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“Vicious” Review

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Vicious By V.E. Schwab

4/5 Stars

“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”

From the moment they meet at Lockland University, Victor and Eli, two brilliant geniuses with ambitious aspirations, are immediately drawn together. Fascinated by the the capacity of the human body and the possibility of extraordinary powers, the two embark on a life-threatening experiment, pushing the limits of the mental and the physical. Not surprisingly, their risky project goes horribly awry. Over a decade later, Victor breaks out of prison and is set on a murderous hunt for Eli, now his archenemy. Accompanied by two unexpected strangers, the trio sets out to find and stop Eli, now on a self-righteous mission to terminate the human results of their deadly experiment. Equipped with dangerous powers and pushed to the breaking point, the actions of these two former friends will culminate in one final showdown with terrible consequences.

Characters can make or break a book, and in “Vicious”, the complexity of the two characters is arguably its greatest attribute. Schwab skillfully plays with your emotions and will leave you feeling conflicted and puzzled as to who to root for. Although it’s pretty apparent that both characters have sociopathic tendencies, both offer extremely compelling perspectives and backstories. Victor is the classic anti-hero, and his detached and unfeeling perspective combined with Eli’s fanaticism presented a dark but riveting portrait of two wayward characters. Schwab plays on the superhero and villain trope, but good vs. evil here is not so black and white. It’s safe to say, this book will be hard to forget. Combined with nonstop action, superb writing, and a decidedly eerie mood, this dark book is perfect for ushering in the Halloween season – or reading any time of the year!

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