Vicious (Villains, #1) by V.E. Schwab

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“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”

Friends, this is my fifth book by VE Schwab, and I’ve three starred every single one of them. At this point, it is glaringly obvious that you should take my review(s) of her work with a grain of salt, because it is obviously a “me” thing. I will say that I adore the author, and I want so desperately to fall in love with a book of hers. And even though I thought Vicious would be the one, it sadly wasn’t.

But this is a book about two college roommates who are literally experimenting with life and death and that tiny, minuscule, grey area in-between. Ten years later, a story of revenge, heartbreak, and anger is born. Yet, we still get glimpses into what happened at college ten years ago to bring these current ramifications into fruition.

“I want to believe that there’s more. That we could be more. Hell, we could be heroes.”

This book does raise the fascinating question, both in literature and in real life: what makes a hero and what makes a villain? Is it just the light the story is told in? Is the difference that monumental? Is it only a matter of perspective? Victor and Eli really challenge this question, and I adored it.

Victor – Fresh out of jail and will stop at nothing to exact his revenge; the slower the better.

Sydney – My favorite character, who needs to be protected at all costs, and is just trying to find her place in a world that has constantly made her feel like she doesn’t belong.

Mitch – I highkey loved this hacker and Victor’s soft friend.

Eli – I actually hated Eli, and I think that’s the point of this book, truly, but his crisis of faith was just too much for me.

Serena – To me, Serena and Sydney were truly the bright, shining stars of this story. And Serena has the coolest power of all the EOs, in my opinion.

And these five people’s paths all cross; some because of tangled pasts, but some because of brand new beginnings. And these characters quickly prove that developing superpowers could be pretty damn frightening. Especially when the powers you develop are rooted in who you are and what you need.

One thing I do want to briefly mention that I adored was Victor’s love for blackout poetry. I’ve actually never seen a book character have a passion for it, and it really warmed my heart. Every time he would create something, it really would take my breath away. It was such a bright light in the story for me.

I read this with a few friends, and the reading was broken down over the course of five days. Day one and day five were both, easily, five star reading days. I loved the start and end of this book more than words. Again, Victoria Schwab is so intelligent, and her ideas are truly a tier above the rest. Sadly, the middle three days I just felt a bit bored, and it only got worse by day four. But the ending? God, I know I shouldn’t, but I desperately want to read Vengeful now.

I also really truly loved how the first and last chapter began. I’m always a sucker when authors mirror events and phrases throughout their book(s) and I feel like VE Schwab always successfully does this. And I get goosebumps each and every time.

Overall, I get that there is some kind of disconnect between me and this author’s books. And nothing is changing that because, believe me, I truly want to love her work so badly. Like I said above, take this review with a grain of salt because so many of my friends adore this book, and I really implore you to check out some of their amazing reviews: Em, Adriana, CW, Hari, & Mari!

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Content and trigger warnings
for talk of suicide, attempted suicide, overdosing, self-harm, drug use, murder, animal death, abandonment, and depiction of panic attacks.

28 thoughts on “Vicious (Villains, #1) by V.E. Schwab

  1. I’ve read the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy and felt so similar about Schwab! Her writing isn’t bad, and her plots and characters are usually pretty good, but there’s something about it that doesn’t click with me. I totally agree that her starts and endings are always awesome though, it’s definitely something in the middle that loses me. Great review, as always!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh, the real validation I needed today! Thank you so very much, Ally. I feel the exact same. And I want to love her work so bad, but I really am never going to if I keep trying to force myself!

      I hope you’re having the happiest of reading, sweetheart! 💖xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I want to love this author’s work so damn bad! Haha! I just need to stop forcing myself! But I hope you love her when you pick them up, sweetheart! Trust me, I am very much in the minority with these three star ratings! 💖xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ugh i love not being the only one who hasn’t really clicked with Schwab and i ESPECIALLY love sharing that opinion w you!! i think i’ll keep trying her books because i’m a glutton for punishment and i want to Understand but…i haven’t super enjoyed anything by her yet 😦 great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My true book twin. I honestly can’t believe you feel the same… I mean, you are the queen of unpopular opinions (which makes me love you even more than I already do) but I feel like this is blasphemy! Ahhh! I love you, and thank you for this validation! 💛xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sad this was your fifth 3-star from Schwab, but I get where you’re coming from! This book is actually my least favorite of hers (though I still liked it lmao) and I’m curious to see if I’ll like Vengeful more or less. BUT YOU VALID ALWAYS!! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awh, thank you, love! This actually makes me feel better, seriously. Have you read Vengeful yet? I’ll have to go creep and find out! But… first I have to go side eye people on IG who feel the need to be rude to people who have been hurt… LORD, HELP ME! 💛xx


  4. I’ve put this book on hold, and I really hope I like it!! I started reading one of Schwab’s books, but I forgot about it so I didn’t finish it oops.😂
    Anyways, I hope Vengeful is fabulous and amazing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely review, Melanie. I loved Vicious a lot but I definitely understand what you mean about Schwab’s writing, with the Shades of Magic series I feel like the books were bookended by action and awesomeness with meh in the middle. I still haven’t read Conjuring of Light because book 2 turned me off so much. Schwab has a way with words and an amazing mind, but I find that I struggle with most of her work… for some reason I didn’t with Vicious but Vengeful isn’t going too well for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, beautiful! Please, please, please let me know how Vengeful ends up working out for you! I am seriously asking for punishment, but I’m tempted to give it a try just because I bought that box with it inside it! Hahah!

      I hope you’re having happy reading, love! 🧡🍂xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel the exact same as you when it comes to her books. I tried SOOOOOO hard to love Vicious, but couldn’t. There’s very few of us who don’t connect with her books as well as we’d like, so it’s nice to see another floating around out there haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I completely get where you’re coming from. In my opinion, Schwab is great at plotting but her writing does leave you wishing for more connection with her characters. I’ve only liked this duology and that’s because I love Victor. And Sydney was the most fascinating character of this book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This actually makes me feel so much better, and I completely agree with what you said! And… Victor and Sydney’s found family is easily my favorite thing that Schwab has EVER created. So pure, so many feels! Ahhh! Hehe!

      I hope you’re having happy reading, love! 💖xx


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