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?
Disclaimer: We did a really good job of not spoiling anything. We are amazing.
Okay, so let’s be honest here. Vicious isn’t Schwab’s best book, but it’s damn good. It has a man called jailbird named Victor, a righteous killer named Eli and a dog that’s come back from the dead. So, you know. Read it.
What we loved about Vicious is the fact that it’s full of all kind of grey areas.
Victor Vale, our villainous boy-toy of the week is a man who went to prison for a crime he definitely committed, but he’s the good guy. Honest. He just has this thing for inflicting pain and crossing ethical lines and pulling children into a decade old feud that is basically just some twisted bromance gone wrong.
BUT REALLY. HE’S THE GOOD GUY.
You’ll have heart eyes for him by the end of the novel.
The novels takes place on different timelines and it’s interesting because you imagine young (deranged?) Victor being all adorable and cute and intelligent and sexy and-
that’s not where we’re going with this…
As a reader, it can often be jarring to have your mind operate in two or more timelines created by an author for the purposes of a story because your brain has to segregate characters to a certain period of time and it also has to not obsess over the many events that could have taken place in the interval between the chapters which are set then and the chapters which are set now.
Vicious doesn’t have that problem. It’s very easy to know where and when you are because there’s an obvious difference in the characters.
In college, Victor wants more than anything to take the mask of his best friend Eli and see what kind of monster is lurking beneath. He wants to find a monster like him to bond with and spend time with. Student Victor wants to push science to the very brink and discover something new and wonderful and powerful.
He wants to be ExtraOrdinary.
Post prison Victor wants to end his best friend and he doesn’t care how he’s going to do that. He will hurt and maim and completely destroy those who wish to stop them because Eli is a creature made from dangerously sharp and evil components.
He’s a genius who has become full of the belief that he’s meant to kill other’s like him who are super-powered. Because they are wrong. They are magnificent and they are wrong. Their souls are gone. They are the devil given human skin…
SERIOUSLY? WHAT IS IT WITH PEOPLE AND THEIR WITCH HUNTS? HUH?
Someone is different. Kill them. Someone is different. Kill them!
Someone. Is. Different.
We’re complaining about it, but we don’t actually mind that much. It’s so much fun seeing fanatics being taken down. So fun.
For us, Vicious lacked the depth that we found in Victoria’s Shades of Magic trilogy. We think it’s due to the fact that it’s an earlier work of hers and the fact that it is, for the moment, a standalone novel. We haven’t been gifted with another four hundred plus pages to see a world of secretly powered people be fleshed out.
We’re happy to know that we’re getting those pages though. Sometime next year if everything goes to plan.
What’s interesting about this novel is how people receive their powers. They have to come very, very close to death. And we’re talking I’ll reap your soul in just a second close. It seemed to us, to be a pretty cool system that allowed for Schwab to get imaginative with the powers she bestowed on her creations.
To finish this all up, Vicious is the kind of powered up fiction that will draw in the lovers of wicked deed and sharp, sharp characters who are so riddled with flaws that it’s a miracle they don’t break. It’s also a book that moves very fast and allows you to only make connections with just a few of those aforementioned flawed characters. You’ll either like it or hate it, love it or feel kind of meh about the whole thing, but we promise that you’ll be exploring into Victoria’s other rich worlds.
Thanks for reading our review!