Book Review – Vicious by V.E. Schwab


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?

A lot of hype around this one!

Too much hype is not good for me. It gets my expectation level way too high, leaving me with a various degree of deception every time I finish a book that I thought I was going to love. Not that I didn’t enjoy this one, it sure was very unique, interesting, well written and captivating, just not the WOW I thought it was going to be. I kept waiting for something to blow my mind as it sometimes happen with 5 stars books, you know, the “OMG-DIDNT-SEE-THIS-COMING” or “HOLYSHIT-WHAT-JUST-HAPPENED” moments. I think my appreciation of it would have been greater if I didn’t expect it to blow my mind, which it didn’t. But regardless of that, here are some reasons why Vicious is a must-read:

The ideas. Supernatural powers in a realistic setting isn’t anything new, but this version of it sure brings a lot of new elements to consider and raises the quintessential question of good versus evil. What is good, what isn’t? Where do you draw the line? What makes something okay, justifiable? Where should be the limit of your faith?

The characters. Very complex and three-dimensional, Victor and Eli, the 2 main characters, best friends, enemies, heroes, vilains… whatever you consider them to be, are all of the above, or none. They are smart, resourceful, ambitious, power-hungry, but also hopeful, indecisive, hesitant, and human. They don’t always make the right choices, but they make them anyway and that’s what gives the story such impact. The secondary characters are also all well developped, with chapters devoted to all of their backgrounds, letting you into their head to better understand their motives.

The structure. Like I just mentionned, the way we get to see from each character’s point of views is great. But also the narrative structure that keeps getting back in time, and ahead, and in the present moment, and back again. At first it’s a bit confusing, but it keeps you on edge, wondering why you’re reading about that particular moment at this particular point in the book, and what will the effect of it will be. You keep trying to guess, which is the opposite of boring.

I had a few hiccups but again, they might just be related to the expectation that I had before I started so I won’t even mention them. My final note would be, read that book!


Happy Reading 🙂


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