Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Title: Vicious
Series: (Villains #1)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★


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?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.


After reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue I knew I needed to get my hands on the rest of Schwab’s books. Vicious was the first I’ve read since Addie and it did not disappoint.

As someone who had been in a reading slump and struggling to read, Vicious was hard and fast. The chapters were short and the pacing was the perfect. I found myself staying up late to read just one more chapter that turned into more than one. I found myself throttling forward into the story desperate to figure out what went wrong with Eli and Victor.

I felt an instant kinship to Victor. He was neither good nor bad but instead shades of grey. Real. How he approached people and situations was so interesting. Eli also fell into the shades of grey category, but I felt he was evil. The whole concept of EOs (ExtraOrdinary) really drew me into the story. What makes a hero versus a villain? What happens after death? Fascinating concepts that were just barely touched on, leaving more room to be explored in later books. It makes me curious for Vengeful.

Dol, Sydney and Mitch stole my heart and I loved reading their chapters the most. They were just dragged into the drama between Eli and Victor, caught in the crossfire. Victor plays the baddie but I think he secretly cares for all three. Mitch was this sweet uncle-like figure to Sydney with a string of bad luck. Poor Syd got screwed all around and we have a bit of a cliffhanger with her storyline. The side characters really helped to make this story though and I’m glad we got to really know them.

The story between Eli and Victor isn’t over yet but I’m not really sure where it will go from here. Wherever it goes though I hope it includes more Dol the dog and discovering more EOs.

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