V. E. Schwab
Jan 2, 2014

Victor Vale and Eli Cardale are brilliant calculating risk-takers and the smartest pre-med students at their prestigious university; they also happen to be best friends.  For a class project, Eli decides to research the so-called E.O.'s--extraordinary people who seem to demonstrate abnormal abilities not unlike superpowers.  What's more, during his research, Eli realizes that he might be able to synthesize an E.O., and he wants to try it on himself.  What happens next leave both him and Victor changed forever.  

Fast forward ten years.  Victor has just escaped prison with his intimidating hacker accomplice when he runs into a girl on the side of the road.  The girl is unusually the field of bringing dead things back to life.  Their meeting kicks off a series of events that leads Victor and Eli to face each other for the first time in ten years, no longer best friends but bitter enemies.  It's superpower against superpower where neither is a hero and neither is really a villain.

Vicious was a fast, fun, original read with complex and charismatic characters.  The idea of two men being each other's villains, of a story played out between arch-nemeses rather than between a quantifiably good person and a quantifiably bad person, plays with our inherent doubts about the nature of good and evil in a very compelling way.  While Vicious is an adult novel, the subject matter and writing will make it an enjoyable crossover title for teens, and it will have strong appeal for graphic novel fans.  The story has also been optioned for a film by Ridley Scott's production company, so there's a chance that moody Victor and handsome Eli will be on the big screen in a couple years' time.  Overall, a fantastic read.

Reviewed by Library Staff