Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Reasons Why I Love #Vicious and #Vengeful by V. E. Schwab

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to share their thoughts on book stuff! This week’s theme is Reasons Why I Love (insert your favorite book title, genre, author, etc. here).

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THE COVERS

These covers are so beautiful and on brand. It’s not all about the cover, but you have to admire these. They capture the essence of the books, while not giving too much plot away. My only complaint is that I have a copy of Vicious in paperback and Vengeful in hardback. The physical copies of these books also have a bit of texture on the bones and author’s name. It’s just so aesthetically pleasing all around. Kudos to the author and pub team on these releases!

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VICTOR VALE

Beautiful art from K. Night! Check out their tumblr!

What to say about Victor Vale? There are so many fan art depictions of him and this is by far my favorite, and it’s in a set! See more beautiful artwork below! Victor is complex, layered and oh so broody, without the teenage angst. It’s not an Edward Cullen brood, it’s far more evolved than that. With parents running a self-help empire, and often left alone, Victor found something else to entertain himself: The destruction of other’s words. He takes books, particularly his parent’s books, and uses a sharpie to create a new narrative by marking through words. It’s really a cool idea, kudos to V. E. Schwab for this awesome character quirk! If you haven’t read these books, you really need to. Victor evolves through the narrative, building more layers until he eventually has to break. It’s poetry in narrative format. Remember the name: Victor Vale.

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Eli (Cardale) Ever

More beautiful art from K. Night! Check out their tumblr!

Like Victor, Eli Cardale is a well-built character. As you may or may not know, this series is focused on EOs, people with ExtraOrdinary abilities as a result of an NDE, near death experience. What starts out as a class project in preparation for medical school eventually becomes and obsession for Eli. It’s very Flatliners meets X-Men, but with different twists. Eli is so charismatic and manipulative. Truly Victor and Eli are diametrically opposed, but they are roommates and friends? It makes for intriguing character interactions.

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Mitch & Sydney + Dol

More beautiful art from K. Night! Check out their tumblr!

I couldn’t find anything that I really liked to depict Mitch. Think bouncer, bald, tatooed, super muscled, that’s him. Maybe a little bit Vin, definitely someone you don’t want to mess with. Mitch is a side character, but he is someone you really like once you meet him. A tech savvy strongman? Count me in! I may be a little biased since my husband’s name is Mitchell, but still.

Sydney plays an important role from page one and she quickly became a close second favorite to Victor. We learn a bit about the story and the world through her eyes, but it’s not overly complicated or apparent that you are getting exposition, which is so hard to do! Sydney has a good heart and tempers some of Victor’s emotion throughout the narrative. She loves deeply, which is always something I relate to.

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Style

V. E. Schwab has a way with words that I adore. She uses them like puzzles prices and fits them perfectly together to create beautiful images. This is a sampling of my favorite lines from Vicious:

All Eli had to do was smile. All Victor had to do was lie. Both proved frighteningly effective. 

Schwab, V. E. Vicious. Tor Books, 2013.

Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.

Schwab, V. E. Vicious. Tor Books, 2013.

A couple from Vengeful because I think it’s fun!

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.

Schwab, V. E. Vengeful. Tor Books, 2018.

Knowledge may be power, but money buys both.

Schwab, V. E. Vengeful. Tor Books, 2018.

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Premise

Pow! Zap! Boom! Vicious is sold as a gritty, comic-bookesque story told in narrative form. Two college roommates with overlapping interests formulate a hypothesis: under the right conditions, a person could develop superhuman abilities. Once this hypothesis is put to the test in the real world, things go predictably wrong.

I loved this premise from the start! I’m not a comic book reader, but I love a good hero/anti-hero story. These books are particularly interesting because almost no one wins in the end. You want a cookie-cutter, happily ever after? These are not the books for you. The plot in both novels pulled me in different directions, I vascilated between thinking one person was right then the other. It was honestly a thrill ride.

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Timeline

Because I’m a sucker for awkwardness, I looked up the 1 star goodreads reviews of both Vicious and Vengeful. Why, you ask? Because I wanted to know if people disliked this book due to the time jumps between chapters. I’m being completely honest here, when I first picked up Vicious after having read all of Shades of Magic, I had high hopes. It was hard to read at first, because I was lost in 10 years ago, last night, yesterday, etc. I gave it a few days and came back to it. This time, I knew what I was in for. I paid much closer attention to the details, the time period I was in, and really that helped so much. This time, I couldn’t put this book down and I actually fell in love with this vignette-sort of style that jumps around in time.

Really, I liked the style once I understood what I was reading. So many reviews say that this was an attempt at a deconstructed super hero novel, but I don’t think that’s entirely accurate. It’s much more of an exploration of that ambiguous, morally grey area that exists in almost every decision we make as humans.

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Character Names

Can I take a moment to appreciate the character names in these books? Victor Vale….. Eli Cardale (later Ever)…. Sydney Clarke…. Mitch Turner…. Doll (this is the dog)…… Serena Clark…..

Automatically I think Victor is the bad boy and he is to an extent, but he’s not your typical bad boy. He is definitely my favorite character. I felt like Eli was a psychopath for most of the book, but really I think he convinced himself that he was on a holy mission (which he absolutely did) and manipulated everyone else to think the way he did. That’s never a good sign for someone on a mission like that. Like I said earlier, I’m just partial to a guy named Mitch. He doesn’t ask a lot of questions and I like that. He’s in the know enough that the reader doesn’t need to know what he’s thinking all the time, though he definitely has thoughts. Finally, Sydney and Serena. Sisters, yes, but very different personalities and beliefs. I like Sydney more and Dol, the dog. Serena was well written, but I couldn’t connect with her as much.

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Ending

This may not make a lot of sense and please stop reading here if you haven’t read either Vicious or Vengeful, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. Click to the next page to see spoilers and the end of this post.

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