Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, V

Review: Vengeful (V.E. Schwab)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 29 on My Book List 2020

“Some people were matches, a bit of light and no heat. And some were furnaces, all heat but little light. And then, once in a blue moon, there was a bonfire, something so hot and bright you couldn’t stand too near without burning.”

I loved this so much!! And I’m saying this not only because I’m Victor Vale trash – which I obviously am – but because V.E. Schwab knows how to tell a story! The way “Vengeful” was told is nothing but amazing. We have four weeks ago in the present, we have the past and the longer the story proceeds the closer we get to the actual present events and the final climax of the story. And yes, I chose my words carefully here because while reading the book I couldn’t help but find parallels to Victor’s condition.

“Vengeful” builds up like one of Victor’s energy charges and after the discharge you’re as drained and dizzy as him. This book however isn’t only about Victor but also about Eli, Sydney and Mitch. There are a lot of new players that enter the scene, like for instance Marcella, June and Jonathan. Not to mention all the countless EO’s EON found and arrested as well as the ones Victor found and … well you know Vic doesn’t do things by halves. ;-P Neither does Eli, so it was only a matter of time until our old friend began scheming once again.

This time it’s not all about Victor and Eli though and I was really happy to discover that we got a lot of female power to counterbalance our two boy’s ongoing feud! XD Believe me when I say that every single one of those characters has their own agenda and that they are not squeamish when it comes to enforcing their ambitions. We basically get a gathering of ruthless and powerful people who literally walk over dead bodies in order to achieve their goals and do I even need to say it? Yes? Well, my inner faerie had a field day! *lol* And before I go on and on, I better head to my character’s section and gush over there! 😉

2

You know what they say about Rome? All roads lead to Rome. Well, in this case it’s Merit so: Welcome to Merit! The city in which Victor Vale and Eli Ever started their vicious and vengeful vendetta. Tread carefully when you enter, you might get right smack into the middle of their fight and parts of spoilers could hit you at every corner! Consider yourself warned.

Victor Vale:

”He had craved a lot of things – power, revenge, control – but sex was never one of them. Even with Angie… he’d wanted her, of course, wanted her attention, her devotion, even her love. He’d cared about her, would have found ways to please her – and perhaps found his own pleasure in that – but for him, it had never been about sex.”

First things first: I still LOVE and ADORE Victor Vale. <333 His character was every bit as intriguing and morally grey as it was in “Vicious” and it was such a pleasure to watch his mind at work. I was glad to discover that his habit of using text markers to blot out words hadn’t changed, even though I’ve to admit that – in this context – it broke my heart. Victor is all about logic and control and in “Vengeful” the two things he always relied on were taken away from him. He has no control over his body’s degeneration and even though he knows that he’s doomed the solution-oriented part of him just can’t accept his predicament. He’s a man on a mission and once he sets his mind to something he just can’t let it go. The truth is Victor clings to his life because he actually wants to live! He doesn’t want to leave Sydney or Mitch behind and he’s desperate to find a cure. It hurt to see him struggle and to know that he was just a shadow of his former self, but after that ending I have hope again! Maybe Victor will have a comeback in book three?! Please?! *asks nicely*

”You’re such a weirdo sometimes.”
“Only sometimes?” asked Victor. “I’ll have to try harder.” Those blue eyes flicked to Eli. “Normal is overrated.”

”Look at me,” he said coldly, catching Sydney’s chin in his hand. “The next time you point a gun at someone, make sure you’re ready to pull the trigger.”

”Victor was used to being the strongest person in the room, and it was both familiar and unsettling to see that confidence on someone else.”

Sydney:

”Victor haunted her. His pain haunted her. His dying haunted her.
Because it was Sydney’s fault.”

