Vicious (Villains #1) audiobook
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I am finding it extremely difficult to come up with the right words to accurately describe just how much I adored this novel. I completed it well over a month ago and I am still constantly thinking about it. This was my first experience with Victoria Schwabs work, and I was completely blown away by her talent. It has been quite a while since I was so quickly pulled into a novel. I found this incredibly hard to put down once I started reading; its one of those stories where you sit down to read a chapter or two and, before you know it, youve read a third of the book. This is due primarily to Schwabs impressive abilities in character development and storytelling.
Vicious follows the story of two best friends turned archnemeses, with a narrative that jumps between the present day and their time in college together ten years prior. During their study of extraordinary abilities, things get out of control, landing Victor in prison, bent on getting revenge, and Eli attempting to wipe out every super-powered person in existence. In alternating time periods and perspectives, the story of their falling out is gradually filled in, and the mystery pieced together in a fast-paced and suspenseful way.
Victoria Schwab is an absolutely brilliant writer with an incredibly addicting writing style that flows beautifully. Her innovative ideas, particularly in the depiction of the super-human abilities, make a well-loved topic into a remarkable and unique reading experience. It is extremely difficult to base a story around villainous characters and requires major skillwhich she clearly hasto do so. She is spot on with her level of detail and description when it comes to her world and character building, and she masterfully creates a dark, chilling mood and atmosphere all the way through. Her words, her details, her plot points, everything just flows so nicely.
Early on, I had my doubts about the way the novel jumped around in time so often. That is something I typically do not enjoy, as I have found that I tend to get lost and confused easily in books that skip around too much. However, this did not happen at all as I was reading this book, and I actually ended up loving the style. In general, this can be a rather dangerous and risky way to write a novel, but Schwab executes it perfectly and completely nails this method of storytelling.
Since the plot is so connected to the past and the history of the characters, being able to jump back and hear first-hand what happened to them definitely contributes a lot to the novel as a whole. Schwab does this in a way where she essentially creates two storylinesa past one and a present oneand the jumping between them alternately causes tension and suspense in both. There is also plenty of suspense within each chapter to boot. All of this really succeeds in fully immersing the reader in the story and making them want to read on.
The character creation and development is one of the strongest and most important aspects of this novel, and is definitely some of the best I have ever come across. This is not your typical tale of good versus evilin fact, what makes this story so intriguing is the lack of clarity and specificity when it comes to the definitions of both. It is a novel about villains, revenge, and the dangers of extreme power. The characterization relies heavily on moral ambiguity, and no one is truly heroic in the traditional sense of the word; there is typically an ulterior motive behind each characters actions.
Schwab works hard to create vivid and complex characters, and she presents the reader with a comprehensive portrayal of every single one. This is one of my personal favorite elements to see in a story. Clearly displaying a characters good qualities as well as their flaws will always make for a far more memorable and three-dimensional character that your reader will take an interest in. And whether they are hero or villain, this connection is essential. No matter what side their loyalties lie on, every character needs to be relatable in order to have an impact on an audience.
Vicious contains a very flawed group of individuals, and none of their negative qualities are sugar-coated. Their flaws are a driving force in the plot. This is the type of story that requires messed up and imperfect charactersones who are not distinctly good or bad and whose motives are questionable. That is exactly what she has succeeded in creating here, and it adds a great amount of depth to the story. Whether you like them or not, they are utterly fascinating, and you find yourself fully captivated by their plotlines, constantly wanting to know more.
This book is filled with many magnificent examples of antiheroes, and what comes from this is an absolutely enthralling character study. Victor is one of the most amazingly well-imagined characters I have ever read about in my life. His characterization was brilliantly done, and his storyline was absorbing from the very first page. He is that villain that you hate to love, and potentially even love to hateand though his actions are not always entirely permissible due to his focus on revenge, you find yourself siding with and rooting for him anyway. Overall, Victor is a surprisingly relatable and likeable villain, and an impeccable choice for a main protagonist. He was by far my favorite character in the novel.
On the opposite side of this, from the very first time we see Eli and Victor together, something about Eli immediately rubbed me the wrong wayand as the story progressed, my opinion of him most definitely did not improve. Though he is an intensely dislikable character, his plotline was fantastically well executed. Schwab wrote it in an incredibly interesting way, making it one of those stories where, depending on ones point of view or position, Eli might not necessarily be a villain in everyones eyes.
As a reader, we are meant to feel that he is entirely immoral. His actions are not at all condonable, nor is there any justification for anything he does. And we as the reader are correct in thinking this, because his inhumane actions are not and should not be justifiable; he is a monster. However, it is also easy to understand why he justifies his own actions to himself.
