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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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 just so I could finish it.

What is the difference between hero and villain is something you will ask yourself constantly throughout the book. I asked myself several times which out...
Published 8 months ago by Samarnold1975

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3.0 out of 5 stars worth a look if you like superheroes or want something a bit different
I recently read the author's newer novel, A Darker Shade of Magic, and enjoyed it without being overwhelmed. I'm generally less interested in superheroes and villains than fantasy worlds, but I was intrigued to see what else she'd written, so decided to give this a go, and actually ended up preferring it. It offers two interesting main characters, both of whom are well...
Published 1 month ago by Georgiana89


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who is a villain? Who is a hero?, 6 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Vicious (Kindle Edition)
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 just so I could finish it.

What is the difference between hero and villain is something you will ask yourself constantly throughout the book. I asked myself several times which out of the two friends Eli and Victor was which. It is an answer that you could debate for hours after the book.

There is so much to like about this book it is hard to quantify them all. The fact the author that I believe is female is as addicted to marvel superhero's as myself. The short quick chapters that change timeframe and give you all the background on the characters. You just want to keep reading to see what has happened to these characters and how their lives develop. The character development of these characters is the real strength of this book. Not just the two lead characters but the supporting cast. They are all well developed and likeable flaws and all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am definitely going to be looking for more from this author. If you like superhero's, good character development and a good story that is quick and easy to read then I must urge you to pick this up.

"Victor was the first to speak, and when he did, it was with an eloquence and composure perfectly befitting the situation."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We could be anti-heroes ... just for one day, 13 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Vicious (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. I also didn’t think that the love triangle between Victor, Eli and Angie really added anything to the book because Eli and Victor’s relationship was so well drawn that it was motivation enough for each character. However, I enjoyed the way Schwab handles the time-jumps to incorporate background information into the plot and there’s a great sense of pace and momentum as events draw to an inevitable and bloody conclusion while also finding time for some twists that I didn’t see coming. The book ends with the potential for a sequel, which I would definitely want to check out and in the meantime, I will catch up on Schwab’s YA back catalogue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a superhero story like no other, but so much more, 21 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Vicious (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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4.0 out of 5 stars What makes a hero and what make a villain?, 23 Aug. 2014
By 
Ginny (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vicious (Hardcover)
See my review of this book, and many more, at TalesfromtheGreatEastRoad.wordpress.com

(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. At first glance it would seem that super healing powers would mean that you couldn’t lose (or at least not easily), but how long would it take for your mind to break if would were tortured with pain for long enough? The characters were the other excellent part of this novel, my personally favourite being Victor (but I’ll admit I do love me a fictional bad boy). Despite being about superheroes, I don’t actually believe there are any heroes in Vicious, though Sydney’s story was quite sad, especially since she was only a child. I found Eli to be one of the most complex characters – he is the most terrifying type of villain, the one who unflinchingly believes himself to be a hero and who is dedicated to his own twisted set of ethics.

There were, however, a couple of things I didn’t enjoy as much. I didn’t really believe in the friendship between Eli and Victor, which was shown in flashback chapters throughout the first half of the book. I think because so little time was spent showing them as friends, most spent showing how they each became EO, the reader is told rather than shown this friendship. But then again, I think in some ways this was the point – that they had never truly been friends, but believed they had been. My main problem was the character of Angie, Eli’s girlfriend and Victor’s unrequited love. I felt that she wasn’t much of a character and before the read could get to know her she is killed off, simply to begin the feud between the two men. This is a widely used plot device within comic books and superhero stores, known colloquially as ‘women in fridges’, and I was very sad to see it appear in the works of a woman whom I admire.

Overall, this was a very good book, and with the somewhat open ending, I can only hope for a sequel.

