Review: Vicious

ViciousVicious by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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.

Beware spoilers ahead!


Let me start off by saying that this isn’t a bad book. It’s just not for me. I already knew that going into this book that there was going to be resurrection and near death experience. A couple of years ago when I was reading Beautiful Chaos I found out the hard way that resurrection didn’t sit well with me. Despite this I decided to try and read this book anyways. I assumed that I would like it. But sadly I was mistaken.

This book is divided into two parts. The first part is shorter than the second and tells the readers about Victor and Eli’s past with a few moments from the present. I didn’t read many chapters that showed us the present. On the other hand I read several chapters that consisted of Victor and Eli’s past. Which will be discussed in this review.

Ten years ago before they were foes Eli and Victor were best friends. The two of them had a passion for science and were hoping to become doctors. They both attended Lockland University. One day their professor gave them the option of choosing topic’s to write about in their thesis. Victor chose Adrenaline whereas Eli chose a rather strange topic EO’s. Nonetheless he was still given permission to write about EO’s. EO stands for ExtraOrdinary and they are people with strange powers that cannot be explained by science.

As Eli looks into this he continues to keep Victor up to date about his research. Partly because Victor is intrigued and because he is excited. After returning from the break doing research Eli reveals to Victor that the EO’s come into their powers by surviving near death experiences. Victor then suggests that they test this theory on themselves and he volunteers to go first.

At first Eli is reluctant but after some convincing he agrees. Victor decides to overdoes on painkillers and drugs. They devise that they will call 911 if necessary. After blacking out Victor wakes up in the nurses office. Eli thought that he was dying and called 911.

Once Victor is released Eli tells him that it is now his turn. The two fill a bathtub with freezing water and some ice cubes. Eli explains Victor that once is he taken out of the bathtub Victor must do compression’s (he knows CPR) and if necessary inject him with all three EpiPens. Victor does all of this and when he is ready to call 911 Eli comes back.

To celebrate the fact that they are both alive Victor and Eli decide to go to a bar. On the way back to their dorm Eli slips and gets some glass in his hand. He asks Victor to inspect it and right before his eyes the cut heals. Eli has now officially become an EO.

Victor feeling left out asks Eli about going through the near death experience again. Eli says no because Victor has just gotten out of the hospital and needs more time to recover. Victor disagrees and decides to try it on his own.

He attends a party and buys enough cocaine that should do the trick. Eli gets word of this and stops Victor. He promises yet again that once Victor is better than they’ll come up with something. On the way out of the bathroom Victor notices that the socket is bad and comes up with an another idea. Rather than calling Eli Victor calls Angie Eli’s girlfriend and his crush to help him.

At this point I just started skimming because I was really wanted to know what exactly happened between the two of them. Why is it that Eli gets to play hero while Victor has been in jail for the last ten years? They were both EO’s yet the world sees Victor as the villain? These were the questions going through my head.

From what I got it didn’t go very well. I think Victor tried to electrocute himself and had Angie call 911 if he died. In the midst of all this Angie wound up getting electrocuted as well. Victor survived but Angie didn’t. Throughout this whole experience Victor discovered that he had the power to turn on and off pain. He managed to turn off the pain he was feeling by just thinking about it.

Eli called and asked where Victor was and Victor told him that Angie was dead. His pain started up again and because of this he couldn’t explain Eli what exactly happened. Eli tells him to stay where he is and he hears him calling 911. Apparently Eli told the police that Victor was an EO that murdered Angie.

I was excepting the fight between the two of them to be something else. I didn’t think it would be over a girl. Yes I know that she was Eli’s girlfriend and he cared for her very much but I still found it stupid. Eli didn’t even bother to wait and hear Victor’s side of the story he just assumed and then called the police. Then Eli goes on about how Victor has changed and whatnot. I’m sure had Victor screamed during the phone call then Eli would’ve understood but instead he stifled his scream. I couldn’t get over how stupid it was that a girl tore them apart and just couldn’t bring myself to continue.

I didn’t really understand why exactly they called themselves best friends. Their friendship didn’t feel real to me. It actually reminded me of Blair and Serena’s friendship in Gossip Girl. Victor spends a lot of time explaining why exactly he is jealous of Eli and then says that despite this he cares for Eli.

To be honest I did find the whole EO thing weird to begin with. But I liked the idea of whether Victor was the hero or the villain. And what exactly was Eli then? Some delusional mad man or in the right? And the writing was very good! Hence the two star. But unfortunately it wasn’t enough.

Overall this wasn’t a bad book but I just didn’t like it. If you like the graying idea and the EO’s then I would recommend it to you. If you don’t then I wouldn’t recommend it to you.

View all my reviews


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