Vicious by VE Schwab
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
After spending years in prison, Victor is driven by revenge. While Eli considers himself on a mission from God to kill every other EO (ExtraOrdinary) super-powered individual. This is the story of how two friends became mortal enemies. Neither are “good guys” but there is moral ambiguity about how “bad” they are at times. Well, Eli’s eventual murderous nature is less gray. These characters are incredibly convincing and fascinating.
I was spellbound from page one. The narrative jumps back and forth in time, slowly introducing the reader to the relationship between Victor and Eli in the past, while leading up to present-day activities and their eventual showdown. It had the feeling of a comic book origin story. Though these two have more in common with super villains than super heroes. It’s shocking and unpredictable. Vicious is a dark and hauntingly captivating read that I couldn’t put down.