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Book Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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My rating: 5 out of 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?

Vicious is a dark, engrossing tale about friendship gone horribly wrong. Right off the bat, you can tell that Victor and Eli’s relationship is going to be a unique one. Both are smart and ambitious, yet so blinded by their own egos that they are the result of their own sabotage.

While there are running themes of “good” vs. “bad,” throughout this story, there is no good guy or bad guy. Victor and Eli are both, undeniably, the villains of this story. At times I loved and hated both of them. While I’ve seen other reviewers calling Victor the villain, I feel like I have to disagree. Of the two, Eli seems like the more dangerous one, with his self-righteous attitude and complete lack of empathy.

I loved Sydney’s character. Her innocence is quite refreshing among an otherwise f*cked up cast of characters. She’s the victim of some rather unfortunate circumstances, yet instead of letting it turn her bitter and angry, she just accepts her new powers and her fate. I really hope that she maintains some of that innocence as the story goes on. Sydney’s sister, Serena,  and her abilities are absolutely terrifying. As much as I hated her, I kinda wished we had seen more of her and the horrible things she could get away with.

The plot is great one. There were a few similarities to the author’s Monsters of Verity series, but it didn’t bother me. I love a good anti-hero story. If you like stories about people with supernatural abilities and super-flawed personalities, this book is definitely for you.

I’ve already pre-ordered my copy of the sequel Vengeful, which comes out in September.

 

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