Vicious by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Victor and Eli began their relationship as college roommates. They even became friends in their own way. When Eli comes up with a theorem on how to create extraordinary abilities the two young men become lab partners, assistants, and guinea pigs. Things don't go as smoothly as they had hoped. 10 years later Victor walks out of prison with one objective, to get revenge on Eli. Over the same 10 year period Eli now going by the name Ever believes he has been reborn as an angel of death, executing all those he can find with extraordinary abilities.
Vicious introduces the world to two of the most unlikeable people you could meet, Victor and Eli. They are both insufferable arrogant pricks who aren't concerned with much more than themselves. It's a rare thing when the protagonist and antagonist are so unlikable, but by the end I was rooting for one more than the other.
Fortunately Vicious has one character that is easy to like in Sydney. Sydney is a completely innocent 12 year old girl and her ability is one that couldn't directly be used to harm anyone. While she is young, she's not foolish or blinded by her self importance like Eli. Sydney at one point thinks she isn't sure if good exists, but she doesn't see it because it's coming from her.
V.E. Schwab certainly came up with an intriguing method for how to empower ordinary people...it's frightening, but intriguing. The powers themselves also had a genuinely unique feel to them even though some of the powers are commonplace in the comic book world.
Vicious is a tale of revenge that stretches over a long period of time while being told in flashbacks and the present. If you like your protagonists semi to fully evil then I imagine you'll enjoy Vicious.
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