Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Vicious (Vicious #1) by V.E. Schwab | Review

Vicious (Vicious #1) by V.E. Schwab | ReviewVicious (Vicious, #1) by V.E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab
Series: Vicious #1
Published by Tor on September 24th 2013
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 364
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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5 Stars

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?

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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.”

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Unbound (The Archived #2) by Victoria Schwab | Review

The Unbound (The Archived #2) by Victoria Schwab | ReviewThe Unbound by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on January 28, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
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5 Stars

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she's struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn't easy -- not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she's really safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She's sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she'll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

With stunning prose and a captivating mixture of action, romance, and horror, The Unbound delves into a richly imagined world where no choice is easy and love and loss feel like two sides of the same coin.

The Unbound, the sequel to The Archived, is even better than it’s predecessor. Really, I shouldn’t be surprised since this is Victoria Schwab we’re talking about but I’m still amazed at her talented writing, wonderful characters, and captivating stories.

The Unbound picks up shortly after the end of The Archived. Mac is about to start at a new school and she now has to figure out how to balance her duties as a Keeper, her duties as a daughter, and her duties as a student. That doesn’t even touch her rocky relationship with Wesley Ayers. Mac has a lot on her plate and things get even worse when it looks like she is causing the disappearances of people. It’s up to her to solve who is really behind the disappearances.

Mac is one of the most kickass characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. She’s fierce, smart, capable, and funny. She needs no help saving her own life but she’s not always above asking for it. With the help of Wesley Ayers, Mac has to figure out what’s going on. They have to figure it out because the other alternative is that Mac is going to go down for the disappearances and she also might be losing her mind. But that’s all. Seriously though, you don’t want to get me started on Wesley. That boy is amazing. I can’t say that enough. I thought I loved him in The Archived but that was nothing compared to my feelings for him after reading The Unbound. That kid just gets better and better. Read The Unbound just for more of him if you don’t have any other reason.

The story is suspenseful and totally shocking. There were times when I honestly thought Mac might be going crazy. It was really hard to tell sometimes. I felt horrible for her. People that she interacted with were going missing and she was the prime suspect. There were times when even I thought maybe she was actually behind the disappearances. It was hard to tell and I loved that about The Unbound. And once I found out who was really behind the disappearances, I was even more surprised.

The writing is enough for me to recommend The Unbound. Victoria Schwab is one of the most amazing writers. I have read almost everything she has written and I will continue to read her books for her writing alone. The Unbound is no exception to that amazing writing.

Overall, The Unbound deserves a place on everyone’s shelves. I can’t recommend it enough. If you haven’t already started this series, do it immediately!

What others are saying about The Unbound:

Hell Is Cold’s review: “Because Schwab always delivers. I can count on her not to disappoint me, and I’m really glad.”

Never Too Fond of Books’ review: “The Unbound is absolutely another gush-worthy book.”

Read My Breath Away’s review: “In my opinion, a strong sequel raises the stakes of the overarching story that was started in the first book and wow, does The Unbound ever raise those stakes.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Archived (The Archived #1) by Victoria Schwab | Review

The Archived (The Archived #1) by Victoria Schwab | ReviewThe Archived by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on January 22, 2013
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 328
Format: ARC
Source: ALA, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what she once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

Victoria Schwab is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. The Near Witch was one of my favorite books of 2011 and it really impressed me. I was pretty sure her sophomore novel couldn’t be better than that one but boy was I wrong. The Archived is one of the best books I have read in 2012 and one of my all-time favorites.

The Archived is one of the most unique books I have ever read. The concept is fabulous and the execution is perfect! I wasn’t quite sure where the story was going to go in the beginning but I honestly didn’t care because it was just so interesting. However, once the story really picked up and things started to come together, I was fascinated. I won’t try and tell you exactly how things work in the Archive because the book does a way better job of explaining it. Just know that it’s an awesome concept and it’s kind of spooky.

That’s another thing about The Archived that I didn’t expect but I should have given the spookiness of The Near Witch. The Archived takes place in two locations: the Coronado, an old hotel turned apartment building, and the Narrows/Archive. Both places are pretty much equally creepy. The Coronado is a building full of secrets. A series of strange deaths happened shortly after the place became apartments and somehow these murders tie in with strange things happening in the Narrows and the Archive. While it’s not a horror story by any means, I was sufficiently creeped out yet equally intrigued.

Mackenzie is one stubborn, strong-willed, hard-headed girl. She did not want to accept help from anyone and she wanted to do everything her own way. She was a little closed off with people but she did grow out of that a little bit throughout the book. She was lonely and she just wanted someone who could relate to her. She found that someone in the very unlikely form of Wesley Ayers. (By the way, Wesley Ayers is my new fictional crush and none of you can have him!) Wesley is the comic relief in this book. He’s the complete opposite of Mac. He’s free-spirited, friendly, and a little goofy. He’s pretty much the definition of a nice guy. I have no complaints regarding Wesley’s character! As for the rest of the characters, it was hard to judge them. The Librarians were very aloof and mysterious, Mackenzie’s parents were heartbroken and lost, and the Histories were kind of creepy yet kind of sad. I look forward to learning more about everyone in the next book.

As for the writing itself, if you’ve read The Near Witch you know what to expect from Victoria Schwab. Her writing is beautiful and creepy and mysterious and just freaking fantastic. Victoria Schwab is one of those authors who could write a phone book and have people fall in love with it. I really can’t put into words how much I love her writing. =)

Overall, The Archived is a stunning sophomore novel from Victoria Schwab. It’s a creeptastic story full of mystery and secrets and I can’t recommend it enough!

Looking for more reviews of The Archived by Victoria Schwab?

The Paper Reader’s review
Dark Faerie Tales’ review
The YA Sisterhood’s review

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab | Review

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab | ReviewThe Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Published by Disney Hyperion on August 2, 2011
Genres: Historical Fantasy
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab's debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won't soon forget.

picadillyblueThe Near Witch is one of the few books that I have nothing bad to say about. From the very first line I was hooked and I was on the edge of my seat until the very last page. Victoria Schwab’s debut novel deserves every word of praise that it has gotten.

Lexi is one of the best main characters I have ever read about. Her life was not easy but she never let that change her positive outlook on life and people. She was one of the few people in the town of Near who was not afraid of witches and instead she treated them just like everyone else. She was open-minded, loving, and very brave. I feel like teenage girls should read this book just to see how a heroine should really act. Lexi is a role model or she should be.

The rest of the characters were wonderful as well. Cole was very sweet and caring but he did have a troubled past. His story was very heartbreaking. Lexi’s little sister, Wren, was fun and bubbly and she helped lighten the mood at times. Lexi’s mom was a little confusing at times, as was Lexi’s uncle, Otto, but in the end I liked them both.

As for the plot, I don’t want to give anything away but I will say that it was very suspenseful, unique, and creepy at times. Victoria Schwab’s lyrical writing really brought this story to life and I can’t wait to see what is next from her.

Overall, The Near Witch is a must-read for everyone, boy or girl, young or old. I’m sure that everyone will find a little something to fall in love with (or a lot, like me).

What others are saying about The Near Witch:

Alexa Loves Books’ review: “Finishing The Near Witch was like having the perfect cup of coffee in the morning – it left me feeling relaxed and satisfied.”

Ivy Book Bindings’ review: “Ultimately, I have to admit that it was the slow pace that made me put this down far before I’d reached the end.”

Great Imaginations’ review: “Victoria Schwab did it all, and she did it well in this book.”