Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Goodreads Summary
TOR Books | Hardcover, 364 pages
Publication Date: September 24th, 2013
Adult Fiction
Rating 5 out of 5 Stars

This book begs the question, how are superheroes made? It will also tell you the the fine line between superheroes and villains can easily be blurred. In fact, the whole reading experience will have you second-guessing who’s the hero and who’s the anti-hero. Is it the man who thinks it’s his job to murder people because their power goes beyond what God created, and is therefore unnatural ? Is it the man who has revenge on the forefront of his hunt to stop the man who made himself God’s avenging angel?

What started out as a thesis study on Extra Ordinary powers quickly escalated into a reality based on Marvel and DC Comics. Imagine if every single one of us has the potential to have supernatural abilities? What if you can heal, regenerate and will most likely live forever? But it’s not a power that came from a radioactive spider or something other worldly? What if you can take away pain with a touch? Or inflict horrendous unimaginable torture with just a single thought? What if you can raise the dead? Or have the power of persuasion? Imagine the possibilities.

Eli Ever and Victor Vale were once the best of friends. Both brilliant men whose intelligence and perhaps, boredom would lead them to a discovery that humans, in fact, can gain extra ordinary abilities given the right circumstances. In this case, death. Fight or flight. Those who were brought back from the finality of the after life comes back with extraordinary abilities. The two experimented on themselves and with trial and errors, they were able to prove their theory. But as in the case of every humans-playing-gods stories, things quickly escalated from bad to worst. People got killed, friendships were ruined and ten years later, Victor would form himself a little alliance to kill Eli, who’d been on the warpath to dispose of every single humans with abilities.

It only looked like it took me a while to polish this off but the truth is, I intentionally read it slowly.  The plot line itself did not crawl. The author told the story in an even pace appropriate for the story line. If you’re expecting an adrenaline rush of a read, you’ll be disappointed. Your heart will not be pounding for the majority of the book. And I was okay with that. The brilliant ending though, will more than make up for it.

The narrative switches from a multi-person POV told in the third person. Though some would be irritated by the constant time switch, I feel that Ms. Schwab did her best to make it as seamless as possible.

As I’ve mentioned above, it’s hard to decipher who was the bad guy and the good guy here. Although, in my mind, Victor Vale is one of those characters who’s inherently bad but has buried, buried deep good intentions. Don’t get too comfortable though, he uses people to serve his purpose. He doesn’t think twice about killing someone or hurting anyone to achieve his goal. I also think that he’s the most powerful among the ‘super-heroes’ in this book. His power to inflict and take away pain is no match even to a siren who can tell you to jump off a bridge or aim the gun right at your own temple. I love the mishmash of powers in the small motley crew that he’s managed to assemble. He has a necromancer on his side and a transporter of some sort. And his ever loyal ‘normal’ human body guard who can hack into anything.

It’s hard to describe the brilliance of this book. From the well-developed characters to the twists and turns of the story, Victoria’s adult novel is simply put, the coolest fucking thing I’ve ever read in a long time. If there’s ever an Adult book the rest of us, YA readers should read, this one will be a great example of how to appeal to fans of both genres.