Elise (TheBookishActress)'s Reviews > Vicious

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
52545435
Vicious is the story of a villain and a hero. Or, that's what it disguises itself as. It's really the story of five different morally grey characters, all out for themselves, battling it out. This is a book that explores the hero / villain dichotomy and promptly shatters it to pieces.
Someone could call themselves a hero and still walk around killing dozens. Someone could be labeled a villain for trying to stop that person. Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.

I love books that subvert and explore tropes.

Vicious sets itself apart from Schwab's other adult releases with a far faster pace. My main complaint about Darker Shade of Magic was the lack of character-driven plot; events happened to the characters rather than because of them. That's not true here. Every single plot twist is due to an action by a main character.

In terms of characters, this book absolutely rocks. Schwab's characters have such clear motivation for everything they do. Not a single character here is particularly good; everyone is a solid chaotic neutral except for Eli, who's one of the best lawful evil antagonists I've ever read.

Interlude: Me Ranting About How Much I Love These Characters
“they're evil you shouldn't love them” we all have problematic faves

Victor is the technical villain, but he's far easier to root for and empathize with. Eli is a believable, well-developed character, but his cruel fanaticism isn't a well-sold brand. Maybe Eli has a moral code and Victor doesn't, but Eli is lying to himself about his motives. Victor is evil, but he's absolutely aware of his place in the narrative, which made him easy to root for.

Schwab's development of these characters makes the book's main conflict even more high-stakes. She also shows off her talent for relationship building here; the conflict between Victor and Eli is so dynamic and interesting.
The difference between Victor and Eli, he suspected, wasn't their opinion on EOs. It was their reaction to them. Eli seemed intent to slaughter them, but Victor didn't see why a useful skill should be destroyed, just because of its origin.

I'm always ready to read about friends-to-enemies relationships, and Victor and Eli's is especially cool. Even more so because they have genuinely touching moments.
“Tell you what,” said Victor. “You remember me, and I'll remember you, and that way we won't be forgotten.”


But they're not the only interesting, 3-D characters here. Serena and Sydney are two incredibly compelling characters, and their sisterly conflict makes them ever more interesting. Sydney is a 13-year-old girl who can raise the dead. Serena can make everyone around her follow her suggestions. Despite being on “evil” sides, these two girls are so believable and their motivations so clear that it's hard not to root for their respective sides. I hated Eli, yet I rooted for Serena, despite her being on his side. The other side characters are equally as developed. I especially loved Mitch; he's a criminal down on his luck.

Possibly my favorite thing was the odd familial dynamic between Mitch, Victor, Sydney, and Dol the dog. The dynamic between Victor and Sydney is totally awesome.
Safe had ceased to be a place for Sydney. It had become a person.
Specifically, safe had become Victor.

(Tell me you didn't cry reading that. You're LYING.)
Mitch and Sydney and Mitch and Victor's relationships both stand out as well.
“I don't need a bodyguard,” said Victor.
“I noticed that,” said Mitch.
Victor let out a cough of a laugh. “Yes, well. I don't want everyone else to notice too.”
“So what do you want?” he asked.
Victor's lips curled into that same dangerous smile. “A friend.”

I don't know if I can pick a favorite character here! They're all so interesting and memorable.

Definitely recommended for any fans of morally ambiguous antiheroes, and thanks to everyone who wouldn't stop recommending this.

Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube
313 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Vicious.
Sign In »

Quotes Elise Liked

Victoria Schwab
“All Eli had to do was smile. All Victor had to do was lie. Both proved frighteningly effective.”
Victoria Schwab, Vicious

Victoria Schwab
“He wanted to care, he wanted to care so badly, but there was this gap between what he felt and what he wanted to feel, a space where something important had been carved out.”
Victoria Schwab, Vicious

Victoria Schwab
“When no one understands, that's usually a good sign that you're wrong.”
Victoria Schwab, Vicious

Victoria Schwab
“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”
Victoria Schwab, Vicious


