Vicious by V.E Schwab
Published: May 29th 2018 by Titan Books (first published September 24th 2013)
“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized 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?
I actually heard about its sequel Vengeful before I heard about Vicious when following the author on Twitter. A tale of two villains completely intrigued me and so I preordered the new (beautiful looking) special editions of both Vicious and Vengeful straight away, Vengeful is out today and I’m eagerly awaiting my copy so I pushed my review of Vicious forward a little bit to coincide.
Vicious tells the tale of Victor Vale and Eli Cardale (later Ever) and does a good job of swapping between different points in their timeline, I especially enjoyed the seeing the lead up to the moments that changed them and their relationship forever. Each chapter is labelled with the particular time, i.e 10 years ago, 1 year ago etc which is simple yet helpful with the chapters themselves being relatively short and sweet helping the story move along at a better pace.
Even with the shorter chapters though I do feel though that not an awful lot seemed to happen and when I think about how to sum up what happens the actual moving plot seems a little lacking and on the slow side, even Eli’s mission to eradicate the EO’s doesn’t seem all that interesting. The characters however really make this book for me but where I find Victor and Eli are probably meant to be the main focus I found myself not really caring about them much at all in in comparrison, rather being more attached to their “sidekicks” or in the case of Mitch, Sydney and Dol, my favourite dysfunctional family.
Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy Victor and Eli as characters but felt they sometimes felt a bit like caricatures and I know they’re not good guys (this series is called “Villans” after all right?) I know they’re not meant to be likeable in the normal sense and I do find them intriguing, especially the state of their moral compass, especially Eli’s habbit of referrring to himself as a hero and Victors habbit of collecting strays but I feel the other characters were written so SO well that I found myself caring a lot more about them than anything else. I adored Sydney, Mitch and Dol, especially Mitch’s love for chocolate milk and his back story, I think him and Serena were probably the most interesting characters by far. The way Serena dealt with and felt about her gift was also something I feel really added to her character and gave her a little more dimension whereas Victor was too busy focusing on Eli (who I’m pretty sure he’s totally in love with) and Eli just felt so self-righteous and hypocritical.
The writing is enjoyable and the last third particularly got a bit more interesting as more things begun to happen and we learned more about the characters. The final stand-off especially felt like it had some weight to it and I felt like it ended well if not predictably. I’m really looking forward to Vengeful, especially after reading the first chapter at the end of Vicious, I’m interested to see more EO’s, spend some more time with my favourite dysfunctional family and a plot that doesn’t revolve around just Eli and Victor. I feel like going into Vengeful with lower (and normal) expectations will help as to me I feel I made it hard for the book to live up to the hype I had given it from what I’d heard and presumed about it.
I am SUPER excited for Vengeful! There was an excerpt in my special edition of Vicious introducing us to the Marcella who I think will be the main “villain” of Vengeful and WOW she is going to be amazing.