Vicious by V.E. Schwab

details
Title: Vicious.
Series: Villains #1.
Writer(s): V.E. Schwab.
Publisher: Tor / Tom Doherty Associates.
Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: May 29th 2018.
Pages: 371.
Genre(s): Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781250160263.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Click Here For Trang’s Review.

thoughts

How far would you go for superpowers? It’s in everybody’s deepest desire to unlock one that would change their life in unimaginable ways. Whether it would be to freeze time or to fly among the creatures of the sky, there’s something very enticing about being extraordinary. But first you have to believe in this realm of gifted people, which is a fine line that splits our comprehension of the world between reality and science fiction. The real question isn’t however just about finding out if and how these powers would fit into the real world, but what you would do with them. That’s where V.E. Schwab comes in and offers us a thorough course on beliefs and powers, but both in excess. Vicious is a revenge thriller that ultimately explores the benefits and disadvantages of superpowers in the name of science, and maybe also God.

The story follows the perils of Victor and Eli in their pursuit of the extraordinary. Within the context of a research thesis, Eli goes against the odds and looks into identifying the necessary ingredients to unleash the superpowers within a person. With shared interests in adrenaline, near-death experience and everything supernatural, these two wildly ambitious college roommates enable each other into exploring dangerous fields and to go to great lengths to achieve what they want the most. The story unfolds into a spiral of competitive greed and outright selfishness that drives these gentlemen into scientific madness. While theoretical implications are all pretty on paper, Victor and Eli fervently seek empirical evidence to support their claims. What comes next is the birth of a rivalry like none other.

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If you thought this story would be linear, think again. Vicious is a bag filled with extremely short chapters, constant changes in point of views and a rotation between flashback sequences and real-time events. This particular structure plays on your addiction by keeping you hooked to the mystery until the climax finally arrives at your doorstep. In fact, the story is written in a way that you continuously wonder what exactly happened for their rivalry to come to life and take on such a deadly twist. There’s in fact no denying that this is a revenge thriller at its finest. Schwab also knows how to build tension and doesn’t shy away from giving all her characters an authentic personality with their own set of flaws in order to always keep the story intriguing. With a gap of almost a decade between the past and present story lines, you are sure to always be kept at the tip of your chair, anxious for answers and explanations.

What shines the most of this story is Schwab’s portrayal of superpowers and the plague that is our strongest beliefs. Through Victor and Eli, she was able to draw upon their flaws, desires and beliefs in order to turn superpowers into something toxic and deadly. Nothing about the development of this theme is far-fetched at all as you can imagine that the very idea of superpowers breaks away from everything deemed conventional and offers you a whole new level of freedom compared to the mundane lifestyle of the common mortal. With that, everything you believe in takes a different and grander form, everything is seen through new glasses and your perception of the world is adapted, renewed and relative to your newfound powers. That is how Eli’s religious beliefs and self-rightneousness fuels his purpose later on, while Victor’s grudge burns relentlessly as he waits patiently for the he can finally serve his vengeance cold and raw. In Vicious, what you end up getting is pretty simple: pure darkness.

Vicious is a wonderfully written revenge thriller that gives the spotlight to villains. While I asked myself a bunch of questions that quickly turned into plot holes and was slightly underwhelmed by the big predictable finale, I still had an addictive and fun time with this crimson beauty. I honestly don’t expect anything short of beautiful from Madame Schwab. May the wait for Vengeful begin.


EXHIBITA

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62 comments

  • Not sure what to write here to be honest. I’m glad you enjoyed your time reading this but my goodness, a story where everyone is the villain and nothing but the darkness in humans is shown just sounds really depressing.

    On a tag note, does using an authors name as a tag help out in the long run? I’m doing that for series names as tags now and it helps me a lot for linking to earlier books in a series. Not sure how I’d use authors names, hence my question 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha yep, you’d probably have a hard time swallowing this pill, especially in regards of that character and how he uses religion to justify his ends. Tagging the author name helps me hyperlink the authors name in the description part of the review (at the beginning). If you hover over the author’s name, you’ll see that its hyperlinked to the page where all posts with that tag is on. It helps in grouping my reviews by author and, if anyone actually clicks, to let them see what reviews were done for that author in particular. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  • You know, so much of our culture over the last ten years or so focuses on someone being different, having abilities that sets them apart; i.e. Harry Potter, The X-Men, The Incredibles, Skyrim, Stranger Things, you get the idea. It’s an interesting concept, and one that has endless possibilities for storytelling. But it seems to me the mundane human has been cast aside.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I absolutely agree. Superpower’ed beings is a favourite of many and I don’t see why it would ever grow unpopular anytime soon. Some readers who have read way more stuff in that “theme” might actually find Vicious unoriginal too (i.e. they might have seen some of these powers with other heroes). As for the mundane human… well… there’s psychological thrillers for the extreme experiences of humans, and theres memoirs/literary fiction. They’re just so much less popular for readers in the 21st century, if you ask me (not based on any scientific fact) 😂

