Book - 2013
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From 1# New York Times bestselling author V.E Schwab

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.

"A dynamic and original twist on what it means to be a hero and a villain. A killer from page one...highly recommended!" --Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Marvel Universe vs The Avengers and Patient Zero

One of Publishers Weekly 's Best Fantasy Books of 2013

" Vicious is dark and intricate and daring, twisting back and forth through time and morality and life and death until you can't turn the pages fast enough. I loved it."--Dan Wells, New York Times bestselling author of I Am Not A Serial Killer

Publisher: New York :, Tor,, 2013
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780765335340
Branch Call Number: FAN F SCH
Characteristics: 364 pages ; 22 cm


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JCLAndrewP Jan 18, 2018

Stunning, complex, dark, and twisty. Pretty much my favorite things about this book. Schwab does not disappoint with this tale of superhuman rivals Victor and Eli. Who is the hero and who the monster? Or maybe they are both? The morality of both characters is questionable at best as they both do everything in their power to kill each other. Seriously, this book is amazing.

Sep 06, 2017

Mmph, that was good!

I don't know if it was because we know Eli and Victor as young adults or it's Schwab's writing, but the story never really felt "adult" to me. It was easy to read and hugely entertaining. I'd forgotten how fun her books are. This was different, but so good, with our interesting cast of villains.

Mar 24, 2017

This was the first book I've read of V.E. Schwab and was a fantastic one to start with. The morally gray characters and switching time periods, made this book fantastic. I loved the powers that the character's in this novel have, and how they acquire them is beyond interesting. Victor and Eli's reasons for disliking one another are so deep and resonating and both have such belief in what they are doing it's hard to choose a side. The back story and present day flipping really helped the plot stay interesting, and the fact that V.E. Schwab made the reader interested in both sides equally is proof of her exemplary writing skill. This novel would make an amazing movie and already seemed like on with Schwab's vivid writing. 5/5 stars and one of my new favorites.

Mar 08, 2017

Two villains - two best friends - two intelligent beasts. A delicious battle of wits and dirty consciences trying to best one another. A wonderful tale of supremacy and inflated egos, strengthened by acquiring superpowers. A predictable story, a good ending and a very enjoyable read for those of us who like supervillains.

MissMellissa Feb 03, 2017

I struggled to like it as much as I did her "Darker Shade of Magic" series, but it fell just a bit short for me. Honestly though, this is a solid read and a stand alone fantasy novel with a really interesting and dark concept. I would definitely add it to your "to read" pile.

Jul 28, 2016

There aren't even enough gifs in the world to explain how I feel.

PrimaGigi Jul 19, 2015

Victor and Eli were college roommates. Intelligent, arrogant, lonely young men. In their senior year a shared experiment on adrenaline and near death experiences, uncovers a hidden potentiality. Under the right conditions a person can become an EO (ExtraOrdinary) Ten years later and Victor is breaking out of jail with a single thought: exacting his revenge on Eli.

What is good and bad is open to interpretation of the person. I couldn't tell if it was a story about ethics and morality or just who seemed to lack it or compound it, into whatever fit their doing. Victor and Eli are presented as two opposing but equal forces; both become EOs. It's Victor continued attempts that drives Eli to decidedly goes on a killing rampage after Victor kills his girlfriend. Eli is crazier then Victor because he was raised religiously. Eli sees that EOs are unnatural and takes it upon himself or "ordained" by God to kill others like him and Victor. there is a lot of timeline jumping, I enjoyed it during the fast half of the, but when it got to the second part of the story where it's meant to piece the conclusions together, we are given timeline jumps of minor characters backstories. If you failed to mention their significance in the first half of the book, then they aren't important now.

Along the way of breaking out of jail Victor (with his cellmate Mitch) happens along Sydney; another EO, who was shot by Eli. (Sydney is Serena's sister and Eli's Gal Friday). Victor takes her in and finds out her powers are to his advantage. After reading about Victors revenge story I found him to be petty and childish. You get that by him defacing his parents self-help books. He's the one that lacks obvious empathy. You are expected to like Victor a little more, since we have established Eli is crazy via his religious upbringing. I feel bad for the cast of characters around these two more then anything else. Serena, Mitch and Sydney are all being used, expect that Victor is better because he isn't planning on killing them after.

