Book Review: Vicious


Photo credit: Goodreads

Clancey Benfer, Writer

What if you gained superpowers after a near-death experience? More importantly, what would you give up to have these powers? In Vicious by V.E. Schwab, Victor and Eli attempt to do just that. The pair started off as normal college roommates, both fascinated by the other’s secrets and ambition. For their senior thesis, they decide to push the boundaries. Both boys are fascinated by the possibility that, under the right conditions and close to a near-death experience, one could gain supernatural abilities. As their theories surpass hypotheticals and an experiment goes horribly awry, Victor and Eli must grapple with who they’ve become and what they’ve set in motion. 

Vicious is filled with short chapters, snappy writing, and cliff-hangers at the end of each chapter. The main characters’ dynamic is intriguing and relatable. Schwab successfully balances multiple distinct character point-of-views while still writing a cohesive book. Besides the two main characters, the side characters are also entertaining and garner your sympathies, even if they don’t necessarily deserve them. Aside from the exciting revenge plot, the sci-fi aspect of the novel is very interesting as well. From someone who doesn’t read science fiction, it made me consider picking out a sci-fi book more often. Overall, I rate this book a four out of five. As compelling as the plot was, some of the characters’ motives were not explored enough to warrant their dramatic actions. However, the themes of morality and vengeance explored by Schwab make this a worthwhile read.