Review 235. V.E Schwab – Vicious.

13638125Title: Vicious
Author: V.E (Victoria) Schwab.
Pages: 364.
Published: September 24th 2013 by Tor.
Sort: Stand-alone.
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?

Let one thing be clear: Victoria knows how the write. I fell in love with A darker shade of magic and I also really liked The Archived and The near witch. I think this book ended up being a little disappointed, because I was expecting more from it. The love I felt for ADSOM and the raving reviews for this book made me think it was going to be epic, and while it was good, I wasn’t fully blown-away by it. Christina also made me look differently at some things and she opened up my eyes for things that could have been better.

“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human."

This book is written from different time periods and I appreciate how natural the flow felt. I never had the idea that it was too jumpy or that it didn’t make any sense. This way of telling the story gave us little clues until everything falls together – and I love that. It’s difficult to achieve such a thing, which is further prove that Victoria is a gifted author.

We get to see ‘10 years before’ when Victor and Eli are friends, studying medicine. Eli choose EO’s (ExtraOrdinary) as his thesis subject. Victor believes it’s only a joke, but Eli is hell-bound on proving his hypothesis that EO’s exist. Victor takes it a step further when Eli explains his theory of gaining superpowers when you have a nearly-death experience (NDE). He wants to be a test subject. Their first attempt fails miserably and Victor ends up in the hospital, but they learn from their mistakes and Eli later returns with his special power. Victor undertakes his own attempt, because Eli no longer wants to help him, and this is where things go wrong. Fast-forward, where we see Victor escaping from prison, teaming up with Mitch and Sydney to find Eli and destroy him. We see Eli’s belief that he has a mission on this earth given to him by God and how he works together with Serena, another EO.

The story constantly builds up toward the end battle between Eli and Victor. I loved seeing the start of their friendship and how they are both attracted to each other in a dark way. It was interesting to see the theory behind EO’s, but Christina pointed out that there are many flaws in the scientific explanations. Like, how it doesn’t make any sense that your last thought has any influence on the gained superpower. The build-up was nicely done, but the conclusion was a bit of a let-down. It wasn’t very unexpected, even when the characters used a clever strategy.

I felt very disconnected from the characters. I am not sure if that was the purpose from Victoria (and if so, she succeeded), but as result it made me feel disconnected from the story. Victor and Eli could have been fascinating characters, but they were undeveloped in my opinion. Victor has this constant, depressing mood and Eli has a twisted darkness behind his smile. They are both highly intelligent and EO’s, but that’s practically all I know about them.

The highlight of this book is definitely the writing. No matter what Victoria writes, I’m always hooked. She has an easy style that sucks you right into the story. It made me forget about the fact that I’m reading. Best feeling! So, I might not have loved this book as much as I thought I would, it’s still very good and recommended.

I also read the novella called Warm-up, which can be read for free over here: It’s a great way to meet Victoria’s writing for the first time. There are no spoilers for Vicious and it’s an interesting story.


  1. I loved this one, but it was also my first VE Schwab book. AND IT WAS ABOUT VILLAINS AND HEROES WHICH IS MY WEAKNESS. *hugs all the psychopaths in Vicious* I especially loved Sydney too. So basically now I need go read EVERY BOOK SHE'S EVER WRITTEN. *hyperventilates quietly*

    1. I definitely love Villains and heroes! I really wish she would write a review, because there is so much potential for more!

  2. Schwab is on top of my author auto-buy list for sure! :D Loved this book so much!

  3. I LOVED this one to pieces too but it was also my first Schwab read so I was swept away by the shades of grey characters where no one is a hero and everyone has this darkness to them. I didn't even think of issues with the science behind the EO's, I just went along for the ride! I still need to read The Near Witch and book 2 of The Archived Series though :)

    1. The near witch was my first book and I was already impressed. She continues to amaze me.

  4. Yay :D Gorgeous review Mel. <3 So glad that you liked this book so much. But aw, I'm sorry you were a bit disappointed by it :\ I also loved her newest book. But nervous about reading this one, lol. But I fear I will hate it. So I think I will be surprised by liking it, hopefully :) I'm not sure. But reading it sometime soonish ;p Anyway. Your thoughts about it are amazing. You make it seem really great :) Thank you for sharing. <3

  5. I have a lot of reading to do if I want to catch up on Victoria's stuff! The only novel I've ever read from her was The Near Witch, which I thought was absolutely lovely. Her writing is very easy to get into indeed, and she paints her pictures of the world and characters so, so well. I'm curious about Vicious, but also wary - your review has definitely made me feel a little less anxious to read it eventually (in a good way)!

  6. This was my kind of book so I loved it but I also read it before the hype got so out of hand. I'm sorry it was a little disappointing to you but I think we agree that Victoria's writing is wonderful regardless. :)

  7. I really want to read this one, I love the premise and am so excited to get to it. I definitely need to hurry up and order myself a copy. I hear so many amazing things about V.E. Schwab, so I really want to read something of hers asap.

  8. I am so glad that you liked this book Mel because this is my all time favourite book! I adored Victoria's writing - she's amazing, isn't she? - and the constant conflict on deciding who's the villain and who's the hero in the story.
    Lovely review Mel!


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