Eli believes that he is doing right, that he is being heroic and fulfilling Gods will, and it would be impossible for anyone working under that type of extreme delusion to see their ownor potentially someone elsesimmorality. While neither Eli or Victor are truly heroes, Elis delusion of heroism and inability to see his own inhumanity makes him not only more villainous, but also far more dangerous.
Victor is much more aware of what he is doing and, though he does questionable things primarily for his own motives, that is not the definition of all of his actions. He has far more restraint and humanity left in himmore of a conscience than Eli has. There are certain actions each do individually that it would be hard imagining the other doing. Victor is certainly more aware of the consequences of his actions, and though that might not prevent him from ever doing evil, he has limits and never has any misconception about his purpose in life.
Schwab also fills this book with an all-star set of secondary characters. Sydney is a downright lovely character, and by far the most purely endearing and innocent of the bunch. On top of this, the role that she played in the story was fascinating, and her powers were an element that served to create a lot of mystery and suspense throughout. Another character that added to the huge amount of suspense in the plot was Mitch. Mitch is one of the only other truly lovable characters in the novel, and the juxtaposition of his natural talents against the others powers was a highlight for me.
Serena falls more toward the Eli side of the scale of villains. She is quite dislikable from the very start, and while she remains that way throughout the novel, you begin to understand her actions as more information about her is revealed. As with Eli, it is impossible to condone what she does, but you do begin to get an understanding of how aspects of her lifesuch as her powerswould cause her to act in the way that she does. All in all, though these three are all supporting characters, they are no less vivid or complex than the protagonists, and their plotlines are fully conceived.
Victoria Schwab has produced an absolute masterpiece with this novel. Her three-dimensional characters and unique plotlines work together to create a truly engrossing and addictive read that will stay with you long after youve finished it. Whether or not you are a superhero/supervillain fan like myself, this book holds something for everyone to enjoy. If you have not read this yet, I very highly recommend giving it a go. Im not sure what to expect from the sequel, but Im definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next; I cannot wait to be back in this world with these characters. Vicious, without a doubt, now holds a place on my list of all-time favorite novels.
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I just read Vicious and am really disappointed. I enjoyed other works by V.E. Schwab (I loved her “Darker Shades of Magic” series”), so I didn’t expect to dislike this novel so much.
The general theme of the book is reminiscent of series such as Heroes, The OA, Twilight, and X-Men, only that in Vicious, the people with the superpowers are called ExtraOrdinaries. I had high hopes for this novel because it is about two students who, through their thesis research, find out how to create ExtraOrdinaries. I am a professional researcher so maybe that is why I was so very disappointed with this book – the way Victor and Eli “do research” is just so laughable I couldn’t get over it.
Both Victor and Eli are portrayed as geniuses, and Eli is told his research will change the world. He takes dramatic measures to keep his “research” unknown to the public. Fast forward to the police working with a search matrix that relies on the very same idea that Eli had about ExtraOrdinaries. If Eli is such a genius, how come other people are working with the same idea and nobody is even batting an eye? Eli is portrayed as this one-in-a-million mind but apparently, there isn’t much that’s special about him. There are several other things that didn’t strike me as right, either. For instance, it is still a widely held belief that there is no such thing such as ExtraOrdinaries, meaning that most people (including most cops) don’t think they exist. And yet, there are special cops who are called in when somebody mentions ExtraOrdinaries and they can apparently cover up rather drastic things. So… which one is it?
The book works with a rather small cast of characters and I have to admit I didn’t personally like any of them. I also felt like a lot of the characters represented a total cop-out because they made things so convenient for Eli and Victor (see spoilers below). In addition, some things just never added up to me. Has nobody in this novel parents who are actually present and care about their children’s whereabouts and wellbeing? How is anybody in this book financing their lives? Has literally nobody any bad feelings when it comes to killing people? The list goes on, but I’ll cap it here.
Another thing that bothered me is that I felt like the characters used the same vocabulary, which meant they didn’t have their own voice. Let me explain! At several points in the novel, the author suddenly used a special new term she hadn’t before. For instance, she suddenly called a certain power “reflexive” and a certain person “a siren”. And then shortly thereafter, other characters use these exact same terms as well, even though they were never used before and they hadn’t been exposed to these terms. I realize this is a minor thing but it was really noticeable to me and I didn’t like that.
As I said, I find it really annoying that Victor and Eli just happen to run into EOs whose talents they can readily use with such an annoying convenience. It really bothered me that right at the end of the novel, a new character (Dominic) is introduced who’s so integral to how Victor goes about meeting with Eli. That seems like lazy writing to me! I would have much preferred it if Victor had had to figure things out without Dominic’s help, or if from the beginning, he would have wanted to recruit Dominic to help him. I am also not keen on Syd’s talent and Serena’s talent as they seem too powerful. Especially Syd’s talent of resurrecting the dead. To me, that just meant there weren’t any stakes to key characters dying.