Ahh little Sydney has grown so much over those last five years! It was good to see that she became a part of Victor’s little family and that they got along so well. (Well is a loosely used term though because they are a super dysfunctional family but it somehow works? *lol*) If you ask me I don’t think that Sydney doesn’t age, I think that she does, but she does it very slowly. Maybe it has to do with the ice? It could have slowed down her metabolism and therefore she’d age really slowly? The concept of cryo-preservation exists for a reason after all. 😉 Also it was good that she worked on her abilities. I’m curious to find out what she might be able to do after she had some years to get accustomed to her powers. Hopefully I’ll be able to see it in the third book. XD Plus, I think now that she made peace with Serena’s death it might be easier to handle her powers. The emotional trauma of losing her sister might have influenced her abilities and I can’t wait to see her really grow into them.

Eli Ever:

”Eli’s faith had faltered in that room.
He had found Hell in that room.
And the only sign of God was that, no matter what Haverty did, Eli continued to survive.
Whether he wanted to or not.”

I hate that I feel sorry for him, but since this was obviously Schwab’s intention I can blame it all on her. *lol* No, seriously. No one deserves to have a Dr. Haverty in their life and what he did with Eli was just cruel and inhuman. It was torture and no matter what Eli did it was wrong to experiment on him. Of course to some degree a person like Haverty was necessary to find Eli’s weaknesses and to explore them, because otherwise there would have been no way to stop him if he ever escaped. Which he ultimately did and Dr. Haverty was there to provide a solution. So yeah, I actually saw that one coming so I wasn’t surprised by the ending. Still, there were other things I didn’t expect: For instance Eli’s past. I began to wonder if he might have become a different person if his father wouldn’t have hurt him so much. How many of the things he believed were indoctrinated? How would he have turned out if his father’s religious fanaticism wouldn’t have shaped his thinking so much? It boggles the mind if you think about it too hard. In the end Eli was nothing but a little boy that got hurt by his own father and this actually made me really sad. =((

”He prayed that the pastor would stop seeing whatever he saw, while he carved new feathers into the torn wings of Eli’s back.”

Marcella:

”How many men would she have to turn to dust before one took her seriously?”

Now, if Marcella wasn’t the embodiment of a femme fatale, then I really don’t know! XD That woman was burning like a wildfire and consuming everything in her path. And just like a wildfire she wasn’t put out easily. 😉 Which quite honestly, only made me love her character even more. *lol* I liked the idea of a strong and independent female villain that strove for more than life was willing to offer her and I was glad she posed a real threat to Stell. Hell, Marcella even posed a threat to Eli and he was basically what you would call “extremely hard to kill”. Plus that woman had style! She took what she wanted and did it openly without hesitation. It’s rare to find a villain like that, especially a female one, which is just one more reason to love her for it! XD It’s a shame Eli managed to kill her, but without Jonathan she would have never been able to hold out for so long.

”She was done playing by other people’s rules. Done hiding. If you lived in the dark, you died in the dark. But stand in the light, and it was that much harder to make you disappear.”

”And what happens then?”
“Oh,” mused Marcella, tracing the veins in the stone, “I imagine that Director Stell will decide I’m more trouble than I’m worth.”

”Jesus, Marcella, anyone ever told you that you’re batshit crazy?”
Marcella pursed her lips. “Several times,” she said. “It’s an insult men love to aim at ambitious women.”

June:

”I saw became I think I saw became I couldn’t have seen became I didn’t see. Eyes were fickle. Minds were weak.”

Okay, let me say it: HOW COOL ARE JUDE’S POWERS???!!! OMG! A living shape shifting voodoo doll!!! Gosh, I’d love to have abilities like that!!! She can’t only change into every kind of person she wants to be, no, she also can’t be hurt while she wears that person’s skin! That’s like a Mystique 2.0 version and I’d be so ready to have superpowers like that! XD Of course I’d try not to get killed while wearing another person’s skin, because really, that would be more than just unfair to the poor person who would have to die. Still, the sheer possibility of being a different person every day or choosing your favourites to change every once in a while, just amazing! It doesn’t really surprise me that Jude became an assassin with skills like that; I can’t help but feel like there is way more to her character than we ever got to see though. I still have so many question marks when it comes to Jude and the more I read about her the more intrigued I became. I just hope that some mysteries will be solved in the third book because for now I’m left wondering and I’m getting a serious headache whenever I think too hard about it. *lol*

”Was it worth it? Syd had asked her that night, when she confessed to giving up her face, her life, herself. And it was, it was, but that didn’t stop June from craving the light of recognition in someone’s eyes. The comfort of being seen, being known.”

