Review: Vicious | V.E. Schwab


VICIOUS (Villains, #1) | V.E. Schwab


Series: Villains (Book 1)

Hardcover: 400 pages

Publisher: Tor Books; 2 edition

Publication Date: May 29, 2018


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?”

Review 3.1

Wow. JUST WOW. Not what I expected but definitely a welcome surprise. For a while now fellow readers and bloggers have recommended this book to me and, finally, I bought and read the book, and thank god I did because I freaking loved it!

I hadn’t read the synopsis of Vicious until after I had bought it, and so the modern setting and contemporary plot threw me way off. Plus, the original cover had a fantastical quality to it, so I didn’t really know what I was getting into. And having bought the new solid red and black cover, I STILL was unsure what type of story it was until I began reading.

Victor and Eli are not your typical MCs. Neither one of them is particularly a good person. In fact, both have a darkness inside of them that writhes just beneath the surface and that darkness rears its ugly head when challenged or given companionship of a similar nature. And Eli and Victor are just that, of a similar nature. Both are sociopathic, self-serving, reckless, brilliant, arrogant, cruel, just plain mean bastards.

The dynamic between Victor and Eli (especially in their youth) is nuanced and devastating. Frenemy is the word that comes to mind, but they are so much more than that. I love the wicked picture Schwab paints of each of them. Their journey in becoming EOs (ExtraOrdinaries) is much more brutal and nasty than you can imagine. And the results of their ambitions are something frightening, both in the properties of their abilities and in the decay of their relationship.

I love the other characters as well. Sydney and Mitch make perfect foils to Victor’s dark yet charismatic personality, though neither one of their stories is less glamorous than Victor’s. All three of them together are an odd company but they all just work. And Eli’s side of the story is a perilous slope that is made even more interesting with the company that he keeps and the schemes that he devises. Schwab, in short, gives each of her characters a reason for existing.

The author navigates all her characters thoughts and actions using various character narratives, time skips, and flash-forwards, which give Vicious a unique identity and serve to complement the flow of the narrative. Schwab, to put it simply, is brilliant. This book was well-constructed, solidly formatted, and wonderfully compelling. The strongest aspects of the book, of course, are the characters. Once I started reading this book, it was nearly impossible to put it down. Hands down, my favorite book from Schwab so far.


5 stars

11 thoughts on “Review: Vicious | V.E. Schwab

  1. I’m really glad you loved this book Azia, and that it lived up to what everyone was telling you about it too. Vicious by V.E. Schwab is definitely one of my favourites (not my ultimate favourite though, that’s the Shades of Magic books). I loved the dynamic between Eli and Victor, I thought the story had the perfect pacing flipping between past and present and it really added to their story and their individual journey. I’m glad this is your favourite book by Schwab so far, are there any other of her releases you still need to pick up?
    Great review as well. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vicious really is a brilliant book. And Schwab is such a gifted writer. I have yet to start Our Dark Duet and I haven’t read any of her older books; so far, just the Shades of Magic series, the Villains books, and This Savage Song. Any recommendations?
      Thanks so much 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely Our Dark Duet, obviously you have to read that first. Her Archived series is good, and same for the Cassidy Blake series (what I’ve read so far which is just the first book), but my favourite is always going to be Shades of Magic. 🙂
        That’s all right. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ll be sure to check those out soon. I’ll probably read Our Dark Duet first, since I’ve already bought it, and then I’ll see about her other series. Thanks for the recs! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m SO HAPPY to see that you loved this book! This is my favourite Victoria Schwab book. ❤ The characters and plot of this story are soo fascinating. My favourite is definitely Victor, I just have such a soft-spot for him. I NEED to reread this book soon! Both because there is a sequel I haven't read yet and because it's been ages since I read this book. Hopefully I'll be able to pick it up soon. Amazing review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes! Isn’t this book amazing?!?! Victor is one of the most amazing anti-heroes. But he’s not even that is he? He truly is a grey character lol. I hope you pick it up soon too! Vengeful was awesome. Not as amazing as the first, I don’t think, but one of the better books out there right now I think!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes!
    This book came as a surprise to me as well (since I’d read Shades of Magic, and I simply assumend it would be like that trilogy).
    Your analysis of Victor and Eli – Exactly that! Frenemies who are the same, who build each other up, who push each other forward! and Sydney and Mitch an infusion of normalcy in a world of crazy and sociopaths.
    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right!? That was my exact thought. I expected it to be somewhat in the same world or a similar world to Red London!
      Eli and Victor’s dynamic relationship really makes the story. But Sydney and Mitch are such a great balance to their psychotic energies LOL. I’m so happy you liked the book too!
      Thanks so much! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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