In a land of gods and monsters

“Vicious” proves to be a captivating fantasy novel


V.E. Schwab

Published in 2013, “Vicious” proves to be a captivating fantasy novel.

Emma Siebold, Managing Editor

When I picked up “Vicious” by V.E. Schwab, it was a Thursday night. I had homework to finish and Friday quizzes to study for. Yet, I couldn’t put it down.

I bought “Vicious” soon after reading the “Shades of Magic Trilogy” by V.E Schwab and falling in love with her writing, characters and world-building. It took me just a few pages into “Vicious” to discover Schawb’s excellent writing extended to all her books. I loved the book’s main character, Victor Vale, and his enigmatic personality.

The book jumps from the present day, where Victor is an ex-convict, digging up a grave at Merit Cemetery, to 10 years prior, when Vale attends Lockland University with his roommate Eli Cardale.

This immediately caught my attention as a reader. I wondered why Victor was in prison, why he now hated his ex-roommate, and why he was grave-robbing with a 13-year-old year old girl (who, by the way, was dead). 

These questions are answered as Schwab flashes back to the perspective of 22-year-old Victor, a senior at Lockland University. He is studying the effects of adrenaline for his senior thesis, but becomes distracted when his roommate, Eli Cardale, begins studying EO’s, or ExtraOrdinary people (in simpler terms, superheroes). 

Victor and Eli become obsessed with the idea of creating an ExtraOrdinary being, and they discover one can be created by having a near death experience. Eli soon tests this theory by basically dying and having Victor bring him back to life. The boys are shocked when Eli wakes up with regenerative healing powers.

Infatuated with his friend’s power and torn with jealousy, Victor tests this theory on himself using Eli’s girlfriend, Angie, an engineering major. Victor’s doom arrives when the experiment works, giving Victor control over his own pain and the pain of others, at the cost of Angie’s life. Framing Victor as a murderer, Eli has Victor arrested and begins hunting EO’s, whom Eli thinks are disgraces to God, except for himself.

Both of the main characters are tragically flawed – Eli believes he is doing God’s work by killing other people that he deems “unnatural”, and Victor lets his anger for Eli marinate for 10 years while he is in prison and goes on his own murderous rampage. I found myself being both disgusted by their actions but also captivated by their personalities. 

“Vicious,” published in 2013, is 368 pages and classified in the fantasy fiction genre. It was rated a 4.2 out of 5 on Goodreads, and it is available on Amazon, Audible, and most booksellers. 

Lovers of fantasy fiction, supernatural fiction and dark academia literature would love this novel, and people who enjoyed novels such as “The Secret History”, “A Darker Shade of Magic” and “Six of Crows.”

“Vicious” is one of the best fantasy books that I’ve read, and I can’t wait to start reading the sequel, “Vengeful” to find out how Eli and Victor’s story ends.