Monday, January 11, 2016

Book Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab (Favorites Extravaganza: Day #5)

2015 Favorites Extravaganza: Day #5

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Vicious #1
First Published: 2013
Adult, Fantasy
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.
So I'm sitting here, in front of my computer, wondering how the heck do I review this book? It's like, my mind is totally blank. What do I say that others haven't already? Where to begin?

Should I start with the fact I ended up reading this book because of peer pressure? I mean, the whole freakin' world loves Vicious (and Victoria), so I grew tired of being on the outside of that crowd. One page in and I'm like; THANK YOU, PEER PRESSURE!
Or maybe I should talk about how this book is not a "superhero story". At least not in the "hero" sense of the word. Everyone here are definitely "super powered", in one way or another (Even Mitch, whose superpower is probably being able to stand and support the lot of them and still stay alive).

In simpler terms, everyone in this story are Loki, not Captain America.
I can totally imagine Eli saying this btw
And we love them, for the same reason we love Loki (more than we love all the other characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, really). Because they're not strictly bad, and not strictly good. Because they blur the line between black and white to us as readers, and they make us think.

Because we know that under certain circumstances, they can do heroic things, and sometimes they do, and sometimes they won't. And you really can't tell what's the dominant side to them.

Are they good people doing bad things, or bad people doing good things, or just people, period? 

Here are these characters, who are just so flawed, and so broken, so far off the "right path", and so lost, and you root for them - you root for them like crazy!

(Which might say something about us, and how we truly see "heroes" and "villains". Idk. We're probably mad).
I loved Victor, who by sheer quantity of POV could be considered the MC and therefore the "good"/"right" guy in this situation. Is he, though? I mean, he does some really messed up things throughout the whole thing.

And I didn't hate Eli, either. I mean, was he kind of crazy? yes. Could I... sort of, maybe, understand where he was coming from?...... I could. I could totally see how he became what he was, and how he truly believed in it.  

And I thought Sydney was adorable and I adored her, yet I...didn't hate Serena, who on account of her actions I should. But just like Eli, I could understand how it became like this, even if I didn't accept it.

And then let's not forget Mitch, the underrated support system. Who is basically... us, the readers. He accepts the super powered around him. He knows the world ain't black and white. And still he follows.

No one fit quite perfectly into the usually "assigned roles", and that's what made this book so bloody brilliant, and this is what makes this book so viciously beautiful.

And let's not even start on the spotless writing technique! The book jumps between past and present, between one character to the other without ever missing a beat. It's seamless! Even if I hated the book, I don't think anyone can ever claim Schwab is a bad writer.

On the one hand I would gladly read a sequel... and the other, I'm super afraid of all the sh*t that would undoubtly follow... And since I wrote these words, a sequel was announced #I'mScared