Vicious

Vicious

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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AL_TARINA Nov 29, 2017

What does it mean to be a villain? A gloriously written novel that explores and subverts villainy and the archetypes championed by the superhero mythos we're all so familiar will. Though this book straddles the line between Adult and Young Adult Fiction, the story is thrilling, fast paced, poignant and sure to please all readers alike. A must read for comic fans!

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nidofito
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.

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Matie
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.

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XkatX
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.

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akzfineart
Dec 02, 2016

Vicious by V.E. Schwab is a fresh take on the superhero subgenre. I loved trying to figure who was the villain and who was the hero. Victor Vale and Eli Cardale meet at university and it’s when Eli’s theoretical research into ExtraOrdinary (EO’s) people catches Victor’s interest that things go wrong. This is a case of an unreliable narrator because villains don’t believe they’re villains. Vicious is a new original classic that carries suspense to the very last page.

Time is an interesting concept here. Every other chapter would take place in the past, namely 10 years before the novel begins, but near the end, the ‘past’ could also be 10 hours before the present timeline. This present then past then present format helped carry the suspense of what exactly went down between Victor and Eli. The reader knows something really bad happened between the two, but Schwab leaves that valuable information right out of our reach. It’s up to us to follow the breadcrumbs.

Schwab’s take on the superhero genre is well done because I went into the novel trying to figure out who’s the bad guy, who’s the good guy and there’s really no ‘good guy’. In the beginning, I was confident that Victor himself was the villain. He somewhat admits this and the way his mind works just screams ‘super villain’, but then Schwab switches up the POV and BAM! self doubt settles in. The author is also good at creating these grey characters and you end up rooting for this villain to win, or that villain to lose. Her characters are cunning and manipulative, and the reader is not immune to that power. You learn to love it haha😉

Vicious is made up of morally complex characters, but it’s up to the reader to decide which ones are ‘good’. A very hard task to do! This is a story of one great super villain versus another great super villain, but both wouldn’t be anywhere without their allies. I loved reading about Mitch, Sydney and Serena, and how they became involved with EO’s. Mitch is the only non-EO, but he’s very good with hacking computer systems, a talent that stood out to Victor.

Science plays a large and important role in Vicious. Schwab has a story to tell because two very intelligent students use science to achieve superhuman powers. This made the storyline all the more realistic to me. I enjoy superhero-type novels, but I love them even more when science plays a significant part in the plot. When you take the time to show how a person’s power exists, it helps the reader envision it in the real world. Schwab invents the term ‘ExtraOrdinary’ and I’d say in the world of Vicious, it’s a noun that carries the same meaning as superhero. Having the science there gives it added weight. I wouldn’t mind being an EO myself – hopefully I’d have some cool powers!

The writing is phenomenal! I was never bored with the dialogue or the plot. I somewhat expected the ending because of a certain character’s power, but it was still a page stopper. Vicious is a very entertaining read and I loved being in the heads of Schwab’s fantastically, dark characters. This is one super villain story you don’t want to miss out on!

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Persassy
Jul 28, 2016

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

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palaminopony
Sep 05, 2015

“Vicious” is about two best friends named Victor and Eli. While in college, Victor and Eli discover that humans can develop mystical powers by having a near-death experience. The two friends both induce powers into themselves, but after a tragedy occurs while Victor is having his encounter with death, Eli begins to believe that those with abilities are evil and need to be eradicated. The two friends have a falling out, and vow to kill each other. As time goes on, Victor assembles a team of people who can help him, and he sets off to kill Eli before his ex-best friend can kill him first.

“Vicious” falls into the dark fantasy and science fiction genres. This novel is absolutely incredible. Its plot is mesmerizing and interesting, and while it does start off slow, the storyline gets better as the chapters progress. “Vicious” is written with a series of time jumps, with the chapters switching from Victor and Eli’s college days to the modern days. With most books, this would be confusing, but “Vicious” plays with it very well, and is so well-written that everything does make sense. The characters of this novel are all unique and realistic. They all have flaws and quirks, and many of them are motivated by dark purposes, which gives the novel a gritty and eerie feel. The settings of “Vicious” are also important, as they truly set the grim mood of the novel.

Overall, the author of this review highly recommends “Vicious”. It is a fantastic read, and is a perfect blend of reality and fantasy. “Vicious” does have some symbolism and deeper meanings, and could be used as a ‘book talk’ or essay book. Due to some scary content, the author of this review believes “Vicious” to be suitable for ages fourteen and up.

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 and...you've got me. Vicious is absolutely super. (Sorry.) (I'm not really sorry.)

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akzfineart
Dec 02, 2016

akzfineart thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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carmenlee24
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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