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. 🙂
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