Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Vicious by V. E. Schwab13638125

Published September 23, 2013

Series Villains #1

Rating   5 / 5

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?

I am a sucker for morally ambiguous characters, and this book introduces many poster children for the term. Victor Vale is a horrendous excuse for a human being. In fact, almost all characters in this book are.

Previously, all my favorite characters have been thieves with an agenda or assassins with a purpose, but one thing they all had in common was they faced an obvious foe with a somewhat malicious agenda. I love this story because there is no obvious line in the sand. EVERYONE is horrible and…VISCOUS, trying to advance their own agenda at whatever cost. The question of allegiance lies with the reader’s decision on who is the most “justified” (if anything these characters do is truly justifiable).

As a bit of a science nerd, the veneer of scientific reasoning surrounding the ExtraOrdinary’s “origin story” provided a major bonus. In the word’s of Victor Vale:

“Science, even completely fiction, [holds] sway.”

The time-skipping in this book was also flawlessly executed. Rather than laying all the characters’ beef out in chronological order, the quick flips to the past and the present made Vicious a true page turner. I was up until about 1 AM yesterday because I HAD TO KNOW why Eli and Victor hated each other so much (and what would happen to Sydney and Dol, two of my favorites).

All that being said, this novel is not for the faint of heart. Murders and blood and gore galore grace these glorious pages as Victor Vale searches for revenge on his once-friend. Despite his utter awfulness, Victor Vale is definitely one of my favorite characters for-EVER. I’m super excited that Schwab recently announced this previously stand-alone novel will now be a trilogy!!! Even though Vengeful (Villains #2) isn’t fully written yet, it’s definitely on my to-read list. I can’t wait to read more about these ExtraOrdinary individuals and whatever troubles they get up to.

Thanks for reading!

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A Darker Shade of Magic

22055262A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Series A Darker Shade of Magic #1

Published February 24, 2015

Rating 5/5

Goodreads       Amazon

Kell is one of the last Antarimagicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in ArnesRed Londonand officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book! I actually recommended this series to two people I knew would enjoy it, and they ended up reading all three books before I picked the first one up myself! The world of the four Londons is enrapturing. Schwab’s exploration of the differences between the planes of existence is seamless and leaves the reader feeling as if they’ve lived in the world for years.

Kell is the perfect morally ambiguous hero, with his straight-laced job and dangerous compulsion to break the rules, which makes him the perfect partner for Lila (or is the partnership supposed to be the other way around?). Lila’s desire for adventures is a lure that pulls at the soul of the reader, urging them to embark on adventures with her. While Kell is my magical ginger baby, Lila is the knife’s edge that draws the attention. I probably love her so much because she reminds me of another one of my favorite characters, Aelin from the Throne of Glass series, with her sassy remarks and take-no-prisoners attitude.

The magic system is unlike any I’ve read about before. The way the different cultures perceive magic was very interesting, and left me with many questions I hope to find answers to in the later books. And I will definitely be reading those soon! I already own the next two thanks to luck at a used bookstore and Bookcon sale 😉 and they’ve rocketed to the top of my TBR pile. Definitely check these books out if you haven’t already! I can’t wait to read all of Schwab’s other books.

Thank you for reading!

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