Vicious, by V.E. Schwab, is another super hero book, another world where people are able to obtain super powers. They aren’t born with them, and the manner in which they get their powers, and what those powers are, is pretty unique. The book centers around Eli and Victor, two college roommates who figure out how people get powers and find a way to get themselves powers. But, their collaboration soon falls apart and they become bitter enemies.
One thing I really liked about Vicious is that there are no heroes. There are no good guys. There aren’t any really evil people either, just regular people suddenly with super powers and their own selfish and egotistical motivations for using them. Eli and Victor are opposite sides of the same coin, both believing in the righteousness of their cause. There is no super villain wishing to control the world. These characters can be petty, they certainly are vindictive, and they can be vicious.
The world Schwab has created leads to an interesting set of super powers, some of which are pretty different compared to other super hero worlds. These characters don’t fit the typical super hero tropes. Their powers are different and their motivations are different.
This is the first book in the Villains series. I enjoyed it enough to come back for book 2.
My favorite line from the book occurs during an encounter between Victor and Eli. Victor has Eli on the ropes, calling him out for his, in Victor’s mind, misguided mission. Eli argues that Victor simply doesn’t understand, to which Victor replies
“When no one understands, that’s usually a good sign that you’re wrong.”