Series: Villains #2.
Writer(s): V.E. Schwab.
Publisher: Tor Books.
Release Date: September 25th 2018.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Previously on Villains:
Vicious by V.E. Schwab.
What if there was nothing holding you back from satisfying your most darkest desires? With the freedom to embrace the darkness in all of its fury, life becomes the ultimate recipient of all the evil that one can conjure and no one will ever be safe from its deadly hold. Although we learn to repress all of the negative emotions and deadly behaviours at a young age in order to fit into society and promote a livable environment, it is the individuals who strive in the expression of violence that help us put into perspective our own demeanor. What V.E. Schwab accomplishes in her Villains series is help us understand some of mankind’s greatest flaws through super-powered beings who can’t help but indulge their most selfish needs.
With Vicious deemed as the archetype for revenge thriller with its exquisite portrayal of superhero lore and its reflection on villainy in its most darkest and complex form, it was only a matter of time before a sequel was announced to what would have remained an exemplary stand-alone story with more fine points than a sackful of blood-soaked daggers. Vengeful dives right back into this merciless world of extraordinary people living among mere mortals and introduces readers to a brand new array of villains who broadens and stretches the idea of evil in every possible direction. The story takes place five years after the ending of Vicious and nothing is as resolved as you’d believe. While a conflict of interest was at the core of the first book, a study of survival and vengeance stands center stage in Vengeful.
The narrative structure that we first found in Vicious is brought back with a vengeance in its sequel and once again it won’t be an easy task to get used to. With not only new characters being introduced into the game, old ones find themselves with their backgrounds greatly expanded thanks to flashback sequences that enlighten readers of their dark days before obtaining their powers. These chapters helps readers reflect on the characters and force you to wonder if they were always set on a course towards destruction. The chapters however also continue to be short and the sporadic alternation between different point of views and different moments in the timeline does make it tough at first, but quickly becomes addictive in its nature. While momentary confusion can be expected, the end result remains a brilliant jigsaw puzzle that readers can joyously watch unfold.
The character development remains V.E. Schwab’s greatest forte in this sequel—as if she ever struggled with her characters—and there’s a particular attention given to the women of this story. If you ever felt like Vicious neglected to shine enough light on its female characters, Vengeful will make sure to give you more than you could ever handle with the addition of Marcella and June. Their development is impeccable and instantly draws a stunning and deadly figure for those two characters. You just don’t want to get in their way. That’s for sure. On top of that, characters from Vicious return with even more complexity. It immensely helps when so much has already been introduced and developed in the first book, as Schwab simply uses that to further explore each character’s greatest traits. In fact, in Vengeful, maturity strikes some of the younger characters while new challenges help others further understand themselves but also those around them.
Vengeful is a devil-may-care and painstaking look at villainy, and remains a tremendous sequel to one of the greatest revenge thrillers ever written in science fiction. Of course, with the addition of superpowers-gone-wrong into the mix, you simply can’t go wrong with this series.
Thank you to Raincoast Books and Tor Books for sending me a copy for review!