[757]: Vengeful by VE Schwab

My love affair with Blackout Poetry began with Victor Vale. To date, I think I’ve created over 100 of them. The majority were e-books because I couldn’t find it in me to destroy a physical book. This obsession only rivals that of my obsession with characters of supernatural powers. And the group of villains in this series is one that is worthy of the X-Men universe caliber. Victor Vale, in particular is one of my faves. He’s right up there with Thanos. The best kind of villains are the ones that make you question whether or not their hearts are in the right place. And therein lies the rub. I straddle the fine line between wordless wonder and seething contempt for their predisposition to play gods.

This sequel’s driving force is, simply put, revenge. Victor and Eli’s saga of trying to kill each other continues. Even if Eli has been imprisoned in a lab, being experimented on by an equally deranged scientist, his every waking hour is dedicated to getting out and finding Victor again so he can exact his revenge.

Victor, on the other hand, while living free, is sidled with a crippling illness from which he couldn’t find a cure. Reanimating his body apparently has a side effect. His bouts of blacking out was becoming increasingly frequent. His failure to find a cure means the body count for dead EOs are climbing. But in the periphery of his mind remains Eli, his arch nemesis. He knows he’s still out there, plotting the exact same thing.

Besides the usual suspects, we’ve got an EO with the ability to turn anyone or anything to dust with a single touch. Her evolution from a doting housewife to a mafia godfather to becoming one of the most feared EO started when her own husband tried to burn her alive. Revenge is best served in a bowlful of dust. And that’s exactly what Marcella did to all those who wronged her.

Her path of destruction crosses with two other EOs whose abilities will help her take over the city. One is a shape shifter; the other, a shield. In a short time, Marcella and her little crew of menace became notoriously famous and public enemy number one. But there’s one organization who will exploit an alliance just for the purpose of catching Victor Vale and his cohorts.

As per usual, Ms. Schwab developed a crew of complex and highly interesting characters. They’re the ones that forces a reader to examine their stance on the whole good vs. bad thing and be conflicted on whether their weaknesses are their strengths and vice versa. Eli remain staunched in his belief that the EOs that he helped create are an abomination that the world needs eradication. In the meantime, Victor is ridding them one by one but for mostly selfish reasons. So while I loved, loved Victor in the first book, he was purely suspect in this one.

Marcella was a character that I loved and hated in equal measure. While I applaud the addition of an avenging woman in this novel, I didn’t like how quickly she let power get to her head. But boy, was she fun to watch. I enjoyed seeing her turn her enemies into dust and plot to take over the city of Merit. Though her methods were hella dubious, in my opinion.

I loved this sequel and I hope there’ll be more. I loved the familial dynamics between Victor, Sydney, and Mitch. It’s about belonging and finding a place to exist that one can accept – whether that be with others or on your own.

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