Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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?" -- from publisher's web site.
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2013.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780765335340
Characteristics: 364 pages ;,22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Apr 21, 2018

As usual, Queen Victoria's writing and world building were superb. She crafted such a believable concept that I can't help but want to try it myself and become an EO (but I won't; don't worry). I especially loved the story structure, how the chapters alternated between the past and present and different characters' perspectives, revealing little tidbits as it went along. It wasn't necessarily unique—I've seen it done a million times—but it was well done and not something I've read recently by any means, so it was refreshing and intriguing. The book itself read like a noir or even a heist movie tbh, but with the cheese replaced by thought-provoking insight into the psychology of superpowers and those who have them, and of who and what is the greater evil, and if that makes the less evil good.

Victor Vale: He was honestly the most interesting character I've read in a very long time. He's without a doubt a psychopath, but he seems to care just enough about select people, namely his fondness for Sydney and his hate towards Eli. Even his relationship with Mitch was interesting. There were strong Frankenstein vibes with him, what with the method of his NDE and his name being Victor. I also really liked his erasures. I loved that most of the book was in his perspective because that essentially made him the MC, but he's definitely not your average protagonist.

Eli (Cardale) Ever: He was just as interesting as Victor; they felt as though they were cut from the same cloth—both lacking something vital and human long before they became something inhuman. I really liked Eli's religiously misdirected self-imposed mission to eliminate EOs, as it created a great conflict for all the characters.
Sydney Clark: I really loved Syd. Her struggle with her powers and with her sister was really well executed. I loved that she was essentially a little girl but in that stage of her life where you want to be an adult, and you're beginning to feel like an adult, but the world still sees you as a child, because really, you still are. (Also, please don't judge me, but I low-key shipped her and Victor even though he's literally like 20 years older than her; even I feel weird about this being my OTP, but hey, the heart wants what it wants)

Serena Clark: She was super interesting. I loved how her power wasn't necessarily obvious when she was introduced, but you could figure it out on your own before it is directly revealed, which I did. It made me feel like a detective lol

Mitch: I loved Mitch. He was fun and engaging, and his suddenly getting his backstory and perspectives half way through the book was so fantastically unexpected. He was complex and, like every character, multidimensional.

Angie: She was definitely the least fleshed out character in the book, but that really isn't a problem, because she was also the character featured the least, and when she was, she felt real.

This book is as close to perfect as a book can get, I think. I absolutely loved it and devoured it. I want to read it again; I just know I'll notice things I never noticed before each time I reread. It's such a fantastic experience and I'm so happy I read it. I had a similar idea for a book once and tried to write it out, but didn't get far, and honestly, no one could have done a better job than the great goddess herself, Queen Victoria #AllHailTheQueen

JCLAndrewP Jan 18, 2018

Stunning, complex, dark, and twisty. Pretty much my favorite things about this book. Schwab does not disappoint with this tale of superhuman rivals Victor and Eli. Who is the hero and who the monster? Or maybe they are both? The morality of both characters is questionable at best as they both do everything in their power to kill each other. Seriously, this book is amazing.

Sep 06, 2017

Mmph, that was good!

I don't know if it was because we know Eli and Victor as young adults or it's Schwab's writing, but the story never really felt "adult" to me. It was easy to read and hugely entertaining. I'd forgotten how fun her books are. This was different, but so good, with our interesting cast of villains.

Mar 24, 2017

This was the first book I've read of V.E. Schwab and was a fantastic one to start with. The morally gray characters and switching time periods, made this book fantastic. I loved the powers that the character's in this novel have, and how they acquire them is beyond interesting. Victor and Eli's reasons for disliking one another are so deep and resonating and both have such belief in what they are doing it's hard to choose a side. The back story and present day flipping really helped the plot stay interesting, and the fact that V.E. Schwab made the reader interested in both sides equally is proof of her exemplary writing skill. This novel would make an amazing movie and already seemed like on with Schwab's vivid writing. 5/5 stars and one of my new favorites.

Mar 08, 2017

Two villains - two best friends - two intelligent beasts. A delicious battle of wits and dirty consciences trying to best one another. A wonderful tale of supremacy and inflated egos, strengthened by acquiring superpowers. A predictable story, a good ending and a very enjoyable read for those of us who like supervillains.

MissMellissa Feb 03, 2017

I struggled to like it as much as I did her "Darker Shade of Magic" series, but it fell just a bit short for me. Honestly though, this is a solid read and a stand alone fantasy novel with a really interesting and dark concept. I would definitely add it to your "to read" pile.

Jul 28, 2016

There aren't even enough gifs in the world to explain how I feel.

PrimaGigi Jul 19, 2015

Victor and Eli were college roommates. Intelligent, arrogant, lonely young men. In their senior year a shared experiment on adrenaline and near death experiences, uncovers a hidden potentiality. Under the right conditions a person can become an EO (ExtraOrdinary) Ten years later and Victor is breaking out of jail with a single thought: exacting his revenge on Eli.

