Saturday, September 6, 2014

Vicious (Vicious #1)- V.E. Schwab : Review

Published September 24th 2013 by Tor

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

Goodreads Synopsis

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.'

My Review

“The absence of pain led to an absence of fear, and the absence of fear led to a disregard for consequence.” 

There are some books which one often picks up with zero expectations and more than just a hint of trepidation. Nothing can be more satisfactory than these books turning out to be one hell of a roller coaster ride. 

Vicious was one those books. 

It provides a twisted view of the world- where superheroes are the bad guys, friend turns on friend, family members betray each other and no one can be trusted. The whole setting was majorly creeptastic with extremely well crafted prose which made me erupt in goosebumps several times during the course of the book. 

The story starts with two best friends and an apparently harmless research project about superheroes or the 'extra-ordinary' people. Eli and Victor- college roommates and best friends- with wild ambitions and multi layered personalities are the only ones who recognise the more animalistic sides in each other. When they are confronted with the possibility of a major breakthrough in their project, they decide to experiment on themselves to test out their theories about the possible existence of EOs. But things go horribly wrong when jealousy and a thirst for power overcomes rationality. 

Fast forward to 10 years later, when Victor escapes from prison aided by a prisonmate turned friend to go after Eli, his former friend turned foe. Along the way he finds a young girl with an astonishing ability, who has her own bone to pick with Eli and they join alliances to take revenge against the man who changed their lives forever.

The most alluring aspect of the book was the absence of the so called 'good' characters. Every character was layered in shades of grey with wildly contrasting personalities. All of them were equally dangerous, equally deranged and identical in their desire for bloodshed. It was easy to get carried away by the barrage of emotions which was so excellently put forth by the author. It was one those books which would make you question your beliefs. 

Should progress for the progress' sake actually be discouraged?
Is a superpower enough to make someone a 'hero'?
If faced between family, friends, love and the 'greater good'- which one would you choose?

The writing style was flawless and was obviously aimed to shock. The fast paced plot combined with such interesting characterisation along with the whole 'revenge is a dish best served cold' aspect made the book an absolute page turner. 

Highly recommended: 5/5 stars! 

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