[Review] Vicious – V.E. Schwab


Author: V.E. Schwab

Series: Vicious #1 (I think)

Publication Date: September 24th, 2013

Publisher: Tor

Number of Pages: 364

Genre: Adult Fiction, Action, Paranormal

Source: Public library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


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.’



Wow where should I start?

The one thing that I know this book made me want to do is pick up a superhero comic book and read. I used to always write off superheros and comic books as something that I didn’t think I’d ever like but this book is making me seriously reconsider.

We’re given two characters, neither of which are “good”. Vicious was essentially a book about anti-heros, friends made enemies. It tells us that in life, it can be hard to determine what is “bad” and what is “good”. It’s told in a time-skip format, going back and forth between what creates the tension between Eli and Victor. It’s highly effective and both storylines are interesting enough so that the reader never feels as if it’s disturbed the reading process.

I can definitely say that I loved these characters. Sure they might have been a little flat but I seriously loved them. The black-and-white representations of these characters was definitely something that may be a problem in some books, but in this book it wasn’t one. I loved Mitch and Victor. I loved Sydney. I even liked the dog and I almost never care about the animals/pets in a book. I can even say that I have a small appreciation for Eli although I do have a strong dislike towards him (Spurred mainly by his fanatical nonsense about how his killing was justified by God. Genghis Khan much?). These characters, while not relatable or super deep, was still a fantastic cast that drove the plot on.

This book felt like it was ripped from a comic book and turned into word form, if that makes any sense at all. At the time, it kind of turned me off from it but looking back, I really liked it. I can imagine the book drawn out as a graphic novel (that’s a great idea. Ms. Schwab you should totally do that).

The plot though. It was great. It wasn’t exactly action-packed but Victor was so snarky and suave. Each backstory and chapter was filled with an amazing amount of tension and buildup that made me continue to read. Schwab’s writing jumped off the page and spun a story that I highly recommend.

Funnily enough, this was her first adult novel, something I didn’t know until I read the author’s bio on the back flap. I don’t think any YA reader will have an issue with reading this novel. It’s gritty, dark, and a whole lot of fun.

4.5/5 Stars


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s