My rating in stars: 4,5 stars
My rating in words: Loved it!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
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?
MY THOUGHTS (SPOILER-FREE):
“There are no good men in this game.”
There are no good men in this book. And yet, here I am, absolutely smitten with them anyway.
Vicious is one of those books that I’ve been procrastinating on FOREVER. Ever since I read (and loved) V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, I knew this one had to be next. It sounded like something I’d love and lots of trusted blogger friends already read and highly recommended it. So naturally, I procrastinated even more. But now, with the release of the sequel, Vengeful, close by, it was time. And quite predictably, I fell in love and am hitting myself for not reading this sooner. So if you’re like me… stop putting it off and just read this! You won’t regret it.
Though it’s a tricky book to review without spoiling too much, I’m giving it my best shot, because I just have to tell you about this book and why I love it so much.
First and foremost, the characters. Yep, the number one reason I love this book is (just like in Shades of Magic), the fact that these characters were so incredibly fleshed out that they felt completely real to me. When a group of characters becomes ingrained in your heart, that’s when you know it’s good. And that’s what happened here. Every single character was given a backstory, a life, a motive and a reason. Every single character had you feeling something fierce for them, be it good or bad.
I fell in love with Victor from pretty much the first chapter. Even though he does some pretty terrible things throughout the book that had me frowning, I still couldn’t help but root for him. Hell, I’d even want him on my team. Not everyone can kill someone in cold blood one minute, and treat someone to hot chocolate the next.
Eli, on the other hand, I immediately loved to hate. Even before everything goes to hell, he’s described as having a monster under his skin and it’s definitely brought out by this chain of events. But though I think he’s the most evil of the two for sure and am fully rooting for Victor here, I still can see where Eli is coming from and that, to me, is a sign of good writing and character development.
And even the other characters are all just lovely, in an extremely messed up way. From 12 year old Sydney who has a terrifying power to her darn creepy older sister Serena. And from poor, cursed Mitch who always ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time to Dominic who is crippled by his pain. I became invested in all of their lives throughout this story, and to me that’s a sure sign of a new favorite.
But besides the characters there are of course many other things that deserve mentioning because they are amazing. How about the way of writing where we constantly switch between the past and the present that makes the book feel like a puzzle to slowly put together? How about the moral questions that are posed on heroes and villains, powers and responsibilities, good and evil? How about the world that is so similar to our own and yet so distinctly different in a major way? How about the way this book will have you turning pages and reading way into the night because you just can’t stop reading? And how about that ending that leaves you wishing you could pick up Vengeful right now?
I could go on and on, but I don’t want to risk spoiling anything to anyone who hasn’t read this one yet. Because I think it’s a story you have to discover for yourself. Just dive in and experience it. If you love morally gray characters, a thin line between heroes and villains and a group of dangerous misfits coming together, then I’m pretty certain you’ll love Vicious.
“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”
“When no one understands, that’s usually a good sign that you’re wrong.”
“The paper called Eli a hero. The word made Victor laugh. Not just because it was absurd, but because it posed a question. If Eli was really 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.”
“All Eli had to do was smile. All Victor had to do was lie. Both proved frighteningly effective.”
“Victor didn’t want to run while Eli was busy trying to fly.”
“Because you don’t think I’m a bad person,” he said. “And I don’t want to prove you wrong.”