Author: V E Schwab
Rating: 5 Stars
Dates read: 13 Apr 19 – 25 Apr 19
Publication date: 25 Sep 2018
Genre(s): Fantasy; Science-Fiction
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?
I was so excited for this book that I bought a special Illumicrate box called Magic and Mayhem to celebrate. It contained a load of V E Schwab related merch, and a beautiful red exclusive hardback of the book which was signed by V herself. I know I am digressing, but I couldn’t make myself read it for the longest time because I was so excited for it and wasn’t ready to actually finish it. It didn’t let me down guys, it was really good, like, really really good.
I read (and reviewed) Vicious last year and absolutely adored it. I wasn’t sure if it would be my jam, but I really got into to story, concept, and character development, and even though there was obvious flaws, it was a brilliant read. Vengeful followed on from this story and was the second instalment in the lives of Eli and Victor, but had some extra characters, superpowers, and general badassery thrown in for good measure.
Eli and Victor are still pretty despicable and detestable EO’s and I like that the author still hasn’t attempted the redeem them. They are deeply flawed and still have the white boy power complex that comes with wealth and (literal) power, and if anything they are worse than the first book. I love this, I love disliking a character with fervour, and really enjoy how Schwab writes and constructs their antagonistic relationship. She does not shy away from making this book solely about Villains and I am really here for it. I also like that she expanded on the idea that Victor is asexual in this novel. It was quite evident that this was the case in Vicious, but V has a way of writing these things so matter of factly and so well, and that really showed in this book.
This book also introduced Marcella and I am just going to say it, I don’t know if I want to be her or be with her. She if fierce, she is flawless, and she ain’t taking no shit from no-one. I really like that she has her powers and is not afraid to use them, and use them properly. She wields them like a weapon and instead of cowering away, she takes on the male-dominated mob world and eats them for a mid morning snack. Not only does she do this, and do this well, she does it while looking and feeling fabulous and I have to respect that. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the introduction of characters outside the initial Eli/Victor bubble, but I really like her and June’s introduction.
I was quite wary of June while reading this book, because she was not so subtly damaging the relationship between Victor, Mitch, and Sydney that underpinned this book and Vicious. I kind of liked her transfiguring powers and loved that instead of trying to use them for good or for wealth she used them to become a feared and successful assassin. I am not sure I was expecting her relationship with either Sydney or Marcella to develop the way it did, but I like her character as the book progressed.
I feel like this book righted a lot of the wrongs of the first book. The first is still a favourite of mine, but it is under deniable that the book screams of white privilege. Eli and Victor are rich, white, educated lads and they abuse this no end, attempting to drive themselves to the point of death to become an EO, and utilise their positions and wealth for essentially evil. This book contained a more detailed idea about their past and their sexuality which added a gratefully accepted extra dynamic, and the introduction of powerful and unashamed women was a really pleasant thing within an adult science fiction book.
I love V, and she has probably now become my favourite author. I love the way she writes and constructs worlds, and really feel like she is changing the face of very male-centric genres. Vengeful is a masterpiece and you can feel the heart and blood (quite possibly literally) that was poured into every word of this book. No, it didn’t eclipse Vicious, I think largely because the first book took me by surprise, but this book was worth every second of waiting, every penny of buying, and every moment reading!