Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, V

Review: Vicious (V.E. Schwab)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 11 on My Book List 2019

”Someone could call themselves a hero and still walk around killing dozens. Someone else could be labelled a villain for trying to stop them. Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”

This is easily one of the best books I’ve read in 2019 and that’s quite something, because I already read so many other awesome books this year. To give “Vicious” 5 paws was a no-brainer though and I’m very glad that my reading buddy saw it the same way. As it seems we were both hooked right from the beginning and the longer we read, the more we immersed ourselves in the story.

I thought long and hard about the many reasons I liked this so much and I think it’s mostly due to the way it was written. V.E. Schwab made her story some sort of puzzle and the longer you read, the more is revealed and every piece eventually falls into place. It wasn’t until I started to write down a few of the quotes that I finally realized why I could relate to her writing style so much. XD It felt like reading one of my forum role-play games. *lol*

Let me explain a little bit more: There are people that will write short posts that cover the basics and then there are people that will write an entire character with its background story and play it out in 900 – 1.000 word posts that stretch over the course of years, sometimes even decades. Yes, you already guessed right, I’m the latter one. ;-P And so it’s no surprise I was intrigued by V.E. Schwab’s handiwork.

There’s a certain depth to her characters you never actually see on the pages, but it’s all there, in their actions, the way they behave. In the way they talk and interact with each other. There’s an entire background story and we get it piece by piece, little by little, but never all of it and to say I was captivated by this would be the understatement of the century. XD I lived and breathed for it, I tasted blood and I crave for more!!! ❤

Next time I’m at the library I’m going to pre-order “Vengeful” and if it’s only half as good as “Vicious” I shall be more than just fine! 😉 This said, I’ll go right into my character’s section because damn, there’s a lot to discuss! XD

2

Welcome to my spoilery spoiler section! Take a seat, make yourself comfortable and enjoy the show! Be warned though, I’m at least as fierce as Victor when it comes to book characters and just like him I won’t sugar-coat things and spoil you not only thoroughly but also relentlessly! ;-P

Eli Cardale (Ever):

”Well, when you wonder something,” said Eli, “doesn’t that mean part of you wants to believe in it? I think we want to prove things, in life, more than we want to disprove them. We want to believe.”

I didn’t like Eli which actually made him the perfect villain. *lol* The funny thing is that I’m pretty certain he’s more human and compassionate than Victor, yet this also seems the be the main reason why he’s worse than him. Am I already confusing you? XD Okay, let me put it this way, whilst Victor’s analytical mind controls his actions the same can’t be said about Eli. When the shit hits the fan Eli is following his gut feeling and because he believes he’s doing the right thing he goes through with it and never second guesses his decisions. I’d even go as far as to say that Eli is some sort of religious fanatic and that he sanctions his actions by his belief. And what is more human and more powerful than people’s beliefs? There are centuries of history that prove how many bad things have been done in the name of religion and Eli’s character is some kind of embodiment of it. He lives by his principles and this doesn’t only make him a very dangerous man, it also makes him very human. Eli is on a mission and everyone who interferes with it will be the next victim on his Ever-growing list. 😉 (see what I did there?! *lol*)

”On the surface, Eli seemed perfectly normal, but now and then Victor would catch a crack, a sideways glance, a moment when his roommate’s face and his words, his look and his meaning, would not line up. Those fleeting slices fascinated Victor. It was like watching two people, one hiding in the other’s skin. And their skin was always too dry, on the verge of cracking and showing the color of the thing beneath.”

”A hero. Wasn’t he? Heroes saved the world from villains, from evil. Heroes sacrificed themselves to do it. Was he not bloodying his hands and his soul to set the world right? Did he not sacrifice himself every time he stripped away an EO’s stolen life?”

”I died begging for the strength to survive, and it was granted. But it’s a trade, Professor, with God or the devil, and I’ve paid for my gift with the lives of my friends. Every EO has sold a part of themselves they can never have back. Don’t you see?” He knelt beside Lyne, whose fingers twitched. “I can’t let anyone else sin so heinously against nature.”

Victor Vale:

”She watched him as he worked, his touch impossibly light, as if he was afraid of breaking her. Everything about him was light – his skin, his hair, his eyes, his hands as they danced through the air above her skin, touching her only when absolutely necessary.”