I am also unhappy that it is never fully explained what has to happen to create ExtraOrdinaries. Do all near-death experiences lead to the creation of EOs? If not, what’s the difference between people who become EOs and people who don’t? I feel like the EOs had such a potential as a theme but as a reader, we never get all the answers.
All in all, this book just left me feeling
Audiobook Vicious (Villains #1) by V. E. Schwab (Author)
Victor and Eli are at university together. As part of their studies they start looking at people who have developed extraordinary/super human abilities and what might have caused this. They find a way that may develop these abilities in themselves and Eli tries it first – their relationship will never be the same again and Victor will spend the next few years in prison. Released, he finds himself on the road with his cellmate and searching for Eli to revenge himself on the man who used to be his friend.
This is an excellent story told in a non-chronological manner as we learn bits about how the abilities were developed, what happened to put Victor in prison and what is happening in the present as he pursues Eli. I never felt confused and I thought that the author gave you just enough information at the right times to understand what was happening. The author includes aspects of different points of view including that of a young woman, Sydney, who joins the group. Victor is the main character but he isn’t always right and some of his motivations are a bit shady including the revenge aspect. This enhanced the book for me because he seemed very real. Eli seemed the weakest character to me and I didn’t really understand why he behaved the way that he did – it didn’t seem to ring true.
This was a book where I had to put myself totally in the hands of the author. It was impossible to predict what might be going to happen next and I found myself absorbed in the story. The story ends neatly but I do wonder if it is going to be the first in a series. I would be interested to see how things develop from here.
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Absolutely adored this book! V.E. Schwab is a ExtraOrdinary storyteller
Vicious takes all the standard super hero and super villain tropes and flips them upside down!
Aided by the fantastic writing style, excellent story and short chapters, Vicious is a thrill ride of action, adventure and good old-fashion revenge.
Victor and Eli are roommates and friends. Two confident and arrogant boys who have so much in common: loneliness, ambition and intelligence to name a few. When Eli decides he is going to study EOs in his senior year, Victor cant help but be involved. But Victor doesnt want to just study the theory, he wants to take it to the next level: experimental.
Victor and Eli both decide to take part in the experiments and both become an EO themselves after a near death experience. But when Victors experiment doesnt go exactly to plan he finds himself in prison for 10 years. On his release the only thing Victor wants is to find Eli……oh and to get his revenge of course!
I love Victor Vale!! He is a truly awesome villain with a deep and complex character. Manipulative and cunning, but also considerate and caring at times. This puzzle of a man definitely snagged my interest from page one!
Eli Ever, on the other hand, is a cocky and arrogant hero with a superiority complex. However without him we wouldnt see Victor in all his glory! I really didnt like Elis character much.
Schwabs storytelling had me questioning all my pre-conceived ideas about what makes a hero or villain and how everyone can be a little of both sometimes!
As Victor says Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human
Adored this book and I would give it all the stars if I could but as I cant do that Ill settle for 5
Cannot recommend it highly enough! A must-read.
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Its a wonderfully dark story filled with morally grey characters. It deals with the complexities of what a hero and villain is. Both Eli and Victor are complex, dark and very arrogant. They always know how to be in front of people but inside are something else altogether.
The first chapter shows Victor with Sydney digging up someones grave. It is such an interesting way of opening a book because it makes you instantly curious and want to know why he is doing that. We then are taken back ten years to when Victor was at university and each chapter goes forward and back in time through which we are slowly given the information to understand the full story. It built up the suspense and made me want to read one more chapter to see the big picture.
Victor Vale is one of my favourite characters and our anti-hero, he is arrogant, ridiculously smart and petty and is hell bent on seeking revenge but he still cares for those he works with, especially Sydney. The way he is with Sydney is just adorable! He does use her for his own advantage but still tries to protect her when its possible. I was totally rooting for him throughout the book.
Eli was his own brand of crazy, he has a god complex and feels that what he does is truly the right thing to do. I just couldnt relate to him at all. He was a sociopath, even when his girlfriend died he didnt feel anything, just used it to his advantage.
Sydney and Serenas relationship was so tragic. You could see how close they were before they became EOs and that path led them down a destructive road and they ended up on opposites. It was heart breaking watching their relationship devolve and I truly felt so bad for Sydney.
Sydney is a child and is pulled into this because of Serena and shes innocent but at the same time it was scary how well she adjusted to Victors plans and didnt seem fazed or scared by it.
Vicious is an addictive, fast paced read and if you love anti-heroes with an element of sci-fi then I know you will love this book!
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