Vicious by V.E. Schwab is a book I had always planned on reading but I kept pushing it back because I love Schwab’s writing and I didn’t want to not have a book of hers to look forward to reading. Since the release of This Savage Song has been drawing nearer, I decided to pick it up on a whim and I couldn’t be more happy that my July reading started off with such a bang! Vicious explores a complicated relationship between an anti-hero and villain and I love that it’s up to the reader to determine which of the main characters falls into which role. The story begins ten years prior when Victor Vale and Eli Ever are working on their thesis involving EO’s or ExtraOrdinary humans. They make several groundbreaking discoveries which leads to experiments and chaos.
I love that Schwab chose to acknowledge and go with the Marvel route of naming superheroes, that is to say, each character is named alliteratively. Victor Vale has spent the past ten years in prison planning exactly how he would try to kill Eli Ever when they were finally reunited again. He meets a chocolate milk loving friend Mitch and an intriguing twelve year old girl named Sydney along the way and it is a pleasure to see the story unfold along with them. I love how it’s constantly jumping perspectives and periods in time. Between the flashbacks told as if they were currently occurring and the present situations everyone finds themselves in in real time, I felt even more connected to the story than I would have if the stories had simply been relayed from a character who experienced it to a current fixture in either of Victor or Eli’s lives. Even more fascinating than the present, is watching each character’s descent into madness and attempting to determine who is the hero and who is the villain (or if there even is one or the other). For those wondering, I’m team Victor.
Final Thoughts: Vicious by V.E. Schwab is a quick paced adventure story which delves into the psyches of Victor Vale and Eli Ever. It’ll have you questioning what it means to be a villain vs. a hero and the constant switching between past and present timelines will allow you to see the hero vs. villain origin stories developing as soon as those initial seeds are planted. Vicious reads like a really engaging contemporary psychology novel with a sci-fi twist as the main characters begin experimenting with ExtraOrdinary humans. Vicious is technically an adult novel but everything about it is very accessible for anyone who typically reads and enjoys YA. I definitely recommend this one wholeheartedly!
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? (via Goodreads)