I absolutely ADORED AND LOVED Victor Vale!!! <333 What an intriguing and morally grey character! I just loved the way he thought! His analytical and cunning mind was everything I ever craved for and even more and I just couldn’t get enough of his character. I loved that he was so unapologetic and that he knew exactly who he was. Yes, he tried to blend in with the others, but he never claimed to be something that he wasn’t. If you ask me I’d say Victor is a psychopath, at least if you consider all the typical signs of it. Then again Eli certainly was one too. He might have been more empathic than Victor but whilst Vic knew what was expected of him, Eli ultimately seemed more inclined to ignore human morals than to follow them. I loved how Victor questioned his actions, how he paused to think if what he did was right or wrong, how he weighted both sides against each other and then eventually decided to do what his logic told him. He was vicious and brutal, but he could also be gentle and caring and boy, did I live for that moral ambiguity. *lol*

”The paper called Eli a hero.
The word made Victor laugh. Not just because it was absurd, but because it posed a question. If Eli really was a hero, and Victor meant to stop him, did that make him a villain?
He took a sip of his drink, tipped his head back against the couch, and decided he could live with that.”

”Victor watched his friend, mesmerized by the transformation. He himself could mimic most emotions and pass them off as his, but mimicking only went so far, and he knew he could never match this … fervor.”

”You can’t kill me, Victor,” said Eli. “You know that.”
Victor’s smile widened as he buried his knife between Eli’s ribs.
“I know,” he said loudly. He had to speak up over the screams. “But you’ll have to indulge me. I’ve waited so long to try.”

Sydney:

”That’s what Sydney was giving these people. A second chance.
Her fingers hovered over the dead man’s chest for a moment as she wondered if he deserved a second chance, then chided herself. Who was she to judge or decide or grant or deny? Simply because she could, did that mean she should?”

Poor little Sydney! I felt so sorry for her! She didn’t choose to have a power like that but she was hunted for it nevertheless. I found it interesting that she was so young but already asked herself the right questions. In some way that made her a good counterweight to Victor and Eli. I mean there is this powerful girl and she has no idea what she can do with her abilities or what she’s capable of. She was a very strong character though and I loved her for her defiance. ❤ It takes guts to live with a man like Victor and she might have questioned his actions but she was never afraid of him. XD

Serena:

”She looked at Victor’s profile one last time, and tried to picture the man who had once been Eli’s friend, who had brought him back, made him what he was, saved her sister … and for a moment, as she finished dialing Eli’s number, she almost wished he stood a fighting chance.”

Now Serena was a character that caused me to think long and hard as well. On the one hand I liked her for standing up to Eli by charming him to do her will, and on the other hand I disliked her for helping him to find and eliminate his targets. If she was so good at compelling people why didn’t she try to stop Eli for good? She played him, yet at the same time she did what he wanted her to do. Why? Did she really think that this was the only way to save her own skin? Did she truly believe that EO’s are dangerous and that they deserve to die? Her character posed so many questions and to my chagrin none of them were answered. >_<  She definitely had one of the best scenes in this book though. The moment Victor killed her and quoted Ulysses was priceless!! ❤

3

Victor & Eli:

”You asked me if I ever wanted to believe in something. I do. I want to believe in this. I want to believe that there’s more.” Victor sloshed a touch of whiskey over the edge of his glass. “That we could be more. Hell, we could be heroes.”
“We could be dead,” said Eli.
“That’s a risk everyone takes by living.”

Ohh those two gave me a lot to wonder about. I’m convinced Victor was in love with Eli and that this was the reason why he wanted his revenge so badly. I mean he was betrayed by the person he loved and to make it even worse Eli didn’t even bother to hear him out. He didn’t give him the benefit of the doubt, no, he ratted him out to the police the moment he knew his girlfriend had died. It was like Eli always expected Victor to go off the rails and only waited for an opportunity to turn on him. Funnily enough it turned out that Eli was the one that actually went off the rails in the end. After all Eli’s girlfriend was the only person Victor killed and this was by accident and not intentional. The same certainly couldn’t be said for Eli though. He killed his victims on purpose and went after them with a vengeance. Sure, once Victor got out of prison his death tally went up as well, he never killed without a purpose or reason though. Which is the main difference between those two. Victor always considered the pros and cons while Eli acted as judge and executioner and didn’t even give his victims a chance to defend themselves, let alone to speak. Now that Eli is in prison I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen next. I guess I’ll find out once I get my hands on a copy of “Vengeful”. ;-P

”He and Eli were bonded, by blood and death and science. They were alike, more so now than ever. And he had missed Eli. He wanted to see him. And he wanted to see him suffer. He wanted to see the look in Eli’s eyes when he lit them up with pain. He wanted his attention. Eli was like a thorn beneath Victor’s skin, and it hurt. He could turn off every nerve in his body, but Victor couldn’t do a damned thing about the twinge he felt when he thought of Cardale.”

