Chris Comerford's Reviews > Vicious

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
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really liked it

Whatever else I might say, Vicious deserves commendations for being one of the best debut* novels I've read. Victoria Schwab's work is tightly plotted and features a pair of magnetic leads, compelling both for their respective sociopathic tendencies and bleak, almost farcical interpretations of superheroism. It's the kind of narrative that could easily venture into black comedy territory - and indeed, there are a couple of laughs here and there - but Schwab wisely maximises the power of her work by playing things relatively straight. This is a dark, twisted tale of envy, self-absorption and wanton murder. It's reminiscent of Brandon Sanderson's Steelheart, though it lacks David's optimism and idealism in favour of two quite narcissistic sociopaths.

But while it's a book which starts with a good head of steam, most of it gets let out by the end. The last third struggles to marry the fast-paced journey to the climax alongside the book's omnipresent use of playing scenes and flashbacks out of order; though Schwab's slightly experimental narrative structure works for the majority of the book, towards the end it creates a more disjointed path to the climax.

It's evident Vicious is intended as the first book in a trilogy, rather than a standalone. There are a few lingering plot and character threads which still need resolution, and the world of the story is rich with possibilities for where Schwab could go next. Hopefully with time spent on her other adult works - including the Shades of Magic series - Schwab will be able to craft a superior sequel to what is an exciting, if flawed, first instalment.

*Technically it's Schwab's adult book debut; prior to Vicious she was an accomplished YA author.
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Reading Progress

July 17, 2017 – Started Reading
July 17, 2017 – Shelved
July 17, 2017 –
page 100
July 18, 2017 –
page 199
July 21, 2017 –
page 248
July 21, 2017 – Finished Reading

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