by V.E. Schwabb
Summary: 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?
Source: I purchased a Kindle copy.
I’ve been seeing people rave about Victoria Schwabb’s books for quite some time. It’s not just the fantasy or YA fans I’m seeing rave about her novels, but instead it’s sort of across the board, which should have clued me in sooner that her books were worth the read.
Vicious was awesome! It was basically a novelized original comic book. Meaning it was everything I love about superhero worlds without the comic book or the movie that misses the details. I cannot seem to get into comic books or graphic novels and I find them distracting, so this was something I’ve always wanted, but never knew to ask for. And what’s more, it’s a completely original story that stayed true to the inspirations without being overly predictable. Fans of superhero stories will recognize the pieces, the conflicts, and the motivations of characters. But it’s a new world.
I loved that the book explored the idea of having powers, but having to “transform” and take a risk in order to manifest those powers. It also dealt with the issue of what makes a hero or a villain and explored how different people use their powers and see themselves in the world. Victor was not a hero, but he was a better person than Eli, who seemed to think he was saving the world by murdering people with powers. It was fascinating to see the way the characters viewed themselves in a world they saw through new eyes. It dealt with the idea of humanity and morality. I also enjoyed the journey of Victor and Eli from friends to enemies.
While I do realize that fans of superheroes and comics are typically invested in their own comic book worlds and do prefer the medium of comic books, I would highly recommend Vicious to any fans of the superhero storylines. It was well written and captivating. I thought it was the perfect blend of some of my favorite comic book hero and villain elements.