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Vicious - Review by Becca, Teen Blogger

Described in one word, Vicious, by V. E. Schwab, is absolutely thrilling. It’s terrifying and brilliant and beautifully written and horrible, but above all, it’s so incredibly thrilling. The plot was fast-paced and intense, the characters intricate and amazing—the recipe for a perfectly vicious new adult fantasy read.

We start off with two students, Eli Cardale and Victor Vale, almost through with their senior year of college. They’re roommates, friends, but above all, rivals. For them, everything is a competition—who has the best grades, who can win over Angie, the bright, pretty engineering student—the list goes on. Right now Eli is winning in all of those categories, and that plants the seeds of resentment, jealousy, and bitterness in their relationship that will seem to drive Victor throughout the novel.

When it’s time for Victor and Eli to choose their theses, it’s just another competition to be won, and Victor refuses to be outdone again. He selects the topic of “adrenal inducers”—brilliant, but too easy, too safe for his liking. So when Eli makes the unheard of decision to study EOs (ExtraOrdinary people), Victor pounces on the opportunity. Together, they discover the deadly recipe to create EOs, and when Victor volunteers to be the first test subject, Eli’s research changes in the blink of an eye from academic to experimental. Loyalties are betrayed, lives are lost, lines are blurred, and their worlds will never be the same.

One of the many cool aspects of this novel is the way it’s told. It flip-flops between many different character perspectives and times—from ten years ago, to five years ago, to the present, and from Eli, to Victor, to a number of other characters. I just think it was so brilliant of the author to switch everything up, not only because it allowed the reader to glean different opinions and methods of reasoning, but also because it allowed us to figure out parts of the mystery as the pieces of the puzzle slowly fell into place.

Vicious has been the subject of much praise in the book community - and rightly so! It was named the Best Book of 2013, by both Amazon and Publisher’s Weekly, and the American Library Association’s Reference and User Services Association has also awarded it the top fantasy novel on their 2014 reading list. Vicious has also received countless starred reviews from numerous other authors, including Jonathan Maberry, (Marvel Universe vs. The Avengers and Extinction Machine), Mira Grant (Blackout), and Dan Wells, (I am Not a Serial Killer).

Even with the intense, non-stop plot, the interesting settings, and the intricate storytelling, I personally found the characters to be by far the strongest part of V. E. Schwab’s novel. The conflict between Eli and Victor fascinated me—it made me ask questions, and honestly, there’s nothing I love more than a book that makes me think. On numerous occasions, I would have to put down the book for a couple of minutes to contemplate the situations these characters are dealt, the way they deal with them, and their reasoning for their actions:

What makes a villain a villain, or a hero a hero?

What if you’re the hero of your own story, but the villain of anothers?

Does anyone try to be a villain, or are they only “evil” by circumstance?

Can someone be a hero by committing villainous acts?

These were just some of the many dilemmas Vicious gives the reader to consider.

In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves superhero movies, thrillers, or just a great read in general. I give it an easy 5 out of 5 stars, definitely one of my favourite books of this year!

Teen Blogger


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