4 stars.
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3.0 out of 5 stars worth a look if you like superheroes or want something a bit different, 14 April 2015
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This review is from: Vicious (Paperback)
I recently read the author's newer novel, A Darker Shade of Magic, and enjoyed it without being overwhelmed. I'm generally less interested in superheroes and villains than fantasy worlds, but I was intrigued to see what else she'd written, so decided to give this a go, and actually ended up preferring it. It offers two interesting main characters, both of whom are well developed and broadly believable, and both of whom tread a good line between hero and villain. It's also a clever and surprisingly realistic pseudo-scientific depiction of how people could gain superpowers and what living with them might be like. It has the intriguing idea that superpowers result from near-death experiences, and that the powers relate to what the person was thinking at the time they died/came back, which results in some interesting powers. It was fast moving, kept my guessing and had an well-executed dual timeline.
On the downside, there were some far too convenient plot devices (notably main characters coming across secondary characters with the exact right power at the exact right time) and while it toyed with the idea of there being a very fine line between hero and villain, it was very clear which of the two protagonists we were meant to cheer for.
Overall then, a fun and different read that's definitely worth a look, but that didn't blow me away. i'd give it 3.5 if that were possible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unheroic heroes, 22 Mar. 2015
By 
SZ (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vicious (Kindle Edition)
The story of Eli and Victor is not about just good v. evil. The bad guy is definitely bad but the good guy is not exactly driven snow either! Thats what I liked about this book, apart from the fact that it is well written and absorbing. The policemen were a little like cardboard cutouts but that does not detract from the story which is still gripping and keeps you turning the pages.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh., 29 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Vicious (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. I still failed to see just what it was that was supposed to make the reader ambivalent. I also wondered whether anything was going to made of the alliterative names etc, or whether they were just there as a nod to superhero conventions.

So, three stars, because I didn't actually dislike it, it occupied three evenings and because there were some nice touches – like Eli not being as powerful as he thought, but ultimately because this was a predictable and disappointing novel which failed to really exploit its subject matter. The novel was left open ended, which makes me suspect a trilogy, but unless it takes a very unexpected turn, I don’t think I’ll be coming back for more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I found this a very real way of tackling super powers. I mean, 7 May 2015
This review is from: Vicious (Kindle Edition)
Wow! That wasn't what I was expecting. Vicious has stripped everything romantic and heroic out of being a superhero and brought it down to an ego battle between two guys. I found this a very real way of tackling super powers. I mean, not everyone who has an ability that could be used to benefit mankind will use it that way. The characters were very realistic to me, despite some of the holes in the plot (for me). Like the fact that the two boys both have NDE and it doesn't seem to raise that many concerns or repercussions for them later. That two guys breaking out from jail was kept very hushed, and that the two girls parents don't seem to know or care that both daughters are not where they should be and one of them is only 13.
That being said I couldn't put the book down and would definitely read more from Schwab
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5.0 out of 5 stars I was really intrigued by the premise of this book ..., 25 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Vicious (Hardcover)
I was really intrigued by the premise of this book. Twisted people (psychopaths even) who acquire superpowers through near death experiences, witch also leads to interesting, though far from likeable, characters.

The story is well written and engaging, constantly alternating between flashbacks and the present time in the narrative, building up to the climax of the final encounter between the main characters. It is a fast addictive read, I couldn't put it down until I was finished.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The subtle balance between right and wrong, 22 Jan. 2014
By 
Max V. (Noord-Holland, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vicious (Paperback)
One sentence in this book pretty much sums up all of the characters in it: "there are no good men in this game". That is not to say that they are evil, quite the contrary, they all have their own, sensible reasons for what they are doing. None of them are so black-and-white that you could call them good or evil. These aren't superheroes or villains, they are people trying to act the way they believe to be best. And just like all humans, the make mistakes as well. It is a story about morality, faith and choice.

The story switches back and forth between the present and the past, so that on the hand you slowly begin to understand the actions in the present and on the other hand learn the repercussions of their choices made in the past. All the while Ms. Schwab is careful not to make any character into the hero or the villain, leaving it up to the reader as to whom to side with.

The world created by Ms. Schwab is dark, yet believable. It is a world where alongside the normal populace there is also a small secret group of people with special powers, called ExtraOrdinaries. Victor and Eli's research in this group leads to Victor's imprisonment and to Eli's quest to eradicate every last one of them. Once Victor gets out he is determined to stop him.

It is not a pleasant place, yet draws you in. The story is filled with unusual situations and even more unusual relationships, making it an interesting read. The dialogues are well-written and thought-provoking. It never felt like anything that was written down was unnecessary or out of place. And it also poses some interesting ethical questions. With "what makes a person good or evil?" being the main one.

The book is definitely worthy of your time and it is probably only a matter of time before we get a film adaptation.
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Vicious by V. E. Schwab (Paperback - 10 Jan. 2014)
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