“But these words people threw around – humans, monsters, heroes, villains – to Victor, it was all just a matter of semantics. Someone could call themselves a hero and still walk around killing dozens. Someone else could be labeled a villain for trying to stop them. Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”
Vicious by V.E. Schwab tells the tale of two friends in college, researching a thesis on beings called ExtraOrdinaries. Coined EOs, these humans are said to have special abilities following near death experiences. The two friends set out to unravel the process of becoming an EO, leading to drastic results for all parties involved.
This story is told from various perspectives, switching back and forth between past and present. The structure made the already fast-paced tale even more intense to read. This is one of those books that will keep you flipping the pages, unable to put it down. Schwab’s writing style also adds to this, and she has quite a knack for ending her chapters on mini-cliffhangers. If you’re looking for a pager turner, this is a good choice for you.
The premise of EOs isn’t an original one, and Schwab knows that. She references X-Men on multiple occasions, and it’s hard to deny the connection. I did appreciate the way Schwab chose to “create” EOs, though, and I think that added a bit of authenticity to an otherwise frequently used plot. Also, Victor’s and Eli’s experiments are quite gruesome to read. I’m leaving a trigger warning for self-harm and suicide, just in case.
Speaking of Victor and Eli, they were absolutely fantastic. Every character in this novel falls into the “love to hate” category. They were so raw and realistic, and their psychopathic tendencies only made them more fun to read about. That every character has some sort of driving motivation also moves the plot forward very well.
And I can’t forget the side characters here. I loved how Schwab wove Sydney’s story and ability into the plot. And even Mitch added to the pages (actually, he was probably the only good character around).
I gave Vicious a 5 of 5 stars on Goodreads. It has serious favorite potential. I recommend picking it up, a hundred times over. You will absolutely not regret it.
Now, where’s my sequel?