Review: Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

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Publication: September 25th 2018
Publisher: Tor
Pages:  480 pages
Source: Amazon
Genre: Fiction, Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤

BEWARE! HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!

“Ask nice.
Play nice.
Marcella was so fucking tired of nice,” (Schwab 267).

Vengeful was definitely my most anticipated book of 2018 and it did not disappoint! I haven’t waited as long for the last (next? Please write more in this world Schwab!) book in the Villains series, I only read Vicious earlier this year forcing myself to wait so I could have matching covers for Vengeful’s release. But even waiting those few months for Vengeful was torture, but definitely worth the pain.

In Vengeful we return to our favourite EO’s from Vicious and a few new ones that readers can’t help but fall in love with. Victor Vale is back from the dead and suffering, trying to find a cure for his imperfect resurrection. Sydney Clarke, filled with guilt over not bringing Victor back right, hones in on her power with another goal outside of Victor in mind while Eli Ever sits in his cell in the mysterious new organization of EON going through his own kind of torture while being haunted by a familiar face. Meanwhile, Marcella Riggins, a new EO on the streets of Merit is out for revenge and change while the plucky and mysterious June joins her cause. Our favourite villains struggle and wander through their own stories before eventually finding one another in an unforgettable climax that will leave readers begging for more.

One of my favourite things about the Villains series is how complex Schwab makes the word villain. None of the characters in this series are completely bad (except maybe Eli…okay definitely Eli), and they all do a mixture of good and bad things, most of the time more bad than good. But Schwab does let us see the motivations behind her characters actions, and while we may not agree morally with how or why these characters do the things they do we understand why they do them. It makes them more relatable, and at least in my case more relatable and likable. These characters motivate themselves in many different ways: through pain, faith, grief, revenge and chances are readers will be able to relate to at least one of these characters motivations.

I absolutely adored reading about Victor and Eli again, they’re easily two of my favourite literary characters for how complex they are (especially my boy Victor) and Schwab continues to surprise me with how she crafts her characters. That being said, I was surprised at what a backseat Victor and Sydney took in Vengeful. I understood that with the focus and introduction of Marcella and June it was bound to happen, but I did end up missing them for a good portion of the book and was anxious for them to reappear.

And speaking of Marcella and June, what icons! Is Marcella one of this year’s most quotable female villains or what? Yes, her morals are questionable and a bit dramatic, but who hasn’t fantasized an unrealistic revenge scenario? She’s literally such a motivator considering most of what she does is so so wrong. But female characters like Marcella are few and hard to come by. I like the Amy Dunne’s and Marcella Riggin’s of the literary world, problematic women who find their power and use it. They’re bad, but motivating at the same time. Am I making sense, or do I just sound like a psychopath? (I did find the ending to Marcella’s story to be pretty anti-climactic for such a powerful character.)

And June! Who is she? Her character is so intriguing to me, and while I like the vagueness that Schwab has created surrounding her backstory and motivations (so some can be guessed at) it makes the questioning of a possible sequel that much more torturous. Schwab has said she only wants to write another books in the Villains series if it can be as good, if not better, than Vengeful. I know Schwab can do it, but I also know that she cares a great deal for her writing and so I’m not expecting anything for quite some time.

Vengeful was the perfect sequel to Vicious and is just as addicting and villainous as its predecessor. Schwab has created a morally ambiguous and dark world and I hope she returns to it (even if it takes a long time).

 

Favourite Quotes:

“People have an idea of pain…They think they know what it is, how it feels, but that’s just an idea. It’s a very different thing when it becomes concrete,” (Schwab 67).

“Mitch had that look on his face, that carefully blank look that adults got when they were trying to convince you everything was fine. They always assumed that if they didn’t tell you a thing, you wouldn’t know it. But that wasn’t true,” (Schwab 81).

“The thing about mistakes was that they weren’t always big, or obvious. Sometimes they were simple. Small. The decision to keep walking. The turn left instead of right. Those few extra steps in the wrong direction,” (Schwab 94).

“I’m not a fucking coat, Marcus. You don’t get to check me at the door,” (Schwav 135).

“Attachment was a vexing thing, as pernicious as weeds,” (Schwab 351).

“Careful is a calculated risk…[a]nd I’m very good at making those,” (Schwab 351).

“Such black-and-white thinking. I swear, men are so busy looking for enemies, they rarely remember to make friends,” (Schwab 384).

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