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Villains #2


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A super-powered collision of extraordinary minds and vengeful intentions—#1 New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab returns with the thrilling follow-up to Vicious.

Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.

But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought—and will use her new-found power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other.

With Marcella's rise, new enmities create opportunity--and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.

462 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 25, 2018

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About the author

V.E. Schwab

48 books63.7k followers
V.E. Schwab is the author of more than 20 books for children, teens, and adults.
Alternate spelling of Victoria Schwab.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 12,391 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,965 reviews294k followers
October 15, 2018
His eyes met Victor’s, and for a second neither man moved.
Run, thought Victor, and he could see the response in Eli’s coiled frame.
Chase me.

Oh, how I loved this book! I've waited five long years for the sequel to Vicious and I was starting to think it would never happen... but Vengeful was so so good. Definitely worth the wait.

This duology (series??) is called "Villains" and yet the characters are so much more interesting than that. While I've enjoyed a number of Schwab's books, I feel like her strongest writing and characters lie here with Victor and Eli. These "villains" are actually complex antiheroes - murderous and power-hungry, for sure, but also sympathetic and even likeable. They fascinate me.

The bare bones of the story is not that original. I've read countless books about people with X-Men like powers. And yet, for me, Schwab makes this book stand out from the pile. She creates such interesting, well-rounded characters, and draws out the tension so perfectly that I need to know what happens next. I love it when an author can take an exhausted topic and breathe new life into it.

In this book, new characters emerge to make the fight even bigger than before. Once again, we are forced to consider what it is to be good, to do right, and what it is to be evil. All of the characters do despicable things and yet their motives make a certain kind of sense-- even if I'm reluctant to admit it. The addition of a new character - Marcella - is a real highlight of this book. She is seriously terrible. And also freaking awesome.
Perhaps she was glass.
But glass is only brittle until it breaks.
Then it’s sharp.

In fact, the female characters are far bigger stars in Vengeful than they are in Vicious. Hell hath no fury like women seeking vengeance against the men who wronged them. June is another fantastic character and her snark made me smile with delight:
“Whatever you’ve heard,” said June, “it’s probably true.”

Vengeful's timeline jumps back and forth and all around, and frequently switches perspective. While less-skilled authors would probably give me whiplash with this, Schwab uses it really well. As the past races alongside the present, the tension increases until finally all the pieces come together. Never has the phrase “the past is catching up with you” been more appropriate.

Between the new characters causing havoc and the inevitable confrontation between Eli and Victor, this book is just so addictively good. Eli's backstory made me love/hate him even more and Sydney's growth added another layer to the story. It was also great to have Victor confirm his asexuality on-page.

It's such a good book, but I want to issue a quick warning so potential readers can make an informed decision: It's an adult book, with graphic violence and semi-graphic sex. Further content warnings for:

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Profile Image for Victoria Schwab.
Author 28 books103k followers
October 31, 2018
One day I will be finished writing/rewriting this book.


ETA: Holy shit, VENGEFUL is up for a Goodreads Choice Award!! If you follow me at all online, you know what this book took from me in terms of blood, sweat, tears, and sanity, and how proud I am of the finished product. I'd be honored to have your vote!
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
531 reviews58.7k followers
January 11, 2019
I could not put this book down!!

Probably my favorite book by V E Schwab. Loved the story, loved the superpowers, loved the strong messed up female characters, loved that the story was told backward, loved the flashbacks.

Book 2 was even better than the first one. Can't recommend this enough!

Only thing is... gold nail polish? Really?
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews153k followers
August 12, 2022
Not gonna lie, folks, the only thing sustaining me right now is the elaborate and entirely self-indulgent fantasy version that I’ve created in my mind of a world where Victor, Syd, Mitch, and their thrice-dead dog are safe and together and away from *gestures vaguely* all of. this.
Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
765 reviews2,381 followers
January 24, 2022
Okay. I'm gonna be a big brave girl and say it.
This wasn't that great.
There, I said it.
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Phew. That was a hard one to admit.


I mean
-yes, I liked it.
-yes, Victoria Schwab could write assembly instructions and I'd still read every word like it was prose.
-yes, it was great to be back into the Villains universe.
-yes, it was entertaining and made me lose my mind.
-and yes, I still think Mitch should adopt us all.

But I can't say I loved Vengeful as much as I loved Vicious because it'd be a lie.
I don't know if I should believe the tingling and bothering feeling in my brain that suggests that maybe this one suffered from the sequel curse, or if the disappointment comes from it being too long & packed with side characters/plots I couldn't get myself to fully care about, but I didn't feel the same enthusiasm I did last year, when Victor, Syd, Eli and their merry brigade came into my life.
I have no idea what happened. Somewhere between the first and the last chapters I got lost (and a bit bored sigh) and couldn't focus on it properly, despite the twists and raw scenes.
I felt like something was missing and, at the same time, something was imposing.
I guess I'll figure out what exactly didn't do it for me, someday.
But, man, what a pity.
And what a slip.

Don't get me wrong, Vengeful is still far from the tragedy that are many overhyped sequels out there, and I've still loved parts of it that I'll maybe gush about once the spoiler alert is at its minimum, but I still think Vicious was better.
And, if possible, sort of different.

@ Victoria Schwab, I still love you to pieces.
Please, don't ever stop writing.
Please, don't hate me.
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Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.6k followers
November 20, 2020
“I don't want to survive. I want to thrive.”

Am I Victor Vale yet cause I can assure you that I died several times during the course of this book.

After wiping cold sweat off my forehead and 5 minutes of deep and thorough breathing exercises I am relieved and happy to tell you that I loved Vengeful. I had high hopes, but my fears were taller. Ever since Victoria had announced that she would write a sequel to Vicious, I wondered whether this was a good idea. Don't get me wrong, I loved the first book, but that was the exact reason why I wanted it to keep being a standalone novel. It was perfect. I loved it from start to finish, I could not find a single thing that bothered me, I was in awe with every single aspect of this book. Victoria is one of my favourite authors and I knew that she could write. Her writing, her characters, her stories are exceptional. And still, I had my doubts. I was not the biggest fan of and the finale to the Shades of Magic series was not as satisfying as I had wished.

