Geek Lit Review: Vicious (Villains Book 1) By V.E. Schwab

See what happens when I finish a self-imposed movie watch challenge?  I get more time to read books without pictures.

Here’s one from author V.E. Schwab, the first in a new series about supervillains, titled Vicious.  And if it’s worth my time, the sequel Vengeful came out last month.

Victor Vale just broke out of prison.  He’s angry at his former best friend and college roommate Eli.  He wants revenge.  He has his former cellmate, a talented hacker and all-around muscle, plus a young girl of about 12 for help.  He also has a superpower as an EO for “ExtraOrdrinary” individual.  Oh, and he wasn’t framed for the crime he committed.  But all things being equal, he will make sure Eli pays for what Eli did to Victor.

On the other side is Eli.  Eli seemed to live a fairly charmed existence before he and Victor had their falling out.  Eli thinks he is a hero.  He is not.  He believes EOs all need to die and has been going about murdering them for quite some time.  He also has a helper in the form of a young woman.  Oh, and he is also an EO.

Schwab constructs her book here with some interesting bounces through time.  Despite being under 400 pages, her book is divided into something like 72 individual chapters.  Most of them are short, showing different events from the viewpoints of Eli, Victor, and all of their various assistants and helpers.  She actually manages to dig deeply into all of her characters, especially Victor.  Victor’s powers may not be the flashiest–indeed, few of the EOs have particularly flashy powers and the superpowered duels in this book aren’t so much about flying men and women battling it out in the sky wearing flashy costumes so much as EOs using their abilities to get what they want while staying largely hidden in the shadows–but he’s also not shallow.  None of the characters are, but these were damaged people to begin with in many cases, and Schwab does an excellent job of making her characters, if not always sympathetic, than at least human and understandable.  That’s quite a feat considering the major argument in the novel between the various characters is whether or not EOs actually are human or something else.  9.5 out of 10 resurrected dogs.

Really, if this book had a flaw, it’s that I’d like to know more about what Victor and Eli were like before they met that made them what they were.  But then again, maybe that’s what the sequel is for.

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