funny, because when I was working on the last novella of the Darkest Minds series, and at the same time I was working on Passenger, and Passenger is third person past tense, and the novella was first person present tense. So every once in awhile I would slip up. I was mixing up two characters names too, which was pretty funny. I was calling Harry in the Darkest Minds ‘Henry,’ and Henry in Passenger, Harry. So I do that sometimes, and it’s okay. You can catch it when you’re going through in your editing.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Alex: That’s a good question. Did you sit through the keynote this morning?
I did. It was very inspirational.
Alex: Yeah, so what Marie (Lu) was saying was really true, like picture books are probably the hardest kinds of books you can write because you have to be selective. You have to figure out the interplay of art, text, and there’s a lot of different elements of pacing. It’s really an art form, so I would love to be able to write picture books. I’m waiting on a good idea. But I don’t know, writing YA, writing middle grade, bit of everything.
Do you think you’ll ever go back to fantasy, dystopian – like what Darkest Minds was like?
Alex: Yeah, I think, um, I think the book I’m working on next. I keep talking about it, so now I feel like I have to write this book otherwise people are going to be all ‘what the eff?’ Um, it’s–how to describe it?–my pitch does not work for anyone under the age of 30, because it references the movie ‘Escape from New York’ which is a really kind of cheesy 80’s movie with Kurt Russell. Google it. I feel like it was even 40 years ago. Anyway, it’s more of a stand alone, along the lines of what the Darkest Minds – SciFi …oh this is hard without giving too much away. It’s set in a post technology world, something has gone wrong with the technology, it’s maybe a sprinkle of post apocalyptic, but it’s really fantasy, and it’s my take on Hades and Persephone but it’s not romantic.
Oh, I would love that. I love Greek Mythology and that ilk.
Alex: Yeah, I did not find Hades and Persephone to be romantic, I think it was more Stockholm syndrome. So it’s really if Persephone gets empowered to take back her life, part of the story.
Back to the Darkest Minds, did you have to do any research for that? Or did it just all appear in your head?
Alex: I had to do weird, scary research for it. I had to Google things like ‘How to build a car bomb,’ or more what the ingredients were, not so much how to make it. Just so I could write one tiny detail into a scene. I Googled a lot having to do with Los Angeles, for the second book. I had to figure out the lay of the land, a lot of looking at Google maps and charting the route. Learning about guns and weapons, and how the UN works for the third book, that kind of thing. It was a lot of research, but it wasn’t like Passenger’s research where that was like very, very in-depth, finding out things like what kind of shoes would a sailor wear on an 18th century ship.
Okay, so last question: If you could live in any fictional world, where would that be? And it can’t be Hogwarts, because everyone says that. *laughs*
Alex: I was going to say I’d love to live in the Star Wars universe, but I’m kinda worried… Yeah I don’t know, but I think it’d be cool to travel between so many different systems. So I’m gonna say Star Wars. It’s peaceful sometimes. Stay in the outer rim.
Well, that’s different. That’s all I’ve got. Thank you so much for agreeing to do this. It’s really appreciated.
Alex: That’s cool, so good to see you. And in my country this time. I’m hoping to go back to the UK.
So it was a complete honour to get to speak to Alex on a level where I wasn’t so shy, although I’ll admit, I was terrified to start with. She’s a wonderful person, though, and so easy to talk to. You should all go and check out her books because they’re great.
You can find out more about her via:
See ya next time!