Book Review: Vicious (Vicious # 1)

Book Review: Vicious (Vicious # 1) by V.E. Schwab
Copy: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 364
Date Published: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Tor
Rating: 5/5 stars

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?

Whoa. Who knew I could have gone this long without writing a single review? Well, too many things have happened, and surprisingly, I’ve managed to finish ten books or so during the course of these events. I know right; how could I not have written a single review?

I was about to go on reading without writing anything, but decided against it after coming across a certain book. For so long, I craved the discovery of a new favorite book, a book with a story that I could brag about to friends and strangers alike, a book that would keep me awake in the middle of the night, and a book that would bug me if I try to put it down. Well, listen here. Vicious is exactly that kind of book.  

I want to believe that there’s more. That we could be more. Hell, we could be heroes.

Vicious is the story of Eli and Victor – powerful, ambitious, students (also roommates and dare we call them, best friends) in the midst of kick-starting their theses ten years ago. Everything was well and dandy, until Eli proposed a somewhat ludicrous subject for his study – a study on the existence of Extra-ordinaries (EOs), the result of which would not settle on the yes/no but on the how/why.

After some time, Eli’s study on EOs veered away from simply being theoretical. With jealousy taking the reins, Victor found himself in prison and Eli, nowhere to be found, until a newspaper print proclaimed the existence of an anonymous hero, and we all know what comes after that.

And so this was me after finishing this book:

I was hooked from page one. It is not only Schwab’s writing but also the story itself that piqued my interest. This is a book where lines are crossed ever so often, where you’d try to identify the hero from the villain, and then realize that the roles have overlapped, and you can’t tell them apart at all.

Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.

The characters weren’t just complicated. They were nuts, and that made them all the more wonderful to figure out (I probably sound like a psycho, but just trust me on this). I like Eli, and I never thought I’d like Victor, but after some time I found myself rooting for Victor and hating Eli, and I don’t know, it’s all too complicated in a very good way. In the end, I found myself favoring Victor, because his character was this perplexing mix of vicious and human.

If Eli really was a hero, and Victor meant to stop him, did that make him a villain?

He took a long sip of his drink, tipped his head back against the couch, and decided he could live with that.

The way the EOs gained their powers and the type of powers they gained made me turn the pages again and again. I found myself asking questions such as “so what’s it going to be this time? Telepathy? Flying?”repeatedly. Of course that last power is highly unlikely, but I’m pretty sure you get a picture of how far my imagination went while reading this book.

I also appreciated the fact that this book was only 360+ pages long. Schwab could have added many more characters, but there’s always a risk when it comes to prolonging a story and stretching a mystery. Yet despite the sufficient length and pace, I still wanted more. I can’t get enough of Victor and the gang (especially Mitch and his love for chocolate milk. Oh dear). I swear, I might have to read fanfiction after this.

Don’t fret; a sequel is being written (I hope) as we speak. Overall, Vicious was right up my alley. It was a perfect fantasy read right before fall semester begins. Now I think I may have become a fan of V.E. Schwab. The question is, which do I read next – A Gathering of Shadows or her 2013 YA series (The Archived)? Help.

PS. The story reminded me of Heroes, and Charlotte. I’m sure there may have been a book about EOs before, but none as perfectly executed as this. Also, the last time I was this excited was after I read Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. If you’ve read that trilogy, and you see me saying that my enjoyment with Vicious comes pretty close, I think you know what to do. I must say, one simply cannot go on living without reading this book. 😉

Favorite Quotes from Vicious

There are no good men in this game.

The absence of pain led to an absence of fear, and the absence of fear led to a disregard for consequence.

Because you don’t think I’m a bad person,” he said. “And I don’t want to prove you wrong.

The world resists, when you break its rules.

Like everything was real, but nothing mattered.







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