Review: Vicious

Oh my but there are not enough words for me to properly express how hard I loved this book.


*grabby hands*

Sometimes, I think, you read a book and you find yourself kind of settling into it and knowing that for a while this is something that is going to fit you like a glove and feel like home, and that is how I felt about Vicious. It's just SO GOOD. Every time I think about it I kind of grin like a loon on loon tablets (forever making Louise Rennison references, sorry not sorry) because I just loved it.

How do I describe it?


So think about the X-Men. I KNOW, RIGHT. And think about Charles Xavier and Magneto. Are you with me so far? Two guys who started out friends and then the weird stuff happens and they stop being friends. That's what this is. It's kind of like a Professor X and Magneto origin with a difference. Except not about those characters at all. But still about mutants and still about not-heroes and still so engaging.

You know what. Lemme copypaste a blurb. The people that are paid to write those things are so much better at it than me FOR OBVIOUS REASONS.

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?

You see? You see how good it sounds?

I am so here for all the anti-hero stories. HOW HAVE I GONE SO LONG WITHOUT READING THIS BOOK?!

The title is correct, FYI: this book is deliciously full of viciousness and villainy and I couldn't get enough of it. Anti-heroes and complex backstories (wow I love a villain with a backstory) and a satisfyingly gripping storyline: I really really love how Schwab writes (I felt this when I read A Darker Shade of Magic also) because it's so rich and detailed and clever. Here, have a quote:

The moments that define lives aren’t always obvious. They don’t always scream LEDGE, and nine times out of ten there’s no rope to duck under, no line to cross, no blood pact, no official letter on fancy paper. They aren’t always protracted, heavy with meaning. Between one sip and the next, Victor made the biggest mistake of his life, and it was made of nothing more than one line. Three small words.

It's a story about love and loss and revenge and wow let's be real here: the world is not all hearts and flowers and some times it's good to read a story about people who are just that bit darker.

I love the world Schwab has created here too, which feels like it could be our world - we all know how I feel about world building and this is done so well so that it really feels like it could be real even though you know it couldn't -  and I love the whole premise of the book, how there's really not a good guy at all and yet you find yourself rooting for one all the same. The characters in the book are glorious: smart and funny and tragic and fragile and flawed and it really is just such good storytelling.  It's everything I love in a book and I am beyond excited to read book 2.