But then I opened the book and read the first page and I knew it, I knew this was the shit. This was going to be exactly what I wanted even though I had not known that I wanted it in the first place.

Let's talk about the characters.
I don't like Eli. He was a reckless fanatic and I wanted him to die. I didn't care for Victor. He was equally violent but at least not as self-righteous as Eli. My heart was always with Sydney, Doll, and Mitch. I want them to stay safe forever.
Vengeful introduced me to Marcella, whom I loved from the very beginning. Her morals might have been even lower than those of Victor and Eli but I couldn't care less. June was another character I fell in love with. But she was not without issues either. However, I kind of like that her story was not explored in this book. We got hints, but her backstory is still draped in shadows...so if Victoria is actually going to write a third Villains book in five years - she said she might release a Villains book every five years - we might get to see more of June.

The way this story was constructed was a work of art. Victoria managed to assemble an impressive amount of POVs, each with their own voice. Things could have easily become unrealistic or rushed, but Victoria managed to maintain the pacing and the result was a thrilling, breathtaking story about villains, power and death. I know that it took a lot of patience and willpower to write this book but it was worth it. 5 well-deserved stars.

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Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,084 reviews17.5k followers
August 31, 2020
“Men look at anyone with power and see only a threat, an obstacle in their path. They never have the sense to see power for what it really is. Potential.”

Vengeful was my second most anticipated book of this year, and it did not disappoint at all. It was absolutely a wild ride and I read it in, literally, two sittings within the same day. S0 let’s scream!
➽G O D, T H A T ’ S G O O D

I think Schwab’s writing style for Vicious is the best of every talent she has in the writing department; she’s abstract, a wide world without clear boundaries, but with enough detail that it’s hard not to be enthralled.
The ease with which I visualized scenes was just incredible; in this series especially, I think she does a really good job conveying the image of a scene without being too specific. SPOILER : The Syd/Victor scene on the balcony, the tea shop scene with Syd & June, and the scene in which a brick almost falls on Marcella all stuck out in my head in different ways.

VENGEFUL's three female leads are a woman who can ruin anything--and anyone--she touches, a living voodoo doll, and a girl who can resurrect the dead. This book was made for 2018.-V.E. Schwab via Twitter

The power of women in this book is just so, so real. Schwab plays around with terrifying yet strangely compelling female villains, and sympathetic female villains, and complex female leads, and it’s just all gorgeous.

All that is fantastic, but besides my absolute love for the writing, why did I read this so quickly and become so enthralled? The characters. God I fucking love how she makes every character dynamic and interesting through just a few words, just a little hint of knowledge about them conveyed so beautifully and immediately you feel that you understand this character and that you root for this character.

Okay, so, here’s a quick rundown of all the sides and characters:
➽V I C T O R, M I T C H, S Y D N E Y

Victor Vale - one of the best well-intentioned villain-from-one-point-of-view characters of all time.
Sydney - a slow-aging teenager who can bring back the dead. a legend and a queen and i love her.
Mitch - Victor’s sidekick, with no powers. the purest person in this book by all measures.
Dol - the ever-resurrecting dog. the only other pure being.
Dom - a far more unwilling sidekick who can step outside time and is Done With This Shit. I actually love Dom.
➽E L I E V E R

Eli Ever - is immortal and has also been through some shit, and he is ready to kill.

Everyone said I would learn to sympathize with Eli this book, and you know what, you were all correct. I've always thought Eli made a fantastic villain, but his character writing here really hit a STRIDE.
➽M A R C E L L A & J U N E

Marcella - former wife of a gangster who can quite literally erode people.
June - a human voodoo doll. I have no idea what to make of her but I know I love her.
Jonathan - a strangely forgettable character but oh well - that’s the point.

I loved the presence of such complexity in the villains here, and how well these three sides were integrated into the broader plot. The sheer character juggling here is really is impressive.

Between Vicious and this, I really, really am in love with this series - it's my favorite by her without competition.

✨ buddyread with most of goodreads, probably
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Profile Image for  Teodora .
307 reviews1,645 followers
April 29, 2023
5/5 ⭐

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

“You’re not blessed, or divine, or burdened. You’re a science experiment.”

When I didn’t think V.E. could become more mind-blowing, newsflash, she does.
With this.
I mean omg.

Vicious ? Fucking loved it. Vengeful ? Fucking masterpiece.

The story somehow manages to become even darker, the action even more precipitated, too much detail but still enough to make the story real. The plot is even more complicated because there are many new characters entering scene, each and every one of them with their own personality and intense power so, again, V.E.’s mind scares the chickenshit out of me sometimes, but most of the time I think that’s just pure evil genius.

Because there are other characters making up the action, there is also a certain change of pace when it comes to the fluidity of the story itself.

Still, there are huge time lapses, from five years in the past, to three weeks in the past, to fourteen years in the past and so on. To that, add the life story of a few new characters and there you go, a nice vegetable soup for all of us to enjoy.

This is a book ruled by the thirst for power and revenge and by some sort of desperate search for something that might look like hope, but too twisted to be it.

Each of the important characters of the book has a certain level of need – one might need hope, another might need recognition, another might need love, another reassurance. It is very interesting to see how each and every desire affects the personality of the characters and turns them to the darker side of their mind.

“I don’t want to survive. I want to thrive.”

I loved the fact that all of the characters (new and old) have their own things going on but somehow, everything they do ends up interconnected so it just becomes a big, messy mess. It honestly amazes me how ruthless and brutal are the lives of the characters. Their background and upbringing, their own experiences make up the whole road full of decisions they made for themselves in order to become the actors who stay now in front of us and act.

One thing I noticed is that the whole vibe of this installment, besides the dark mood going on, is definitely the evil sexy one. This book is evil sexy and I mean it – from the mere presence of Victor Vale to Marcella and Marcus’s hot relationship.


