Vengeful by V.E. Schwab (Villains #2)
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Summary: 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?
My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½
My Thoughts: Vengeful is a phenomenally dark, action-packed, and character-driven continuation to the Villains Series! Taking place 5 years after the events of Vicious, the city of Merit has a new EO on its hands and she’s ready to do whatever it takes to gain the power and enact her vengeance! Fierce female characters, intricate plot + world-building, and so much more, Vengeful is the sequel we’ve been waiting for!
Before I started my blog, back in 2013/2014 I’d heard about this amazing book with superheroes, villains, & superpowers and morally grey characters (which I’d never really read much of before), that book was Vicious!
Not only did it introduce me to adult fiction, but also science fiction! I’d loved everything about it from my favorite antiheroes Victor Vale & Eli Ever, but also the exploration of super-human abilities & the complexities that come with it!
I just can’t believe that Vengeful is finally here after 5 whole years! It was such a fantastic sequel and well worth the wait!
Honestly I didn’t start Vengeful for days because I was just still in shock and disbelief that this sequel that I’d thought about reading for years, was finally released!
What made the reading it such an incredible experience was that I was actually able to see Victoria on tour & hear her talk about what would be in store for Vengeful and how it differed from Vicious!
During her discussion she talked about how she wanted to focus more on the side characters from Vicious & of course the new ones, like June & Marcella! She also wanted to really make this story a different kind of sequel than just continuing what was expected after book 1!
Hearing her discuss all these things made me go into Vengeful with a new perspective on what to expect and just made the journey of reading it start to finish, so great!
Vengeful picks up 5 years after Vicious and starts off with an introduction to Marcella Riggins, whose husband is a part of a mob,crime syndicate/family!
She takes nothing from no one! After becoming fed up with Marcus and always being underestimated, he leaves her for dead after an argument erupts between them + sets their house on fire, she awakens from her burning house with a supernatural ability to turn anything she touches, into ashes!
Now she’s on a path for vengeance against her husband and plans to take over the city of Merit and do whatever it takes to gain all the power necessary, no matter the cost, even if it means bringing down Victor & Eli!
Victor is running out of time! After being brought back to life by Sydney Clarke, he finds his ability of manipulating ones pain, isn’t exactly as it used to be! Now when he inflicts pain to the point of death, its reflected back to him, leaving him in a state of death for minutes (and the minutes keep increasing).
Eli, is now stuck within EON’s prison, a facility for those with ExtraOrdinary abilities who’ve been tracked or caught for being seen as a danger to society + are analyzed, researched, etc.! He’s being experimented on/tortured and is counting on his wits and quick thinking to help him succeed in escaping! (I felt so bad for Eli!!)
Sydney is grappling with the pain of losing her sister and the guilt for the side effects that came with her reviving Victor!
Victor, Sydney, Mitch, Dom & Sydney’s dog Dol, find themselves on the run as Victor’s plan to find a cure for his increasing time of death brings them onto EON’s radar!
EON is a budding government organization, for ExtraOrdinary Neutralization, led in part by detective Stell!
What made Vengeful such a unique sequel, was seeing the characters we knew previously, in a new and different light! There’s so many sides and facets that are revealed about them that were hinted at in Vicious, but are given center stage in Vengeful!
From Eli’s past and how it tied into Vicious, Sydney who’s now a teenager and is going through so much internally, essentially feeling a bit alone in all of it, Dominic Rusher, an EO who was an ex-soldier & later joined Victor’s team + is now working for EON and fearing being found out!
In addition, Schwab does a fantastic job at developing and building Marcella & June’s stories where they really come to life and know so much about them, within this one book!
What also makes Vicious + Vengeful such incredible books story-wise, is how Schwab is able to divide the story into many parts, from differing POVs, past & present, etc. in such a fantastic way while having it all weave together so perfectly! Seeing how she is able to masterfully tie her plots together alongside building her cast of unique and fascinating characters, reminded me why I love this series so much!
Vicious was incredible and brilliant, and Vengeful just built onto what Schwab delivered, in an unexpected way that raised the stakes in ways I was not expecting!
I loved how in Vengeful, Schwab clearly built the main characters ARCs in a way that while for a few I saw coming, but in a thought-provoking way that shows you the good and bad sides to these characters!
Honestly I loved learning more about how Victor and Eli’s rivalry has put them on paths both similar (mainly that they want to destroy each other) and different, but also exploring how much they’ve changed. For example, they are both very much out looking for things to benefit themselves, but see it as helping for a much larger cause! I also loved seeing how there was a build up to their inevitable meet-up but in a really unexpected way, seeing as how there’s just so much history to their stories, especially Eli’s that gets uncovered as the story progresses.
Eli & Victor are two of my all-time favorite characters in this series and even though there are moments I’m loving/hating Eli in this book, their cleverness, wit, deception, and just–everything about them, reminds me why I love not only this series and them as a whole, but the exploration of villains, & morally grey characters!
**Spoiler Ahead: Honestly one of my favorite scenes is when they are working together to bring down Marcella! It showed their potential if they worked together & what could have been!*
I was honestly planning on giving this 5-stars, but because I just have so much love for Vicious, there were some elements that did lower my rating a bit!
As to why I didn’t love it as much as Vicious, that mainly had to do with a few things! It came down to pacing issues, because of how Victoria plotted the story and that I could see where it was headed as it neared the end, the pacing did begin to feel a bit slow! I also found June’s story to lose my interest a bit throughout the story and wanting way more page time between Victor & Eli (b/c I love my messed-up super-villains so much?!! ♥♥♥)
But rating aside, I loved this sequel so much and while the wait felt too long, it was so worth it, because it really surprised me!
**Before I conclude this review, I just want to say that if your a fan of Vicious & Vengeful, were also intrigued by the mysterious organization of EON and how it explored the impact of those with superpowers, and intrigued by Schwab’s exploration of superpowers in general, I HIGHLY recommend you check out The Bright Sessions podcast!
Its an audio drama podcast that explores those with superpowers and how it impacts their daily lives! It follows Dr. Bright & her patients as she conducts therapy for those with supernatural abilities! Its one of my favorites, beyond fantastic and I think you’ll absolutely love it if your a fan of Vicious & Vengeful!
Vengeful is the sequel we’ve been waiting for! Schwab’s continuation to her Villains Series, introduces complex exploration of a fantastic cast of characters, action, an intricate world, an absolutely brilliant plot, and so much more! Vengeful is dark, atmospheric, immersive, character-driven, all while building to deliver a story that’s epic, twisted, and takes the brilliance of Vicious to a whole other level!