3

Victor & Sydney:

”Sydney, I am alive because of you,” he said firmly. Tears spilled down Syd’s cheeks. Victor reached out and touched her shoulder. “You saved me.”
She met his eyes then, ice blue laced with red. “But I broke you.”

Aww those two! I loved to see Victor’s gentle side and no matter how much he tried to deny that he loved Sydney, he actually did/does! Syd felt terrible for causing him so much pain, but funnily enough Victor never held it against her. He always knew that her powers are limited and he tried to protect her from the truth. Well, at least as long as he could. It had to come out eventually and my heart broke for both of them when it did. >_< To leave her with Mitch and Dol was the right decision even though it hurt to see them part. But Sydney knew because she’s probably the only person, aside from Mitch, who knows when Vic is lying. T_T I just hope that Victor finds a solution and that they will reunite at some point. Their story isn’t over yet and I’m convinced they’ll meet each other again. ❤

”He could read the question in her face. It was the same one crashing through his own head.
What have I done?”

”There’s something I have to do.” Sydney was already shaking her head, but Victor reached out and put a hand on her cheek, the gesture so strange, so gentle, it stopped her cold.
“Syd,” he said, “look at me.”

Victor & Eli:

”It frightened and thrilled Eli, to be seen, and to see himself reflected. Not all of himself – they were still so different – but there was something vital, a core of the same precious metal glinting through the rock.”

How come those two men barely had any page time together, but their chemistry was still off the charts?! It’s so damn obvious that in some twisted sort of way they are in love with each other. Their obsession and the fact they can’t let go is indication enough. I mean Eli thinks Victor is dead but still talks to his ghost?! You usually only do that with loved ones! And I swear, I could feel Eli’s relief when he found out that Victor isn’t dead. He wants to kill him once again? That’s just an excuse to see him! They both need each other, they give each other purpose and I wonder what’s going to happen with Victor now that Eli is truly dead. Or is he? I’m still not all too convinced that he’s really gone! I mean what if Dr. Haverty’s drug didn’t take?! Or its effect weakened? Is it possible for Eli to heal even if he’s dead? Would he be able to come back? ADFKASDKFADJSAKLMNÖ! Talk about things that boggle the mind. I guess I’ll only get answers once I read book 3! >_< (whenever it will come out. Ahhhhh! T_T)

”Victor wondered if that was why EON hadn’t gotten closer. Not because their pet had failed to see Victor’s hand in the killings, but because he had.”

”Victor stared at the wall as if it were still a window. “He doesn’t know how patient you are,” he said. “Doesn’t know you like I do.”
Eli cleaned the blood from his hands.
“No,” he said softly. “No one ever has.”

”Run, thought Victor, and he could see the response in Eli’s coiled frame.
Chase me.”

”Victor.” A pause. “You were supposed to stay dead.”
“It didn’t take.”

Sydney & June:

”June could think of a dozen reasons to make sure Victor was dead, and only one to stay her hand.
Sydney.”

So what exactly has been going on between those two? I have a lot of theories about June’s motives but I don’t know if any of them hits close to home. My first theory is that she’s in love with Sydney and a lot of the things she thought seemed to confirm that suspicion. I mean she referred to Syd as “her girl” and she didn’t only want to protect her but also wanted her to choose her over Victor. A person she knows Syd loves. Mhmm… but then again with the little we know about her past she could also be related to Syd? I don’t know how exactly but it could be possible? ARGH! I have no idea, seriously for all I know June could be her grandma and I’m not even kidding here. *lol* June is the most opaque character I ever encountered because we got NOTHING about her background. Well, at least nothing tangible. I get the feeling Schwab made her like that on purpose and I’m sure we’ll see a lot of her in book three. Considering Syd deleted her number from her phone it might take some while until they meet again though. >_<

4

This sequel was everything I hoped for and even more! ❤ I loved to read about all the new players that came into the game, I was happy to read about the old ones and I still can’t get enough of their morally ambiguous stance on certain things. The world needs more books like this and I’m so ready to read them all! And yes, I’m going to admit it: I’m Victor Vale trash and I’ll never be sorry for it! *lol* Can we have book three now, Victoria? XD

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (V.E. Schwab)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 10 on My Book List 2019

”Magic was a truly beautiful disease.”