Marcella Riggins née Morgan is the character I felt attracted to the most – she is gorgeous, smart, powerful, ruthless and fearless and she’s damn sassy and dramatic. She proves that no matter what your genre is, the power calls to those who want it true. No man can stand straight in from of Marcella, because she knows how to bring them down.

I bloody loved her, even though she was supposed to be the bad guy of the book. Some of my favourite scenes of the book are actually hers because – she is a bloody queen of dramatics and I was living for her shows.

“Men look at anyone with power and see only a threat, an obstacle in their path. They never have the sense to see power for what it really is.”
“And what is that?” asked June.

I also liked June and I strongly believe that we are going to see more of her in the next Villains book, because she felt too important to be left behind and also we don’t know much about her, even though there is definitely a lot behind her thousand masks.


I wanted more Victor. That is for sure. My favourite oh-not-so-evil-though villain needed more action. I wanted to see his struggle and to witness his mind at work. Because to me, Victor Vale could sit and watch paint dry in a dark room and I’d be fascinated by the sight. No kidding.

Something that I didn’t think possible though is that somehow I started liking Eli in this book. There was this other dimension of him that I craved to find out and now that I have, he actually makes a lot of sense. And I wanted more of him and Victor to happen. I loved their crazy dynamics in the first book and I didn’t want that to end so fast. (Confession: I think I actually ship them together).

I’m super impressed with this sequel from the Villains series. It was darker, more complex and deeper than the first book, the whole atmosphere shifting slightly in Schwab’s characteristic way. I truly can say that I fell in love with evil souls and I’m not ashamed to admit that right here and right now. My own evil soul is happy with that so I’m at peace.

“The life I had is gone. There’s no getting it back. I’d rather make a new one. A better one. One where I don’t have to pretend to be weak to survive.”
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
532 reviews34.5k followers
June 24, 2020
“Some people were matches, a bit of light and no heat. And some were furnaces, all heat but little light. And then, once in a blue moon, there was a bonfire, something so hot and bright you couldn't stand too near without burning.”

I loved this so much!! And I’m saying this not only because I’m Victor Vale trash - which I obviously am - but because V.E. Schwab knows how to tell a story! The way “Vengeful” was told is nothing but amazing. We have four weeks ago in the present, we have the past and the longer the story proceeds the closer we get to the actual present events and the final climax of the story. And yes, I chose my words carefully here because while reading the book I couldn’t help but find parallels to Victor’s condition.

“Vengeful” builds up like one of Victor’s energy charges and after the discharge you’re as drained and dizzy as him. This book however isn’t only about Victor but also about Eli, Sydney and Mitch. There are a lot of new players that enter the scene, like for instance Marcella, June and Jonathan. Not to mention all the countless EO’s EON found and arrested as well as the ones Victor found and ... well you know Vic doesn’t do things by halves. ;-P Neither does Eli, so it was only a matter of time until our old friend began scheming once again.

This time it’s not all about Victor and Eli though and I was really happy to discover that we got a lot of female power to counterbalance our two boy’s ongoing feud! XD Believe me when I say that every single one of those characters has their own agenda and that they are not squeamish when it comes to enforcing their ambitions. We basically get a gathering of ruthless and powerful people who literally walk over dead bodies in order to achieve their goals and do I even need to say it? Yes? Well, my inner faerie had a field day! *lol* And before I go on and on, I better head to my character’s section and gush over there! ;-)

The characters:

You know what they say about Rome? All roads lead to Rome. Well, in this case it’s Merit so: Welcome to Merit! The city in which Victor Vale and Eli Ever started their vicious and vengeful vendetta. Tread carefully when you enter, you might get right smack into the middle of their fight and parts of spoilers could hit you at every corner! Consider yourself warned.

Victor Vale:

”He had craved a lot of things – power, revenge, control – but sex was never one of them. Even with Angie... he’d wanted her, of course, wanted her attention, her devotion, even her love. He’d cared about her, would have found ways to please her – and perhaps found his own pleasure in that – but for him, it had never been about sex.”

First things first: I still LOVE and ADORE Victor Vale. <33 His character was every bit as intriguing and morally grey as it was in “Vicious” and it was such a pleasure to watch his mind at work. I was glad to discover that his habit of using text markers to blot out words hadn’t changed, even though I’ve to admit that – in this context – it broke my heart. Victor is all about logic and control and in “Vengeful” the two things he always relied on were taken away from him. He has no control over his body’s degeneration and even though he knows that he’s doomed the solution-oriented part of him just can’t accept his predicament. He’s a man on a mission and once he sets his mind to something he just can’t let it go. The truth is Victor clings to his life because he actually wants to live! He doesn’t want to leave Sydney or Mitch behind and he’s desperate to find a cure. It hurt to see him struggle and to know that he was just a shadow of his former self, but after that ending I have hope again! Maybe Victor will have a comeback in book three?! Please?! *asks nicely*

”You’re such a weirdo sometimes.”
“Only sometimes?” asked Victor. “I’ll have to try harder.” Those blue eyes flicked to Eli. “Normal is overrated.”

”Look at me,” he said coldly, catching Sydney’s chin in his hand. “The next time you point a gun at someone, make sure you’re ready to pull the trigger.”

”Victor was used to being the strongest person in the room, and it was both familiar and unsettling to see that confidence on someone else.”


”Victor haunted her. His pain haunted her. His dying haunted her.
Because it was Sydney’s fault.”

Ahh little Sydney has grown so much over those last five years! It was good to see that she became a part of Victor’s little family and that they got along so well. (Well is a loosely used term though because they are a super dysfunctional family but it somehow works? *lol*) If you ask me I don’t think that Sydney doesn’t age, I think that she does, but she does it very slowly. Maybe it has to do with the ice? It could have slowed down her metabolism and therefore she’d age really slowly? The concept of cryo-preservation exists for a reason after all. ;-) Also it was good that she worked on her abilities. I’m curious to find out what she might be able to do after she had some years to get accustomed to her powers. Hopefully I’ll be able to see it in the third book. XD Plus, I think now that she made peace with Serena’s death it might be easier to handle her powers. The emotional trauma of losing her sister might have influenced her abilities and I can’t wait to see her really grow into them.

