Vicious

( 8 )

Overview

 

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

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 ...

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Vicious

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Overview

 

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

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 archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

“A dynamic and original twist on what it means to be a hero and a villain. A killer from page one…highly recommended!”

—Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Marvel Universe vs The Avengers and Patient Zero

 

One of Publishers Weekly's Best Fantasy Books of 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Victor Vale and Eliot Cardale, both brilliant and driven, were friends and college roommates who figured out how to give themselves superpowers. Victor went to jail and Eli began working with the cops. But “villain” Victor is innocent of the charges against him, while “hero” Eli has been killing people whose powers he considers more “unnatural” than his own. When he targets Sydney, a 12-year-old girl who can raise the dead, he gets more trouble than he bargained for. Schwab’s characters feel vital and real, never reduced to simple archetypes; for example, Victor isn’t a particularly nice man, but he has enough conscience left to know that Eli needs to stopped. In a genre that tends toward the flippant or pretentious, this is a rare superhero novel as epic and gripping as any classic comic. Schwab’s tale of betrayal, self-hatred, and survival will resonate with superhero fans as well as readers who have never heard of Charles Xavier or Victor von Doom. Agent: Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Literary Agency. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
“Schwab’s characters feel vital and real, never reduced to simple archetypes... In a genre that tends toward the flippant or pretentious, this is a rare superhero novel as epic and gripping as any classic comic. Schwab’s tale of betrayal, self-hatred, and survival will resonate with superhero fans as well as readers who have never heard of Charles Xavier or Victor von Doom.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A fun, morally-flexible revenge tale...Vicious methodically ratchets up the tension as Victor and Eli circle each other for the inevitable kill.

—Daniel H. Wilson, NYT bestselling author of Robopocalypse

“Schwab gathers all the superhero/supervillain tropes and turns them on their sundry heads…. I could not put it down.”

—F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of the Repairman Jack series

Vicious is dark and intricate and daring, twisting back and forth through time and morality and life and death until you can't turn the pages fast enough. I loved it.”

—Dan Wells, author of I Am Not a Serial Killer

“An epic collision of super-powered nemeses. The writing and storycraft is Schwab's own superpower as this tale leaps off the page in all its dark, four-color comic-book glory.” 

—Chuck Wendig, author of Blackbirds

“Utterly brilliant. Schwab takes the notion of superhero fiction and bashes it on its head...prepare to be thoroughly entertained.”—Jackie Kessler, coauthor of Black and White

“A noirish cross between the X-Men and 'The Count of Monte Cristo.' You won't be able to stop turning the pages.”

—Alex Bledsoe, author of The Hum and the Shiver

“V.E. Schwab writes with the fiendish ingenuity, sardonic wit, and twisted imagination of a true supervillian.”

—Greg Cox, New York Times bestselling author

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765335340
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 62,589
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

V. E. SCHWAB's first adult novel, Vicious, debuted to critical praise and reader accolades. Schwab is the author of YA novels The Near Witch, The Archived, and The Unbound. She is also currently writing a fantasy middle-grade series, Everyday Angel.

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Read an Excerpt

I

 

LAST NIGHT

MERIT CEMETERY

VICTOR readjusted the shovels on his shoulder and stepped gingerly over an old, half-sunken grave. His trench billowed faintly, brushing the tops of tombstones as he made his way through Merit Cemetery, humming as he went. The sound carried like wind through the dark. It made Sydney shiver in her too big coat and her rainbow leggings and her winter boots as she trudged along behind him. The two looked like ghosts as they wove through the graveyard, both blond and fair enough to pass for siblings, or perhaps father and daughter. They were neither, but the resemblance certainly came in handy since Victor couldn’t very well tell people he’d picked up the girl on the side of a rain-soaked road a few days before. He’d just broken out of jail. She’d just been shot. A crossing of fates, or so it seemed. In fact, Sydney was the only reason Victor was beginning to believe in fate at all.

He stopped humming, rested his shoe lightly on a tombstone, and scanned the dark. Not with his eyes so much as with his skin, or rather with the thing that crept beneath it, tangled in his pulse. He might have stopped humming, but the sensation never did, keeping on with a faint electrical buzz that only he could hear and feel and read. A buzz that told him when someone was near.

Sydney watched him frown slightly.

“Are we alone?” she asked.

Victor blinked, and the frown was gone, replaced by the even calm he always wore. His shoe slid from the gravestone. “Just us and the dead.”

They made their way into the heart of the cemetery, the shovels tapping softly on Victor’s shoulder as they went. Sydney kicked a loose rock that had broken off from one of the older graves. She could see that there were letters, parts of words, etched into one side. She wanted to know what they said, but the rock had already tumbled into the weeds, and Victor was still moving briskly between the graves. She ran to catch up, nearly tripping several times over the frozen ground before she reached him. He’d come to a stop, and was staring down at a grave. It was fresh, the earth turned over and a temporary marker driven into the soil until a stone one could be cut.

Sydney made a noise, a small groan of discomfort that had nothing to do with the biting cold. Victor glanced back and offered her the edge of a smile.

“Buck up, Syd,” he said casually. “It’ll be fun.”

