Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal, Adult
1) Having the nature or quality of vice or immorality.
2) Dangerously aggressive, marked by violence or ferocity.
3) Victor Vale.
“Victor was out. Victor was free.
And Victor was coming for Eli - just as he'd promised he would.”
Eli and Victor used to be best friends. Smarter than the rest of the students of Lockland University, they tried to play God. Fascinated by the rumors about EOs, ExtraOrdinary people with supernatural abilities, they studied them at first, but later, they decided to create them. But the sacrifices they hade to make in order to achieve this transformation took something away. Their fear. Their conscience. Victor went to jail because of Eli, but he escaped with one goal in mind. Destroy his nemesis. His best friend. While Eli dedicated his life to the eradication of EOs, since he considered them as something unholy, Victor dedicated his life to revenge. The ultimate fight is inevitable. The question is, who will survive?
“But it's a trade, Professor, with God or the devil...”
Vicious was a delicious surprise, the perfect way to start 2017. While I did not enjoy A Darker Shade of Magic as much as I expected, after some coaxing and a mix of curiosity and hope, I decided to give V.E. Schwab another try, and I am so glad I did. I dived into a gripping and wicked tale of revenge and superpowers, with characters who were, well, psychopaths but extremely fascinating, and while the concept reminded me of X-Men and the rivalry between Magneto and Professor X, V.E. Schwab followed a different path. Eli wanted the extermination of his kind. He fancied himself as a hero, a crusader blessed by God to rid the world of these unnatural beings and protect the innocents who were endangered by this lack of balance. Victor, on the other hand, could not care less. He was fixated on his desire to make Eli pay, using his cunning and devious mind, and a young girl with an ability that rattled Eli. A girl also hunted and betrayed.
“There are no good men in this game.”
In A Darker Shade of Magic, what bothered me was the lack of connection with the characters. In Vicious, I relished this detachment. Victor and Eli were morally grey (borderline black), so I could not actually empathize with them. They were victims of their ambitions and the circumstances, villainous masterminds who, instead of being repulsed, they embraced all the ugly things that had to be done. Even Sydney, the young EO girl, lost her innocence. And so, I savored every time they outmaneuvered each other, every plan and move that led to the final confrontation, mesmerized by the twists and turns, the action, the suspense. And I have to admit that Victor intrigued me in an I-know-you-are-a-bad-person-but-still-I-root-for-you way.
“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”
Vicious is an ingenious story I absolutely recommend to all those readers who crave paranormal with a dash of twisted.