Book Review | Vicious by Victoria Schwab

Posted on Friday, March 14, 2014 4:30 AM

Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: September 24, 2013 

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

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?

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.

My Thoughts

I'm really not sure where to begin or even what to say about this book, it is unlike anything that I've read before.  It's unique, unusual and a little peculiar but it's that weirdness that makes this story so amazing. 

This book goes back and forth between the past and the present.  In the past Victor and his roommate Eli are working on a thesis for a class and Eli wants to do his on EOs or ExtraOrdinaries.  Eli believes that there are real EOs out there in the world, that there are people who can do things that normal people can't and he takes it upon himself to figure out how.  Once Eli figures out the markers on how to become EO, Victor steps in because he's a little jealous about Eli's discovery and he doesn't want Eli to get all the limelight.  

"Victor Vale was not a fucking sidekick" 

Since we also get scenes from the present, we know that something happened between Victor and Eli but we don't know what until the story unravels.  Vicious is also told in multiple POVs, and while I thought that it would be difficult to understand with the story played out in past/present scenes and in multiple POVs, it wasn't at all.  In fact I think it's part of the reason I found this book so interesting.

I also really enjoyed the characters in this book.  Victor is definitely a force to be reckoned with, but once he meets Sydney we get a few glimpses of his softer side.  Mitch, who I considered to be Victors 'Robin' was also a great character, he seemed to keep Victor grounded and he was also extremely loyal and would do anything for his Batman friend.  When Sydney was introduced to the story, I immediately felt a 'motherly' connection to her.  She was just so young and timid, I can see why Victor and Mitch took a protective sentiment toward her.

Overall, Vicious is a remarkable and intriguing read that I would definitely recommend to not only those who like a little kick to their superheroes but also to those who are in the mood for something a little different, I can assure you that this book fits the bill for 'different'. 

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