A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers. 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? In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.
I can’t say I loved this as much as the ADSOM, or even the Archived series, but this was undeniably good. The lines between good and bad are so very foggy, and you find yourself justifying why you want this bad guy to win over this other bad guy. I love it when authors do that to you – it was a similar feeling to what Lu did in The Young Elites.
I also liked that we got a break from these two broken adversaries through Sydney. An undeniably good person, who has been shoved into bad circumstances. Her perspective is what makes us sway towards one character over another, and shows us the redeeming qualities in all those characters who are some degree of bad.
The transitions through time really worked well in this story. I don’t usually like jumping back and forth, but the way Schwab planned this out it works how it should – revealing story lines and character traits slowly. This lets us form original opinions of our two ‘villains’ and really see how they have transformed and adapted to their abilities.
Overall, another masterful story by Schwab. But not as fun as the other series I have mentioned above.