Truth be told, Victor didn’t care for graveyards, either. He didn’t like dead people, mostly because he had no effect on them. Sydney, conversely, didn’t like dead people because she had such a marked effect on them. She kept her arms crossed tightly over her chest, one gloved thumb rubbing the spot on her upper arm where she’d been shot. It was becoming a tic.

Victor turned and sunk one of the spades into the earth. He then tossed the other one to Sydney, who unfolded her arms just in time to catch it. The shovel was almost as tall as she was. A few days shy of her thirteenth birthday, and even for twelve and eleven twelfths, Sydney Clarke was small. She had always been on the short side, but it certainly didn’t help that she had barely grown an inch since the day she’d died.

Now she hefted the shovel, grimacing at the weight.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” she said.

“The faster we dig, the faster we get to go home.”

Home wasn’t home so much as a hotel room stocked only with Sydney’s stolen clothes, Mitch’s chocolate milk, and Victor’s files, but that wasn’t the point. At this moment, home would have been any place that wasn’t Merit Cemetery. Sydney eyed the grave, tightening her fingers on the wooden grip. Victor had already begun to dig.

“What if…,” she said, swallowing, “… what if the other people accidentally wake up?”

“They won’t,” cooed Victor. “Just focus on this grave. Besides…” He looked up from his work. “Since when are you afraid of bodies?”

“I’m not,” she snapped back, too fast and with all the force of someone used to being the younger sibling. Which she was. Just not Victor’s.

“Look at it this way,” he teased, dumping a pile of dirt onto the grass. “If you do wake them up, they can’t go anywhere. Now dig.”

Sydney leaned forward, her short blond hair falling into her eyes, and began to dig. The two worked in the dark, only Victor’s occasional humming and the thud of the shovels filling the air.

Thud.

Thud.

Thud.

 

Copyright © 2013 by Victoria Schwab

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I bought Vicious just for the simple fact that people were ravin

    I bought Vicious just for the simple fact that people were raving about it. Before I got it in the mail, I wanted to have a taste of Victoria’s writing, so I read her YA book The Archived, and I felt in love with her writing style. Victoria’s writing is borderline overwhelming, but it never gets to that point. It keeps you on your toes. It makes you think and feel. I expected to get lost at some point in Vicious, and it never happened. It was beautifully written. One word that comes to my mind when I think about Vicious is organized. The book jumps timelines, and I usually don’t do well with these kinds of books, but wow, I’m so impressed that she pulled it off. Like, I’m blown away. Seriously.

    The characters in Vicious are so complicated and dark. Some of them are neither good nor bad, well, they are mostly bad with some good in them I guess. But with all their flaws you can’t help but to love them. My heart broke for them. I see where they went wrong, and because of those mistakes they are what they are in the present. Even though they are not real, Victoria gave them quirks that made them human like. Just little things here and there that made a difference. Little things that were big enough to make me feel a connection towards them.

    Sometimes when I’m reading a book, I think about ways to make them, in a way, better. I know I’m not an author, but sometimes I can’t help but nitpick books (I know that's a bad habit and I'm not proud of it). But Vicious was meant to be written by Victoria just they way she wrote it. That’s it. I totally enjoyed this book. I lost sleep because I could not pry myself away from its pages. I know this review doesn't do Vicious any justice but trust me you need this book in your life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2014

    Exceptional! 

    Exceptional! 

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  • Posted March 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I hugged this book after I finished it, this is how good it was.

    I hugged this book after I finished it, this is how good it was. Victoria Schwab is one of the best writers I have ever read. I can not wait for more from her. The story is about near death experiences, super powers, friendship, rivals and overall awesomeness. You need to read this book if you even remotely like the synopsis or have read Schwab's other books in the past. Schwab's writing just gets better and better. I really loved how the story takes place both in the present and the past and switches back and forth seamlessly. It was really well done. I loved all 5 of the main characters. You really get invested in there lives and everything that they have to go through. Schwab really questions the concepts of morality, mortality, and faith in a new eye opening way. This is Schwab's first adult book and if this is her first attempt at an adult audience, she did a superb job. It is like she honed her craft and nailed every sentence into perfection. I love, love, loved this novel. It has made it into my all time top favorites. I can not say enough about this novel. It gave me so many feels. Go out and buy it to see for yourself. :)

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  • Posted January 30, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I loved Vicious from practically the first two chapters. It re

    I loved Vicious from practically the first two chapters. It reminded me a lot of the movie Flatliners, but a WHOLE LOT BETTER! As the book goes on however, it blends elements from movies like Chronicle to more comic book inspired fair. I was also very much impressed by the way the author handled the great amount of backstory for each character to really show how their motivations drove them to the point they were at in the story. While the story isn’t some kind of crazy original thing, it is incredible by making a super hero story so much more believable than anything out there right now. I have to admit this book made me gush. It was so compelling from beginning to end that I read the entire thing quite quickly every time I picked the book and finished it in only two sittings. Every time I thought about putting the book down, I thought I would read just more chapter. Then another, and so on. Until I was done. Not that it would be necessary or even a good idea but I would love another story with some of these same characters in this world. Everything about Vicious is addicting and you would do well to pick up a copy today. This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2013

    I loved this book! It had a unique structure and distinct charac

    I loved this book! It had a unique structure and distinct characters (my favorite was Sydney!). I highly recommend it if you like a dark and twisted tale.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2014

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    Posted July 4, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2013

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