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Vicious [Paperback]

V. E. Schwab
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

10 Jan 2014
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same ambition in each other. A shared 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 with 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 arch-nemeses have set a course for revenge but who will be left alive at the end?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 353 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books (10 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1783290218
  • ISBN-13: 978-1783290215
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Supremely plotted and incredibly well-written." --The Independent

"Stark, cynical novel... urgent, insightful prose. Vicious? Yes, that certainly applies. We d also add dangerous and surprising." --SFX

"Vicious has been garnering much pre-publication praise, and rightly so: it's a brilliant exploration of the superhero mythos and a riveting revenge thriller." --The Guardian

"Schwab's artful chronology-bending plotting rivals that of any Iain Banks novel, and her writing is a sly, cynical treat. Vicious grungy spin on timeworn tropes." --Financial Times

"A dynamic and original twist on what it means to be a hero and a villain. A killer from page one... Highly recommended!" --Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author

"Schwab writes with the fiendish ingenuity, sardonic wit, and twisted imagination of a true supervillian - Greg Cox, New York Times

"Vicious is the superhero novel I ve been waiting for: fresh, merciless, and yes, vicious." --Mira Grant, New York Times bestselling author

"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

"Vivid, highly original, Vicious is a masterclass in storytelling, a superlative left-field take on familiar superhero tropes that is, quite simply, unmissable." --Adam Christopher, author of Empire State and The Burning Dark

"Vicious is a supremely clever, cruelly addictive thriller easily cloaked in the trappings of genre fiction whilst telling a stunningly powerful, wonderfully absorbing horror story of timeless archetypical passions whilst exploring the nature of heroism, villainy, friendship and family. A magnificent treat for all lovers of the dark fantastic…" ----Comics Review

"Completely fresh and utterly timeless." ----SF Crowsnest

"Vivid, highly original, Vicious is a masterclass in storytelling, a superlative left-field take on familiar superhero tropes that is, quite simply, unmissable." --Adam Christopher, author of Empire State and The Burning Dark

About the Author

V.E. Schwab is the author of The Near Witch, a Y.A. fantasy, as well as The Archived, the first book in an upcoming Y.A. supernatural series. This is her first adult book.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh. 29 Aug 2014
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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4.0 out of 5 stars We could be anti-heroes ... just for one day 13 Sep 2014
By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE
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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4.0 out of 5 stars What makes a hero and what make a villain? 23 Aug 2014
By Ginny
See my review of this book, and many more, at

(Mild spoilers)

Victor Vale and Eli Ever. They were friends once, years ago. Two collage boy who found a similar keen intellect and a thirst for knowledge in each other. They had heard the rumours of people who were ExtraOrdinary, somehow more than human. Whilst researching how one can become an EO, Eli thinks he has found the key to gaining super human abilities. But then in one night, everything fell apart – and two friends became bitter rivals.

Everyone is the hero of their own story. What they don’t tell you is there is a thin line between being a hero and a villain. But Eli knows, he knows he is the good guy. His mission is nobel, and he is the only one who can be trusted to do it. That was, until he discovers that Victor, his now nemesis, has somehow escaped from prison. This can only end in pain…

I’m a big fan of Victoria Schwab’s YA novels, which include The Near Witch, and The Archived series, and I also enjoy following her on social media so this, her first adult novel, has been high on my reading list for a long time. I also have a soft spot for X-Men style superheroes, so needless to say my expectations and hope for Vicious were very high. I am pleased to report that this book is one damn good read. I loved the process of having a near-death experience to become an EO, and found it clever how each person’s powers are linked to that experience and how they handled it/what they did to survive. This made each power unique and lead to an interesting dynamic between Eli and Victor’s powers: Eli can heal him self from any wound and Victor can cause pain.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Who is a villain? Who is a hero?
Who is a hero? Who is a villain? Well the author of this book is both hero and villain. A hero for writing such a brilliant book a villain for making me stay up to past midnight... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Samarnold1975
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyed
Great read! If you like the film chronicle this book is right up your street! Could not put it down!
Published 4 months ago by Rianna Joseph
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A very good well written story. Great complex characters that grow well with the progression of the plot. Hope there is more.
Published 5 months ago by Myles
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling
Based purely on the plot description - two arrogant geniuses, best friends, learn how to give themselves super powers and end up locked in a deadly feud - VICIOUS doesn't look at... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Stephanie Samphire
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite books of 2014
This book was just amazing! So happy I decided to pick it up! It never failed to surprise me and the characters were so complex.
Published 6 months ago by farzana
4.0 out of 5 stars A thrill-ride
Vicious is a cracking read that tackles big themes - good vs evil, the nature of power and the darkness lurking within each human soul. Read more
Published 6 months ago by C. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple ExtraOrdinary
This book was a phenomenal way to start off my reading year. Vicious, the debut adult novel from V.E. Schwab, lived up to all my expectations and more. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Daphne (Winged Reviews)
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and unique1
I’ve not read much sci-fi or superhero-themed fiction, but the premise of Victoria Schwab’s latest novel, Vicious, grabbed me from the start. Read more
Published 8 months ago by E. L. Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars The subtle balance between right and wrong
One sentence in this book pretty much sums up all of the characters in it: "there are no good men in this game". Read more
Published 9 months ago by Max V.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very human superheroes
VE Schwab's book introduces a universe where individuals endowed with superpowers - "EOs" or "ExtraOrdinaries" - are more common than you'd expect (common enough for the police to... Read more
Published 9 months ago by D. Harris
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