Reading Progress

February 3, 2017 – Shelved
February 3, 2017 – Shelved as: on-my-shelf
April 4, 2017 – Started Reading
April 4, 2017 –
page 25
6.74%
April 5, 2017 –
page 146
39.35% "omg this is SO good"
April 6, 2017 –
page 158
42.59% "Callout post for me: needs to get started on tonight's hw but won't put this amazing book down"
April 6, 2017 –
page 341
91.91% "I love these twisted characters and their twisted relationships so much"
April 6, 2017 – Finished Reading
April 7, 2017 – Shelved as: books-read-2017
April 7, 2017 – Shelved as: favorite-characters
April 7, 2017 – Shelved as: 5-star
April 7, 2017 – Shelved as: this-fucking-plot-twist
April 7, 2017 – Shelved as: faves-of-2017
April 23, 2017 – Shelved as: narrative-trope-subversion
April 25, 2017 – Shelved as: marked-as-buddyreads
April 29, 2017 – Shelved as: genre-high-fantasy
April 29, 2017 – Shelved as: marked-as-author-shrines
September 6, 2017 – Shelved as: what-kind-of-hype-hype-hype
January 9, 2018 – Shelved as: marked-as-new-genres
April 1, 2018 – Shelved as: narratives-of-bitch-me-too-the-fuck
May 27, 2018 – Shelved as: books-released-2000-2015

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by heather ||-// (new)

heather ||-// aaaahhhh so excited this is finally going down!


message 2: by L A i N E Y (new) - added it

L A i N E Y V. E. Schwab. 'Nuff said.
:D


Melanie Great review, love! <3 xo


Elise (TheBookishActress) Thanks guys!!


message 5: by Camille (new) - added it

Camille Reviews like this one always make me so happy; Like I can feel how much you adored this book and so now I'm all ready for the adoration to come from me and ljdlkadej gah, I just really like well-written reviews. Thank you for this.


Elise (TheBookishActress) Camille wrote: "Reviews like this one always make me so happy; Like I can feel how much you adored this book and so now I'm all ready for the adoration to come from me and ljdlkadej gah, I just really like well-wr..."

aaaah that's so sweet thank u!!


Megan I am in love with that cover 😍


Abbey THIS BOOK IS AMAZING


Elise (TheBookishActress) Megan wrote: "I am in love with that cover 😍"

I LOVE THE NEW COVER 20/10


message 10: by ellie (new) - added it

ellie I NOW HAVE TO READ THIS IMMEDIATELY


Elise (TheBookishActress) ellie loves simon vs wrote: "I NOW HAVE TO READ THIS IMMEDIATELY"

oh yes you do!!


rosie YES I LOVE THIS BOOK i can’t wait for vengeful!


message 13: by el (new) - rated it 5 stars

el yeeessss A+ review !! this book is so COOL


Elise (TheBookishActress) @el truly I adore it so much 10/10 would obsessively reread


message 15: by Abigail (new) - added it

Abigail EK is this book gay at all? i've been given the impression that victor and eli are into each other, or at least seem like they are.


Elise (TheBookishActress) Abigail wrote: "is this book gay at all? i've been given the impression that victor and eli are into each other, or at least seem like they are."

it's not, but i mean, you can definitely read those hints. victoria schwab is queer and i'm pretty sure she doesn't know what straight people sound like


message 17: by Sierra (new) - added it

Sierra Elmore Elise wrote: "victoria schwab is queer and i'm pretty sure she doesn't know what straight people sound like"

ELISE.


Elise (TheBookishActress) Sierra wrote: "Elise wrote: "victoria schwab is queer and i'm pretty sure she doesn't know what straight people sound like"

ELISE."


i mean i said this as a joke but am i wrong?


message 19: by Sierra (new) - added it

Sierra Elmore Elise wrote: "Sierra wrote: "Elise wrote: "victoria schwab is queer and i'm pretty sure she doesn't know what straight people sound like"

ELISE."

i mean i said this as a joke but am i wrong?"


you are not


message 20: by Shayla (new) - added it

Shayla Brawner Well now I need to actually start this book. (I’ve been putting it off for awhile)


Elise (TheBookishActress) Shayla wrote: "Well now I need to actually start this book. (I’ve been putting it off for awhile)"

oH PLEASE DO. it's absolutely my favorite.


back to top