”I don’t want to see Serena,” said Sydney.
“I know,” said Victor. “But I want to see Eli.”
“Why?” she asked. “You can’t kill him.”
“That may be.” His fingers curled around the shovel. “But half the fun is trying.”

Sydney & Victor:

”I’m cold,” she said.
“I’m Victor,” he said, and she offered him a small, exhausted flicker of a smile.

Their relationship was so precious! ❤ Victor became some sort of father figure for Sydney and even though she knew that he had a bad moral compass she still trusted him and felt safe with Victor. I loved that he was always so honest with her and didn’t even try to sugar-coat things. He gave her room to come to her own conclusions and he provided a safe environment to live in. In some way that made him an amazing father even though he certainly wasn’t the best choice to raise a kid like her. *lol* Still, those two worked because Sydney acted as some sort of conscience for him and that ultimately made him a better person. XD I wonder if their relationship is going to change after she brought him back from the dead and if yes in which direction it’s going to head. Oh and I just realized that Vic joined Eli in not being able to age. 😉

”Sydney, look at me.” He rested his hands on the car roof and leaned in. “No one is going to hurt you. Do you know why?” She shook her head, and Victor smiled. “Because I’ll hurt them first.”

”Serena hadn’t told Sydney to go home. She hadn’t told her to run away. She’d told her to go somewhere safe. And over the course of the last week, safe had ceased to be a place for Sydney, and had become a person.
Specifically, safe had become Victor.”

Sydney & Serena:

”I like that we’re finally different,” said Sydney, fighting back a shiver. “I don’t want to be you.”
Silence fell between the sisters. A silence full of shifting pieces.
“I don’t need you to be me,” said Serena at last. “But I need you to be brave. I need you to be strong.”

To say their relationship was complicated wouldn’t even get close to the truth. I don’t know why Serena called Sydney and wanted her to visit them. I don’t know why she felt the need to kill her little sister and I have absolutely no clue why she decided to save her in the end. Feelings and relationships are complex but damn those two sisters put this on an entirely new level. *lol* Serena didn’t have to tell Eli about Sydney and she definitely didn’t have to bring her to him, yet she still did. I guess I’ll never find out why. Serena was silenced by Victor and after her remains were burned I doubt that Sydney will be able to revive her. There might come a new character that’s able to do it though. With Schwab you never know. *lol* Some gut feeling tells me that there’ll be more about her motives in the next book. Mhmm…. As for now the only question that’s on my mind is the following: What is going to happen when Sydney finds out that Victor killed her sister??!!! O_o I’m kinda afraid of finding out. XD

”Why did Victor have to do this? Why did he and Eli have to find each other? But even as she asked it, she knew the answer. She knew because her own pulse still quickend defiantly at the thought of Serena, because even as reason told her to run as far from her sister as possible, the gravity of want drew Sydney back. She couldn’t break the orbit.”

Serena & Eli:

”She pulled away enough to hold him with her cold blue eyes. He could see the devil in them, silver-tongued and cunning, and Eli thought, not for the first time, that he should have killed her when he had the chance.”

Serena and Eli had one of the most abusive relationships I ever witnessed. They both abused each other in equal measure and this was weirdly fascinating. Their dynamic was crazy and they both didn’t hesitate to use their powers in order to get what they wanted. I think in some way they even loved each other, yet they both couldn’t change the way they were. Eli craved to kill Serena but was fascinated by her and Serena wanted to stay alive but couldn’t seem to be able to turn away from Eli. What a stalemate. XD Wicked faerie tongues (like mine) would say Victor relieved them from the trouble of killing each other and they might be right. *lol*

4

I loved this and I could kick myself for not reading it sooner! “Vicious” was the amazing start of a compelling story and I can’t wait to read its sequel “Vengeful”. Morally grey characters, a captivating storyline and the omnipresent question of what is right and what is wrong made this a truly thrilling journey! I don’t know about you, but I want more! 😉

Last but not least I want to thank Mr. Babygreys for another great buddy read! It’s always a pleasure to read books with you and I’m glad our reading habits and preferences are so similar. *lol* We seem to be on a roll, let’s keep those books coming! ;-P

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