Reviews > Published on September 24th, 2013

Bookshots: "Vicious" by V.E. Schwab

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review



Who wrote it?

26 year old V.E. Schwab, also the author of two other fantasy/paranormal novels.

Plot in a Box:

[Schwab's] previous novels have garnered her a cult following which Vicious, judging from the 1/3 of the book I read, is guaranteed not to disappoint.

Two brilliant, lonely college roommates become mortal foes after an experiment to give them Super Human powers goes horribly wrong.

Invent a new title for this book

Next Time, I'll Kill You Better

Read this if you liked:

Watchmen, Sin City, The Avengers

Meet the book’s lead:

Victor Vale: College senior, science major and burgeoning sociopath. Even scarier? He's the child of psychiatrists.

Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:

Victor is described as blonde, icy and tough. I'd go with Chris Hemsworth of Thor fame, or Ryan Gosling.

Setting: Would you want to live there?

The try-hard elegance of Lockland College's campus is described as "an elegant cage". The noirish glamour of downtown Merit, however, would appeal.

What was your favorite sentence?

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

The Verdict:

Bad News: I can only say the first 100 or so pages of V.E. Schwab’s Vicious worked for me. Then, I got to the part where, in his quest for a super-power endowing Near Death Experience, Victor convinces a friend to sneak him into her engineering lab. Here, he is hooked up to a machine that will rocket countless volts of electricity into his body until…until…

...until the 100 or so pages of the preview released by the publisher (Tor) came to an abrupt (but electrifying) halt. Argh!

Good News: The publication date of Vicious is September 24th. Otherwise known as today. That means you won’t have to wait as long as I did to find out what happens to science majors and budding sociopaths Victor Vale and Eli Cardale in their quest to become EO’s, or Extra-Ordinary Beings who possess super powers.

Vicious is a quick, riveting read. I got through all 108 pages well before a 90 minute train ride ended and would have stayed on the train all day if that would have enabled me to find out what happened next.

The novel is structured between flashback and present day: one chapter shows the uneasy friendship and dangerous experiments the two college seniors share. The next takes place ten years later, when Victor is an escaped convict seeking revenge against the best friend who betrayed him—Eli, who with his hard-earned EO status and amazing feats is lauded as a hero.

The inner conflict displayed by the main players made them, if not likeable, a damn sight more interesting than the usual stock characters novels of this ilk often employ. Victor, a self-proclaimed loner, both desperately needs Eli and is just as desperately envious. Both boys’ scorn for larger society is coupled by their yearning to be Super Beings within it.

Vicious is Victoria Schwab’s first novel for adults. Her previous YA novels have garnered her  a cult following which Vicious, judging from the 1/3 of the book I read, is guaranteed not to disappoint.  A quick glance at Ms. Schwab’s website revealed that she has a movie agent. The film version of these all-powerful former friends hell-bent on each other’s destruction is something to look forward to. But I’m definitely reading the book first!

Get Vicious at Bookshop or Amazon

About the author

Naturi is the author of How to Die in Paris: A Memoir (2011, Seal Press/Perseus Books) She's published fiction, non-fiction and poetry in magazines such as Barrow St. and Children, Churches and Daddies. At Sherri Rosen Publicity Int'l, she works as an editor and book doctor. Originally from NYC, she now lives in a village in England which appears to have more sheep than people. This will make starting a book club slightly challenging.

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