Number of Pages: 364
Release Date: September 24, 2013
“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.”
You know a book is good when you can’t stop thinking about it, when weeks have passed since you read it and bits of the story still randomly pop into your mind. Such is the case with Vicious, the second book I’ve read by V.E. Schwab. I’ll see my epi-pens in my purse (I have a severe nut allergy) and automatically think of the way Victor and Eli used them in their experiments. I’ll see a shabby, run-down looking building and be reminded of the one in which the ending of the story all unfolded. It’s the little details that linger in my mind most fiercely, refusing to be lost in a sea of other stories.
After reading V.E. Schwab’s novel A Darker Shade of Magic earlier this year and loving it, I was really eager to read Vicious as well. To my surprise, I actually ended up liking it more than the previous book I read!
First, the entire concept behind EO’s (or ExtraOrdinary people, those who died and came back to life with powers) is fascinating. It’s something I can easily see people believing today- not everyone, of course, but those who believe some conspiracy theories might also give this one attention. The idea of people coming back to life with superhuman powers sounds quite ridiculous at first, but Schwab incorporates enough scientific background and evidence that it almost begins to seem possible. I love when authors weave scientific facts and other truths into their writing, especially if the genre is clearly fictional. For example, Victor and Eli use epi-pens in an attempt to revive themselves when they try to cheat death. Epi-pens carry epinephrine, which causes a surge of adrenaline in the body, so it would sort of make sense that they could be useful in such an experiment. While it probably wouldn’t work in real life (or at least not as seamlessly as in the story) it could potentially work in theory, which is what makes it so fascinating and fun to read.
Along with the idea of EO’s, I also really liked the inclusion of religion in this story. Unlike Victor, Eli is religious and bases several of his rather scientific opinions on his belief in God. It’s a clear clash between science and religion, fact and faith, closely mirroring the one that is currently taking place in society today. In a world where nearly everything can be explained, at least to some degree, with science, it can be difficult to know how to address issues surrounding religion. Which is more correct: the theory of evolution or Creationism? It’s questions like this that are nearly impossible to answer without offending either party, creating tension where there is already a gaping gray area. Victor must come to terms with the fact that he and Eli will never see eye to eye due to his own lack of religious faith, just as many people must grapple with that realization in their own lives.
The story itself was completely gripping, entertaining, and unique. I don’t even know what to compare it to, because it’s really unlike anything I’ve ever read. This novel has so many great qualities- the developed and multidimensional characters, the unexpected twists and clever wrinkles, and such a fantastic anti-hero. While Victor may not be the most moral person, I couldn’t help but root for him as I was reading. He’s an anti-hero that you just have to love, despite the fact that you don’t agree with everything he’s done. Besides, let’s face it- Eli is even crazier, which makes Victor seem better in comparison. Although, Victor does take care of Sydney, so you kind of have to cut him a wee bit of slack.
Overall, Vicious is excellent- that’s all there is to it! It’s a fast-paced, suspenseful, and utterly enthralling story that will leave you wanting more well after you’ve turned the last page. I don’t know if this is going to be a series or not, but if it is then I will absolutely read whatever books come next!
My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) :0) 5 out of 5 smileys
Would I recommend it to a friend?: ABSOLUTELY!!
Have you ever read this book? What did you think of it? What other books by V.E. Schwab would you recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!