Book Reviews

Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I am slowly making my way through Schwab’s books and Vicious is the latest. Super powered college students who become enemies is sure to get me. And while I wasn’t sure what to expect, I ended up finding Vicious refreshing. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


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?


While I had no expectations going into Vicious, I ended up breezing through. Short and fast paced chapters make it easy to become absorbed in reading. Combine that with the fact that chapters in Vicious skip around in the timeline, it felt organic. Almost like you were living your daily life and kept returning to old memories. Schwab always made sure we knew what we had to know as the story unfolds before us. Vicious is submerged in secrets.

The major reason I enjoyed Vicious, aside from an action packed plot which kept me reading to the next chapter, was the exploration of heroes and villains. The ways these labels are so often interchangeable based on who’s telling the story. It’s a theme I really enjoyed in This Savage Song, but which I missed out in the sequel. All the ways that the world, our friends, even ourselves have ideas about whether we are the hero or the villain. When it’s never that simple.

The characters in Vicious were fascinating. Whether it be Eli’s logic that seems to not apply to himself, or Victor’s desire to be a main character, I found each of them intriguing. There’s a great balance of character action, development, and introspection. Not to mention there are fabulous writing touches and twists which made me nod in appreciation. Overall, Vicious felt both super unique and on trend. It practically unfolded before me and pulled me in.

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Find Vicious on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


Do you have a favorite superhero origin story?

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