VIcious - V.E. Schwab

Vicious by V.E. Schwab


September 2013
364p (Hardcover)


RATING : ★★★★★


Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction



A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world. 


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?"


Not everyone with a super power becomes a superhero. Some powers just make you Vicious.


Vicious is a novel that not only lives up to it’s promising blurb but surpasses all expectations. V.E. Schwab, more commonly know as Victoria Schwab, creates a masterful tale of a world full of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, all set within a near-future alternative universe where the ability to get superpowers is available. Schwab introduces the readers to interesting characters, a thrilling plot and engaging, addictive writing.


Although this was my first Schwab book, I can see myself picking up her other works to see if all her writing is like this. While the beginning chapter are engaging and the plot starts straight away, this book grows on you slowly but all of a sudden it demands you to keep turning pages until the end. This book was so unexpected of for me that I find it hard explain just how great this truly it. 


“If Eli really was a hero, and Victor meant to stop him, did that make him a villain?” 


Vicious is about superheroes, or shall I say anti heroes, and villains and how sometimes its hard to differentiate between the two. This story is about ambitions, betrayal and jealousy. People who worked together to figure out this power, find themselves torn apart by the discoveries of said powers. What Schwab did brilliantly is she created a protagonist that despite wanting to stop the villain of the story, is not the hero. 


The story is split between the present and ten years ago. The present tells the story of Victor, an escaped convict, who is determined to find his former best friend slash enemy and deliver revenge. The ten years ago flashbacks shows Victor as a young university student that with the help of his best friend Eli, plan to plan to discover whether EOs (Extra-Ordinaries) exist. The friendship between the two men is complex, where emotion wavered from admiration and jealously of the other. They delve into an experiment involving near death experiences and how "coming back" may trigger supernatural abilities. When tragedy strikes, Victor is sent to prison and Eli deems himself a saviour, set to destroy all EOs. 


"Life—the way it really is—is a battle not between Bad and Good, but between Bad and Worse.

—Joseph Brodsky” 



Vicious is a disturbing and dark. It's a portrayal of damaged characters, nobody is spared. What really separates Vicious from other books is that no character within this story is expendable. Each character has something to add towards the plot and each has great character development. Although certain characters did annoy me with their logic, it was easy to overlook because Schwab didn’t drag things out. 


I honestly loved Vicious and it has easily become one of my favourites and a book I most recommend to people. Its an addictive story with moral dilemmas from each character that has to deal with the fact they have superhero powers.