And it was such a pleasure to read about it! XD I can’t say how much I loved and adored this book! Alone the magic in this was everything and it was so dark and twisted that it was a delight to read about it. In “A Darker Shade of Magic” magic is a living and breathing thing and it can help and heal at least as much as it can corrupt and destroy. In my opinion this was a really great concept and I lived and breathed for the execution of it.

”The words themselves were less important than the focus they brought to the speaker’s mind, the connection they helped to form, the power they tapped into. In short, the language did not matter, only the intention did.”

Still, it wasn’t only the magical aspect of this book that kept me glued to the pages. The mere idea of four different parallel Londons that exist next to each other was more than just intriguing as well. Sure, we didn’t get to see an awful lot of them because the characters travel through them and don’t stay all too long, the little I saw was enough to keep me hooked though. 😉 London is my favourite city and the mere idea to explore four different versions of this town already made me feel like I won the jackpot. *lol*

And last but not least “A Darker Shade of Magic” had its fair share of intriguing and complex characters that caused my eyes to sparkle. We all know that I can’t resist the temptation of morally grey and ambivalent characters so it’s no surprise that I savoured this like a delicious gourmet dinner. Alone the villains of this book!!! The Dane Twins were such evil creatures yet I couldn’t help but want to read more about them. Ohh and Holland! Don’t even get me started on Holland! ❤ Or well, maybe I actually should start to talk about him. In the characters section, of course! ;-P

2

Good afternoon, fellow Antari! It’s a good day to travel between the worlds but be careful nevertheless. There is always a shadow lurking at the next corner of the street and if you’re not cautious it will not only attack you but also spoil you big time as well! Tread carefully, my dear friend! You’re being observed by dark forces. 😉

Kell:

”Kell tipped his head so that his copper hair tumbled out of his eyes, revealing not only the crisp blue of the left one but the solid black of the right. A black that ran edge to edge, filling white and iris both. There was nothing human about that eye. It was pure magic. The mark of a blood magician. Of an Antari.”

I’m such a sucker for red-heads and Kell is really yummy. ;-P I can’t help it! Really! They are my kryptonite. Ask Lucien. *lol* Anyway, Kell is a really interesting character and he definitely has more depth than initially meets the eye. On the outside you might think that he’s the typical hero, but the more I discovered about his life, the more I felt sorry for him. He is part of the royal family and might seem to have it all, but when push came to shove his true status among the royals was revealed and my heart ached for him. I know Lila didn’t understand what he meant but by the end of the book it became pretty clear that he wasn’t really a family member but rather a valuable asset. At least when it came to his “parents”. Despite this he still had his own moral code and acted according to it, even if it meant that he was at a disadvantage when he had to face Holland and the Dane twins. Poor Kell! I had the feeling in some way or another he was figuratively and quite literally bleeding throughout the entire book. *lol* Let’s hope things will get better for him in “A Gathering of Shadows”! 😉

”Magic was a living thing – that, everyone knew – but to Kell it felt like more, like a friend, like family. It was, after all, a part of him (much more than it was a part of most) and he couldn’t help feeling like it knew what he was saying, what he was feeling, not only when he summoned it, but always, in every heartbeat and every breath.”

She always went looking for the truth in his right eye, as if it were a scrying board, something to be gazed into, seen past. But what she saw, she never shared. Kell took her hand and kissed it. “I’m fine, Your Majesty.” She gave him a weary look, and he corrected himself. “Mother.”

”I said Rhy forgave them.” Kell pushed to his feet. “I never said I did.”