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  • This is one of my all time favorite books! I’m SO excited for Vengeful, but also a little worried because there have been so many years between the two books, and Schwab has also changed as a writer. But I’m sure I’m worried for nothing, lol:-)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahaha yes! I do remember that it is one of your favs, as well as the story behind your first read of it! So lucky! I’m sure Vengeful will turn out to be just fine. I doubt Schwab will look to disappoint fans now when she has been on a roll for far too long! 😂

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  • Lashaan, you make every book intriguing and mesmerizing. Then I shake my head, and look around to see where I’m at. 😎 Not going to happen this time. Thrillers and revenge plots are not my favorite. I avoid them at all costs! Awesome review. ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahah too many book, too little time! Thank you for your kind comment and for being so supportive with all my reviews Dani! I love to hear from you! 😍 Caution with this one is then needed if revenge thrillers aren’t your thing! 😉

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  • Well, as you know I love revenge thrillers, and after reading your great review for this one, I guess I have another book to add to my to read list. I really like the fact that it’s a book centered around villains, that really doesn’t happen very often! Glad you enjoyed the book, and thanks for sharing it with us 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely recommend trying it out some day, Michel. I believe you’ll have a fun time with it. 😁 Totally agree that villains aren’t often the center of attention. Makes this that much more valuable in an era filled with love for villains!

      Liked by 1 person

  • I feel like the absolute last person on the planet who hasn’t read Vicious yet! I quite like most of Schwab’s books, so it’s not that I don’t think I would enjoy this one, but I just have so much to read and so little time (the usual bookworm excuses). Maybe there will be a nice book box or something for both parts and I will get that when the time comes? Who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

  • This sounds fantastic!! The only thing that worries me is the multiple POVs AND time jumps… I get easily confused sometimes with ONE of those writing mechanics, but BOTH? Hm. I do love the moral quandaries and the search for science and meaning behind the powers though.. Dilemmas… 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was really surprised by the structure myself, but it sort of worked for the better once you get into the flow it gets super easy to follow. And yes! The themes explored, and having villains at the heart of it, makes it so fascinating and fun! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  • Wonderful review, Lashaan! I haven’t read this book just yet, but only heard amazing things about it and, knowing Schwab’s talent with characters, I am not surprised she made her characters stand out so much and so well fleshed-out in that one as well. I LOVE stories alternating between flashbacks and real-time events! I’ll definitely have to check this one out sometime ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so nuch, Marie!!! I see that a Schwab book review draws the eyes of Marie 😂😍 You should totally give it a shot now since Vengeful is just around the corner! I’ve enjoyed ADSOM and Our Dark Duet by Schwab, I don’t think she knows how to disappoint me! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’m glad you enjoyed this book Lashaan, and reading your review has reminded me I definitely need to pick Vicious up again myself before the release of Vengeful. It’s a shame the ending was slightly anti climatic and predictable for you though. When I first read this book I remember being surprised by it, and how Victor managed to work everything to make Eli look like the villain in the eyes of the people who found them, but it’s been a while since I read this book so maybe going back I’ll be able to see more of it coming this time around.
    Great review. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Beth! I’m already well aware of your love for Shwab and her books, so I can tell how excited you mist be for Vengeful! The ending was definitely nice though, but I was just expecting something so much more mind-blowing! That blood bath at the end will be quite stunning when they adapt it into the movie soon! 😍

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Nicole!! You’re way too kind ☺️ I’ve seen sooooo much praise thrown at it over the years too. It was supposed to be a stand alone, but she decided to add another very welcome book to the family! I’ve read a couple other books by her (A Darker Shade of Magic and This Savage Song) and I can tell you that she’s a great writer! Hope you get the chance to try out her book someday soon! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  • I have been meaning to read this forever! I am generally speaking not a massive fantasy person (sorry!) but I was totally hooked by her Shades of Magic series and have been meaning to read more of her work ever since. I didn’t realise that this book was about villains either – that makes it all the more appealing! I love reading about some evil.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve read the first book in her ADSOM series, and really enjoyed my time with them Londons! 😁 I still need to finish that trilogy up gahah You should totally give this one a shot if you’ve enjoyed her writing in the past. The whole superheroes theme with a villains-only twist makes for a fun time! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  • Great review! I’m kind of on the fence about this. Wanted to pick it for my reading challenge for the topic: a book about a villain.
    But then two of my reading friends recently mentioned they were really disappointed, and the reasons they gave made me think i won’t like it either.
    And now here we are and i’m not sure again 😀

    Lovely review tho! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ouuuf, that’s definitely tricky. I guess it really depends on how well your two buddies know you and how much you want to try this out. It’s safe to say that stories featuring villains a bit too rare though! Thanks for the kind comment, Norrie! Truly appreciate it! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  • You finally read the book, dude! woohooo… even better- you enjoyed it! I have to say, I don’t remember every fine detail of the story but I remember the revenge and the darkness and the, as you so nicely put, plague of strong beliefs! What a fabulous review- top quality as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Wonderful review! 😀
    I’m currently reading my first venture into Schwab’s work, A Darker Shade of Magic. Definitely planning on reading more of her books, including Vicious, in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so, so much! I’ve read ADSOM too and really enjoyed it too. Schwab’s ideas and writing style are just so much fun, and so well delivered! Hope you get the chance to check out Vicious soon. Especially with the sequel only a couple weeks away from being released! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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