Vicious by Victoria Schwab

Title: Vicious
Series: Vicious #1
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Pages: 364
Source: Audiobook, Audible

Summary from Goodreads:
A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

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? 


"'You're the hero...,' she said, finding his eyes, '... of your own story, anyway.'"
Ya know those books that are just awesome. This is one of them.

Let's set up the story: Eli discovers that near-death experiences can cause someone to develop extraordinary abilities. And then Victor suggests they try to off themselves to get some abilities, and volunteers to go first. Only it doesn't work. So they try it again, this time on Eli and under different conditions. And it works. But then Victor gets jealous of Eli and tries a few more times to die and come back. Eventually he succeeds and gets his own ability. Only he accidentally kills a friend in the making, which causes Eli to turn on Victor and Victor to turn on Eli for turning on him. One thing leads to another. They try to kill each other. Victor goes to prison.

Fast forward 10 years and things start getting really interesting. Victor escapes from prison and has only one thing on his mind - find and kill Eli Ever. Meanwhile, Eli is over here tracking and killing every EO he can find. He's made some powerful allies over the years. Fortunately Victor's made some too. So Eli vs Victor... who will win?

Ya know those books that are slowly building up to something, and in the end all the wonderful little pieces come together. This is one of them. 

This story was simply exciting. The abilities, the tension, the suspense. And the story unfolded beautifully. At first the chapters switch between the past, when Victor and Eli discover that EOs can be developed, and the present, when Victor breaks out of jail and goes searching for Eli. But after their history is told, the story mostly continues in the present day, with the occasional flashback to introduce the other characters, or unlock another piece of the puzzle. This flow made it a little difficult to listen to as an audiobook, but it definitely kept things interesting and I liked the pace with which things were revealed.

And the ending was ridiculous! Absolutely, ridiculous. But I was fist pumping with glee when this book ended (totally New Jersey of me, I know). I am so stoked for book two.

Ya know those books that give you a new perspective, tackle a bigger question, make you think? This is one of them. 

A large part of the wonder of this book is the higher question of good vs evil. Is Eli evil because he is murdering other EO's? In his mind, he is protecting the world from their unnatural abilities. He believes he is the hand of God. Is Victor evil because he wants to kill Eli and is willing to kill anyone who gets in his way? This book makes you think about heros and villains and how it's mostly a matter of perspective. But I obviously still had a favorite. ;)

This book deserves all the positive reviews its been getting. It's one hell of a story. It's different, thought-provoking, and ends with a bang.

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