Eli Ever:

”Eli’s faith had faltered in that room.
He had found Hell in that room.
And the only sign of God was that, no matter what Haverty did, Eli continued to survive.
Whether he wanted to or not.”

I hate that I feel sorry for him, but since this was obviously Schwab’s intention I can blame it all on her. *lol* No, seriously. No one deserves to have a Dr. Haverty in their life and what he did with Eli was just cruel and inhuman. It was torture and no matter what Eli did it was wrong to experiment on him. Of course to some degree a person like Haverty was necessary to find Eli’s weaknesses and to explore them, because otherwise there would have been no way to stop him if he ever escaped. Which he ultimately did and Dr. Haverty was there to provide a solution. So yeah, I actually saw that one coming so I wasn’t surprised by the ending. Still, there were other things I didn’t expect: For instance Eli’s past. I began to wonder if he might have become a different person if his father wouldn’t have hurt him so much. How many of the things he believed were indoctrinated? How would he have turned out if his father’s religious fanaticism wouldn’t have shaped his thinking so much? It boggles the mind if you think about it too hard. In the end Eli was nothing but a little boy that got hurt by his own father and this actually made me really sad. =((

”He prayed that the pastor would stop seeing whatever he saw, while he carved new feathers into the torn wings of Eli’s back.”


”How many men would she have to turn to dust before one took her seriously?”

Now, if Marcella wasn’t the embodiment of a femme fatale, then I really don’t know! XD That woman was burning like a wildfire and consuming everything in her path. And just like a wildfire she wasn’t put out easily. ;-) Which quite honestly, only made me love her character even more. *lol* I liked the idea of a strong and independent female villain that strove for more than life was willing to offer her and I was glad she posed a real threat to Stell. Hell, Marcella even posed a threat to Eli and he was basically what you would call “extremely hard to kill”. Plus that woman had style! She took what she wanted and did it openly without hesitation. It’s rare to find a villain like that, especially a female one, which is just one more reason to love her for it! XD It’s a shame Eli managed to kill her, but without Jonathan she would have never been able to hold out for so long.

”She was done playing by other people’s rules. Done hiding. If you lived in the dark, you died in the dark. But stand in the light, and it was that much harder to make you disappear.”

”And what happens then?”
“Oh,” mused Marcella, tracing the veins in the stone, “I imagine that Director Stell will decide I’m more trouble than I’m worth.”

”Jesus, Marcella, anyone ever told you that you’re batshit crazy?”
Marcella pursed her lips. “Several times,” she said. “It’s an insult men love to aim at ambitious women.”


”I saw became I think I saw became I couldn’t have seen became I didn’t see. Eyes were fickle. Minds were weak.”

Okay, let me say it: HOW COOL ARE JUDE’S POWERS???!!! OMG! A living shape shifting voodoo doll!!! Gosh, I’d love to have abilities like that!!! She can’t only change into every kind of person she wants to be, no, she also can’t be hurt while she wears that person’s skin! That’s like a Mystique 2.0 version and I’d be so ready to have superpowers like that! XD Of course I’d try not to get killed while wearing another person’s skin, because really, that would be more than just unfair to the poor person who would have to die. Still, the sheer possibility of being a different person every day or choosing your favourites to change every once in a while, just amazing! It doesn’t really surprise me that Jude became an assassin with skills like that; I can’t help but feel like there is way more to her character than we ever got to see though. I still have so many question marks when it comes to Jude and the more I read about her the more intrigued I became. I just hope that some mysteries will be solved in the third book because for now I’m left wondering and I’m getting a serious headache whenever I think too hard about it. *lol*

”Was it worth it? Syd had asked her that night, when she confessed to giving up her face, her life, herself. And it was, it was, but that didn’t stop June from craving the light of recognition in someone’s eyes. The comfort of being seen, being known.”

The relationships & ships:

Victor & Sydney:

”Sydney, I am alive because of you,” he said firmly. Tears spilled down Syd’s cheeks. Victor reached out and touched her shoulder. “You saved me.”
She met his eyes then, ice blue laced with red. “But I broke you.”

Aww those two! I loved to see Victor’s gentle side and no matter how much he tried to deny that he loved Sydney, he actually did/does! Syd felt terrible for causing him so much pain, but funnily enough Victor never held it against her. He always knew that her powers are limited and he tried to protect her from the truth. Well, at least as long as he could. It had to come out eventually and my heart broke for both of them when it did. >_< To leave her with Mitch and Dol was the right decision even though it hurt to see them part. But Sydney knew because she’s probably the only person, aside from Mitch, who knows when Vic is lying. T_T I just hope that Victor finds a solution and that they will reunite at some point. Their story isn’t over yet and I’m convinced they’ll meet each other again. <3

”He could read the question in her face. It was the same one crashing through his own head.
What have I done?”

”There’s something I have to do.” Sydney was already shaking her head, but Victor reached out and put a hand on her cheek, the gesture so strange, so gentle, it stopped her cold.
“Syd,” he said, “look at me.”

Victor & Eli:

”It frightened and thrilled Eli, to be seen, and to see himself reflected. Not all of himself – they were still so different – but there was something vital, a core of the same precious metal glinting through the rock.”

