Book - 2013
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From 1# New York Times bestselling author V.E Schwab

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

" 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, New York Times bestselling author of I Am Not A Serial Killer

Publisher: New York :, Tor,, 2013.
Edition: First Edition.
ISBN: 9780765335340
Branch Call Number: FICTION Schwab Victoria 09/2013
Characteristics: 364 pages ;,22 cm


From Library Staff

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 ... Read More »

Ten years after an experiment designed to tap a human's supernatural abilities goes terribly wrong, Victor breaks out of prison and resolves to track down his former roommate, Eli, who resolves to eradicate the world's super-powered people.

(Fantasy) A friendly rivalry turns vicious when college friends Victor and Eli obtain super-human powers and use them for very different purposes. This dark paranormal fantasy, a riveting tale of vengeance and redemption, proves that extraordinary powers don’t necessarily make superheroes.

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 a... Read More »

JCLGreggW Mar 24, 2014

Some folks have described this as a superhero novel, which it most definitely isn't even though I can can see how folks might get that idea. It does take some leads from comic book tropes, but the story this novel weaves is something very much its own. Eli and Victor are two brilliant young men i... Read More »

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Jul 08, 2020

This is a story unlike anything I have ever read. Fantasy meets mystery meets horror. Totally spellbinding and amazing.

Jul 02, 2020

Villians #1

Feb 08, 2020

I had heard a lot about Vicious so I decided to give it a read and, let me tell you, nothing could prepare me for the genius of this book. The chapters switched between time, initially disorienting me, however that only added to the moody, mysterious tone of the book. The brilliance of combining superheroes with dark academia is incredible and something that fits together in such a strangely, perfect way. All of the characters are so complex and enigmatic, creating an air of mystery and intrigue that kept me turning the pages, in search for answers. I also think the use of the time jumps was especially effective in offering pieces of a puzzle that the reader had to put together as the book went on. Overall, this book was phenomenal and I cannot wait to read the sequel. 5/5
@nickreads of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

Jan 17, 2020

Loved the premise. Grounds a novel about superhero powers in ordinary people and science (or at least pseudoscience). The non-linear narrative structure felt very cool and I loved how all of the details trickled out. Despite all that was great about it, I never quite connected with Victor or Eli as central characters, but everything else (the structure, premise, prose, and supporting characters) more than made up for it. Despite its faults, a good read.

May 13, 2019

Wouldn't quite describe it as a super hero book as the action was limited but good sci fi read with an excellent ending!

Mar 02, 2019

1st book - 2nd book (vengeful) won best sci fi of 2018

SClibrary_AmberAces Feb 25, 2019

If you like anti heroes, are a big fan of dark super hero movies, and love good writing this is a great book for you! Fast-paced & compelling, one of my favorite books by Victoria Schwab.

Dec 20, 2018

book 1

Nov 28, 2018

Set in familiar world of superheroes, this book is unique by focusing on the origins of EOs (Extra Ordinaries) and what happens when they don't use their powers for good. I fell in love with this book based on the description, and was so afraid it would disappoint. Instead, it managed to surpass my expectations and become such a favorite of mine that it's probably the book I most recommend to others. I love how it flips the script on good vs evil and makes you root for the person that in typical superhero stories would be the villain. The characters are incredibly fleshed out and realistic with their abilities coming forth in a way that is described naturally and scientifically. I'm rereading this book in anticipation of the sequel and hope that Vengeful will also surpass my expectations.

JessicaGma Nov 14, 2018

I know that this book was beloved and had a real following, but I did not get into it. I far preferred the Darker Shade of Magic Trilogy as I found both of these characters to be one note (VENGEANCE!!!) and I was far more invested in the secondary characters..... So please look at the other reviews for whether you'll like this or not.

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May 21, 2018

jaiblanco thinks this title is suitable for 15 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.


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