‘Vicious’ combines heroism, science fiction


V.E. Schwab’s “Vicious” begins when college seniors Victor Vale and Eli Cardale, two ambitious boys who share an interest in the research of extraordinary people forms, decide to turn themselves into test subjects to theorize whether near-death experiences can cause extraordinary abilities.

As soon as the two put their research to the test, things go terribly wrong, ripping their friendship to shreds.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison seeking vengeance on Eli, who believes it is his duty to terminate every person with abnormal abilities. With the help of an unlucky hacker and a young girl able to raise the dead, Victor tracks down his friend-turned-enemy in order to bring retribution that has been long overdue. And as the time draws near for Victor and Eli to reunite after ten years, it is clear that only one of them will survive.

“Vicious” takes a twisted, dark turn on the superhero genre. Where one would think superpowers would resort to heroism, this novel takes that stereotype and flips it like a coin.

It becomes a story of aspiration, vengeance and the differences between good and bad.

The themes of villainy and heroism mingled with fictional scientific theory are thrilling and mystifying. While stories involving action sequences are great, plots involving battles of the wits and brains are very mind-grabbing.

The animosity between Victor and Eli was very intriguing.

The two characters basically thrived on outwitting and outdoing each other for the sake of pride despite their mutual respect, and the plans each character conjured spoke of their personalities and unique thought processes.

Victor is a sharp and silent type, an observer looking for things that could be of an advantage to him. Eli is cunning and charming, a manipulator clinging to a belief that he is special in God’s eyes. While neither of the two are “good” people, one is the lesser of two evils and the other thinks his killings are acts of heroism.

It’s specifically these complex, anti-archetype characters that drive the book and make it such a juicy revenge story.

V.E. Schwab has proved time and time again she has a gift for creating characters that immediately grab the reader’s attention and refuse to release it until the very end. But even when the story is finished, there is always a need for more when it comes to her stories.

“Vicious” is great new take on the superhero genre and offers themes of bitterness and vengeance with some bloodshed on the side. This adult novel is a brilliant way of throwing genre stereotypes out the window and viewing good vs. evil in a new light opposed to the regurgitated themes often seen in much of today’s entertainment.



5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)