Mar 17, 2014

Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Title: Vicious
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor
Publishing Date: September 24, 2013
Pages/Format: 364, Hardcover

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world. 

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? 

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: Good.

I'm not a big reader of adult books, but I started to show interest in Vicious when I didn't see ANY bad things about it. Fortunately, the chance to read the book finally arose when it was the book of the month in book club. And while I don't think I loved Vicious, and not like so many other people seem to, it's not a bad book.

I didn't really have any issues with the book itself; it was more external. For one, there's all the hype. If you're like me, then hype can hinder a book for you. You go into said book with high expectations, and so it doesn't always end that way. That's the case here. Also, I didn't devour Vicious. I read a chunk of it in parts so I could spread it out for book club, and with other books inbetween, and that made me lose some focus on the book. And the book may have been slightly slow at times, but I don't think that was a major problem. I just didn't feel wowed by this book, and that's disappointing.

Despite all that, Vicious was actually pretty well done. The writing was fantastic and did a grand job of telling the story. And the story! The way it was done was successful, and the story itself was interesting. It's told from multiple POVs--in a way that pretty much works--as well as in the past and the present. So you see the story as it happened and how it began. And it's really cool to see that, because then you're just waiting for something to happen, but it doesn't always happen how you thought, and it's kind of like a rollercoaster. Also, the story may seem predictable, but it isn't. I had guesses that didn't happen. And something else that's really cool is the concept of heroes and villains. Vicious makes you wonder who's really the hero and who's really the villain. Does the villain wear the mask and the hero the cape? You never really know who's who, and I really liked that. (Spoiler: I just realized that, yes, Eli wears a mask...but couldn't that coat Victor wears be like a cape? AHHH. Revelations! End spoiler.)

I don't want to say too much about the characters, but I will say this: I loved Victor, and even more so, I loved the relationship between him, Sydney, Mitch, and, of course, Dol. It was a friendship and a sense of family, and this quartet was just fantastic. I LOVED them. And for parts I also liked Eli, but that feeling didn't last forever.

Also, quick note: There are several mentions of religion here, but it's not a religious book. (And if you're super religious, I wouldn't say it's offensive.) It's interesting because of how it's mentioned. I watch Criminal Minds, and many murderers on that show firmly believe that what they're doing is right, that the higher beings that be actually want them to do that.. It's just how they think, and they don't see that it's wrong. So I thought that how it was portrayed here was actually pretty accurate, because that truly is how some people think.

I think it may be best to go into Vicious without high expectations, otherwise you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. (Also, did anyone picture slightly comic book-ish style? Like Watchmen? And someone from book club said the movie, if it happens, should be in black and white, with only the blood in color. Wouldn't that look awesome?) And I know my review doesn't make it seem this way, but I really did LIKE this book. It was well executed, but I just didn't/don't feel much about it. But whether this book is ExtraOrdinary or just ordinary, it's definitely worth giving a try. And please tell me there's a sequel. (Spoiler: When EOs die and are brought back to life by Sydney, their powers are not the same. And with how Vicious ended, which I did like, I have to know--what are Victor's powers like?! End spoiler.)

Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? No.
Would I reread it? Maybe.
Would I purchase it? Already have it!
Who would I recommend it to? I think this could be for just about anyone, but especially for superhero/villain fans, and those who like comic book style movies.

1 comment:

  1. First time I've seen this book! I usually stick almost solidly with YA books but I really need to start branching out some. Hype can really ruin my interest in a book. I've seen Half Bad on basically every blog and my local Waterstones even has a display for it. It's shoved in my face so much I don't really care so much about it, it's odd!

    ★ Under The Mountain ★


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