Sunday, November 17, 2013

Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Title: Vicious
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Sci-fi
Series: N/A, Standalone 

Hardcover, 368 pages
Publication: September 24, 2013 by Tor  

Source: I received a review copy from the publicist in exchange for a honest review.  

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 Schwab first adult novel and it was superb! I’m a big fan of her YA novel, The Archived so when I heard about her new book I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Vicious is a story about two college friends who discovered a way to become Eos, ExtraOrdinary; people with special/unique abilities. Victor and Eli have total opposite personalities, and we see how their new ability/power stems from who they are at their core and how the power shapes them further throughout the story.

I must say, the layout/story of Vicious is ambitious. There are many books that jump back in and forth; past and present but Schwab takes it to a whole other level. The book is split into two parts; the first part jumps from the present to 10 years ago, a couple of weeks ago, couple of days ago, back and forth till the characters are all connected in some way. The second part is sort of a countdown when Eli and Victor meet face to face (present, after 10 years), the final battle/climate of the story. At first the format was kind of confusing but 50 pages in I understood why Schwab wrote it the way she did. Readers are given in-depth explanation of how our two main characters came to be; a look at how Eli and Victor are, their personalities, their beliefs and how they view themselves and the world. How becoming an ExtraOrdinary showed ones’ true natural. The layout made for an engaging read and had me on the edge of my seat as we got closer and closer to the deadline to explosive face-off between Eli and Victor.

At first glance; everyone would assume Victor was the villain of the story and Eli the hero but that assumption proved wrong as both their motives is revealed.  There are no heroes or villains in this story; Victor and Eli believed all the choices they made were for the right reasons. For example Eli was ‘removing’ anyone and everyone that was an ExtraOrdinary because he truly believed God gave him the power to do so. Victor and Eli are extremely well-written, realistic and complex characters.  By the end of the story you will know everything about them; how fascinating yet terrifying-cutthroat they can be. Schwab doesn’t stop there with incredible character development; the secondary characters were just as interesting and I found myself absorbed in their story and background. There’s Sydney the 12-year-old with the deadly power to resurrect the dead, Serena, Sydney’s big sis who can control anyone with the sound of her voice and Mitchell, a non-ExtraOrdinary that is the brain and brawn of the operation.  Everyone played a crucial part to one another and brought a little something extra to the amazing world that Schwab built. 

Vicious is everything one can hope for in story; engaging plot, thoroughly researched world-building, strong and multifaceted characters and beautifully written prose. Vicious is a very dark and violent novel, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve mentioned before that I think Schwab is a very talented writer. She has a way with words that immediately grabs your attention from the first page and keeps you mentally and emotionally connected with the story and characters till you finish the book. Schwab is definitely a writer to watch. She has already conquered young adult novels, and now adult…is there anything this lady can’t do? I can’t wait to see what Schwab comes up next! If you haven’t read Vicious yet (but really, who hasn’t?), I highly recommend you picking up a copy A.S.A.P!


  1. Glad you loved this. I thought it was great. I also assumed Victor was the villain ;-)

    1. Thanks for stopping by Cat! Lol, right?! I loved Victor and his little misfit crew.