Friday, April 11, 2014

Review: Vicious

13638125Title: Vicious
Author:Victoria Schwab
Genre: Science fiction

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:
A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.
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.

I really liked this book, but it didn't live up to the hype. It's great, but definitely not ExtraOrdinary (sorry, couldn't resist :) ).

Vicious is told in alternating points of view of two friends who turn into two enemies. Eli and Victor are almost opposites in terms of personality - where Eli is magnetic and charming, Victor keeps to himself and spends his time trying to get out of his parents' shadow. What brings them both together is an almost unquenchable thirst for the unknown, and a drive to be the best. When Eli begins researching supernatural or ExtraOrdinary occurrences, it's only a matter of time before Eli and Victor decide to find a way to get those powers for themselves...

I really liked the alternating times and points of view. It's very interesting to compare how the two main characters have changed over the years, and what has fundamentally remained the same. This book doesn't really have good or evil characters - everyone believes they are doing the right thing. It's very difficult to decide who to root for, because at times even the one you think is more moral might do a thing or two to change your mind. This book really turns ethics on its head and asks a lot of sticky questions, which I really enjoyed.

Eli and Victor are equally compelling in that both are equally complex. They have their own twisted motivations for what they do, and in a strange way a lot of those reasons make sense. You can easily imagine yourself or someone you know doing a lot of the same things if given a little push in that direction. That's what makes this book so scary - it is so believable. The other characters were also very interesting, and a lot of their pasts and secrets sent chills down my spine.

I thought the concept of ExtraOrdinary people was very well thought-out and executed. Not only did the explanation make a lot of sense, it tied in with a lot of little details in the story later on. A lot of times these explanations feel very contrived, but that was certainly not the case with this book.

This book definitely had me gasping and feeling sick at times. I was very invested in the characters for most of the novel, but there were a few spots in the middle that seemed to drag. When certain characters started flying off the edge, I kind of stepped back and stopped empathizing a bit. I was also expecting a little bit more in terms of the complexity of the characters. While the author did an excellent job with blurring the lines between good and evil, there were still times where I felt like Eli especially was becoming a bit of a caricature. I suppose it's a superhero story so that can't really be avoided, but I would have liked it if the book had maintained its subtlety.

Overall an excellent book, and I would definitely recommend it.
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2 comments:

  1. Michelle {Book Hangovers}April 14, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    Ohhhhhh my gooooooosh! I've been wanting to read this book for a while now. Of course our local B&N doesn't have it :( I enjoyed your review, just makes me want it even more lol! Thanks for sharing xoxo

    Michelle ~ Book Hangovers Blabs Books

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  2. I also have this on my kindle but just never got around to it! I might now though, although I won't be looking forward to the places where it drags on.

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