Book Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

vicious cover

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Vicious #1  
Release date: September 24, 2013
Rating: Who's bad?

Vicious is the story of two men, Victor and Eli, their discovery of and reactions to supernatural powers, and what happens after.  Let’s get this out of the way: Victor Vale is scary. Really scary.  There is a part where another character is thinking about being on Victor’s side only because the alternative would be to be in his way and that would have been too scary to contemplate.  I think that that sums up Victor’s character very well. I would be on his side for the same reason. I would also be on his side because Eli is a nutbag who needs to be stopped at all costs. 

In many ways this is the story of the genesis of a supervillain.  What really makes this interesting is that you are never quite sure who the supervillain is.  Is is Victor?  Or Eli?  Both of them do terrible things.  One aspect that I found particularly interesting to read about was their complete lack of surprise about being capable of doing terrible things.  There was no hand wringing.  BAM.  “Why yes, I am just that cold.” 

Eli and Victor are attracted to the inner stillness that they see in one another. The mask that they both wear that no one else is noticing.  I think that in many ways they start out needing one another for ego reasons.  Someone to show off too.  I think that it is a bit like Paris and Rory in Gilmore Girls when Paris says, “She’s the only one who has ever challenged me. She’s my pace car. She’s my Bjorn Borg. Without her, I’ll get lazy. I’ll fall apart. I’ll have frosted hair and dragon-lady nails and I’ll achieve nothing! I’ll become my mother!” Yup. Totally, Victor and Eli.

I also really enjoyed the supporting characters.  Serena basically had being a manipulative collage girl as a superpower.  It was both creepy and fascinating.  It reminded me of Kilgrave in Jessica Jones except with female sexualization (that is so a word) undertones. I was more scared of her than of any other character because she has the ability to turn you against yourself.   I enjoyed Sydney, Serena’s twelve year old sister.  I wish that there had been more Mitch.  But it looks as if there is a sequel coming.  At some point.  And there is already a prequel which I will be all over as soon as I finish writing this.  MOAR NOW. 

This is the first book that I have read by VE/Victoria Schwab. It is marketed as an adult book but you can see the lines blurring here.  There is nothing that makes this particularly adult aside from the fact that the main character is an adult man.  There are some violent and disturbing situations but no more than in A Torch Against the Night

I don’t read books told from the villain’s point of view very often.  Wait.  Not the villain.  I mean, I am totally on Victor’s side which makes him the hero.  I am pretty sure that he wouldn’t kill Sydney or allowed her to be killed.  How about I say, “I don’t read books from the point of view of morally very dark gray characters very often.”? But I definitely liked it. 

If you like anti-heros or villainous main characters I definitely recommend this book to you.

From Goodreads:
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?

Are you a fan of anti-heros? Villains as the main character?  Morally gray area?