Status: Finished Reading (7 October 2018)
Edition: Amazon Kindle
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration when I say Vicious was one of my favourite reads in 2017. Perhaps a bit late to the Villains universe, I was pleasantly surprised by the first book (and the Warm Up short story). I read them right after having read Schwab’s other series (Shades of Magic and Monsters of Verity) so the tone and setting of this book took me completely by surprise. Perhaps because it’s not young-adult. Needless to say, I was so thoroughly impressed that when I heard there was going to be a sequel I all but fell out of my chair with excitement.
Schwab (no surprises here) did not disappoint. One of the most talented authors in the fantasy realm of writing at the moment, her new release Vengeful is not only a perfect sequel but also a fantastic book all on its own.
This is going to be short and spoiler-free because I refuse to ruin the experience for everyone.
What makes Vengeful an amazing sequel is that it carries forward enough of the story from the previous book to answer questions readers had. At the same time, unlike some sequels which feel like milking an idea for more than its worth, it carries a lot of its own weight with a unique storyline, a cast of characters that are special to its specific plot, and a direction and message entirely different from Vicious. A strong sequel is equal parts complimentary and distinct, and Schwab does a brilliant job of striking this balance.
Every single arc of the book, fairly evenly split through the length of the novel, worked as a unit. As far as characters go, Victor and Sydney continue to steal my heart. I did not think it was possible to gain even more insight and love for them, yet here I am. Their relationship (along with Mitch and Dol) remains one of the most heart warming relationship between two characters I’ve seen in modern literature and I am grateful for it.
I was warned that I might change my opinion on Eli, and while I certainly feel bad for him on a humanitarian level, I haven’t quite forgiven him for his actions in Vicious. If anything, I feel like the book proved to me how no matter how hard your past might be it does not excuse transferring that pain onto others.
I feel like I can’t end this without at least giving an honourable mention to the lovely new characters Schwab decided to give us. Again, keeping it spoiler-free, I definitely have a new favourite femme fatale: Marcella Riggins. She grabbed my interest from, quite literally, page one and I am so grateful she came into my life. As for June, my judgement is still reserved but I will say this: June is an enigma wrapped in a mystery that has a lot more unravelling to do before I can fully understand her. Perhaps that intrigue is part of her charm, and, well, consider me charmed.
Schwab delivered well with this sequel, and I think the wait was definitely worth it. Equal parts quantity and quality, Schwab fans are in for a roller coaster ride that will throw them back into the world of crime, science experiments, EOs, and people who value survival and power over any kind of moral good (in my opinion, the perfect cocktail for an impactful urban fantasy book). Don’t miss this one out!