Saturday, 13 August 2016

Vicious by V.E. Schwab // favourite read of 2016 so far

Title: Vicious (Vicious #1)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Sci-Fi
Warnings: death, murder, self-harm, torture
Rating: 5 stars 
How does Victoria do it?! How can one human being master concept, characters, structure and language all in one book?

When his college roommate Eli begins researching the potential for developing ExtraOrdinary abilities, Victor wants in. But a series of disastrous events leads Victor to now - a prison escapee in a cemetery with a young girl and a dead body, and with only one intention: make Eli suffer.

Vicious is a journey of filling in the gaps of what happened between Victor and Eli between now and ten years ago. Schwab structures this magnificently - with past and present events connecting perfectly to show how Victor's life reached this point, without once feeling disorientatating.

Aside from the meticulously brilliant structuring, the characters are one of the best aspects of this book. Both protagonists have fascinating minds and even more intriguing motives. Victor is motivated by an intense desire for revenge, whilst Eli is powered by a Godly self righteousness and a desire for purpose. In those basic terms, the villain and the hero seem obvious, but the reality is a lot more complicated than that.

The two men are most definitely not heroes. But seeing the world through their eyes, it's sometimes difficult to see either as truly villainous, despite both committing the most disasterous crimes for motives that slowly constitute the entirety of their very existences.
"Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human."
The supporting characters are just as incredible. We have:
  • Mitch, Victor's prison cellmate who's appearance gives off an entirely different impression to his inner nature
  • Sydney, a young girl whom Victor picks up on the side of a road and was thrown into a life she never asked for 
  • and Serena, Sydney's older sister with the ability to wrap anyone she speaks to around her finger
Schwab has produced a fantastically structured story around another of her brilliantly original concepts. She subverts the typical superhero tropes into something far more twisted, in a way that can make this book appeal to even someone with a huge aversion to the genre. This is much more than a book about good and evil and there is definitely no guaranteed winner of the two. Addictive and intoxicating, Vicious has got to be my favourite read of 2016.

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