Penguin Review: Villains Series + Meeting V.E. Schwab

Villains Series Review + Meeting V.E. Schwab

Hello readers! Here is the much-anticipated review for the Villains series as well as a little excerpt about when I met V.E. Schwab. I hope you enjoy, this is one of my favorite posts yet!

Vicious

Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Science Fiction
Read if: you want psychologically complex and morally questionable heroes

Overall: 4/5 stars. One of the best books I read this year!

Goodreads Synopsis: 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?

Vengeful

Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Science Fiction
Read if: you’re angry at the patriarchy

Overall: 5/5 stars. Incredible

Goodreads Synopsis: Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

Villains Series Non-Spoiler Review

 This series is all about control- who has it and who doesn’t. The character development is amazing, they are each complex and motivated by their own questionable values. This novel is designed to make you question who the villains are as you are often rooting for those who have questionable morals. V.E. Schwab will make you feel empathy for characters who you desperately want to dislike. 

I found that Vengeful is much more than simply a continuation of Vicious. There is a development in the world and we see many more layers in the relationship between Victor and Eli. There were also a lot of aspects from the first book that were expanded on in the second book. However, Vengeful did a great job of raising the bar and being its own separate book, something which I personally love in sequels. Vengeful is also a great book to read if you’re angry at the patriarchy. It features strong female characters who insist on being seen and seeking revenge. 

Another thing I love about this series is how creative the special abilities are. Each EO (ExtraOrdinary) reveal is so interesting and exciting. So much is revealed about the character through their abilities. It is one of the aspects that I most enjoyed about this series. 

V.E. Schwab has disclosed in interviews that when she develops her characters, she asks “what do they want?” and “what are they willing to do to get it?” These two questions are very clearly answered for each character throughout the novel. You understand why the characters do what they do and you become attached to them, even if their actions are morally questionable. 

Overall, this is a great series to pick up if you are in the mood for something fast paced with complex characters.

Villains Series Spoiler Review 

Vicious is all about Victor and Eli gaining control. They go to great lengths to gain it and even come close to sacrificing their lives. Vengeful, on the other hand, is all about Victor and Eli losing control. The power goes to new female protagonists, making the series take a very feminist turn. Which, I definitely appreciated. The magic system is so creative, especially in the way the characters are reflected in their powers. Marcella’s anger is exponentially magnified in the way she interacts with her power, the whole world is suddenly at her fingertips and she becomes filled with rage and desire for revenge. Yet, this power eventually consumes her.

I personally loved the ending of vengeful. The indestructible characters ended up dying while the weaker ones survived. Sydney even has a line where she expresses how she thought of Eli as a permanent presence, and she can’t believe he’s gone. Victor is physically deteriorating throughout the book. You feel his weakness through the way his deaths impact secondary characters. However, he is ultimately able to survive and pursue a life on his own. This was heartbreaking for me as I loved the family Sydney, Mitch, and Victor formed. But I understand that solitude is a large part of his character, I’m excited to see how his storyline continues.

I also loved seeing how Sydney grew throughout the books, and how she dealt with living in a child’s body. Her case is an extreme version of the teenage dilemma of feeling like an adult but being treated as a child. It was great to see how she started to make her own decisions and slowly take control of her own life, despite Victor and Mitch watching over her.

One of the most important parts of Vengeful was how Schwab developed Eli’s backstory. This plot twist of an abusive father-son relationship, and his spirituality made me completely understand Eli and view him as a protagonist, despite his morally questionable decisions.

Meeting V.E. Schwab

This meet and greet was so much fun! I got to listen to her talk about her journey writing Vengeful and her decision to delete the book and re-write it earlier this year. She discussed the struggles of writing a sequel five years after the first book is released.

Whether you, the author, should try to continue the writing style and storyline of the first novel or if you should take in all of your experience from the past few years and live up to the author you are today. With a little encouragement from her editor, she chose the latter. That being said, I think the story and writing style flowed smoothly from one book to the next. Yet Vengeful is far more complex than Vicious and speaks to Schwab’s writing experience.

In a sentence, I truly recommend meeting this wholesome person. Also, follow her on twitter and instagram for pictures of her new puppy!

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