Book Review: VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab

Genre: Sci-Fi
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4/5
Series: Yes - first in duology



Victor and Eli were roommates at college – too clever for their own good, arrogant and daredevils. Experimenting with Near Death Experiences turns them into EOs – ExtraOrdinaries – and sets off a chain of devastating events that leaves Victor in jail and Eli hunting down EOs.

Ten years on, and Victor’s broken out from jail. Accompanied by another prisoner and a girl who’s got a worrying ability of her own, Victor vows vengeance on Eli. Fuelled by hate and malice, the old friends – now mortal enemies – chase each other, heedless of the bodies. All that’s certain is that they’ll meet, but who will emerge from the encounter alive?

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This book is dark and twisted in a jagged-black-diamonds sort of way – enthralling and mesmerising but something creeps under your skin so you know something is wrong. This is probably also the best way to describe the characters too.

The characters are interesting, compelling and complex – all with dark centres they’re embraced to one degree or another. This darkness made it a little hard to empathise with them as their morals were pretty shaky at times, but the complexity it gave them made me want to know what they’d do next.

Another reason I kept reading despite not connecting brilliantly with the characters is that the timeline is non-linear. It really helped restrict the flow of information so I wanted to keep going to understand the past events (which came up later in the book).

The first half felt a little one-sided. I thought the book would be dual-POV from Victor and Eli, but it started out as Victor’s POV – with a handful of chapters thrown in from Sydney for good measure. It took a while for Eli’s POV to come in. I kept wanting to know what was Eli’s side of things – how he felt during their research and on becoming an EO.

This book should probably come with a trigger warning for suicide. Victor and Eli create near death experiences, and it’s a little graphic. It doesn’t actually deal with the topic of suicide as they’re not trying to end their lives (at least, only temporarily).

If you like complex, dark books, this is a real gem (a black diamond, so to speak!).

Read my reviews of other books by V.E./Victoria Schwab:

Young Adult:

The Archived:


Middle Grade:

Cassidy Blake:

Everyday Angel:


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