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Vicious Hardcover – 14 Oct 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (14 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765335344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765335340
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,354,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Schwab's characters feel vital and real, never reduced to simple archetypes... In a genre that tends toward the flippant or pretentious, this is a rare superhero novel as epic and gripping as any classic comic. Schwab's tale of betrayal, self-hatred, and survival will resonate with superhero fans as well as readers who have never heard of Charles Xavier or Victor von Doom." --"Publishers Weekly," starred review"A fun, morally-flexible revenge tale..."Vicious" methodically ratchets up the tension as Victor and Eli circle each other for the inevitable kill. --Daniel H. Wilson, NYT bestselling author of "Robopocalypse""Schwab gathers all the superhero/supervillain tropes and turns them on their sundry heads.... I could not put it down." --F. Paul Wilson, "New York Times "bestselling author of the Repairman Jack series ""Vicious "is dark and intricate and daring, twisting back and forth through time and morality and life and death until you can't turn the pages fast enough. I loved it." --Dan Wells, author of "I Am Not a Serial Killer ""An epic collision of super-powered nemeses. The writing and storycraft is Schwab's own superpower as this tale leaps off the page in all its dark, four-color comic-book glory." --Chuck Wendig, author of "Blackbirds " "Utterly brilliant. Schwab takes the notion of superhero fiction and bashes it on its head...prepare to be thoroughly entertained."--Jackie Kessler, coauthor of "Black and White ""A noirish cross between the X-Men and 'The Count of Monte Cristo.' You won't be able to stop turning the pages."--Alex Bledsoe, author of "The Hum and the Shiver ""V.E. Schwab writes with the fiendish ingenuity, sardonic wit, and twisted imagination of a true supervillian."--Greg Cox, "New York Times" bestselling author

About the Author

V.E. Schwab is the author of "The Near Witch" and "The Archived." The product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing, Schwab has a penchant for tea and BBC shows, and a serious and well-documented case of wanderlust. "Vicious" is her first adult book.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE on 13 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
Victor Vale and Eli Cardale met as students at Lockland University. Both were gifted scientists whose intelligence was matched only by their ambitions for the future. When Eli decides to do a research project on whether ExtraOrdinaries (people rumoured to have special powers) could actually exist, Victor’s keen to help. Their research uncovers a link to near-death experience and extreme trauma but when they put their theory into practice, it has unforeseen and tragic consequences that result in Victor being sent to prison for murder.

10 years later, Victor breaks out of prison with his cellmate Mitchell Turner, determined to get revenge on Eli, who’s spent the last decade on a mission to kill other ExtraOrdinaries, aided by a beautiful woman called Serena who has ExtraOrdinary abilities of her own ...

V. E. Schwab’s first book for adults is a tightly plotted, original take on the superhero story that reads as X-MEN meets THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. There are no heroes in this novel – Victor and Eli are each deeply flawed people who rely on warped logic and personal vengeance to justify their behaviour. I really liked the way Schwab gives them each an ability that reflects their personality and how they learn to use those abilities against others. The grudge that exists between them is nicely sketched out and well mirrored by the relationship between the ExtraOrdinary sisters Sydney and Serena. I was less sold on Eli’s reasons for eradicating other ExtraOrdinaries because the quasi-religious rationale didn’t have a huge amount of build-up in his backstory with Victor (although Schwab’s writing just about carried me) and this equally applied to Serena’s reasons for working with Eli, which wasn’t helped by her flip-flop attitude to Sydney.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Procrastinators rule in a minute on 29 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
My grandmother was a very wise woman. ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ she would intone. Of course, she was being metaphorical and using a metaphor one can apply to a variety of situations; as grandmothers are wont to do. However, she was right.

Vicious looked the part; snappy, menacing title and hero-shot blacked out characters against a shattered red background. And it was written by a woman, which, in a field dominated by men, was cheering. The subject matter – people who gain extraordinary powers and the way in which they use them, is a well-worn trope, so I expected the novel to take it somewhere different. Sadly, this seemed to be a re-working of the main ideas from the TV series Heroes, but without the darkness: two people get supernatural powers, by dint of dying/being revived. Their powers are linked in some way to their deaths, which was quite a nice touch; but then we move into familiar territory as one of the men decides to get rid of anyone else with superpowers as his (although wrong in his eyes), are god-given and other people are just unnatural.

The author, it appears, has recently made the move from YA into adult fiction and to be honest, I felt it showed. Victor is an attempt, I would guess, to create a grown up, ambiguous character with whom it’s difficult to empathise. Trouble was, I didn’t really care enough to worry about not empathising with him – especially after encountering many other characters in novels with much more depth. Victor’s (and most of the other characters actually) main issue appeared to be over-privilege and absent parents (pretty much like many of Tartt or Fitzgerald’s characters) and we seemed to be invited to dislike him because he killed people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Saruuh Kelsey on 21 Feb. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is dark. Hella dark. Vicious pulls no punches, is willing to go into the darkest reaches of the human mind, and is brutal in its honesty. I read a 100 page sample of it eons ago, and loved it then, but having the full book is so much better.

Vicious is tense and gritty and an unpredictable take on superheroes. Reading it is kind of like being repetitively run over by a car. It's shock after shock after shock, wrapped up in emotional turmoil and trauma.

My favourite thing of this book is Victor. I can't even pinpoint what I love about him; it's something about his morals and his loyalty, his secrets and honesty, his unforgiving nature and his compassion. I've never read a character like Victor. I'd like to say something about the other characters, Sydney and Dol and Mitch, but I can't figure out how to say what I want. This book has confused my words to such a strange extent.

To sum: Sinister and honest, Vicious is a superhero story like no other, but so much more than that.
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By Sarah (Feeling Fictional) TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Aug. 2015
Format: Paperback
After really enjoying A Darker Shade of Magic I was really excited to get my hands on a copy of Vicious to see what else V.E. Schwab was capable of. The two stories couldn't be more different but they both show what a talented writer she is and I thoroughly enjoyed her take on superheroes, or perhaps I should say anti-heroes because there aren't really any good guys here!

The story is told in two distinct narratives, you have flashbacks ten years into the past where we see Victor and Eli meeting a university, they are close friends and very competitive in their studies so when Eli comes up with the idea to study EOs (ExtraOrdianry people with superpowers) for his thesis Victor automatically wants to join in and take things one step further. The boys run dangerous experiments trying to turn themselves into EOs and the resulting tragedy sees Victor put in prison for murder. In the current timeline Victor has broken out of prison along with his cell mate Mitch and he's determined to track down Eli and make him pay for betraying him. It takes a while for us to uncover exactly what went down between them but it is clear from the beginning that they have both become very dangerous men who will stop at nothing to further their causes.

I already mentioned that this is a story of anti-heroes but I find it kind of hard to think of Victor as anything other than a slightly less evil villain. Victor and Eli are both extreme and they're both willing to torture and kill without batting an eye so it's hard to decide which side you should be rooting for. We get to see a more human side of Victor through the eyes of Mitch and Sydney, a young girl he rescues along the way, but from their point of view Victor can't be called a good man, he's just the lesser of two evils.
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