Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Urban fantasy, adult
First published: 2013
Author: V. E. Schwab
Synopsis: 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 have read 6 Victoria Schwab books to date and have loved every single one of them. Her stories are so unique and she doesn’t really confine herself to one genre, which a lot of authors do. Still, when you read a Victoria Schwab book, you know you’re reading a Victoria Schwab book, generally by the savage pain in your heart (I just finished reading Our Dark Duet and I’m not okay, but we’ll talk about that one later). One of the great things about her is that she doesn’t hold her punches. And it hurts, but that’s what makes her books so damn good. She makes you care about her characters and her stories.
But I digress, let’s talk about Vicious. This book is exactly what you’d expect from a book about two sociopaths. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it goes to places that are kinda disturbing and it’s fantastic.
I really enjoyed the relationship between the two main characters. It’s a bad one. It’s not the kind of relationship that tugs at heartstrings (even before they hated each other), it’s the kind that’s codependent and toxic and kind of terrifying. But it’s so well written, so… exactly how you’d expected to be given the two characters.
Another thing that I love about Victoria’s books is that her characters are individuals. And what I mean by that is that they’re believably people. They have unique personalities that aren’t just an outline of a personality. A lot of characters feel interchangeable. Like they’ve been mass produced in a factory and there are only so many stencils. And every character made by a stencil is the same because machines are consistent. But her characters feel hand-made. Crafted one by one, so even if the inspiration for them is the same, there’s that element of “human error”. Of inconsistency. So her characters are never the same. They’re always unique. I hope that makes sense?
I’m kind of struggling with reviewing this book because I feel like it’s hard to do without giving it away. The strength of this novel is less it’s action, as it is its characters and their journey and their interactions. I feel like the plot itself is less important. It’s just there as a backdrop for the characters. So in that sense, I would say that this book is very much character driven. But it’s also very action packed. It’s like a superhero film, except with supervillains instead. There’s constant action. It never gets boring.
Like I said, I’m struggling to find more to say about it without any spoilers, so you’ll just have to read it. I really hope that the sequel comes out this year though, because I need me some more of it.