How come those two men barely had any page time together, but their chemistry was still off the charts?! It’s so damn obvious that in some twisted sort of way they are in love with each other. Their obsession and the fact they can’t let go is indication enough. I mean Eli thinks Victor is dead but still talks to his ghost?! You usually only do that with loved ones! And I swear, I could feel Eli’s relief when he found out that Victor isn’t dead. He wants to kill him once again? That’s just an excuse to see him! They both need each other, they give each other purpose and I wonder what’s going to happen with Victor now that Eli is truly dead. Or is he? I’m still not all too convinced that he’s really gone! I mean what if Dr. Haverty’s drug didn’t take?! Or its effect weakened? Is it possible for Eli to heal even if he’s dead? Would he be able to come back? ADFKASDKFADAKLMNÖ! Talk about things that boggle the mind. I guess I’ll only get answers once I read book 3! >_< (whenever it will come out. Ahhhhh! T_T)

”Victor wondered if that was why EON hadn’t gotten closer. Not because their pet had failed to see Victor’s hand in the killings, but because he had.���

”Victor stared at the wall as if it were still a window. “He doesn’t know how patient you are,” he said. “Doesn’t know you like I do.”
Eli cleaned the blood from his hands.
“No,” he said softly. “No one ever has.”

”Run, thought Victor, and he could see the response in Eli’s coiled frame.
Chase me.”

”Victor.” A pause. “You were supposed to stay dead.”
“It didn’t take.”

Sydney & June:

”June could think of a dozen reasons to make sure Victor was dead, and only one to stay her hand.

So what exactly has been going on between those two? I have a lot of theories about June’s motives but I don’t know if any of them hits close to home. My first theory is that she’s in love with Sydney and a lot of the things she thought seemed to confirm that suspicion. I mean she referred to Syd as “her girl” and she didn’t only want to protect her but also wanted her to choose her over Victor. A person she knows Syd loves. Mhmm... but then again with the little we know about her past she could also be related to Syd? I don’t know how exactly but it could be possible? ARGH! I have no idea, seriously for all I know June could be her grandma and I’m not even kidding here. *lol* June is the most opaque character I ever encountered because we got NOTHING about her background. Well, at least nothing tangible. I get the feeling Schwab made her like that on purpose and I’m sure we’ll see a lot of her in book three. Considering Syd deleted her number from her phone it might take some while until they meet again though. >_<


This sequel was everything I hoped for and even more! <3 I loved to read about all the new players that came into the game, I was happy to read about the old ones and I still can’t get enough of their morally ambiguous stance on certain things. The world needs more books like this and I’m so ready to read them all! And yes, I’m going to admit it: I’m Victor Vale trash and I’ll never be sorry for it! *lol* Can we have book three now, Victoria? XD
Profile Image for ✨faith✨trust✨pixiedust✨.
398 reviews363 followers
October 2, 2018
Good grief I'm finally done with this.

I'm disappointed. I'm underwhelmed. I'm frankly a little pissed off. I went into this book with the excitement of a giddy child and came out a crone hardened by sheer boredom and anger (the worst kind). I was happy with the story, so very happy, but once Marcella (a new addition AKA the lady on the cover) mutinied and became the star of the show, around the 50% mark, I found myself dreading reading this.

I don't want this to be a long review so I'm going to be more brief than I usually am, especially when I have so many feelings. Here are my general feelings about the characters, the plot, and the themes of the book:

I found that all the veteran characters were cardboard cutouts of their former selves. They weren't really there long enough, their feelings and thoughts weren't touched on enough, to really warrant any feelings on my part. Victor was reduced to a hand flicking, wall leaning, tired guy who did things Victor would never do; Sydney was just meh and Mitch didn't drink nearly enough chocolate milk, though I did appreciate the extra time spent on Eli (though in the present, he wasn't nearly as entrancing as he had been in the past and in Vicious). Stell was back, and I actually really liked him. He was the only person who acted like a person, and I really appreciated that.

The new additions were mostly wallpaper. June had no logical motives. Both her and Marcella got their revenges way too soon and too easily to really hold any tension. While the new powers were interesting, I was constantly confused about the state of clothing in regards to June's ability. Basically, she can shapeshift into anyone living that she touches (minusing EOs) and glimpse into their most basic fundamental character aspects. And she also takes...their outfit? What about clothing she puts on separately? Can she remove the clothing? If she wants a specific outfit, does she have to go looking for someone wearing it?

Jonathan, another new addition, started out as a real person and literally became a cardboard cutout (okay not literally but pretty darn close). He just stood there. He rarely spoke. He always wore sunglasses even though everyone knew where he was looking. I forgot that he even existed for a moment.

Dr Haverty was okay, but a little cliche and convenient, and I wish he'd stayed around longer instead of popping up right when I'd completely forgotten he was a character.

Marcella...😒 Marcella was just Aelin Galathynius if you took away the tragic backstory. She's evil for the sake of it, black and white with no trace of grey, and a straight up psychopath. She tries to use feminism to support her ridiculous and unethical behavior and somehow...people agree? Like real people? She makes little snide comments about how men are always underestimating women who are ambitious, how they always call them crazy. No, lady, you are actually crazy. It's not just men saying that. Sydney isn't crazy. Sydney has morals. No one calls Sydney crazy (except for maybe Eli, but he's even more crazy). She said and did a lot of things that undermine real misogyny. She wasn't been underestimated or abused when male characters got mad at her for not holding up her end of the deal. She was being treated reasonably under the circumstances. Yes, her power of ruination was cool, but she used it as proof she is to be worshipped when she doesn't deserved to even be liked. I didn't know if this was intentional or not because the book didn't give me any clear message.

And that brings me to the general theme of this book. Or rather, the lack of a theme. It had no direction, had no point to make. There was no greyness to anything. There were the people we're supposed to see as good guys and those who were obviously villains. There was no unique and interesting philosophy, no real conflict. It was character-driven but didn't have any character tension. Scenes that were obviously supposed to be hardhitting and important character moments lacked any kind of tension whatsoever. They felt stale and boring. The first half of this book was promising, but it didn't keep that promise.

