Synopsis from Goodreads: 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?
“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”
Vicious is the rare book. The rare book that only needs 300 pages to tell its story, 5 pages to suck you in, 30 pages to make you love the characters, 100 pages to make you hate them, 200 pages to get to the point and 300 pages to sum it all up and end in a battle of friends, foes and family.
Vicious is the story of two school friends that start off with a science experiment and come out with Super Powers. The story is told in multiple point of views as well as flash backs which were really easy to follow and allowed the story to have some suspense and the characters to unravel and reveal themselves slowly but fantastically.
Victor Vale is a pre-med student of parents that don’t really care about him, being to on tour to spend time with their Son. Victor has always been distant and a bit of an outsider by choice.
I loved his quirks, how he’d cross out the unnecessary words to get down to the real meaning, how he would show that he cared while still remaining aloof, How I liked him even though there wasn’t much to like. Victor isn’t quite a villain and he definitely isn’t a hero. Victors an EO bent on vengeance and retribution.
“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.”
Eli Ever is also a pre-med student, there are signs he’s had a hard childhood. From all descriptions you’d think Eli was the perfect person Great hair, athletes body and a politicians smile. Only there’s something hard in his eyes, something off in his smile when you take the time to find the cracks in his facade.
“He was like one of those pictures full of small errors, the kind you could only pick out by searching the image from every angle, and even then, a few always slipped by. On the surface, Eli seemed perfectly normal, but now and then Victor would catch a crack, a sideways glance, a moment when his roommate’s face and his words, his look and his meaning, would not line up. Those fleeting slices fascinated Victor. It was like watching two people, one hiding in the other’s skin. And their skin was always too dry, on the verge of cracking and showing the color of the thing beneath.”
My Final Thoughts
I didn’t expect anything less than perfect writing from Schwab after reading A Darker Shade of Magic and while the characters aren’t as lovable and the plot isn’t as adventurous the writing is still amazing, the characters and story more than holds its own.
4.5 out of 5 stars Fantastic standalone!
I recommend this to people who love super hero stories, are on the side of the Villain, enjoy antiheroes, Magic realism, and anyone who loves fantastic writing.