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Book Review – Vicious by V. E. Schwab

I clearly need to read faster, I’ve only got 3 books left on my “to be reviewed” note on my phone. I’m not counting the 4th because it’s my current read. I swear when I started doing ‘weekly’ blogs there were about 7 on the list. Where does the time go? I guess the other side of that is that I’m one step closer to my Good Reads goal with every book and so long as I’m one book ahead of the review pile every time, it’ll turn out just dandy. Anyway, on with the show.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab…

viciousVictor and Eli started out as college roommates – brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognised the same ambition in each other. A shared 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 with 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 arch-nemeses have set a course for revenge – but who will be left alive at the end?” 

Wow. Just wow. This is an amazing read and I encourage everyone to go out and buy it. Whether you’re a fan of super heroes or you’re a fan of well written, highly developed, 3 dimensional characters, this book is a must.

Told mostly from the perspective of Victor (it does flip to Eli later in the book), the narrative flips backwards and forwards in time, telling the tale of how the boys came to be EO’s (Extra Ordinary) at the same time as the story of their current feud. It’s very well done and there are distinct changes in the way Victor thinks and acts in the two timezones, even without the chapter headings to tell you, you know when it’s college Victor and when it’s ten-years-in-prison Victor. While part of the story is set ’10 years ago’ and the other half is catagorised as ‘today’ there is almost a timelessness to it. Yes there are cars and phones and computers, but nothing is mentioned by name, nothing that would pinpoint an exact date. I really liked that about the book, there was a very Old-School-Superhero-Movie vibe to it.

My favourite thing about Schwab’s novel is the characters. They are all so interesting in different ways, with individual stories and motives that drive the story. The biggest draw for me though, is Victor. He is horrible. He’s arrogant, egotistical, mean, vandalizes public property and just broke out of a high security prison to exact revenge on his college roommate, but somehow Schwab makes you like him. Not only like him, but root for him. He’s basically the villain and you’re sitting there thinking “Yes, go Victor!”; it’s very clever and of course it helps that Eli is no angel either.

I really enjoyed this book and managed to read it in just a couple of days, there are enough twists to keep you guessing and all the major drama is a cliffhanger so it definitely compels you to keep reading. I’ve heard a rumour that there is a sequel, so I look forward to reading that. I’ve given it 5 stars, I loved it.

5/5 *****

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