Every end may be a new beginning, but every beginning had to end.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.7k followers
October 16, 2018
theres nothing quite like reading about a bunch of sociopaths to make you feel good about your life. additionally, theres nothing like enjoying a book about sociopaths to make you feel the need to re-evaluate your life. lol.

this had everything i loved about vicious, and so much more! i dont even know where to begin. how lucky we are to even get a sequel? how much more world building was present in this? the fact that mitch was still so wholesome? the brilliance of schwabs storytelling? how much this made me wish i could shapeshift? or quite possibly the fact that i HAVE A CRUSH ON ELI?! what is even wrong with me!? i am just going to take my falling for a mass killer as proof that story was exceptionally well-written, the character development was on point, and everything about this got me so invested.

if i could have made one teeny tiny little change, i would have preferred less side plots/minor characters. eli and victor definitely deserved to be the focus of this book at all times. i think these additional characters were added to set up for another book (maybe? possibly? fingers crossed?), but i felt like they diverted too much attention away from the people who really mattered.

overall, when all is said and done, this book definitely made me feel like i need therapy because it was almost the death of me (that ending though, seriously). so i will be forwarding you my treatment bill, ms. schwab. be sure to check your junk mail. :P

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Warda.
1,154 reviews18.5k followers
October 31, 2019
I'm currently debating between a 4 or 5 stars, but needless to say that I had the best time reading this book.

I didn't get bored once. It was thrilling, the character analysis was stunning and the pacing was beautifully set.
The world of EO's got bigger and better, more fascinating and ludicrous. More morally grey characters were introduced, Victor and Eli got more despicable and lovable with each page. Mitch, Doll and Sydney constantly turned my heart into mush.
And don't even get me started on Marcella.


I loved her!
Desperately need more. I can read about these psychopaths and Sydney and Mitch forever.


Time to get lost in Merit City.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,206 reviews40.9k followers
July 27, 2022
OMG! It took toooooooooooo long to finish this book and I wish the third book will come out sooner because I didn’t get my enough intake of Eli and Victor! They didn’t feature at this book as much as I expected. Dammit!

Well, I enjoyed the first one so much. It was one of darkest, bloody nightmares and I seriously fell in love with the writing. The second installment is also dark, vulgar, violent, bloodier, stunning and introducing us toughest villanelles which was the weakest point of the first book not to have enough female characters instead of Sydney. But its longevity slows the pacing and it seems like I have read two additional books at the same time (It could be more than three books. That wasn’t necessary to write only trilogies! If my favorite author writes more than five books with these amazing
characters, I will read them without thinking a second!)

BUT… yes something is with this one. It’s good but not sooo great! Not my kind of mind blowing, wow my mind keep spinning kind of controversial five starred reading. But I have to admit the author mesmerized us with mind numbing time zone trick. Yes, you got lost in several of them. So this book reminding me of complex mathematical equation.

Let’s talk about newbies: Marcella and June. Femme fatale and shapeshifter badass. They are cruel, wild and dangerous. Marcella is breathtakingly beautiful nemesis and don’t forget the mysterious June become a real good sister to Sydney.

The complex relationship of Eli (I'm still visualizing him as Michael Fassbender )and Victor (He could be played by James McAvoy and I will enjoy every second of it) salute us again and guess what we read more about Eli’s backstory which makes you scream, pissed off, break your heart into tiny pieces and you get the reason why he chose a path to become a villain.

Mostly I enjoyed the parts of my favorite trio from the first book: Victor-Mitch-Sydney: My dangerous modern three musketeers, another version of modern family.

This world building, amazing character development and dark themes always fascinate me. I don’t want to wait for the third one so long and I wished it will be released at the end of this year. Well another waiting for Godot situation for me and I became Vladimir again.
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews113k followers
November 25, 2018
Not sure whether to rate 3 or 4. I have mixed feelings on this book. Vengeful continues on to be a fun and gritty drama with intriguing new characters, but I question whether a sequel was necessary. While the first book had a clear focus on the rivalry between Victor and Eli and their gray morality, the central themes in Vengeful were muddled and had a much more confusing timeline. I was intrigued by the new characters, but by the end felt like they were just added there to serve the plot. I feel like this book tried to cover all these characters throughout the story (Victor, Eli, Marcella, June, Sydney, Mitch, Stell, etc) that we didn't have as much in-depth character exploration on any of these individuals, thus many of their motives (especially June's) were flimsy. I think this would have been better as a spin-off within the same universe but primarily focused on a new rivalry, like Marcella vs June, especially since we didn't get to see much of Victor and Eli's interactions here anyway.
Profile Image for Samantha.
417 reviews16.7k followers
April 9, 2019
3.75. I might bump this up to 4 because that’s what I thought I’d give it up until the very end. But this was very anti climactic for me and definitely did not compare to how perfect Vicious was for me.
Profile Image for emi.
446 reviews1,079 followers
July 4, 2021




Someone pls kill me as this book is making me suffer inside

And then bring me back to life bc I want superpowers

Anyways RTC.
Profile Image for Lexie.
223 reviews196 followers
Want to read
May 19, 2016
Update: Verily, that the sequel to Vicious is titled Vengeful is a beautiful case of both alliteration and sinister phrasing. Then again, it is Victor Vale, so perhaps poetry and peril were par for the course.

Alliteration awesomeness
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
663 reviews3,893 followers
October 27, 2018
Ms Victoria Schwab really sat down, opened her laptop, and wrote THIS? Knowing full well people like ME would have to read it and cry and suffer?? 911 I’d like to report an attempted murder.

