★★★★★/★★★★★ Vicious by V. E. Schwab.
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 arch-nemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? -From Goodreads.
Antihero story? Check! Dynamic characters? Check! Cool superpowers? Check! Near death experiences? Check! A creepy little girl? Check! Science? Check! Believable relationships? Check! A god-like complex? Check!This glorious line “Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”? Check!
I love everything about this book, except two characters, but you are suppose to hate them so it is okay. (If you didn’t know: Serena and Eli) This is not my first foray into her writing, I previously read her Archived series, and although I enjoyed them, it is nothing compared to this. This could have even been a comic and I would have read the hell out of it.
The plot be dammed (although it shouldn’t because it is extremely well-developed), because the characters is where it is at. We got a villain and an anti-hero. Or more like a villain and a villain? Psychopath and psychopath? Anyways, they were sort of friends, college roommates, and research partners. They go on to study ExtraOrdinaries, this world’s version of mutants, but with a very interesting way of achieving their powers.
“When no one understands, that’s usually a good sign that you’re wrong.”
The story switches between two time periods, ten years ago, when Victor and Eli were in college, and present day, after Victor has escaped prison, and is dead-set-on getting revenge on Eli for something we figure out later. We have a villain that has branded himself a hero for doing the wrong thing, and another villain labeling himself a villain, but doing the “right” thing for the “wrong” reasons. Yet apart form this, I felt very secure in my choice of who to like and “agree” with, while others seem to be more on the fuzzy side. Decisions, decisions. If you didn’t guess, I am a Victor’s girl. He had the traits to become a villain since the beginning, but it was not until he became what he is, and a strong betrayal, that his true potential as “the bad guy” is shown.
Now to the other characters that are very important and brilliant. We have Sydney, a little girl, who is also an EO, and a powerful at that. Mitch, ex-cell mate of Victor, who just so happens to be extremely smart. And then we have Serena, I hate her, she is not a good person, but honestly I am not sure about her character, I felt like I needed more of her, I know her character changed after her near-death experience, but more could have been told about her so as to explain why she does what she does.
The religious side was so great represented here. Eli’s claims his reason to do what he does is due to God choosing him, I highly doubt it but he seems firm on believing it. And it ties with how many people are doing horrible things in the name not only of God, but of religion, which is actually quite separate; and they do not understand that whether they believe it or not, they cannot impose it upon others.
“The absence of pain led to an absence of fear, and the absence of fear led to a disregard for consequence.”