What If The Line Separating A Hero From A Villain Did Not Exist? | Vicious | Review

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Title: Vicious (Vicious #1)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Release Date: September 24th 2013
Publisher: Tor

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“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?”

RELATED: A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1)

My Review

I loved Victoria Scwab's other novel, A Darker Shade of Magic, so I have been working my way through her books. My book club recently read The Archived, and I highly enjoyed that book as well. Everyone I talk to on twitter that loves Victoria Schwab's books, always seemed to rave about Vicious

So I expected to love this book. 

I wanted to love this book.

Instead, I was more than a bit disappointed with it.

Vicious was the tale of two former best friends, turned enemies over some incident in the past. Now Victor was on a mission to kill Eli. You can't get more vengeful than that, so I was highly intrigued. Add in some superhero abilities, and I was sold.

My biggest problem with this book was the format in which it was told. Chapters alternated between present, recent past, and distant past. While I don't prefer to jump around in the timeline as I read, normally I'm okay with it. But for some reason, I just could not adjust to the switches. That lack of stability, for me, affected how I connected with the characters. 

Translation: I didn't.

Which really kept me from fully investing in this story.

I did love the lines between good and evil in this book. The heroes weren't "good" and the villains weren't "bad." And yet, there was no way Victor could be defined as the hero instead of playing his role as the villain to their saga. Instead, Victor reminded me more of an antihero, more than willing to do bad things to accomplish his goals. I love that archetype because they tend to be some fascinatingly complex characters, and Victor was no exception to this.

I also found both Victor and Eli fascinating in the sense that they both were far from normal. They are my fellow Slytherins. They were driven and ambitious, and completely miles away from socially acceptable "normal." They were demented and twisted, and oh so much fun watch as the pages turned.

Vicious brought to life a contemporary world that was equal parts dystopian and paranormal (superhero) in it's existence. It was dark and gritty, but real and deadly. Reading this book was almost like watch an old noire film, only less cop based and more focus on the criminal side of things.

Words To Live By

"Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human."

"When no one understands, that's usually a good sign that you're wrong."

"There are no good men in this game."

"If Eli really was a hero, and Victor meant to stop him, did that make him a villain? He took a long sip of his drink, tipped his head back against the couch, and decided he could live with that."


Victoria Schwab recently announced that she was going to be writing a Vicious book two. One one hand, I'm kind of excited to see how things are going to play out in this world. With the way the book ended you just knew some dangerously exciting things were in these character's futures, and I want to find out what they are.

On the other hand, I'm hesitant. I think I could easily get swept into this series if it had a more linear timeline. Yet, I think that was part of what made this series so interesting to so many people.


  1. Oh, nuts. I was excited about this one. The description sort of reminded me of Doctor Who, lol, not sure why. I'll still probably read it eventually though, three stars isn't so bad.

    1. It could very well be just me. Most of my blogger friends have read it and I'm the only one who rated it below a 5. So give it a try anyways, you might love it.


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