Book Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I just want to start this off with a trigger warning for anyone who has issues with death/suicide. This book does deal with and talk about suicide, but only for the first couple chapters of the book. (Planning one, enacting one, talking about it, etc. But only for an experiment, not because they’re suicidal.)

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 arch-nemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? (Taken from the Vicious Goodreads page)

I loved Victor. It’s honestly worrisome how much I enjoyed Victor’s character. He is very relatable. I also have a thing for smart characters (Kaz Brekker, Aelin Galathinyus, Gansey, etc. and now Victor Vale.) Being in his head is fascinating. I have always been interested in criminal psychology and this book lets me continue to be interested without the guilt of finding criminals and murderers interesting, because I know it’s fictional.
Sydney is my child. I feel for her but I love how brave she gets. I loved learning more about her backstory and power, whenever she would offer up more snippets of it. Plus, the idea that we as readers knew more about her than Victor did was amusing because you know if he knew that we knew more than him, he’d be pretty mad.
Eli is a great “villain”. I say it with quotation marks because this book leaves you wondering who the true villain is, or if they’re both the villain. He thinks he is doing the right thing, the honorable thing. He thinks that he is exempt from everything he is talking about because God pardoned him, which is scarily real feeling given our world and society today. I did wish we could have learned more about him and spent more time in his thoughts, but maybe that is for the next book.

Selena is a sad story. I got the impression that her story was sad because she got this power from a near death experience that she didn’t even want, unlike our main antagonists/protagonists, and has no control over it. And it effects everyone around her. It’s sad watching Eli try to fight it. It’s sad that her sister doesn’t know whats going on, that she thinks her role model of a sister would do this to her. It’s sad that Selena hates it as much as anyone else around her, and she can do nothing about it. That she wishes someone would try to fight back, to prove that it’s wrong, is very telling.

Finally, Mitch. He wasn’t a major player, but he was there. I like him. I felt bad for him when he talked about his “curse” and how is caused death all around him, but I also loved how smart and nerdy he seemed and his and Victor’s dry humor/sarcasm. I love their friendship.

I very much enjoyed the “are villains real, and it so, how do I become one?” aspect. I enjoyed how long this story seemed to take place when in reality it took maybe one week with a lot of backstory. The plot was really well thought out. It was captivating and interesting and fascinating.

I loved the way this story was set up. How it went back and forth between decades, years, and even minutes. At first I thought it was kind of annoying, jumping back and forth when you wanted to just get to the point but it left you in suspense and I think that’s why I found it annoying. I wanted to know what was happening RIGHT NOW, but I was forced to wait. It works well. I’m excited to see it again in Vengeful.


So that’s that! I hope this came off as helpful and insightful for anyone looking to read Vicious. This is my first time writing reviews and I still have to find my writing style and preferred outline for reviewing. I hope you stick around for more reviews!

Links to purchase Vicious: Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Audible – Book Depository
Links to pre-order Vengeful: Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Book Depository
Vengeful Goodreads page: Goodreads 

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