Vicious by V.E. Schwab

SynopsisVictor 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: Vicious is a good time. The story mainly follows Victor Vale as he is out to get revenge against his old friend, Eli. We follow other characters along the way and we get to see parts of the story through their eyes. Victor is a great character. Not because he's good, but because he doesn't hide the fact that he's a bad guy. He is open about his goal being revenge. He doesn't pretend to be a nice guy. That being said, he has an interesting soft spot for Sydney which I rather enjoyed. She has an interesting introduction with the whole getting shot thing, and she quickly recovers and gains her own footing. On the flip side, we get to see Eli as he grows to hate EOs and his experiences with them which is fascinating. We also see him meet Serena and how their dynamic changes.

The story was compelling, but it shifts time periods so this might not be your style if you like a book that tells a straight story. It was interesting seeing how eager Eli was to understand EOs, but then see him hate them. There are aspects to Eli's research that fractures his and Victor's relationship. I won't say what, but I wonder if we'll get to learn more about them in college in the second book. I thought this was a nice change of pace from the normal superpower stories we are normally exposed to. Victor isn't using his powers to help people. He just wants to get revenge on Eli. Eli started to study EOs for school, but he has seen the dark side of their powers and wants them gone.

Great story with dark and flawed characters.

5 howls