by V. E. 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?
I gave this book 5 stars. It satisfied the totally vindictive side of me that longs for revenge against everyone. It was written perfectly, the characters were morally grey, but not completely bad, they all had their points, whether those points were right or wrong is up in the air.
I've been sitting on this review for months now and I just haven't been able to figure out the perfect words to describe this book. It was amazing on so many levels, it had the perfect revenge fantasy, it had so much action, betrayal of the worst kind, bonds between people growing stronger, while other bonds broke. It was a rollercoaster of the best sort.
This book was described as being similar to X-men and after reading it I can definitely see that resemblance. The explanation for their powers and how everything worked made so much sense. The explanation was well worked out and had some back to it. It wasn't just you randomly got powers that had no significance. No, you had to die and your power would stem from your death, like some sort of defence mechanism. I loved this idea and I honestly have no idea how I never thought of this before.
Another bonus for this book was the dog. I am a sucker for any animal and that includes the fictional kind. When the dog originally died I was honestly about to lose it. Whenever an animal dies in a book that is a clear cut way to make me cry. If you doubt me, go read my review on A Dog's Purpose.
The fact that the lines were so blurred between what was good and what was bad just made this book that much more worth while for me. I loved that I couldn't really decide who's side I was on at first because both of the options didn't seem that great. I did settle on Victor because his mistake was more of an accident. Eli legit seemed crazed and I can't side with crazy.
Sidney added this whole other dynamic. She was a whole other case, she didn't try to become what she was like Eli and Victor, honestly she was one of the more innocent players in this game. It gave me this whole other insight on what these powers were. She no longer felt like herself which really explained why Eli and Victor were acting so outrageously, they weren't themselves. Then add in the fact that her own sister was trying to kill her, that has to be pretty brutal. What I'm saying is that I think Sidney added in more dimension to the story. She may have been different, but she still cared. She brought a dog back from the dead several times, which means I can't hate her.
Overall, I think this is a book everyone should read. Just don't think about it, read it.
“And Victor, who was so good at picking things apart, at understanding how they worked, how he worked, looked at the photo, and felt … conflicted. Hate was too simple a word. He and Eli were bonded, by blood and death and science. They were alike, more so now than ever. And he had missed Eli. He wanted to see him. And he wanted to see him suffer. He wanted to see the look in Eli’s eyes when he lit them up with pain. He wanted his attention.”
“Someone could call themselves a hero and still walk around killing dozens.”
“It was like cooking, not baking. Baking took a sense of order. Cooking took a flare, a little art, a little luck.”
“Victor Vale was not a fucking sidekick.”