Book: Vicious (The Villians 1) by V.E. Schwab
Release Date: September 24th 2013
Tags: Adult / Supernatural / Sci-Fi / Humans with Super Powers / Necromancy / Revenge / Trigger Warnings / Suicide Attempts
Other books by this author I reviewed
A Darker Shade of Magic / A Gathering of Shadows / A Conjuring of Light // This Savage Song // The Archived (books 1 + 2)
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?
You know, I really wanted to jump on the Vicious bandwagon and be excited about Vengeful but after finally finishing Vicious I’m a bit disappointed. Look, I’m not saying this is a bad book, I still rated it 3 stars, but it never came out of the mediocrity. And I have come to expect a bit more of Victoria Schwab on characterization.
Revenge is what makes this book turn. Revenge against an old friend. Revenge against a sister’s boyfriend. Maybe even revenge against a world that would never accept you for who you are. But it never came away from being just that. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and it never did. The promised complexity? Couldn’t find it. It was in your face and nothing was subtle. There is no surprise about any of the ‘twists’. It was obvious how this was going to end. I would also like to point out that there are some triggering scenes in the form of attempted suicides, overdose, carving.
There were a few timelines running through this book that made it feel messy and chaotic. I normally don’t mind these kind of set ups but I need to have the idea that something is happening in all of them. That wasn’t the case. Sometimes there was a short chapter between two past timeline chapters that might as well not have been there. It had so little point. But the short chapters also helped to make you feel like you were speeding through this book. And I did. It is a fast read. It is easy to keep the pages turning regardless of my above complaints.
The characters miss a bit of complexity. Their world just revolves around revenge. Around this one thing that happened to them. There is little else. Also in relationships I struggled to care. With Eli and Victor’s friendship for instance. I had expected we would have gone well into their friendship and seen a slow change in there. But it was sped through and there, they were at opposite ends.
Even so, the trio of Sydney, Victor and Mitch was interesting and something that I wish could have been explored more. Deeper. I suppose the setting got in the way of that.