Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab – #BookReview

Goodreads: Vicious (Villains #1)
Genre: Adult Fiction, Science Fiction, SFF
Reviewed: January 2019
Panda Rating:

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.

“The paper called Eli a hero.
The word made Victor laugh. Not just because it was absurd, but because it posed a question. If Eli really was a hero, and Victor meant to stop him, did that make him a villain?”

This is a story about superheroes and supervillains and ExtraOrdinary people. It’s about right vs wrong, morality, jealousy, revenge and friendship. It explores a complex relationship between two college best friends turned archenemies, and the reasons and consequences of their fall out. Schwab does a magnificent job writing the fantastical into the ordinary, that although you know the concept is a little outlandish, you wonder if maybe it’s really possible. With an immersive style of writing that encourages you to devour as much as quickly as possible, it isn’t surprising that I was hooked right from the start!

Victor and Eli were college roommates and best friends until their senior year of college when everything came crashing down. After a shared interest in adrenaline, near death experiences and an exploration of seemingly extraordinary abilities moves from theoretical to experimental, things go horribly wrong incredibly fast and these two become each other’s worst enemy. When Victor gets thrown in jail because of Eli, he swears that he will get his vengeance and so the battle between our two villains begins.

“But these words that people threw around— humans, monsters, heroes, villains—to Victor it was all just a matter of semantics. Someone could call themselves a hero and still walk around killing dozens. Someone else could be labeled a villain for trying to stop them. Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”

What can I say about this book? I loved pretty much everything about it. The characters, the storyline, all of it! It pulls you in and makes you think about perceptions – for example, what makes someone a hero or a villain? In the movies it’s usually pretty cut and dry, but even villains have a reason why they end up being so evil, right? You could see from the start that Victor and Eli have such a complex friendship. It’s one filled with admiration but also jealousy, envy, and greed. Make no mistake—both Eli and Victor are “bad nuts” in the traditional sense of the word and as Schwab writes it, they have something dark lurking beneath their skin—but in this story, it works. It’s funny how I didn’t think I’d ever have a favorite supervillain but if there were teams, I think I’d definitely be team Victor. His rag-tag crew of misfits grew on me—especially Mitch and his story and of course, sweet little Sydney and Dol!

I loved that all the characters in this book had complex backgrounds to their stories and that we got to learn about them all as we moved back-and-forth from past to present. Schwab did a great job with that as well, with smooth transitions and always spot on with the answers to your burning questions from the previous scene(s).

Have you read Vicious? Are you a fan of Schwab?
Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

15 thoughts on “Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab – #BookReview

  1. Great review Dini. I’m not a schwab fan… HATED a darker shade of magic lol and so many people praise that series… I know what am I like 🙈😂 I ALWAYS HAVE TO BE AWKWARD!!! But after my illness rep discussion post the other week my friend convinced me to give this a try because there’s some sort of illness rep involving pain??? I’m not quite sure what. But she was all I need your take on it lol! So it’s on reservation at the library. Hopefully should be ready to pick up in a week or two. Loved reading your thoughts on this one Dini <3333

    Liked by 1 person

    1. NOOOOOO EMER NOOOOOO hahaha your unpopular opinions gutting me again 😂😂😂 I’m sorry that you didn’t love ADSOM coz I absolutely loved that series, hence why I’m a big Schwab fan hahaha but no, you’re not the first one I’ve heard who hasn’t loved the series, so … It’s OK. My heart’s not that broken to hear it (haha jokes jokes)
      Okay, I don’t know if it would be illness rep? I don’t think I would’ve seen it like that, but that’s interesting perspective! I’m really curious to see what you think of this. It’s not YA it’s an adult SFF, so maybe it’ll be different for you? Happy reading 😍😍😍

      Liked by 1 person

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