Boy! does she come with the hype.
Nothing more, nothing less, not astounding, not even great. Vicious is just fine (mediocre fine, not fine as in fine ass specimen fine). It’s a light, simple, easy fantasy that sacrifices a possible deeper level to be the commercial-friendly semi suspenseful thriller that it is. You can probably predict the end fairly easily. NOthing new.
It started out smashingly well, I have to say. I loved the dichotomy and dynamic of the slightly erratic and mysterious Eli and the jealous Victor. I love writing that explores jealousy instead of directly villainizing or dehumanizing it. (Give me more please). The chopped-up timeline worked to a tee and it gave off the whiff of the future antagonism in the past parts, while also keeping it fluid and grey. That was fun. Eli and Victor are also pre-med students and I like science so that was alSO fun.
And then the story progressed. Ie, became the fantasy that you’ve read/watched/know endless times before, has little to no depth and is over-the-top easy storytelling.
I would put this book barely -just, barely- outside the realm of YA. If at that. Schwab tries to give this book a dark adult vibe and gives it a antagonistic protagonist but barely expands on it. In the Acknowledgements, she mentions ‘morality, mortality and villainy’ as a force for this book, except I didn’t think she really touched them at all? Morality is one of the main characters motivations but even then, it’s never challenged internally, nor is it ever challenged by anyone else on fair/equal grounds. The fantasy elements felt increasingly like they were there in their manner just so it could please the plot. In the end, the whole book feels like a series of plot devices for a silly little chance-heavy fight. Oh yeah, it does set it up for a sequel. (Did that come as a surprise??)
More attacc? Angie was a terrible character. A non character really, and that is being forgiving. Why, Schwab? A lot of the supporting characters were quite blunt, and now that I think about it, a lot more inconsistencies and plot holes are striking that this is going to have to go down a rating..
I guess it could suffice as a fun and easy read. It’s good at being that. What more can I say? You’ll like it if you like books like these. Sydney was a real cute character and Schwab’s writing is fairly good. I would be interested in a more character heavy book by her, but I’ll be giving her fantasy a miss.
#i hate YA #i’m sorry i’m old y’all #young adult not y’all