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 superpowered person that he can find — aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, spurred onward by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge — but who will be left alive at the end?
V. E. Schwab’s Vicious is a riveting investigation on the nature of loyalty, the possibility of redemption, and an exploration of our darkest, most thrilling selves.
First Sentence: Victor readjusted the shovels on his shoulder and stepped gingerly over an old, half-sunken grave.
I’ve heard a lot about Victoria Schwab and her books ever since her adult book, Vicious, was released. People were raving on and on about Vicious: how dark and gritty it is, how it blew them away, and how it was a must read. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical of Vicious because 95% of the time, I didn’t agree with the hype. That’s why it was so surprising to me that this time, I do agree with the hype surrounding Vicious; Vicious is simply a must read book. In fact, Vicious is the third book I’ve ever given a 5-star rating to. Believe me, it is that good.
Vicious started off with telling the story in the present day in the first chapter, then went back to flashbacks for several chapters so readers can get a feel for the story, and then went back to telling the story in present day. Before I actually read Vicious, I’ll normally say that this kind of style doesn’t really work for me, but after actually reading Vicious, I’ll have to agree with the way that V.E. Schwab wrote the book. The way she chose to write the book kept me interested and invested in Vicious. It made me read on, eager to discover how certain events came to be, why both Victor and Eli were like that, and why exactly their friendship had ended. I just have a feeling that if V.E. Schwab wrote Vicious in the way books are usually written, from the past working all the way to the current present day, I would not be into Vicious as I currently am now.
Someone could call themselves a hero and still walk around killing dozens. Someone else could be labeled a villain for trying to stop them. Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human. (289)
While reading Vicious, the question I constantly kept asked myself the most was who is the villain and who is the hero? Who am I supposed to cheer for and who am I supposed to want to die? Even after reading and finishing Vicious, I still can’t answer that question. The line between good and evil just continously blurs in Vicious. Both Victor and Eli have tons of faults of their own – they are both far from perfect. Victor and Eli are not totally good guys, but on the other hand, they are not completely bad guys either. This whole hero and villain debate in Vicious made me realize that Vicious is indeed written in a comic-book-style like it was promised. How? Well, most of the comic books I’ve read (not counting manga because I highly doubt manga counts as comic books) focuses on the similar question: who is the hero and who is the villain?
Vicious has gotten me thinking even more – does using religion really justify our actions? Every time Eli kills, he justifies himself with the fact that God wanted him to do it. That God gave him that power for a reason. Every time it happens, I get all snarky and sarcastic in my head because, let’s face it, killing people for whatever reason is wrong. However, I know that some people do justify their own actions that way (I’ve watched enough Criminal Minds to know), that they justify their crazy actions with their beliefs. However, does it make it right?
A hero. Wasn’t he? Heroes saved the world from villains, from evil. Heroes sacrificed themselves to do it. Was he not bloodying his hands and his soul to set the world right? Did he not sacrifice himself every time he stripped away an EO’s stolen life? (272)
Vicious also does a good job covering how power corrupts us. Take Serena, Eli’s girlfriend, for an example. Never in a million years would I purposely hurt my own sister. I will never not care if my sister dies, even though we fight a lot and sometimes never get along. It was just so surprising to see Serena, who was once a really caring protective older sister, make a 180 degree turn once she got a hold of her own power. From then on, Serena could care less about anyone but herself and getting what she, herself, wanted. It’s a scary thought – if I get more power than I ever had before, would I be exactly like Serena, only caring about myself until the end? Or can I somehow resist that power from corrupting me? We’ll never know.
Vicious is written from multiple points of views: Victor, Eli, Sydney, Serena, and Mitch. Each point of view was enjoyable to read, but I mainly prefer Victor’s. Maybe it’s because in Vicious, Victor’s point of view pops up the most. His is the most emotional, the most gritty, and the most dark, but then again, that’s just my opinion and my own personal preference.
So what are you guys waiting for? Grab a copy of Vicious asap! Don’t be fooled by the “adult” label, it’s as good and even better than tons of young adult books out there in my opinion. Oh, and I don’t think I’ll have to mention that I’ll definitely be checking out Victoria Schwab’s young adult book, The Archived, right?