Review: Vicious by VE Schwab

Victor readjusted the shovels on his shoulder and stepped gingerly over an old, half-sunken grave. 
Victor Vale has just broken out of prison with only one thought on his mind: the man who put him there, Eli Ever. Ten years previous, Victor and Eli were college roommates, best friends, arrogant, brilliant, and undertaking a research project into the rumours of EOs, ExtraOrdinaries, people with superhuman powers…
But this is not a superhero story.

I am a little behind the times on this one, I know. Having read and rather loved A Darker Shade Of Magic by VE Schwab when it was released last year, I picked this up based solely on the fact that everyone said it was fantastic, and about super villains, so… yes please! But then it sat on my shelf, unread, gathering dust and leering at me, so many books so little time and all that, until this month when its time finally came.

I was only a page or so in before I stopped and thought, I am going to love the heck out of this aren’t I. And I was right, this book knocked my superpower and serial killer loving socks off.

This book is an awful lot of fun, very dark at times filled with betrayal, ambition, jealousy, and quite a bit of murder, but still always with a touch of humour, and always compellingly readable. The plot is action packed and fast paced, split into multiple, intertwined threads of time across a decade. It was utterly enthralling watching these two sociopathic best friends turn from all but inseparable science-bros into super-powered arch nemeses, knowing it happens right from the off, and slowly having the gaps filled in as to just how it came about.

VE Schwab manages to time the jumps between the various threads perfectly, I was never disappointed to be going back to some other part of the narrative, something that is often the case in stories with multiple POVs or time-periods. The threads are intricately plotted to form a complete whole that makes complete sense, and I was not once confused as to what was going on or where we were, or when things were happening in relation to each other.

Our two main characters, Victor and Eli, are sociopathic jerks even pre-powers, and both are utterly fascinating. Neither of them are good people, when they gain powers neither of them decide to put on a cape and save the world, what does happen is far more interesting. Victor, our protagonist, was my favourite character, and definitely the lesser of two evils; he doesn’t particularly want to do good, but nor does he have plans for villainy. Meanwhile, Eli is driven mad by his powers, his warped religious views turning him into some sort of avenging angel, determined to rid the world of EOs, despite being one himself. He is a delicious antagonist, his descent into delusions of grandeur and homicidal grand plans was horrifying but riveting.

The side characters were fantastic too, I especially have a soft spot for Mitch, the tattooed giant with a penchant for chocolate milk, but each character was interesting in their own right, both the good, the bad, and the somewhere in between. There are very few characters to be found who are anything less than utterly morally ambiguous, something I am a complete sucker for. 

This book is just brilliant, well written, excellently plotted, and filled with intriguing characters. And now there’s a sequel in the works, Vengeful, and I couldn’t be more excited. More Victor Vale? I am so in.

So this gets the mark of highly recommended. Go, buy it and then wait impatiently for the sequel with me. You know you want to. This grin on my face is not evil at all... MWHAHAHA!

Highly Recommended 

Read: 14/7/16
Source: Purchased

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