May 5, 2015

Flailing over the epic villainousness || Vicious by V.E.Schwab

Release Date:September 24th 2013
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? 

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.'

When I first saw this book in Goodreads,it practically screamed my name!Okay,maybe I am exaggerating a bit,but I knew in an instant that I'll love this book because Vicious is my picture perfect "me" book.It has everything that I love-a twisted antihero with a vulnerable side,superpowers,lots of action,deaths,blood and an addictive and gripping writing style.So when I actually read it,I shouldn't have been surprised by the book,but still I couldn't help but be completely blown out of my mind.

Vicious is the story about two college roommates-Victor and Eli- who bond over their mutual personalities,intelligence,ambitions and desires.They work on a thesis together,a research on ExtraOrdinaries-a group of people who end up getting superpowers after near death experiences.It goes all wrong,and leaves Victor in prison and Eli with a determination to erase all EOs from the world and also with a vengeance to kill each other.

This story is bloody brilliant.All the characters are terrific and the writing style is so addictive and there's never a dull moment in Vicious.The writing just flows through you,and though I am a pretty fast reader,I purposefully slowed myself because I wanted to savor it

One beautiful thing about this book is the characterization of Victor and Eli.Throughout the whole story,you really can't decide who's the actual hero and who's the villain.You don't know who to root for,and who to hate.Both their characters reside on this slim line between good and bad.One moment you blame Victor for something and the next you realize that what Eli did was worse than the former,and vice versa.Both have their motives and their excuses.Both have their weaknesses and an essence of evilness.
“If Eli really was a hero, and Victor meant to stop him, did that make him a villain?
He took a long sip of his drink, tipped his head back against the couch, and decided he could live with that.” 
And the beauty of the whole thing is that you read the story through both their eyes,and see both their viewpoints.When we normally read a book,we root for the hero,because we see the story while being in his shoes,and everything he does seem correct.And everything that the villain does seem wrong.What if you read Harry Potter through Voldemort's eyes?If we see his reasons,his desires and ambitions,maybe we'll actually go on to think that muggleborns should be killed.I firmly believe that a reaction to a story totally relies in how it's executed and whose point of view it's told from.And V.E.Schwab hits the jackpot here,that she perfectly pulls the strings,that we readers are caught between both these characters' reasons and motives to a point where we can't decide which one is right.
“If he'd had to judge based on the two of them, then ExtraOrdinaries were damaged, to say the least. But these words people threw around--humans, monsters, heroes, villains--to Victor it was all just a matter of semantics.” 
Next is the writing style.It just pulls you in.And the way this story was narrated was amazing.Vicious isn't told in a sequential way.Rather we jump through time a lot.One minute we're reading about something that's happening right now,next we're shown an incident which happened years ago.I loved that,because Schwab has written it in a way,that everything fall in place at the right time.Just at the moment,a question rises in you,the answer will be given to you in a flashback in the next chapter itself.

Next is the characters,Woah,I can talk about them all day.All of them had a lot of depth and more than everything there was nothing stereotypical about them.We had a tattooed,burly guy who's a hacking genius and loved chocolate milk.A twelve year old with an amazing power and will.A twisted antihero who sparks some confusion over what you actually feel about him.It's brilliant.

Victor is my favourite.That doesn't mean,he's good though:)He's an ambitious guy who is often driven by his desire and jealousy.He is driven by his need to outsmart and defeat Eli and he does some terrible things along the way.
He has this intimidating aura around him,and the way he thinks is sometimes pure evil,but still there is a soft side to him which is seen by the way he acts towards Sydney and Mitch.And that's what I loved about his character.He's the perfect example for a villain-who's cruel,does horrible things,doesn't actually feel sorry for his deeds,but still has this teeny weeny mushy side that can be only seen at certain moments.
“There were some people you had to stay away from, people who poisoned everything in reach. Then there were people you wanted to stick with, the ones with silver tongues and golden touched. And then, there were people you stood beside, because it meant you weren't in their way. And whoever Victor Vale was, whatever he was, and whatever he was up to, the only thing Mitch knew was that he did not want to be in his way.” 
 “Because you don't think I'm a bad person," he said. "And I don't want to prove you wrong.” 
 Then there's Eli.He's messed up and his excuse is religion.What's so intriguing about his character is that he believes that what he does is right.In his eyes,his actions are justifiable.He repeatedly thinks of himself as a hero-but doesn't realize that has made him more of a villain than a good guy.He's charming,talented and has a way with people.His difference from Victor is that while Victor embraces his wickedness,Eli doesn't. He keeps his dark side hidden,though the darkness inside him is what influences him.And to me,that's what makes him more dangerous and messed up,because he will never ever feel guilty or realize that he's doing wrong things.
“He was like one of those pictures full of small errors, the kind you could only pick out by searching the image from every angle, and even then, a few always slipped by. On the surface, Eli seemed perfectly normally, but now and then Victor would catch a crack, a sideways glance, a moment when his roommate's face and his words, his look and his meaning, would not line up. Those fleeting slices fascinated Victor. It was like watching two people, one hiding in the other's skin. And their skin was always too dry, on the verge of cracking and showing the color of the thing beneath.” 
Along for the ride are three more characters.Mitch is Victor's sidekick from prison.He's a tech genius,but no one looks past his intimidating appearance.I thought that he was adorable-which is a totally unsuitable adjective for this book:)-and his character slowly grew on me.Where as Sydney,a girl who Victor saves and grows a soft spot for,is amazing!She maybe just twelve,but her character is so striking and brilliant.

On Eli's side is Serena,who if you ask me is,actually quite creepy.I can't describe her without letting out any spoilers,but she and Eli make a really twisted,messed up and powerful duo.

From the first page to the last,this book is perfect.Even to the tiny things.For example,the story ended in the same place it started in.Speaking of the ending-it was fabulous!I think Vicious had one of the best endings I've ever read.

Overall,Vicious is a story where X Men meets The Dark Knight.It was gritty,dark,twisted,gripping and absolutely amazing.I'd recommend this to anyone in a second,and I think I might have found my favourite book!:)Go read it,I am sure you'll never regret taking this book up.

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