Saturday, November 17, 2018

Review: Vengeful By V.E. Schwab

Vengeful By V.E. Schwab

Series: Villains #2
Pages: 478
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Publication date: September 2018

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?

This is book #2 in a series. I won’t spoil anything, but you might want to check out my thoughts on Vicious.

I was excited for Vengeful. I’ve waited years for this book. Then it finally came out, and I got to see V.E. Schwab talk about it when she visited Denver. Then I got even more hyped to read it. Basically, I had ridiculously high expectations. I wasn’t sure that any book could live up to them. But . . . Vengeful mostly did! I loved it, guys! I read it in two days because I didn’t want to let it out of my sight.

Vengeful follows the same characters from Vicious and adds a few new ones. Victor and Eli are still trying to murder each other. This time, Eli is working with the cops, and Victor has been brought back from the dead so many times that his body is irreparably damaged. It’s hard to kill your enemies when you can barely keep yourself together. While Victor and Eli are distracted by their own problems, a new force—Marcella—rises up. Of course she’s not going to use her powers for good . . . .

This book has almost everything I hoped for in a sequel: Intricate murder schemes, unpredictable action, a high body count, an epic showdown between Victor and Eli. It’s all so brilliantly crazy.

One body doesn’t draw much notice. The trouble is when they start adding up. - Vengeful

There’s so much I love about this novel. I’m trying to concentrate through my mental fangirling so that I can tell you about it. First, the nonlinear structure. The story takes place over many years. The timeline bounces around a lot, which builds tension and kept me reading. The structure is so intricate! There’s a ton of stuff happening at once in different locations. How did V.E. Schwab write like this and survive? I can assure you that writing a book with a nonlinear structure and multiple points-of-view is extremely difficult. Most authors can’t do it successfully. I am impressed. This book could have easily become a muddled mess. It’s not!

Second, we finally get Eli’s backstory. I was hoping we’d learn more about him in the sequel. I don’t like him because he does terrible things, but I understand him better. Victor and Eli have a lot in common. Their conflict mostly stems from how they see themselves. Victor is honest. Eli is delusional. Victor murders people because he’s selfish (and he knows it). Eli murders people because he thinks he’s a hero who’s saving the world. They’re both mass murderers. They just have different opinions about murder. If there’s another book in this series, I hope they team up. That would be interesting. They could do something awesomely evil together.

My favorite part of this novel (and series) is that it’s escapist. It’s easy to get lost in the Vengeful world. I was completely invested in the twisty plot. The characters are full of rage and unapologetically evil. They’re unpredictable because they will do anything to get what they want. There’s no line they won’t cross. It’s fun to watch them burn the world to the ground.

Like in most books with multiple points-of-view, some characters are more compelling than others. Marcella is a terrifying criminal mastermind, and I’m glad she’s in the book, but her chapters drag on too long for me. I always wanted to get back to Victor and Eli. I was more invested in their story because I’d already read a whole book about them. I wanted to see what they’d do next. I didn’t hate Marcella’s chapters, but I would have liked more Victor and less Marcella.

How many men would she have to turn to dust before one took her seriously? - Vengeful

My only other complaint is that sometimes plot events happen too easily or conveniently. I have the same complaint about Vicious. The “too easy” events pull me out of the story, but it’s not a huge deal because I love the characters. I’ll just grind my teeth and put up with the coincidences.

Overall, I’m very happy with this sequel. It answered some of my lingering questions from Vicious. I liked seeing Victor and Eli again and being in a world where everyone has superpowers and an evil agenda. I really hope there’s a third book in the series.

TL;DR: Loved it. If you enjoyed Vicious, give Vengeful a shot.


  1. I love it when a long-awaited sequel satisfies and doesn't disappoint! :)

  2. I know this is a very beloved author by many and her books sound so awesome. Great review!

  3. I really need to pick up Vicious still! I'm really glad to hear you loved this one so much, it's always the best feeling when a sequel lives up to the original.

  4. Wahoo! I'm so glad this one didn't let you know! Wonderful review!! I totally agree with all of your points, especially; "I would have liked more Victor and less Marcella." YES!

  5. This series is one I've been meaning to get to. Everything about it screams that I would love it. Great review!

    1. It’s a fun, unique series. I’ve been recommending it to everyone.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

  6. I've heard a lot of good things about the author but I've never really been sure that the books would be my kind of thing! It's good that the sequel lived up to expectations!

    1. If you like nonlinear plots and characters who murder each other many times, then you’ll probably like it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

  7. I'm currently reading this one so I'm happy to hear you loved it! I'm not that far in yet, but I'm already loving it. And that nonlinear plot is sooo good, I was just thinking about how hard it would be to write it well, but Schwab definitely pulls it off!

  8. I'm glad you liked this one. Thanks for sharing!
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian