Book Review: "Vicious" by V.E. Schwab

What makes someone a good person? The result of their actions? Or the motivation behind it? Although it`s hard to explain, "Vicious" is at its core a story about two people that play God and the disastrous aftermath of their experiment. Morality is the main theme, and I must admit, I haven`t been so conflicted about a book since I read "Crime and Punishment". "Vicious" is the type of book that everyone should pick up, and if he were real, I`d urge Chidi from "The Good Place" to read this book and then have a seminar with me. Cause reading this book is a carousel of emotions and thoughts.

OK, let me give you some insight. Victor and Eli were college roommates, bonded by their brilliance and disregard for rules. Whilst Victor was a bit of an outcast by choice, Eli was the guy everyone wanted to be around. He`s the type of guy that looks perfect on the paper, but definitely has some skeletons in his closet. And that`s exactly what Victor knew and tried to uncover: the true nature of his roommate. They both get fascinated by EOs, Extraordinary People, and take things further when they decided to become EOs themselves. As you do, of course. Ten years later, Victor escapes from prison with the sole purpose of killing Eli. So what went wrong all those years ago?

The story is told through short, nonlinear chapters, going back and forth between various events. This way of storytelling gives the story a unique feeling and keeps you engaged from the first page until the last one. The world is so similar to ours, with the only difference that near-death experiences make people EOs. It`s a unique take on superpowers, but at the same time it felt like an amazing episode of "Heroes". Especially when Eli goes on his murder spree, I was getting Sylar vibes. Though I must admit, I hated Eli a lot more than Sylar, which says a lot about Victor`s nemesis.

"But these words people threw around - humans, monsters, heroes, villains - to Victor it was all just a matter of semantics. 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."

It takes a certain level of craftsmanship to write a compelling anti-hero, and Schwab outdid herself. I was drawn to Victor from the beginning, the way he sees the world and those around him. Throughout the book, we see him do despicable things, but he still has more humanity than Eli had when he was still human. Victor`s sole motivation is revenge, but in stopping Eli, he`s also saving innocent people. Although he does not feel remorse when killing someone, he also does his best to avoid casualties. And can we just acknowledge that he`s an amazing adoptive dad to Sydney? And a good friend to Mitch? Eli goes on and on about how EOs are unnatural, but despite a certain lack of emotions, Victor feels more human than ever.

And speaking of Eli, that`s one piece of garbage I`d like to torture myself. He has a God complex and sees himself as an avenging angel when in reality, he`s a deluded monster. I can empathise with villains (Hello Darkling, my old friend), but Eli had no redeeming quality whatsoever. He says that he`s a man of faith, but goes around killing innocent people. Then again, plenty of real people killed innocents in the name of religion.

As for the side characters, they`re just as memorable and badass. On team Eli, we have Serena Clarke, the blonde bombshell that always gets her away. I hated her just as much as I hated Eli. On team Victor, we have Sydney, Serena`s precious little sister, with a deadly talent of her own. Then we have Mitch, the big guy with an even bigger heart, that would do anything to protect Victor and Sydney. Me too, Mitch, me too. Oh, and let`s not forget about Dol, the zombie dog. See? Victor`s team is far better than Eli`s, cause Victor is better.

As you might have guessed, I gave this book 5-stars and it will definitely make an appearance on my best of 2018 list. Let me know in the comments if you`ve read it, and loved it just as much as I did.


2 comments

  1. Great review! I love this series. In the second book, we learn more about Eli, which made me understand him better, but I still hate him!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I am excited to know more about Eli, but I`m still confident I`ll hate him. You can`t just shoot a kid and a dog...

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