Publication date: 29 May 2018
Publisher: Tor Books
Have you ever read a book with no heroes? Perhaps the protagonist was a bad guy but for good reasons, a Robin Hood. But still a good person. But this book is about two villains. Its told from the perspective of one side, and so I found myself rooting for that side. But the protagonist is not a hero, a good guy, or even a bad guy with a virtuous goal. He’s not a good guy. He does bad things. He might have started with a good reason, but he’s cold, calculating, a murderer.
I still want him to win.
Victor and Eli are college friends. Extremely intelligent, and both with a darkness they hide. They become interested in EOs, ExtraOrdinary people with superhuman abilities. Their interest devolves under Victor’s influence into trying to become EOs. Problem is, they have to die first. But the biggest problem ends up being what they lose in addition to their lives.
Does anyone else remember reading The Host by Stephanie Meyer after reading the Twilight series? The evolution from YA to adult literature, from a PG-13 plot line to in depth character development? I feel like I’m seeing the same change in VE Schwab.
While I adored the A Darker Shade of Magic series, I found Vicious extraordinarily better! *winks* Sorry for the pun, I had to! This book is truly something new. I love when a book makes me FEEL, and this one makes me feel…confusion mostly. I didn’t understand why the characters were the way they were, why they did things. Normally that’s a sign of improper character personality development, but this reads more like a mystery. You know if you read longer, you’ll understand more. I find myself screaming for Victor to get back up, to keep going, to kill the good guy. Or at least the guy he thinks is good.
Don’t get me started on Eli. I won’t ruin it for you. But Mitch! Oh Mitch, how I want the best for you in all things. And Sydney, who finds a very odd sort of family in the ex-cons, and softens their very rough edges in a familiar but necessary trope.
I know I’m all over the place with this review. Do you like Mystery, Thriller, just a hint of magic but more realistic and less fantasy? Do you want to read something new, something unique? Do you want to test your limits of empathy for a protagonist? Try this one. I’m reading the sequel now, and may be able to put my brain back together for a more organized review of the series when I’m done with it.
And I know I say, “read this book, you must read this book” a ton, but I need someone to read this book. I need to discuss the characters and their motivations. This is a book I would reread, and I almost never say that.
Publication date: 25 Sep 2018
Publisher: Tor Books
This book felt like a storm. Each storyline a wave, building and building, characters circling each other until the inevitable crash, a tumultuous cacophony destroying everything in its path in the culminating hurricane.
Why do I keep rooting for Victor? The same reason Mitch stays. The same reason Sydney remains loyal to Victor even when she has another option.
My tarot cards felt selected for me on this one!
Sydney is the Death card because she has power over it. She wants to save Victor.
Eli is Justice, because he is finally receiving his.
Mitch is Temperance, for keeping Sydney and Victor from going too far.
And of course, Victor is the Hanged Man, because he's doomed.
Again, this series feels so new to me, so unique. The feelings it dredges up are different. The fantasy is so relatable, Victoria doesn't push it too far for it to be believable. Like this is a world that really could exist right under our noses, right now. It makes you believe.
I've loved to hate a villain, but I've never hated to love one. Should I feel shame for wrapping my heart around a true villain? A cold blooded killer? I should, but I don't.
If you've read nothing else this year, or if you have but you just haven't listened to my book reviews, or if it's further down your TBR list, bump it up, buy it, listen to it, I promise that you will not regret it. I don't know if there will be another story in this series. Schwab left it open-ended, a complete story, but one that leaves you wishing it wasn't over, that there was more.
I'll end with one of my favorite quotes, because the genius Schwab makes us all uncomfortably relate to the Villain:
“Ask nice. Play nice. Marcella was so fucking tired of nice.” ― V.E. Schwab, Vengeful