Neither of these two characters were likeable and both were reprehensible. Eli' s logic behind killing other people is faulty and lacks any base. His past isn't brought into question. How he got the scars on his back by his Minister father, the only indicator into his obsession with being righteous. We refuse to admit religions are cults that prey on those more susceptible to that belligerent nonsense. We have been shown that throughout history religions have sparked the most wars, we refuse to believe that this is any inducement towards catering towards insanity. Eli is a perfect proponent of it. Victor is Eli's antithesis, he doesn't pronounce his atheism, it's just there. Where Eli is moralizing in his religion, Victor is amoral is his Atheism, solely stuck on his self-absorption, finding there is nothing leaves Victor with less regrets in his actions. Victor is an asshole with a secret heart 'O Gold. Speaking as an Atheist (former Catholic and Born-Again) that is shit. I never in my Atheism have thought without action to the consequence regarding other people around me. Atheism isn't Hedonistic, self-absorbed or apathetic that's a simplistic look at it. It's more Humanistic. Not to say their aren't any bad Atheists, there are, just too few to count, like not all Christians, Jews or Muslims are narrow-minded. The book really could have done without the religious debate.

JCLJoshN Dec 18, 2014

I love superheroes--to such a large extent that I don't generally like deconstructions of the genre. I like my superheroes just fine the way they are, thank you very much.

But I liked Vicious. A LOT. It strips down the idea that people with superpowers see themselves as above us mere mortals and it tears apart the whole Good vs Evil, black-and-white tradition of superheroes and supervillains. The two main characters, Victor and Eli, are much like Doctor Doom and Mr. Fantastic or Lex Luthor and Superman, if both the "hero and "villain" were psychopathics capable of great, casual cruelty. There's no good and evil here, no black and white, just varying shades of grey. In Vicious, none of the superpowered characters are someone to look up to, to be inspired by. And yet, the characters are all compelling, especially Victor Vale, who is painted as the villain of the piece at the beginning of the novel, but turns out to be much, much more. Actually, all of the characters turn out to be very complex and endearing in different ways. Combine that with a plot that builds to a thrilling climax while also moving back and forth in time've got me. Vicious is absolutely super. (Sorry.) (I'm not really sorry.)

Nov 03, 2014

Sadly, I found this poorly researched to the point of being unreadable. For a book in which college relationships and discovery are so important, the depiction of college is bizarrely unrealistic. I finally lost it when a supposedly genius pre-med character claims that alcohol warms the blood. I want to be suspending my disbelief about the superpowers, not the mundane parts.

JCLGreggW Mar 24, 2014

Some folks have described this as a superhero novel, which it most definitely isn't even though I can can see how folks might get that idea. It does take some leads from comic book tropes, but the story this novel weaves is something very much its own. Eli and Victor are two brilliant young men in college together, obsessed about the possibility of the existence of ExtraOrdinaries - superhumans. They develop theories and push themselves to the limit testing on themselves. And, of course, something Goes Horribly Wrong, and the story picks up ten years later, with Victor out of jail on a murder rap and on the hunt, tracking down his former friend and partner, Eli, with revenge on his mind. There are shades of Reed Richards and Victor Von Doom here, but V.E. Schwab makes very clear that this is NOT a superhero world of clearly drawn good and bad guys - Eli is a dark and twisted individual, but Victor is just as twisted in his desire to put an end to he monster he helped create. A great take on the superpowered genre from adults and teens alike.

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May 21, 2018

jaiblanco thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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Jun 21, 2015

Victor and Eli are two arrogant college students whose friendship is filled with competition and jealousy. For his thesis, Eli decides to research EOs - "ExtraOrdinaries", aka superheroes. Out of fascination and eagerness to best Eli, Victor involves himself and their research takes the two of them too far and Victor and Eli both end up experimenting on themselves to become EOs. With their new powers, conflict occurs between the two and Victor ends in prison while Eli spends the next ten years hunting down EOs and "executing" them. A decade passes and Victor has escaped from prison, and thus begins a riveting chase between the two fuelled with hatred. Victor, with the help of a gentle giant named Mitch and a young girl named Sydney, plot to kill Eli while Eli and his mind-controlling partner try to locate Victor.


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