Vicious by VE Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 star
This book was delectable. I liked what Schwab did with the idea of what really defines hero and villain and how gray the line between the two actually is.
Victor Vale is the son of self-help gurus and a med student. His roommate, Eli Ever (Cardale), is also a med student but seemingly the exact opposite of Victor. In this world, extraordinary people (people who exhibit supernatural abilities) exist. And Vale and Ever believe that they are caused by near-death experiences and set out to recreate those situations in the hope they will become EOs as well. This journey brings a lot of death and destruction, and they find themselves on opposite ends of ethical perspectives.
My favorite parts of this book are the characters. In fact, one of the characters states “There are no good men in this game.” There is no pretending. All of the dark thoughts and hopes intertwine with some of the heroic and compassionate moments. Especially with Victor. He doesn’t see himself as anything good, but the choices he makes seem good, even when he is convincing the reader that the choices are made with ill intent.
The plot is a cat and mouse game. It moves pretty quickly and out of order. The chapters flip to the present day and then years prior and then two weeks ago, and so on. You can tell the story is bringing you to the main, climatic event. It builds really well and, though a little predictable, is very satisfying to the end.
There is profanity in the book, furthering the characterization of flawed individuals. There is very little sexual content, but since the way people obtain abilities is through almost dying, there is a lot of death and explicit violence. But, in my opinion, it doesn’t veer into unnecessary violence. But, be aware that there is a description of death and dead people.
Excellent book. I read the sequel immediately after finishing this one, which I will review next!