Sometimes a family is: your angst emo super power dad who’s doing his best, your sweet hot chocolate making uncle whos job is to tell the family not to do bad things and you, the adopted child who loves undead dogs and thinks it’s kinda cool ur dad kills people

Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,797 followers
October 23, 2018
i just have one question, what in the hell just happened?

that is all

Im simultaneously destroyed and yet so fulfilled and content at this ending

I cant believe this story is over for the time being, I genuinely felt like I was living with them GOSH DAMMIT

- I cant even begin to describe what this book did to me
- Victor vale: a madman, book defiler, a soft dad, just wants to feel alive again and honestly relatable
- Mitch: a marshmallow that got stuck inside a rugby player’s body, the other soft dad, but hes softer, secret genius
- (the hot chocolate and grilled cheese scene!!!!!)
- Sydney: my daughter, perpetually smol, she just wants the best for everyone, love animals, wants friends. Again, relatable
- Marcella: a queen amidst of peasants, will steal your man…..and then kill him, her makeup is always flawless, is always ready to cut a bixch
- June: fav, indecisive about who she should be, loyal…but she comes first, the cool kid you always wanted to be
- I don’t know how schwab was able to do it, but they were all so real and genuine, not a single one was alike, im honestly shocked at how she was able to craft them so well
- I seriously love this book with all my being
- Its action packed, fast paced, has that hint of comedic edge, its so damn genius
- The way the plot comes together and ties back to the beginning
- There is no boring moments, I was honestly gripped from the first sentence till the very end
- The two new characters (Marcella & june) really added a new dimension to the story
- Like yes we love victor and mitch and Sydney and the little messed up family they built but consider this
- Two ladies who aren’t scared of power and are always underestimated and are Tired of it
- Like imagine what they could accomplish!!
- Can I just say the highlight of the story was mitch being domestic
- Okay im losing focus
- And the last 50 pages??? Wild my friends, wild
- Im just a mixture of the crying emoji and heart eyes emoji with a hint of pain emoji and I don’t know how to go on emoji
- In conclusion
- Read the damn book
- hope youre happy, emily 😒


i've been waiting years for this book and im stuck between screaming in fear and excitement, with schwab you can never really tell

buddy read with the squaf💗, 🐝, 👸, & 🐀
Profile Image for ☆ Mira ✷.
169 reviews79 followers
October 18, 2018
#hide yo kids hide yo wife schwab came for us all

^me meeting Victoria Schwab the day after I finished Vengeful and trying not to be freakishly starstruck. (she said she loved my "Victor Vale is my hero" shirt, which is peak fangirl try and top me. Also, I always thought that she must be the Devil & Co due to how her books screw me over, but she's so sweet and funny, she definitely has no Satanic origins.)

Anyway, after finishing Vengeful, I spent 10 mins searching GIF websites for variations of "death, satan, ghost, hell" to express how I feel about Vengeful only to accept that nothing can do it justice, so that's the Schwab Effect™.

I mean, I just want to know what grave sin I committed in a past life to deserve that fireball of an ending?! I KNOW there will be a third book—that cliffhangerish hell can't possibly be the last we see of Merit. I teared up in class today, probably looking like I was crying about math, but really I was just thinking about a certain event at the end about which I'll be Emotional for the next century.

But I also must have been a saint at some point to be born into a world where the Villains duology exists, because, you know, when there's intense pain, the happiness is that much stronger, or something like that. And there's a LOT of enjoyment here. So many BADASS things kept happening that made me grin in delight. Whenever I sat down to read, 100 addictive pages would go by before I knew it.

Especially during the climax. The climax felt like a roller coaster, except that roller coasters warn you about the potential side effects, and it's socially acceptable to scream at the top of your lungs during them. My heart was beating faster than it does when I think I've finally trapped a spider under a cup, only to lift it and see empty space. And then the ending—WHAT?! That's going on my gravestone.

I'm in awe of how Victoria draws out tension and develops relationships between characters over months or years that they spend not interacting at all. In AGOS, Kell & Lila didn't even make eye contact until the last 18% of the book, yet their relationship was MY LIFE the ENTIRE time. In Vengeful, this type of dynamic takes place between Victor & Eli; they've been apart for 5 years and don't reunite until the climax, but we get all the feels from their friendship/enmity.

Speaking of Victor/Eli feels, THOSE ELI EMOTIONS WHAT ON EARTH. I can't believe we got Holland'ed again?! Join my Eli Protection Program 2k18 PLEASE.

BUT anyway, let's get to the point and talk about Marcella Morgan, the real star of Vengeful. She's the icon of my life, a truly aspirational EO with the power of burning what she touches. Naturally, she uses this power to burn trash ass men down and rise to power.

Marcella wondered how many men she would have to turn to ash before one took her seriously.

Every time I thought she couldn't get more savage, she went and Did That. With the time-skipping format of this series, we learn Marcella's life story, which sets up an amazing character arc. How she views her femininity and draws power from it throughout her life, and how that evolves, is fascinating.

Which brings me to my next declaration: Vengeful is the feminist antihero story I never knew I needed. It's the most feminist SFF I've EVER read. The juxtaposition of the ways in which Marcella, June, and Sydney are suppressed and how they react to it is incredibly effective. The themes in Vengeful are for you to figure out—Victoria doesn't straight out tell you anything—which made this feminist aspect subtly executed but so powerful.

Back to how I met Victoria Schwab on tour (!), she talked about the feminism in Vengeful, and I diligently memorized what she said. Whereas Vicious is very masculine and focuses on male friendships, toxic masculinity, etc, Vengeful is all about the women and how they reclaim power. Marcella is a mob wife always treated as an object. Sydney, due to her not aging, is frustratingly infantilized by everyone, both by strangers and by those who love her. Then there's June, and... well... Victoria just started enthusiastically talking about how June is a living, breathing, voodoo doll, seeming (righteously) proud of herself for this. ("She's like Mystique from X-Men, except that if she gets hurt, the other person will feel it!")

The flow of power is another main theme, building on what started in Vicious and linking to the aforementioned feminism. I spent 2 hours today just thinking intensely about Victoria's statements in this book about power and how it corrupts. The parallels and contrasts between Marcella & Victor, Marcella & Eli, and Victor & Eli's use of power are SO INTERESTING. My loyal followers probably aren't loyal enough to read 1k words of literary analysis in an innocuous review of a superhero thriller, but the person reading this is welcome to slide into my DMs anytime ;)

It was also illuminating to think about how Marcella compares to Adelina from The Young Elites. Their narrative arcs are close parallels despite the series being so different.

