Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review: Vicious by Victoria Schwab

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I received this book for free from Tor Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Vicious by Victoria SchwabVicious by Victoria Schwab
Published by Tor Books on September 24th 2013
Genres: Adult, Paranormal
Source: Tor Books
Buy on Amazon

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and
superpowers, set in a near-future world.

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?

With such an addicting writing style I can see why this author has made a ton of fans from her previous books, Vicious was my first by Victoria but it definitely will not be my last. In fact, I already have The Archived on its way to me!

First to note should be that this book is not YA, it’s Victoria’s first adult book. Characters are in their 30s and you can tell by the maturity of the storytelling (which is ruthless and violent). Personally, I was pleasantly surprised as I was well overdue for an adult book, particularly a merciless paranormal read such as this. Vicious is ultimately a story of revenge. It’s told in an unusual time lapse, where we don’t have a story from A to Z, but rather a story told in spurts of time leading up to right now. We’re regularly thrown from from 10 years ago, to 2 hours ago, to yesterday, to 2 weeks ago, and so on. This does sound like it would be distracting, instead I found it was extremely engaging. It kept the story from stalling even slightly, and it left you on your toes, craving the next bit in each timestamp. It became my favorite aspect of reading this book, even. The anticipation brought on by this is relentless. And then there’s midnight…

Inside these time instances we get a story told in two main POVs with a few others now and again. It begins 10 years earlier where we’re brought into the reason behind this hunger for revenge. We’re introduced to Eli and Victor as innocent college students trying to find proof of EOs – ExtraOrdinary people, letting us to slowly digest how deep this hate stretches. The character development is exceptional; refined and elaborate. Victor is cold and dangerously intelligent; he calculates his moves to the finest of details; a force to be reckoned with. I loved rooting for the guy. Eli, is fantastically crafted as this malignant evil. His mental state becomes clearer as the story progresses. He thinks he’s doing the world a favor by killing EOs, an act that God would encourage, even, which in turn makes him the most twisted kind of villain. Effort is not lost on the side characters either, both Sydney and Mitch are utterly engaging, same goes for Eli’s sidekick, Serena who has her own evil dusted soul. They each hold powers that are quite fascinating, albeit combined with a touch of dread. Even though this is all told in third person which I often have trouble with, I had no problem getting a feel for these characters. Their voices are compelling and their personalities burst out of the pages.

The writing is dark and irresistible, with Victoria weaving this story into a twisted, bloody mess. I absolutely loved every second of it. With the unique past vs present storytelling, the excitement doesn’t take long to escalate. We quickly get unnerving scenes thick with desperation that sets the mood for the rest of the book, showing a glimpse of just how serious this is going to become. The pacing could not have been better set for this predatory read. You can feel the ruthless, bloodthirsty atmosphere throughout, and the climax is nothing short of explosive. Even though there’s no cliffhanger, you’ll be left craving for more, like the aftertaste of a most delicious delicacy that is Victoria Schwab’s writing!


5 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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18 Responses to “Review: Vicious by Victoria Schwab”

  1. Pili

    Sounds like a great read! I think I’ll have to add this one, cause now and then I do need an adult book!
    Thanks for the honest review Giselle!

  2. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I will admit that this book didn’t appeal to me, but you’ve definitely managed to change my mind.
    It sounds like it’s well-written and I’m up for a violent book, so I’ll be on the look out for this book. Also, I like how every aspect, even the characters, are well-developed.
    Great review, Giselle!

  3. Christianna

    This book sounds like the book for me! I’ve been due for an adult read for awhile now! This one totally sounds like it would fill that void. I’m glad that it had so much going for it!

  4. Megan @ Adrift on Vulcan

    Victoria Schwab must be one hell of a writer, because all I’ve been hearing about her books are positive stuff. First for The Archived, and now for Vicious! I really do need to check her books out. I like the sound of the “merciless paranormal” bit, to be honest. I think YA books tend to try to hide things too much (except for those rare and gritty contemporaries), so I don’t really feel the impact of it, but I feel like I will for this one. And also I love how you describe Victoria’s writing! Definitely sounds like something I’d have a lot of fun reading. Great review, Giselle!

  5. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows

    Another author I can’t believe I haven’t read yet either, I was really excited to get my hands on this one at BEA and am *still* eager to finally start it 😀 I love that you enjoyed it so much and from you review, I can tell I’ll be really into it as well! It’s sounds addictive and especially well-crafted. Lovely review ^^

  6. ShootingStarsMag

    This sounds fantastic! I love that it’s an adult book too. It just has the premise that would make it much more interesting for an “older readership” if you will. I have been wanting to read The Archived for SO long now. I need to start checking this author out!

  7. Candace

    I really like this authors writing but somehow hadn’t even heard of this one! It sounds fantastic though. I like that it’s different, I’m always up for unique!

  8. Molli

    I so cannot wait for this one. I want to see Victoria’s writing take that “dark” turn you described. Nice review, Giselle! You really have me so excited to read Vicious.

  9. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    Oh yay I’m so happy that you loved this one! I’ve heard fantastic things about Victoria’s books, and the revenge aspect of it certainly is an interesting thing, although the maturity that the entire book is handled with must also enhance that point a little further. (I actually have NO idea what I’m saying right now so don’t mind me) And it’s not very common that there are really compelling voices when someone chooses to write in the third person.

    Fantastic review, Giselle! <33

  10. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    Wow, this sounds awesome!! I haven’t read any of this authors books yet, but it sounds like this would be a good one to start with. The writing style seems interesting. I have read a few books that jump around like that, and some have worked while others haven’t. With a 5 hot espresso rating I feel like I need to read this one though.

  11. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    I haven’t read anything by Schwab yet either, but this one sounds so intriguing! And I love those villains with a bit of a God complex. 🙂
    Normally the idea of constantly-switching timelines and points of view drives me crazy. It worked for you, however, so I’m hopeful that means that it’ll work for me as well.

  12. Lena Marsteller

    This book sounds amazing!!! I have heard many good things about Victoria Schwab’s books, and your review has given me a excellent reason to buy Vicious or at least get a copy of it to read 😀