Villian review

Christine Hilario, A&E Writer

Who doesn’t love a good superhero story? Primary color-clad do-gooders facing off against dastardly villains in a race to save the world, nay, the universe. In these stories, the death ray is destroyed, the orphanage is saved and the hero steals a kiss. But what if the script was flipped? What if the characters were super, but they were anything but heroes?

In V.E. Schwab’s Villains series, there is no good vs. evil, only bad vs. worse.

The first book in the series, Vicious, follows Victor Vale and Eli Cardale, two ambitious college students attempting to gain extraordinary abilities through life-threatening means. After a series of betrayals, Victor ends up in jail for ten years while Eli walks free. When Victor breaks out, he only has one goal in mind: revenge.

The second book, Vengeful, continues Victor’s schemes while adding new, more dangerous super humans to the cast.

The writing in this series is fast-paced and the chapters are short, keeping readers invested in the plot. Although there are not super-powered brawls every other page, Victor’s violent revenge plans and the back stories of the various characters are sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Both books are told non-linearly, jumping between past and present. However, Vicious does this more effectively since the time jumps between Victor and Eli’s college days and the present are more distinct. The time jumps in Vengeful are closer together, making the events of the book more confusing to follow.

While the characters of Victor and Eli are complex and their exploits are intriguing, there is no one to root for in these stories. Everyone in these books are morally gray, and the only character who does not commit atrocities against humanity is a dog adopted by Victor named Dol.

While some of the time jumps are confusing and it is difficult to sympathize with any of the characters’ motivations, the Villains series is a solid read for any fans of superhero stories, morally gray characters, and heavy violence. 4/5.