Vicious by V.E. Schwab | An Incredibly Satisfying Story

Posted May 29, 2017 by Pamela Nicole in Reviews / 8 Comments

Vicious by V.E. Schwab | An Incredibly Satisfying StoryVicious by V. E. Schwab
Published by Macmillan on September 24th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary, Superheroes
Pages: 364


From 1# New York Times bestselling author V.E Schwab
A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.
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?
In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn't automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.
"A dynamic and original twist on what it means to be a hero and a villain. A killer from page one...highly recommended!" —Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Marvel Universe vs The Avengers and Patient ZeroOne of Publishers Weekly's Best Fantasy Books of 2013"Vicious is dark and intricate and daring, twisting back and forth through time and morality and life and death until you can't turn the pages fast enough. I loved it."—Dan Wells, New York Times bestselling author of I Am Not A Serial Killer


I might be a little late on the V.E. Schwab bandwagon, but hey, at least I made it!

For ages people have been book pushing Vicious to me, and I’d be like, meh, yes, I know, I’ll read it one day. But by chance, I found it in a bookstore last march and said, ‘Why not?’, and here we are.



The journey was more important than the outcome

What stood out to me the most was the fact that since the book alternated between the past and the present, we got a whole lot of history dropped at our lap, but it works.

For this story, the background is as important as the story itself, because it is the story itself. What happens in the present just seems logical. The logical outcome for something that had been building up for 10 years. And it was amazing to watch it all unfold, for the pieces to take their place.


But omg that outcome

It wasn’t plot twisty amazing, it was just incredibly satisfying. Like I said, logical even.


It captures really well that hero/villain dichotomy

Like the blurbs say, the aspect of morality is really well done. Because depending on how you look at it, both characters could be considered heroes, or villains (neither at the same time though). It’s the age-old saying of a villain is just the hero of their own story. The difference is, Victor doesn’t really give a shit, and Eli accepts his role in stride. I love them both for that.



You should read Vicious if

  • You like friends to enemies stories
  • You don’t mind it not being a romance story (That should be obvious)
  • You want to read something by this author but don’t know where to begin (It seems like a good place if you don’t want to commit to a series)
  • You have hidden powers

Do not read if

  • It bothers you that it doesn’t seem to have any PoC represented. A while back some people noticed this and called the author out. It didn’t personally bother me while reading, but now you’re warned.
  • You’re not fond of the narrative switching back and forth between perspectives and times



Hi, I’m Pamela, your curly-haired bookdragon friend, here to talk about books, writing, introversion, and everything creativity! I also teach creative writing through workshops and online courses to spanish-speaking writers.

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8 responses to “Vicious by V.E. Schwab | An Incredibly Satisfying Story

  1. Yeah! This is one of my favorite books, so I am so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. 🙂 I completely agree with everything you’ve said though – it is such an intriguing and thought-provoking villain origin story. The dynamics between Victor and Eli were so realistic and well-written. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

  2. I’m glad you liked this book, Pam! I have read the ADSOM series from this author and have been looking to read more but I wasn’t sure which book to pick up next. I really like how this one alternates between past and present, I always love that in books! Maybe this is a sign I should get this one next 😀

  3. Asti

    Yessss, I’m so glad you liked this. I mean, I was destined to fall in love with it because villains are my jam, but I still always hold out hope that everyone else will love it too even without the villain love. It is just such a perfectly twisted story. The blur between good and bad, the playful jumping around timelines, the strong personalities, the magic powers – I loved it all! And yes, that ending.

    I agree that it is a great Schwab book to start with if you haven’t read hers yet (it was my first and only read of hers so far, though I do own A Darker Shade of Magic!). That being said, I think there is actually a sequel in the works now. I have no idea what it’ll be about or any real information apart from that it should be happening, and I’m pretty excited to return to this crazy world.

  4. I remember when I just joined the blogging community, this was featured on NetGalley, and I was like, VE Schwab? Who is that? 😀 and I didn’t request it. Now I’m thinking like HMMM OH WELL 😀

    Love your blog, BTW 🙂