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?
I finally did it! Vicious is no longer on my TBR list and it feels so much lighter already!
There’s a reason it took me this long to start Vicious, even before the sequel was announced, despite seeing all the raving reviews about the book. The reason was my experience with The Monsters of Verity duology. It was an amazing series, no doubt. And it made me discover what a brilliant writer Schwab is. But that ending? It had brought me over the fence about reading anything else by her. I didn’t doubt Schwab’s masterful storytelling but I was wary of its impact on me. But I’m glad I finally took the jump and finished Vicious!
Vicious was a roller-coaster ride and I enjoyed every moment of it. At the beginning, I was almost scared to proceed with the book when I was reading the Before parts. I knew that it was the calm before the storm. But I kinda wanted these two friends to not change despite feeling the undercurrents of more beneath the seemingly normalcy of their lives.
Having constant flash-forwards and flash-backwards can be a tricky thing to execute. It doesn’t always make for an effective method of story-telling. But Schwab makes it work. I don’t think the story would have been as intriguing if it was told in a linear timeline. It’s the anticipation of the cause and aftermath that makes Vicious so gripping right from the start.
The first half of the book has a simmering feel to it. I was engrossed but at the same time, kept wanting more. It was not until the dive into Serena’s psyche that I felt utterly captivated. Serena, to me, was the most chilling character, even among an ensemble of a crazy bunch of characters.
Almost all the characters in this book are substantial in not only the power they wield, but also in the way they are fleshed out. It is easy for some characters to lose their significance when you have so many things happening at once. But Schwab fleshed out each and every character with an unique voice that ensures none of them are dwarfed by another.
Victor, despite his eerie line of thinking, was endearing. The way he collects his strays, and cares for them without showing it, is just adorable. Even at the beginning, he seems to be the one giving more value to his friendship with Eli than the latter. Their enmity also feels to hold more magnitude for Vic than Eli.
I think, at the end, what differentiates Victor and Eli is Vic’s self-awareness. His awareness of his own faults and the darkness inside him makes him a much more logical character than Eli who lets his delusions rule him.
I don’t know who I wanted to hug more throughout the story – Vic or Sydney. The best part of the book for me was their bonding. And let’s not forget Mitch. He was the perfect addition to the duo of candy and spice that’s Sydney and Vic. Heh…
Do I regret waiting this long to start Vicious? No. I get to devour the sequel immediately now. How lucky is that? But I kinda almost wish there was no sequel? After the experience with that first series by Schwab, I’m feeling very nervous about what direction the sequel will take.
Whatever it be, Vicious was a piece of masterful storytelling with beautiful character development that everyone needs to read!
My Rating: ★★★★★