Lila Bard:

”Death comes for everyone,” she said simply. “I’m not afraid of dying. But I am afraid of dying here.” She swept her hand over the room, the tavern, the city. “I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

I’m not entirely sure if I like Lila or not. XD I mean I admire her resilience and stubbornness but I think sometimes she was way too sure of herself and that got her into a lot of trouble. *lol* But oh well, when it comes down to it there is no denying that I actually like her. Her character seems to be somewhat of an acquired taste and I’m curious if she’ll truly become a pirate in the end. Also I could relate to her when it came to her choice of clothes. I would have gone for the boy’s clothes in a heartbeat as well. ;-P (Could it be that Lila is non-binary or gender fluid?!) Generally speaking I think it wasn’t easy to relate to her because she kept everyone at a distance and didn’t let anything get too close to her. For me this made it kind difficult to gauge her character and I hope we’ll get a better grip on it in the next two books. Now that I think about it, I had the same feeling when it came to Blue Sargent throughout the first two books of “The Raven Cycle”. I only really got to know her in “Blue Lily, Lily Blue” so I hope the same will happen with Lila in the next book. XD

”What are you?” he asked, amazed.
Lila only shrugged. “Stubborn.”

”Love doesn’t keep us from freezing to death, Kell,” she continued, “or starving, or being knifed for the coins in our pocket. Love doesn’t buy us anything, so be glad for what you have and who you have because you may want for things but you need for nothing.”

Holland:

”He didn’t know if it was the evenness in the man’s tone or his strangely faded appearance or his haunted eyes – one black, of course, the other a milky green. Or perhaps it was the way he seemed to be made more of water and stone than flesh and blood and soul.”

I love Holland, okay?! I know he’s supposed to be one of the villains but seriously, how could I not adore him?! ❤ His character was so multi-layered, complex, calculating, determined and cruel. It was so nice to watch him in action. *lol* I just can’t resist a decent villain and Holland had all the makings of one. XD Especially an intriguing background story. I really wish we would have gotten more of it though. I mean we only got the necessary details to keep the story moving but there are so many things I would have loved to read about. I guess it was Schwab’s intention to keep us in the dark, because this might sound paranoid but I’m CONVINCED that Holland will reappear in the next book! I don’t buy his death!!! There’s no way he died! He said it’s hard to kill an Antari and he was still breathing and alive when Kell sent him to Black London. THE SOURCE of black magic! Hell, this has trouble written all over it! If you ask me Kell basically handed him the means to come back even stronger! >_< Kell is so going to regret this!

”Looking into Holland’s eye made her skin crawl. Dark things swirled just beneath the smooth black depths. One word whispered through her mind. Run.”

”Hesitation is the death of advantage,” mused Holland and Kell fought in vain against the metal pinnings.

”I hope you made him suffer,” she spat, turning towards the looming castle.
No, thought Kell as they set off. He suffered long enough.

Rhy:

“Yes. Because unless you plan to wed me yourself – and don’t get me wrong, I think we’d make a dashing pair – I must try and find a mate.”
“And you think you’ll find one traipsing around the city?”
“Goodness, no,” said Rhy with a crooked grin. “But who knows what fun I’ll find while failing.”

Rhy is such a precious bean! He gave me Nikolai and Hypnos vibes so it’s no wonder I almost instantly adored him! *lol* He sounds like a lot of fun but unfortunately we didn’t get to see all too much of him in this book. I hope that will change in the next one though. (Also he seems to be unapologetically bi and I live and breathe for characters like that!!!) Still, judging by the little we saw and heard of him I can already tell that he loves Kell like a brother and would never do anything to harm him. I can’t help but wonder what he thinks about his parent’s reaction though. If Kell wouldn’t have been bound to him they would have either killed him or sent him to prison so it’s pretty obvious that Kell was right about their intentions all along. I can’t wait to see more of funny, caring and kind Rhy so there better be more scenes with him in “A Gathering of Shadows”. Also was it just me or did Holland and Rhy actually flirt with each other? It’s such a shame he was merely a means to an end for him. I bet from now on Rhy won’t trust people as easily as before.

