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?
It’s been a while since I first read Vicious and, going in, I couldn’t remember much. After finishing it though, I have no idea why that is, because this book is awesome.
Generally, I love antiheroes. I love characters with questionable morality and some conscience deficiency who are a little too comfortable with violence. I love seeing them be smarter than everyone and play chess with the world, and I love to see just how all the insane moves they make lead to checkmate. Boy, did V.E. Schwab deliver that for me.
Victor Vale is exactly that sort of character. He’s smart and calculating and ambitious and doesn’t have much in the way of a moral compass, but also has just a smidgen of soul that means that, over the course of the book, he picks up a few strays. He’s so compelling and entertaining and I’m so glad there’s another book so I can read even more about him.
(I imagine him being a lot like this guy when he’s being all calculating and self-interested.)
The side characters are also very well-drawn. Sydney is especially interesting as this little girl who is simultaneously very childish in some ways (see: her dog), but also kind of dark. Mitch is also a study in contrasts, and his rationale for trying to pull of a bank robbery was especially amusing. (Essentially, it’s just why the fuck not?)
It’s a page-turner and the action moves very quickly. I seriously read this in one day, and that’s with already sort of remembering how it kind of ends.
The one thing I will say is that the ending is very open-ended, but that’s no longer super annoying anymore because we have a sequel! With more Victor! And Sydney! And people doing morally dubious things!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, Vengeful is calling.