Thursday, March 31, 2016


ViciousVicious 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'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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A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kell has the rare power to travel between parallel worlds. He's from London, the Red London. Red London is a nice place where magic flows freely and smells like flowers. He's able to travel to two other London's Grey and White London. Grey London is a man built place where magic doesn't exist. White London is a horror where magic is fading and people kill for any little bit of it. There was once a Black London, but it's the stuff of nightmares and legends.

Kell is an adopted Prince in Red London because of his powers. He travels to each London to carry correspondence between their respective rulers. He also has the bad habit of smuggling between worlds which is highly illegal. When something goes terribly wrong after returning from White London, Kell is forced to flee to Grey London where he encounters Delilah Bard who happens to be a thief. After robbing him Lila finds herself helping him save all the worlds.

A Darker Shade of Magic is one imaginative tale. From the travel between Londons to the blood magic of Kell creativity is abounding.

The complexity of the world lead to the first 100 or so pages to be all world building. The storyline was light so it wasn't hard to get through, but I did find myself wondering if there was actually a plot to the story. The plot is there and it's the standard solid save everything from evil story.

The biggest weakness I found in the book were the characters. I was indifferent regarding Kell, his family, his bad habits, and his life in general. I'm not weeping tears because he didn't feel as though he was hugged enough by his adoptive parents. I really just didn't like Lila. She was obnoxious and she took Barron's father like love for granted. He didn't ask anything from her yet she just kept taking from him. Taking was what she was good at though. Her transformation as a character felt totally unwarranted. All the other characters felt pretty standard and didn't draw my attention.

A Darker Shade of Magic is a solid yet unspectacular story.

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