<3 so anyway, this too long review is a small sampling of my reactions to Vengeful, the book of my life that makes me want to be the next King Arthur so I can declare it required reading for every high school in the kingdom I rule.
Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 11 books75.3k followers
November 1, 2018
Impresión inicial al terminar: Ummm.

La verdad no sé si el rating real es de 3.5 estrellas. El libro me gustó, me entretuvo, pero no me pareció tan bueno como Vicious. Vicious fue PERFECTO de principio a fin (ufff, ese final fue increíble). En cambio en Vengeful tenemos un inicio prometedor, pero luego la trama se alarga mucho y se vuelve repetitiva, y el final fue poco satisfactorio. Incluso creo que quedó muy abierto. Me hace pensar que va a haber una tercera parte (porque si fueron solo dos libros, y ese es el final-FINAL, pues no me gustó).

Como siempre, amo a los personajes de Victor y Eli. Sydney me sorprendió. Y hubo dos nuevas protagonistas: June y Marcella. A Marcella la amé, se me hizo buena villana, pero June me dio igual, no sé, no me terminó de gustar el personaje.

EHHHH Y NO SÉ QUÉ MÁS DECIR POR AHORA. Es un buen libro, pero ayyy, Vicious se hubiera quedado como autoconclusivo, siento que esta secuela no era necesaria. Eso sí, V.E. Schwab es brillante.
Profile Image for Sofia.
258 reviews6,509 followers
May 7, 2021
Sydney is such a cinnamon roll. Even when she's shooting people. She must be protected at all costs.

review to come....
Profile Image for Chantal .
337 reviews826 followers
July 17, 2021
As much as I adored Vicious and consider it one of my favorite standalones of all time, this sequel didn't work for me at all. It was a drudge to get through and I didn't care about any of the characters. Hopefully I'll be able to better formulate my thoughts in the future.

AM I DREAMING?? One of my all-time favorite books gets a sequel?!

This is too good to be true.

What I want to know is when? WHEN?
Profile Image for emily .
242 reviews2,116 followers
March 26, 2019
this.......................... was everything i wanted, truly.

i don't know how schwab does it but somehow she just manages to wrap her series up so perfectly. i loved every single word in this book, i lived and breathed victor, syd, mitch and even eli, i clutched my heart so many times i lost count. I LOVE THIS BOOK WITH EVERY PART OF MY SOUL I JUST WANT TO SCREAM IT INTO THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i'm so filled with love and pain, i don't even know how to put any of it into words.


i feel like nothing i'm about to say is going to do this masterpiece of a book justice, but i'm sure as hell going to try anyways.

let's talk CHARACTERS :

the characters are always what makes or breaks a book for me, and i have to say, nobody quite does characters like V.E. Schwab. it's just so much fun to follow these deliciously complex, real, carefully crafted characters along on their journey, and schwab just manages to make you feel for them.

Victor fucking Vale

first of all, i want victor vale to roundhouse kick me in the face. i just aggressively love him so much, it's borderline insane.

he doesn't fuck around, and that's what i love about him. he just unapologetically does his thing, with no remorse, no sympathy, no second thoughts. never without a plan A, B or fucking Y.
i adore him with every inch of my being. if anybody ever outranks kaz brekker for me, it might be victor vale. he is just so unabashedly victor vale, and i would propel myself into the sun for him.

i wish i could follow him along on his adventures for 1000 more books

Syd, Mitch, and Dol

i just adore their unwavering love for each other. they still don't know how to show it, so that hasn't changed since vicious, but i do feel like their bond grew even stronger. it's so bluntly evident to everyone evolved that they would die for each other, and that's so beautiful to me. every time mitch was a loving grump it made flowers bloom in my chest.
i also still think about the fact that he has syd saved as "tiny terror" in his phone sjdksdjhfk i just love them too much what the fuck???


"How many men would she have to turn to dust before one took her seriously?"

i think most of us can #relate

marcella is a delicious new character that we got in this book. she takes what she wants, doesn't really care about consequences, and wants to see the world burn. i liked her POV, it was very interesting.


i would've loved to see even more of her.

Eli Ever

i can't believe schwab actually made me sympathize with him, what kind of sick manipulation bullshit is this


(mayhaps i don't have too much of a problem with that)

we get more of eli's backstory in vengeful. however, schwab manages to avoid a redemption arc; she doesn't give any type of justification for his errors, simply states "this is why he is how he is" without apologizing him in any way or giving him credit. i love that.

i definitely learned to appreciate his character more. i might have even carved a small space into my heart for him. eli ever, you sick bastard. i kinda love you.


going into this book, i was utterly terrified, because schwab has too much power over me and she kills me every time i touch a book of hers.

someone: "what scares you?"
me, with a horrified expression: "the last book in a v.e. schwab series"

schwab does everything right in this book. where i struggled with the beginning of vicious, vengeful was flawlessly paced from the start. i wasn't bored for one second. at this point i feel like i could've kept reading for another 800 pages.

her writing is superb, as usual. i don't know how she manages to have the right words at the right places, but she just kinda makes everything look easy. she was born to be a writer, and you can feel it with every word, every sentence, every page.

the whole plot was executed perfectly. the ending was satisfying, but so was the entire build-up. schwab left nothing out, there was nothing more to be desired, she covered everything that wasn't covered in vicious and beyond that.

this book had me at the edge of my seat constantly, even when nothing particularly exciting was happening. it was thrilling in a subliminal way. there was some kind of pull to it that didn't let me go until i was done reading it.

all in all it was an addicting, enthralling, satisfying experience. i feel both dead inside and weirdly accomplished all at once. and of course incredibly sad that we live in a simulation where we possibly won't get a third book in this series. this is what pain feels like, i guess. but i'm so glad that this book is a part of me now.

hey............ check this series out if you haven't. trust me on this one.

"His eyes met Victor's, and for a second neither man moved. Run, thought Victor, and he could see the response in Eli's coiled frame.
Chase me."


✦ buddy read with the squad: maymay, gianna, marami
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