I readily admit I don't really like superhero storylines as much as I used to- my favorite were the X-men because it didn't just focus on one superhuman- there were multiple. That is the case with the plot of this book: there are multiple people with extraordinary abilities. Just don't expect any of the characters to be entirely altruistic.
The Plot: (As Seen on Goodreads)
'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?'
There's something compelling about an excellent superhero origin story, and what better start for a pair of opposing personalities then as college roommates who later become friends? You can't help but dislike Eli from the start, because through Victor's eyes Eli is a wolf in sheep's clothing, and a very attractive sheep at that. Victor, meanwhile, is much more likable due to his desecration of his parents' self help books.
While Sydney and Mitch come into play a little later on in the story, I feel like they should get a mention in this review. Mitch is not what he seems, which made him the perfect pairing for Victor. Sydney seems almost too innocent to be grouped with them, but it oddly works due to her macabre talent.
One of many favorite quotes:
If Eli really was a hero, and Victor meant to stop him, did that make him a villain?~Vicious by V.E. Schwab, page 91 Kindle edition
Vicious satisfied my superhero sweet tooth. Sure, it wasn't your typical good vs. evil superhero plot, but that was what made it so compelling to read. Beyond that, the characterisation is fantastic: I won't soon forget Victor, Sydney, and Mitch, nor will I stop hoping they might not be entirely fictional. If you love X-men, but also a good antihero, Vicious might be the book for you.
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars for the perfect summer blockbuster in book form!
Content: Ages 16+ for murder, torment, and near-death-experiences.
Page Count: 364 pages