Hiya!! I hope your day is going amazing. Today I’ll be reviewing Vicious by V.E. Schwab. It was definitely out of my comfort zone, so I really want to read more books like it. If you have any similar recommendations, send them my way. Anyways, enjoy!
(Synopsis from GoodReads)
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?
Based on the synopsis, I wasn’t sure what I’d be in for. Luckily, I really enjoyed my time with Vicious! As the story progressed, I found myself constantly wanting to read on. The premise is just that unique.
The main characters however, were a whole other story. While I was fascinated by Eli and Victor, they weren’t particularly likeable. They were extremely self-centered and did more harm than good. But then again, I don’t know if Eli and Victor were even meant to be likeable from the start. They’re both morally grey characters. This may sound bizarre, but Eli and Victor heavily resemble anime antagonists. I’ve never been able to make this comparison in other books, so it was quite intriguing. Furthermore, there was no character development at all. This led them to feel dull and unlikeable.
“You don’t understand,” gasped Eli. “No one understands.”
“When no one understands, that’s usually a good sign that you’re wrong.”
― V.E. Schwab, Vicious
In addition, the side characters were also very unique. Both Eli and Victor had allies who were related. Tween Sydney worked alongside Victor, while Sydney’s older sister Serena worked with Eli. I found this to be quite an interesting subplot as the two sisters were unofficial rivals throughout the story.
Moreover, the dialogue was done really well. It was gritty and full of wit. Which dare I say, is an awesome combination.
“The absence of pain led to an absence of fear, and the absence of fear led to a disregard for consequence.”
― V. E. Schwab, Vicious
The writing style was very distinctive. V.E. Schwab writes with such eccentricity and elegance, allowing their books to always be must-reads. Vicious is written in third person, but it feels like you’re reading a first-person novel. You can definitely feel the emotions the characters are experiencing as you read. Unfortunately though, I disliked the ending. Without giving away too much, it was very anti-climatic.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed reading Vicious. It was unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and was incredibly gripping. If you love morally grey characters, urban fantasy, or superheroes, then I highly recommend this one!
Age Rating: 15 and up
Trigger Warnings: Violence
Overall Rating: 8/10 or 4 out of 5 stars
Have you read any of V.E. Schwab’s novels? Have a great day!