Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Release Date: September 2013
Age Group: Adult
Source: Borrowed from Library (will buy soon)
Summary (goodreads.com): A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.
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.
The Dear Ms. Victoria Schwab has once again captured my imagination with her brilliant story. What I love about Vicious is that there is no clear cut “hero.” She takes the hero vs villain and turns it on its head. Is the villain the so called “hero” killing those he deems unholy? Or is he the one who went to jail? Does it matter that the jailed is trying to stop the “hero” of the tale? What makes a villain the bad guy anyway?
Vicious is exploring the morals behind making supervillians and superheroes, between life and death. Whether playing God to become more than one’s self is morally correct. The story is told through multiple points of view, each offering a different insight into the dilemma of superpowers. Through these points of view each character gets their say on whom exactly the villain is. The story of Victor and Eli, of Serena and Sydney, of Mitch are all slowly unfolded through the flashbacks and it allows the reader to wonder constantly about who is good and who is bad. In the end it is up to the reader’s own sense of morals to decide who is right: Victor Vale or Eli Ever.
This is a completely original, unique, and complex masterpiece. It is an “on the edge of your seat adventure,” with characters and ideas so complex and addicting that they get inside your head and stay there long after the novel ends, Vicious captivated me like only a Victoria Schwab novel can.