Vicious by V.E. Schwab – 4/5 stars
I said I’d do a review on my beloved Vicious, and welp HERE I AM, fulfilling my promise to myself that no one else cares about but THAT’S OKAY!!!
If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll enjoy my ramblings about this novel. I couldn’t shut up about it in real life, so let’s take it to the digital screen. Let’s tell the tale of Sarah y Vicious.
I was at the Strand Bookstore in NYC, which, if you’ve never been – get a taxi, a car, a jetpack, a plane ticket, a flying ostrich, and GO. It’s honestly a wondrous sight to behold – it’s miles of books, right at the heart of East Village (aka bae Village):
Brilliant, no? Brilliant, yes. Anyways, I perused the wonderful Sci-Fi & Fantasy section (as seen above with le Dragon) and I stumbled upon this slimmish novel, with a beautiful cover. The reds and blacks on it encompassed a mysteriously cloaked figure with white-blonde hair. My pal Taylor (who I recommended this book to and who totes LOVED it) said the figure reminded her of Malfoy. Which is legit, and probably another reason this book called to me. Sign me up for anything Half-Blood Prince era Malfoy-esque – I’m GAME.
But okay, anyways, the book was staring at me, and I kept staring back. It was enigmatic and magnetic.
And its name was VICIOUS.
I picked it up, bought it, and didn’t look back.
Okay, so I did read the back cover first – so I wouldn’t credit this completely as an impulse-don’t-care-buy. The back gives the small summary that I’ll paraphrase below:
Basically, Victor Vale and Eliot “Eli” Cardale are 22-year old (the age I was when I read this WAHOO) seniors in college, ready to start their theses. What’s Eli’s thesis about? Extraordinaries. EOs. The people who have super-human capabilities that we mere mortals are yet to be able to comprehend.
Victor’s ready to jump onto Eliot’s thesis-game (#same), pretty much abandoning his own. But Victor’s set to take it to a whole other level that Eliot hasn’t thought of – trying to become actual EOs.
Their process of achieving said extraordinary levels is dark, dangerous, and pretty morbid. With lots of research and experimentation, and LOTS of moral ambiguity (!!!), we follow along as the two best friends try to achieve what everyone else thinks is simply a myth.
But all the while, the book flips from their senior year time period, and to a present day setting – 10 years later. In this present POV, Victor has just escaped prison and Eliot is now his worst enemy – somewhere loose in the world. With Victor desperately trying to find him.
Who’s the villain and who’s the hero? And is there even a hero in this story?
THESE QUESTIONS HAUNTED ME and made the book 100% amazing for me. If there’s one thing to know about moi, I am allll about Morally Ambiguous characters (GIVE DEM TO MEH). And Schwab DELIVERS them in this book (YASS).
I definitely favor Victor over Eliot, but in the past setting (their 22-year old versions) I still had a liking for them both (Eli was attractive and it can’t be ignored). Each has a fight and a cause, and learning about it through their switching-year narratives made it all the more mysterious and intriguing.
Plus, plenty of new characters and powers are sprinkled throughout the novel as it continues and goes on, and each one is fleshed out and fairly interesting.
The only reason I won’t give this book a 5/5 is that the story gets SO good, but by the climax, the end pitfall is a just a little bit of a letdown. It is almost a cliffhanger of sorts, and well – there isn’t any sign of a new, second book coming anytime soon. And I NEED SOMETHING ELSE (BETTER) TO HAPPEN.
But still, 4/5 stars for sure, because I couldn’t put this book down until I reached the gruesome and bloody end.