Series: Vicious #1
Published by Tor on September 24th 2013
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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’ve been a fan of Victoria Schwab’s since I read her debut, The Near Witch. Her writing style just spoke to me and seriously impressed me. I admit that I haven’t stayed up to date with all her new releases but I am trying to work on that and I figured Vicious would be the perfect place to start. This is her first book writing as V.E. Schwab for adult readers and I loved it as much as I thought I would.
Victor and Eli’s stories fascinated me from the first page. The prologue just grabbed me and did not let go. I knew from the synopsis that Victor and Eli used to be friends but that’s about all I knew until I started reading. From the prologue, you know that that is no longer the case. Instead of the best friends that they used to be, now Eli and Victor are sworn enemies. They have vowed to kill each other and they will do whatever it takes, including putting innocent others in the line of fire.
It’s hard to tell at first glance who is the typical “villain.” Victor definitely has a darker side and he’s spent some time in prison that’s only made that dark side more prominent. Eli, on the other hand, gets away with pretty much anything and, at first glance, appears to be a great guy. In this case, appearances are definitely deceiving. However, Victor and Eli do have something in common and it’s that one thing that tore apart their friendship. Both Victor and Eli are ExtraOrdinaries (EOs) with special powers that came to them after some experimenting while they were in college (not that kind of college experimenting!). Each person who is gifted with these abilities is given a unique power that some don’t even know they have. Victor and Eli definitely know that they have these powers and both of them are searching for others like them, for very different reasons.
Victor may appear to be the bad guy but he has friends from his time in prison and one that he’s just met. Sydney and Mitch don’t know everything about Victor but they know they are drawn to him and that they can trust him. Sydney is a young girl who has a very special ability of her own and it’s that ability that makes Eli want to kill her very much. Mitch was drawn to Victor from the moment he saw him in prison. They didn’t start out as friends exactly but they do seem to be some sort of friends now. Victor himself was a very confusing guy. Like I said, he doesn’t exactly appear to be a good guy and his actions would sometimes appear to be not so great but he’s not like Eli. Eli’s goal in life is to rid the world of the EOs (excluding himself) and he’s willing to do some pretty outrageous things to achieve that goal. Eli was just nuts. Clearly he wasn’t all right to begin with but the gift of his powers really screwed him up. There was really nothing that endeared him to me and I really wanted to see Victor succeed in getting his revenge against Eli.
The story itself was a little slow but the writing made up for that. Victoria Schwab just has a way with words that means she could write practically anything and make it come to life. Vicious is a story that worked perfectly with the way she writes. It’s dark and slightly creepy and just plain awesome. And while some of the story might be a little slow, by the end, everything has built up and it’s impossible to stop reading!
Overall, Vicious is another stunner from V.E. Schwab. If you’re looking to maybe check out something other than YA, this is a great place to start. I think it can also definitely be enjoyed by YA readers even though it is a little bit more mature. I just have to recommend it because, in my eyes, V.E. Schwab can do no wrong.
What others are saying about Vicious:
There Were Books Involved’s review: “Here’s what you need to know: READ VICIOUS.”
The Blank Page’s review: “Despite a couple of places where I had to suspend my disbelief farther than I would have liked, Vicious quickly grew into its place as one of the best books I’ve read this year.”