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Vicious (Villains) Paperback – January 20, 2015
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Entertainment Weekly's 27 Female Authors Who Rule Sci-Fi and Fantasy Right Now
“Schwab's characters feel vital and real, never reduced to simple archetypes... In a genre that tends toward the flippant or pretentious, this is a rare superhero novel as epic and gripping as any classic comic. Schwab's tale of betrayal, self-hatred, and survival will resonate with superhero fans as well as readers who have never heard of Charles Xavier or Victor von Doom.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A fun, morally-flexible revenge tale...Vicious methodically ratchets up the tension as Victor and Eli circle each other for the inevitable kill.” ―Daniel H. Wilson, NYT bestselling author of Robopocalypse
“Schwab gathers all the superhero/supervillain tropes and turns them on their sundry heads.... I could not put it down.” ―F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of the Repairman Jack series
“Vicious is dark and intricate and daring, twisting back and forth through time and morality and life and death until you can't turn the pages fast enough. I loved it.” ―Dan Wells, author of I Am Not a Serial Killer
“An epic collision of super-powered nemeses. The writing and storycraft is Schwab's own superpower as this tale leaps off the page in all its dark, four-color comic-book glory.” ―Chuck Wendig, author of Blackbirds
“Utterly brilliant. Schwab takes the notion of superhero fiction and bashes it on its head...prepare to be thoroughly entertained.” ―Jackie Kessler, coauthor of Black and White
“A noirish cross between the X-Men and 'The Count of Monte Cristo.' You won't be able to stop turning the pages.” ―Alex Bledsoe, author of The Hum and the Shiver
“V.E. Schwab writes with the fiendish ingenuity, sardonic wit, and twisted imagination of a true supervillian.” ―Greg Cox, New York Times bestselling author
About the Author
V. E. SCHWAB's first adult novel, Vicious, debuted to critical praise and reader accolades. Schwab is the author of YA novels The Near Witch, The Archived, The Unbound, and a fantasy middle-grade series, Everyday Angel.
Top customer reviews
The concept of death and rebirth is put into question in this very tantalizing plot that made it seem that the people who survived near death experiences return without a heart. Victor and Eli both put this to the test when in college, and when they were "reborn" they came back more twisted and darker than they had been when they had been alive the first time. Victor accidentally ends up killing Eli's girlfriend, and winds up in an indefinite sentence in a very high security jail. Eventually he does escape from it, and that is where the story starts off, with him plotting his revenge on Eli. The story was very well written and had a lot of high and low points, with an ending that can be seen as successful in Victor's perspective, but not from a moralistic standpoint.
I enjoyed the story, I think it accomplished what it set out to do, and it makes people realize that there aren't really such things as good people or bad people, but more like bad people, and worse people.
I first saw this book a couple of months ago and thought it looked epic. I mean, the whole "blood washed" city thing going on on the cover was very appealing, but it being an adult book (in age, not content) made me cringe away from it.
You see, this is a YA blog; meaning, I review Young Adult books here...nothing else. To strengthen my case, I even created a separate blog to review picture books (The Read Aloud Dossier). So, yeah. I'm really strict about this kind of thing.
But then I remembered how much I loved This Savage Song and decided I *might* love this book, too. I did. So much.
Vicious is the original, spell-binding tale of frenemies gone wrong. On one side we have Victor who's more bright than dark, but doesn't pretend to be something he's not; while Eli pretends to be light when really he's dark as my soul the Monday after having the Summer off.
You see, they both see something in each other that draws them to each other, but that initial attraction (for lack of a better word) is weakened when Eli shares his thesis topic: EO's or, namely, ExtraOrdinarys. Victor, while having a just as strong thesis, is jealous, but soon they band together and start testing out a new hypothesis: can EO's be created?
From there, we're given a fast-paced, page-turning adventure of discovery, deceit, revenge, and redemption. I actually stopped reading this book, put it on hold for a week, but I couldn't forget it and I'm so glad I finished it!
I highly recommend this book! Here's to praying there's a sequel and thanking GOD there's a prequel!
V.E. Schwab immediately caught my interest after reading A Darker Shade of Magic earlier this year. In that regard it was only a matter of time before I got around to reading Vicious. Upon finishing, I acknowledge that V.E. Schwab is on the fast track to becoming a favorite auto-buy author of mine.
Vicious tells the story of college roommates Victor and Eli. Both are super-smart, seemingly privileged, arrogant and generally bored with life. That is, until the day when Eli announces he will be studying the theory of ExtraOrdinary (EO) people for his thesis. Victor, being immediately curious about this subject, embroils himself in Eli’s research, which quickly turns from simply hypothetical into actually creating the right circumstances for making someone an EO.
Being ever the rivals, Eli and Victor jump right into their new theories both in the name of science and in competition with each other. All it takes is one night for everything to turn upside down, and Victor ends up in jail. Fast-forward ten years, Victor has escaped, and he’s out for revenge on his former friend-turned-betrayer: Eli.
Eli, for his part, was horrified to the extreme those ten years ago, both by his actions and the actions of Victor. He’s decided that EOs are too volatile to exist, so he’s taken it upon himself to play judge, jury, and executioner to any and all EOs he can find. Once he learns his nemesis is out, Eli’s new prerogative is ending Victor once and for all.
With both Eli and Victor armed with dangerous powers, they’re on a crash-course for the ultimate reunion.
Reading Vicious gave me the same feeling as when I watched the first (and best) season of Heroes (the original, not the newly rebooted). You have these everyday people who have within themselves power. In Vicious we learn that these “powers” can manifest in near-death experiences and I thought it was interesting how V.E. Schwab incorporated the different aspects of the experiences to have an impact on what form the powers ended up taking on.
It was also very apparent that the words “hero” and “villain” were both conjecture. V.E. Schwab twisted things around so well that I didn’t really know whom to root for. Both Eli and Victor do awful things. In Victor’s need for revenge, he cares only a little about anyone caught in the cross-hairs. And Eli literally views himself as a hero for taking out people who he feels are dangerous EOs (which is every EO to him). The twist is that some of these EOs actually are maniacal (like any normal human beings there are good and bad), yet I think it’s Eli’s god complex and his distaste with himself and his power that keeps him from learning who is a threat and who is not that makes his actions so savage.
What puts me more in Victor’s corner is that we do see a more compassionate side to him. On his way to tracking Eli, Victor comes across Sydney, a little girl with an ExtraOrdinary power of her own. It always seems to me that kids are more attuned to a person’s character. I don’t know if it’s some form of sixth-sense or a subconscious safety mechanism. So when Sydney acknowledges that she feels “safer” with Victor, I believe it too, and even though he retains his hardened exterior, we do see small acts of kindness on his part towards the girl. Although don’t let me confuse you, Victor does his fair share of appalling acts as well.
I really did like the ambiguity of the characters. I’m excited to learn that V.E. Schwab is writing another book in the series. I’ll be interested to see what villainy our “heroes” find themselves up against next.
Most recent customer reviews
Friendship. Mad science experiment. Murder. Mind games. Morally gray characters?
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