Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: Villains, #2
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: September 25th 2018
Eli Ever and Victor Vale were only medical students when their mutual discovery that near-death experiences can, under the right conditions, manifest extraordinary abilities.
They were best friends, and rivals, and then enemies. They were dead, then alive, and then—Eli killed Victor, once and for all.
Or so he thought—but Sydney Clarke felt otherwise, and used her own superpower to tip the scales. Now, a trio hides in the shadows, while another takes advantages of post-death life to take over the city of Merit.
If there can be life after death—will there be calm after vengeance, or will chaos rule?
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
After Victor and Eli finally came face to face, after Victor ended up dead and Eli ended up imprisoned, their story is still far from over. Victor had a plan, but although Sydney managed to bring him back from the dead her powers don’t work the same on EO’s as they do ordinary humans, and Victor wasn’t brought back whole. Now every time Victor ‘dies’ he stays that way for longer than before, and in his desperation he travels across the country searching for a cure.
I’ve loved all of V.E. Schwab’s books, she’s one of my favourite authors, and Vicious was no exception. When I saw a sequel was being released Vengeful shot to the top of my most anticipated releases list. Overall I did really enjoy this story; we were introduced to some great new characters, the plot was a solid continuation to Victor and Eli’s story, and I’m really really hoping there’s going to be a third book one day.
However, when I first finished I rated Vengeful five stars and looking back now I don’t think this was a five-star read. Like Vicious Vengeful flips back and forth through time; we follow Victor, Mitch and Sydney through the years as they travel across the country, but in the first book there was a very clear split between the two times. It was easy to differentiate between Victor and Eli together at university and Victor hunting down Eli years later in Vicious, but the trios years on the road blurred together for me while reading Vengeful.
As Victor leaves a trail of bodies behind him, each one another shot-down hope of curing whatever is wrong with him, back in Merit a new EO has emerged who is determined to use her new powers to make the city pay. Between Sydney experimenting with her powers, Marcella sinking her claws into Merit, and Eli helping the police track down EO’s still out there Victor finds himself drawn back to the last city on earth he wants to return to.
Victor is an incredibly smart character and I love seeing how his mind worked, but in Vengeful his intellect is out-weighted by his rising desperation. Victor needs to be in control, and being left helpless for seconds and later minutes every time he ‘dies’ has him scared; especially when every lead turns out to be nothing more than a dead-end and he finds himself quickly running out of options.
The dynamic between Victor and Eli was one of my favourite parts of Vicious. Even though the two of them didn’t come face to face for so long seeing their relationship play out when they were in university, and anticipating them meeting again after Victor’s long years in prison made for great reading. In Vengeful however that dynamic wasn’t there; and while trapped in prison Eli was convinced Victor was still alive, still holding onto that thread between them, Victor had put Eli out of his mind.
I also loved the ‘found family’ relationship Victor, Mitch and Sydney had. The three of them were bonded by what happened in Merit at the end of Vicious; Sydney respects Victor, she sees him as someone safe, but in Vengeful she starts searching for her own identity. She experiments with her powers, keeping secrets from both Victor and Mitch and forging her own path which seems to take her away from where Victor and Mitch are going.
Vengeful very much follows two stories; the first is Victor’s and the second is Marcella’s. Marcella was a great character; she gave everything to her husband, became his perfect trophy wife, but when he betrays her and tries to kill her she finally rises up. Using her new powers and the intelligence she hid behind her pretty face Marcella is determined to take the whole city down.
Like Victor Marcella creates a family of sorts of different EO’s. One of them is June and after Victor and Eli she was probably my favourite character in this book. There’s a lot we don’t know about her and part of the reason I want a third book is to find out more about June. June has a dark past and a lot of secrets, and although she allies herself with Marcella she has her own agenda.
There’s not much to add to the world building which I haven’t already covered in my review of Vicious. After everything that was developed in the first book, the science behind ExtraOrdinaries and the city of Merit, the world building took a backseat to allow for the growth of Victor’s character and the introduction of the new characters. We meet a lot of EO’s in Vengeful as Victor searches for one who can help him, and we learn more about their powers and limitations as Sydney experiments with her own gift.
Even though Vengeful didn’t live up to my hopes it was a great story; the only issues I had were the fact that the time jumps were a little too confusing and I missed the dynamic between Victor and Eli I loved so much in the first book. The ending left this series open for a third book, and I really hope we do get a continuation to the Villains story.
What did you think of Vengeful? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.