I have been eagerly anticipating Vicious by Victoria Schwab since the first announcement of the book deal. When I get into a discussion of authors with the best writing style, she is one of the first people I always mention. So, a book about superheroes written by a master of her craft? Oh, I knew it would be magic.
The story surrounds Victor and Eli. They attended university together and got tangled up in a project studying EOs (Extra Ordinaries). Are they real? Where do their supposed abilities come from? Delving into the science behind those questions leads our boys down a dark road neither of them is ever able to come back from. They go from a strange friend/frenemy(ish) relationship to a pretty ugly one of outright adversaries.
The moments that define our lives aren’t always obvious. They don’t always scream LEDGE, and nine times out of ten there’s no rope to duck under, no line to cross, no blood pact, no official letter on fancy paper. They aren’t always protracted, heavy with meaning. Between one sip and the next, Victor made the biggest mistake of his life, and it was made of nothing more than one line. Three small words.
“I’ll go first.”
The story alternates between the distant past, the not-so-distant past and the present. From Eli and Victor’s school days to the days and weeks leading up to their final showdown, to the big day itself. If that sounds like the recipe to a hot mess to you? Stop worrying. I told you, when you’re with Victoria Schwab, you will learn to expect nothing less than brilliance. (Have I mentioned how much I love her writing? Because I really love her writing.)
I absolutely love the characterization throughout Vicious. Good luck deciding who is bad, good, mostly good, partly bad…who knows what to think about any of them, really. They’re quite the motley crew (keep in mind that most of them have extraordinary abilities). Victor is on a mission of revenge – ten years after Eli puts him in prison, he is ready to take back his own. He picks up a couple of sidekicks along the way…Mitch and Sydney (the only two characters you’ll wholeheartedly root for). Victor is a pretty complicated guy, but you kinda can’t help but like him. Probably because you would have to be a sociopath to side with Eli over him. Same goes for Eli’s TERRIBLE cohort, Serena, who freaked me the eff out.
Eli is a zealot with a hero complex. He thinks he is on some righteous mission (and I think he has a few screws loose). I know he is supposed to be the main “bad guy,” but you guys – I hated Serena a lot more. Eli’s evil is narrow and focused, and about as blunt as a club over the head. Serena’s powers are slithering and all-encompassing. I found her extremely immature and mercurial, which are not good things to be when you have the power to manipulate the crap out of everything. When she and Eli were together, you better believe I was waving a “TEAM ELI” flag high and proud.
Anyway, when it comes down to it? You should scurry right over to the bookstore and pick up a copy of Vicious. Heck, pick up three. Do your part to make sure the publisher is interested in a sequel! Once you finish reading, you’ll definitely be jonesing for more.