Vicious by V. E. Schwab
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?
So! Guess what? I finally read this book and I absolutely loved it. I was so afraid it wasn’t going to live up to its hype but I am so freaking glad it did. I am in no way saying that this isn’t a book without it’s problems but for me, for now, this was an absolutely great read.
All Eli had to do was smile, all Victor had to do was lie.
Both proved frighteningly effective.
I have to admit that I liked Vicious better than the two books by V. E. Schwab from the Darker Shade series. I think it’s more because of the characters, they are more fleshed out despite it being a shorter read. I could see more of Eli and Victor as well as Serena, Sydney and Mitch than I could see the characters from the Darker Shade series. They were three dimensional in the best way possible and I think that’s what made this book a delightfully dark read.
I think this is one of those books where everyone is problematic and you know it but you find ways to be fond of them and become attached to them anyway. It might say a lot about us but the fact remains that these characters are ridiculously easy to be attached to. Except for Eli who has his own set of morals that I don’t think I’ll ever agree with.
Plenty of humans were monstrous,
and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.
Take Victor Vale, if you take into account every action he takes in the book, you would see a very clear-headed villain. A person who is aware of what he is doing and doing it anyway. I admit that I wasn’t really sold on Victor in the beginning but I think somewhere along the way, this character really burrowed its way into my heart. We start the book with Victor and Eli being friends and trying to decide on their theses. How that escalates into a horrifying calamity is something you have to read to find out.
Eli Cardale, when I read the beginning chapters, I was kinda worried about his changing personalities and his mysterious appearance but I was too focused on Victor’s jealous tendencies and weird fixation to see Eli’s facade. He is a man of faith, this is dubious in nature for me at least but still, he prays, he has the whole God gives for a reason and the concept of hell etched into his bones. All of that sounds like a normal person but as you read on, you see the cracks, the yawning in between the face he wears in public and the one he lets slip in front of Victor.
We want to prove things, in life, more than we want to disprove them.
We want to believe.
These two have one of the most unhealthy friendship/ attachment I have seen in a while and that includes the whole Darkling/Alina thing, okay?
It all starts with ambitions and curiosity, Victor and Eli want to find what makes an EO, an ExtraOrdinary person. They find out and they start to think of creating EOs themselves. Of course, they volunteer to experiment on themselves because who doesn’t want a super power? Any super power? It goes about as well as it could have. In their search for super powers, they discover that something fundamentally human is lost in the process and each of them deal with it in their own way.
The story flutters from the past (where Victor and Eli were still students in university) and the present (where they want to just finish each other off), Schwab wrote this perfectly. The snippets from the past were just enough to give me a hint of what might be happening in the present and why.
Safe had ceased to be a place for Sydney and had become a person.
Specifically, safe had become Victor.
Mind you, these two are not the only morally grey characters in the book and my absolute favourite is Sydney Clarke, followed by Mitch Turner. They both deserve so much more than the life they are dealt with so far. There’s Sydney, a thirteen year old girl who has the power to raise the dead, who was betrayed by her own sister Serena. Serena Clarke also manages to be a wonderfully intriguing character, yes, she’s not the best person on earth but nor is she the worst. She’s still human despite evidence suggesting otherwise. Mitch Turner, ugh, I just want to give that man some chocolate milk and let him be happy.
I absolutely loved the weird as hell connection between Victor, Mitch, Sydney and Dol. It was weird but it warmed me anyway and I am hoping to have more fun with this weird as hell family in the next book.
Overall this book is an absolute delight, not for the faint hearted or for the people who are looking for morals in a book. This is not that book, it has brilliant and perfectly insane characters, grey morals, weird friendships and just as weird hateships (yes, I am calling it that. It’s a mess between Victor and Eli, okay? I am not sure what else to call it.) I gave it a 4.5 stars because it totally deserves it and only took away the .5 stars because it dragged in the middle, just a bit.