Book Recommendation – Vicious by V.E Schwab
Vicious was my first book by V.E Schwab, and I’m glad I picked it up by chance.
The plot revolves around two intellectually brilliant college students, Victor and Eli, who initially recognized the same ambition and cleverness in each other. In their senior year, Eli takes on the thesis topic of near-death experiences and supernatural abilities. This unveils an intriguing hypothesis: under specific conditions, someone can develop “extraordinary abilities.” However, things go horribly wrong when they shift from academia to the field.
Ten years later, Victor has broken out of jail and is accompanied by a young girl and another ex-prisoner. Together, they work to find Eli, who’s determined to eliminate every supernatural person he can find besides his sidekick. “Who will be left alive at the end?”
Life–the way it really is–is a battle not between Bad and Good but between Bad and Worse.
– Joseph Brodsky
Vicious is a smartly woven revenge story that makes the reader question the notion of heroism. There’s no good or bad; only bad or worse. The book jumps from past to present, yet it does it brilliantly that pushes the plot forward and give the reader a better understanding of how Victor and Eli’s relationship became strained.
Eli was the first to test his theory of the supernatural. Through his experiment, he develops supernatural abilities. Thus, he begins to develop a twisted mentality: God gave him a gift which he will use to eradicate all other supernatural beings like himself. Victor, on the other hand, also develops supernatural abilities through albeit questionable methods.
Victor’s relationship with his comrades is contrasted against Eli’s camaraderie with his sidekick, an enigmatic woman. You could argue that the reason why the book ended the way it did was partially due to these bonds in addition to their own intelligence and abilities.
The book alternates between Victor and Eli’s point of views, though still being written in the third person. Through these different viewpoints, you begin rooting for one or the other. Regardless of who you want to succeed, you come to understand the motives behind their actions. Eventually, it boils down to a battle of wits and pride and arguably no longer about values and beliefs.
If you’re looking for a modern-day superhero novel, I highly recommend Vicious by V.E Schwab. It’s relatable, entertaining, and keeps you hooked page to page. Vicious was Schwab’s first adult novel and is one I will definitely revisit in the future.