Rhy’s hands curled into fists. “How could you?” he said, and Kell worried that the prince was bitter about being tethered to him. Instead, Rhy said, “How could you carry that weight?”

Rhy laughed silently. “I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.”
“I apologize for shooting you in the leg,” said Lila. “I was myself entirely.”
Rhy broke into his perfect smile.
“I like this one,” he said to Kell.

The Dane Twins:

”Jealous?” he asked. Holland’s two-toned eyes held Athos’s, the green and the black both steady, unblinking. “He suffered,” added Athos softly. “But not like you.” He brought his mouth closer. “No one suffers as beautifully as you.”

Okay! Can anyone please tell me how exactly Holland suffered?!!! I mean it’s indicated that there was something sexual and cruel going on between Athos and him but WHAT EXACTLY??!!! Apparently the Dane Twins had a reputation of torturing and forcing people to do their will. And Holland was under their spell as well so I can only assume that he suffered kind of “Rhysand/Amarantha style”? Also there was only a brief mention that Holland didn’t win the throne because he wasn’t cruel enough to take it before the Danes did. What exactly happened before they ascended the White throne?! I really wish we would have gotten more details here, because this really sounded like an interesting story! Either way the Dane twins gave me the creeps. Astrid even more than her brother Athos. Magic and malice indeed. *shudders* They made for pretty intriguing villains for sure. XD I’m just glad Kell never became Astrid’s toy. He certainly wouldn’t have survived it.

”Astrid Dane is made of magic and malice.”

3

Lila & Kell:

”You don’t know anything about these worlds,” he said, but the fight was bleeding out of his voice.
“Sure I do,” countered Lila cheerfully. “There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London,” she recited, ticking them off on her fingers. “See? I’m a fast learner.”

Is it just me or was Kell ending up on Lila’s bed TWICE in one night some sort of a broad hint? The first time it was even BDSM style! *lol* I guess we all know in which direction their future relationship is going to head. Haha! ;-P Also they kissed at least twice for good luck as well and they both had more luck than brain. Right after the motto “Fortune favours fools!” So they didn’t need the luck but obviously were looking for an opportunity to kiss. XD They were very different but for some reason they still worked. Maybe it’s because they balance each other and magic is all about balance as we already learned. Plus they are both Antari. I wonder how their relationship is going to continue. There is a lot of potential that only needs to be explored. ;-P

”I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”
Kell smiled back. And then Lila brought her free hand to his jaw and tugged his mouth towards hers. The kiss was there and then gone, like one of her smiles.

A wry smile cut across Lila’s mouth. “You’re a smuggler.”
“Says the pickpocket,” snapped Kell defensively.

Rhy & Kell:

”What sons our parents have,” said Kell gently. “Between the two of us, we’ll tear the whole world down.”

They might not be brothers by blood but they are brothers by heart! ❤ I loved their relationship so much and I was so glad that Rhy truly cared about Kell! Which is more than can be said about his parents, but Kell already knew that. >_< I felt so sorry for him but at least he has Rhy and he wouldn’t allow anything to happen to him. Those two seem to balance each other as well and I’m kind of beginning to see a pattern here. *lol* In their relationship dynamic it seems like Rhy is the daredevil who gets into trouble though and Kell is more the mature and responsible one. I can only imagine in which kind of mess they’ll get in the next book. One thing is for sure, I can’t wait to read more about this brotherly duo! ;-P

”He looked up and saw me crouching over him, bleeding, and the first thing he said wasn’t ‘What happened?’ or ‘Where are we?’ He touched the blood on his chest and said, ‘Is it yours? Is it all yours?’ and when I nodded, he burst into tears, and I took him home.”

4

I absolutely LOVED this! “A Darker Shade of Magic” had everything I’m looking for in a book. There was (dark) magic, there were four parallel Londons and there were lots of complex characters I couldn’t help but want to read more about. Yes, the world building and some of the characters themselves might have been rather sketchy, but knowing Schwab I’m certain that we’ll get more details in the following books. This was only just the beginning and what a marvellous one it was! XD

 

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