Vicious & Vengeful Reviews: Anti-heroes in All of Their Glory

December 18, 2018 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 5 stars, Books, Reviews

Vicious & Vengeful Reviews: Anti-heroes in All of Their Glory

Vicious & Vengeful Reviews: Anti-heroes in All of Their GloryVicious by V.E. Schwab
on June 1, 2018
Source: Purchased
Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction
Amazon | Book Depository | Booktopia
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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?

I can’t even begin to describe just how good Vicious was.

If you like conflicted anti-heroes who skirt the line between good and evil, this book is for you.

If you like stories about extraordinary people with abilities, then this is for you.

If you like dark storylines with a complex, intelligent duo pitted against each other, then this is for you.

Vicious is the kind of book that will keep you guessing until its very end, wrapped up within it’s very pages, wondering what will happen between the likes of Eli and Victor as they operate under their fundamentally flawed philosophies – dangerous (or a saviour?) to humans around them.

I love how it’s grounded in science, the fervent search for intelligence, the search of two super geniuses who want something more and who aren’t afraid to undergo dangerous, near death experiences to prove a point. This is a duo that can take over the world with the right people and resources by their side. They don’t stop to think about the casualties wracking up or the body count that results from the discovery of their powers or their strive to defeat each other. While one philosophy is grounded in religious zeal, while another in trying to stop the other from killing innocents, Victor Vale and Eli Ever both think that they’re right, and they never stop to evaluate their twisted morals.

But how exactly do you temper such strong, complex and intense personalities? With sidekicks of course. Even this element of the book was well-thought out, with 12 year old Sydney and her huge black dog having the power to raise the dead, pitted against her older sister Serena who has the power of influencing people to do whatever they want. There is no closer bond than sisterhood, but in Vicious, sisterhood is tipped upon its heels as both of them take radically different sides. Is this a flaw in their relationship, or in their personal philosophies over all? There’s no wrong or right here, which adds another dimension of complexity to this anti-hero blockbuster.

Then there’s Mitch, cursed with bad luck and brawn, who is used as Victor’s bodyguard, and Dominic, who has the power of shadow shifting. Each of the two groups are perfectly pitted against one another, and you just know you’re waiting for the inevitable battle between them all.

It’s been 4 years since I first picked up Vicious, and even upon my re-read, this book was just as good as the first time, if not better because I knew what I was in for. I wish there were more stories as dark, conflicted and complex as this one, with lifetime enemies hellbent on destroying each other, but only slightly pushing the upper hand before being thwarted once again. This is my favourite Schwab book to date and I’m so glad we now have a follow up with Vengeful. It’s intense, it’s explosive, bloody and thrilling, and I loved every minute of it.

Trigger warnings: self-harm, suicide, animal death, blood and gore

Rating: 5 out of 5

Vicious & Vengeful Reviews: Anti-heroes in All of Their GloryVengeful by V.E. Schwab
Published by Tor Books on September 25, 2018
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction
Amazon | Book Depository | Booktopia
Add to Goodreads

Eli Ever and Victor Vale were only medical students when their mutual discovery that near-death experiences can, under the right conditions, manifest extraordinary abilities.

They were best friends, and rivals, and then enemies. They were dead, then alive, and then---Eli killed Victor, once and for all.

Or so he thought---but Sydney Clarke felt otherwise, and used her own superpower to tip the scales. Now, a trio hides in the shadows, while another takes advantages of post-death life to take over the city of Merit.

If there can be life after death—will there be calm after vengeance, or will chaos rule?

Vengeful is easily one of the books that I was most excited to pick up this year, and thankfully, also one of the best that I’ve read all year. I delved into it straight after re-reading Vicious, and was glad to have all the characters fresh in my head for the villainry held in this book.

With Eli and Victor safely at an impasse for now, a new villain has emerged who is a force on her own: Marcella, the ambitious, scorned wife of a mob boss who has an incredibly destructive power. She keeps everyone on her toes and isn’t afraid to use her power for selfish reasons – as a show of power to make every single person around her bow on their knees. Marcella is such a fascinating, powerful female villain that I’ve had the pleasure of encountering and I loved her raw, powerful sexuality and dominance in a world of dangerous males. 

Marcella’s story is interchanged with a few others: Victor, as he’s on the hunt for other EO’s (ExtraOrdinary people with powers), Joseph Stell, who runs a formal organisation designed to capture and research EOs, and June, a girl who can assume the face of anyone she encounters. With the shifting timelines and perspectives, cast of side-kicks and conflicting (and sometimes complementary) character motivations, Vengeful was fascinating to read from start to finish.

I loved hearing more from our favourite child sidekick, Sydney as she’s dealing with PTSD and loss. She’s become a teenager in this installment, so she’s grappling with her own feelings of self-worth and identity, while beginning to question Victor’s motivations as an EO. As always, it was lovely to see her bond with her loyal dog Dol, who would do anything to protect his owner. I also loved hearing more about Victor’s other companions – Mitch and Dominic, as they also reflect about their own feelings accompanying him in his newfound quest.

Having Joseph Stell as a key point of the book also added a lot to the plot of Vengeful, as a corporate entity acting outside the confines of the government, focusing on reeling in these anti-heroes who have motives of their own. Without an entity like EON, it’s scary to think how far these villains would get in their quest for glory and power, however it’s not without it’s own flaws either. 

With even more anti-heroes, more powers to dissect, different character objectives at play and the constant questioning of the grey morality that exists within people, Vengeful definitely delivered when it comes to a worthy sequel. This is a series that constantly keeps us guessing, and wanting more.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Trigger warnings: self-harm, suicide, animal death, blood and gore

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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11 responses to “Vicious & Vengeful Reviews: Anti-heroes in All of Their Glory

  1. I still haven’t read anything by Schwab, I think the hype and that she’s such a well loved author has always made me hesitant. Unlike with most authors, her hype doesn’t die down either,. She seems to release books so often. I really have no idea where to begin with her books but I think this series might be it. I love characters that reside in that morally grey area, skirting the line between traditionally good and evil. It sounds so well thought out and the characters sound brilliant! I might grab a copy of these over the Christmas break. Brilliant review Jeann, looking forward to picking these up <3
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    • She is definitely a huge hyped up author which makes me nervous, but it makes me happy that the hype lives up to the name sometimes! I think you might love City of Ghosts as it’s a lovely, charming MG read with a lot of depth. Have an amazing new year Kelly!

  2. I loved Vicious so much, so I’m super excited to finally get round to reading Vengeful! I can’t wait to see all the new characters, and of course catch up with Victor, Eli and the rest. I’m glad Vengeful lived up to your expectations! Great reviews 🙂
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  3. Yesss this series is so SO good and I understand why Schwab spends so long writing each one.(Although I want a 3rd ahhahah?!??) I think I liked Vicious better and agreed that rereading it was even more amazing because the intricate way the timelines are done is just fascinating. My mind bends!! And I love Victor and Eli and am a bit worried that I do.