Finished The Twisted Vicious by V.E. Schwab

After trying to squeeze in some time to read Vicious by V.E. Schwab every time I had the chance to in the last few weeks, I finally managed to finish it two days ago, and dare I say, it's by far one of the craziest books I've read this year. Sociopath antiheroes? Check. Criminal minds? Check. Clever strategies and unpredictable superpower? Check and check. This may sound a little like Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo but hear me out first: Vicious is 100% more twisted and dark. The fact that I originally signed up for this book with the anticipation of magic and romance seems pretty absurd now.

Vicious follows the story of Victor and Eli, two enemies who originally started out as best friends in college.

What happened in college:
The two shared a similar topic for their thesis regarding adrenaline and near-death experiences. They then discovered that some people could develop extraordinary abilities in special conditions, though when they started to experiment it themselves, a lot of things went wrong.

What happens ten years after:
After breaking out of prison, all Victor can think of is revenge. With his friends Mitch and Sydney by his side, Victor goes to Merit and tries to get Eli's attention. Meanwhile, Eli is still on his mission to kill as many EOs as possible with the help of a young girl named Serena. He never expects to meet his former best friend in a city like Merit though, so when they finally have to face each other, all hell breaks loose.

Going back and forth in time while exploring the characters' depth, Vicious is the kind of book that won’t make you entirely in love with the characters, but you'd find yourself rooting for some to win just because.

Victor and Eli were both so complex. Even though my favorite characters were actually Sydney and Mitch, I found the two main characters more interesting in terms of progression. As a character-driven book, Vicious managed to grip me to the point that I felt the need to uncover the truth as soon as I could. There was even a short period of time when I was debating whether to flick through the ending just to see who would win the fight (and I always hate spoilers in bookscuriosity almost got the best of me here).

Counting on the fact that the plot was jam-packed with actions and twists, I was greatly thankful that I had stopped myself from spoiling the ending earlier. The conflict was developed intensely in this book, just like the monster beneath the charming face of Eli, which was something I considered very clever. Well, I honestly didn't like Eli, but if I was about to voice my opinion about his character, I would say that he was such a thorough villain with a touch of greyness that I still couldn't quite understand yet.

All in all, everything in Vicious felt so messed up, but I suppose that was precisely what this book meant to highlight. With some hints of jealousy, betrayal, and ambition endlessly going on, I even found myself questioning this particular human nature at some points. Being the first book by Schwab that I read, I would certainly recommend Vicious to everyone who is currently looking for something different in the fantasy genre.

Actual rating: 4.5★