Review of Vicious by V.E Schwab (Read this book if you’re a Marvel fan (and if you’re not))

Avengers: The High School Years (Sort of)

Avengers: The University Years (sort of)

There are some books that I wish I’d written myself. This is one of them. I’m a huge Marvel fan, and there are too few books that pull superheroes off successfully. Victoria Schwab manages it and then some. The plot is pretty simple– a feud between two friends who then become enemies– but Schwab twists the superhero origin story into something original enough to make up for any problems this book has– and they’re pretty few and far between to begin with.
Schwab’s writing style is somewhere between sharp and vivid description. Where some authors overuse description, Schwab manages to balance description so that the pace is never bogged down by it. The dialogue is sharp and witty and the world is believable, even if it’s a little vague at times. The characters are believable too, and the villain, superhero cliches never seem to take over. Victor is a great main character, hard to like and hard not to like at the same time. Eli is a pain in the ass with his religious spiel, but he makes for a fine adversary for Victor. Sydney, Mitch and Serena fill out the supporting cast, and they are just as well developed and interesting as the protagonists.
This book does have a few problems. I was expecting a final, explosive finale, but the subtle one Schwab delivers is probably more suited to the tone of the rest of the novel. The lack of action almost made this a four star book until I realised it wouldn’t fit right with the tone of the book. This isn’t about constant action and awesome set pieces, it’s a more character driven novel. And it works well because of that. It’d be cool to see more superheros, with bigger powers, in a sequel, but for this first book, Schwab pulls it off. But the lack of action never does anything to slow the pace. The pages whipped by and I didn’t want this book to end. But trying to make a book this good last is impossible. It’s too addictive and well written for that.
Overall, this is an awesome book. Some of the best writing I’ve ever read, a great cast of characters and a unique spin on superhero origin stories.
Epic and highly recommended. I hope Schwab writes a sequel.

I see a superhero book in my writing future.


About Sam Whitehouse

Sam spends most of his time in a different world to other people. If it isn’t one he’s created himself, it’s one he’s reading about. In the rare moments when this isn’t the case, Sam can either be found addicted to a sci-fi or crime show, re-watching Marvel movies, finishing up an assignment for his final year of studying Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, or trying to get the dozens of ideas for stories in his head under some kind of control. Sam has lived in the same small village in Yorkshire, surrounded by countryside on all sides ever since he could remember. His childhood saw him get into plenty of scrapes climbing trees and crossing rivers and generally believing he was Indiana Jones. Sam gives credit to his Grandad for him wanting to be a writer, and his bedtime stories for keeping Sam’s imagination stoked. But credit must also go to Steven Spielberg, J K Rowling and Stephen King, who have provided plenty of inspiration over the years, too. Sam writes what he reads, and that is pretty much anything—save romance. Fantasy, thrillers, or crime: once an idea takes root, he can’t stop until the world, characters, and plot are on paper. A huge Marvel fan, Sam one day hopes to pen a screenplay for one of their movies, or direct one, or do anything at all related to one. Until then, he’ll stick to his own fantasy worlds and wait for Marvel’s phone call.

Posted on 03/01/2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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