What is good and bad is open to interpretation of the person. I couldn't tell if it was a story about ethics and morality or just who seemed to lack it or compound it, into whatever fit their doing. Victor and Eli are presented as two opposing but equal forces; both become EOs. It's Victor continued attempts that drives Eli to decidedly goes on a killing rampage after Victor kills his girlfriend. Eli is crazier then Victor because he was raised religiously. Eli sees that EOs are unnatural and takes it upon himself or "ordained" by God to kill others like him and Victor. there is a lot of timeline jumping, I enjoyed it during the fast half of the, but when it got to the second part of the story where it's meant to piece the conclusions together, we are given timeline jumps of minor characters backstories. If you failed to mention their significance in the first half of the book, then they aren't important now.

Along the way of breaking out of jail Victor (with his cellmate Mitch) happens along Sydney; another EO, who was shot by Eli. (Sydney is Serena's sister and Eli's Gal Friday). Victor takes her in and finds out her powers are to his advantage. After reading about Victors revenge story I found him to be petty and childish. You get that by him defacing his parents self-help books. He's the one that lacks obvious empathy. You are expected to like Victor a little more, since we have established Eli is crazy via his religious upbringing. I feel bad for the cast of characters around these two more then anything else. Serena, Mitch and Sydney are all being used, expect that Victor is better because he isn't planning on killing them after.

Neither of these two characters were likeable and both were reprehensible. Eli' s logic behind killing other people is faulty and lacks any base. His past isn't brought into question. How he got the scars on his back by his Minister father, the only indicator into his obsession with being righteous. We refuse to admit religions are cults that prey on those more susceptible to that belligerent nonsense. We have been shown that throughout history religions have sparked the most wars, we refuse to believe that this is any inducement towards catering towards insanity. Eli is a perfect proponent of it. Victor is Eli's antithesis, he doesn't pronounce his atheism, it's just there. Where Eli is moralizing in his religion, Victor is amoral is his Atheism, solely stuck on his self-absorption, finding there is nothing leaves Victor with less regrets in his actions. Victor is an asshole with a secret heart 'O Gold. Speaking as an Atheist (former Catholic and Born-Again) that is shit. I never in my Atheism have thought without action to the consequence regarding other people around me. Atheism isn't Hedonistic, self-absorbed or apathetic that's a simplistic look at it. It's more Humanistic. Not to say their aren't any bad Atheists, there are, just too few to count, like not all Christians, Jews or Muslims are narrow-minded. The book really could have done without the religious debate.

JCLJoshN Dec 18, 2014

I love superheroes--to such a large extent that I don't generally like deconstructions of the genre. I like my superheroes just fine the way they are, thank you very much.

But I liked Vicious. A LOT. It strips down the idea that people with superpowers see themselves as above us mere mortals and it tears apart the whole Good vs Evil, black-and-white tradition of superheroes and supervillains. The two main characters, Victor and Eli, are much like Doctor Doom and Mr. Fantastic or Lex Luthor and Superman, if both the "hero and "villain" were psychopathics capable of great, casual cruelty. There's no good and evil here, no black and white, just varying shades of grey. In Vicious, none of the superpowered characters are someone to look up to, to be inspired by. And yet, the characters are all compelling, especially Victor Vale, who is painted as the villain of the piece at the beginning of the novel, but turns out to be much, much more. Actually, all of the characters turn out to be very complex and endearing in different ways. Combine that with a plot that builds to a thrilling climax while also moving back and forth in time've got me. Vicious is absolutely super. (Sorry.) (I'm not really sorry.)

Nov 03, 2014

Sadly, I found this poorly researched to the point of being unreadable. For a book in which college relationships and discovery are so important, the depiction of college is bizarrely unrealistic. I finally lost it when a supposedly genius pre-med character claims that alcohol warms the blood. I want to be suspending my disbelief about the superpowers, not the mundane parts.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

May 21, 2018

jaiblanco thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Apr 21, 2018

faithmurri99 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Summary

Jun 21, 2015

Victor and Eli are two arrogant college students whose friendship is filled with competition and jealousy. For his thesis, Eli decides to research EOs - "ExtraOrdinaries", aka superheroes. Out of fascination and eagerness to best Eli, Victor involves himself and their research takes the two of them too far and Victor and Eli both end up experimenting on themselves to become EOs. With their new powers, conflict occurs between the two and Victor ends in prison while Eli spends the next ten years hunting down EOs and "executing" them. A decade passes and Victor has escaped from prison, and thus begins a riveting chase between the two fuelled with hatred. Victor, with the help of a gentle giant named Mitch and a young girl named Sydney, plot to kill Eli while Eli and his mind-controlling partner try to locate Victor.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Related Authors


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top