Vengeful

Vengeful

The sequel to VICIOUS, V.E. Schwab's first adult novel.Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there's Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn't know about his most recent act of vengeance.Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern eve...

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Title:Vengeful
Author:V.E. Schwab
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Vengeful Reviews

  • Korrina  (OwlCrate)

    Guys, get ready...

  • Emily May

    ! I've waited five long years for the sequel to

    and I was starting to think it would never happen... but

    was so so good. Definitely worth the wait.

    This duology (series??) is called "Villains" and yet the characters are so much more interesting than that. While I've enjoyed a number of Schwab's books, I feel like her

    ! I've waited five long years for the sequel to

    and I was starting to think it would never happen... but

    was so so good. Definitely worth the wait.

    This duology (series??) is called "Villains" and yet the characters are so much more interesting than that. While I've enjoyed a number of Schwab's books, I feel like her strongest writing and characters lie here with Victor and Eli. These "villains" are actually complex antiheroes - murderous and power-hungry, for sure, but also sympathetic and even likeable. They fascinate me.

    The bare bones of the story is not that original. I've read countless books about people with X-Men like powers. And yet, for me, Schwab makes this book stand out from the pile. She creates such interesting, well-rounded characters, and draws out the tension so perfectly that I

    to know what happens next. I love it when an author can take an exhausted topic and breathe new life into it.

    In this book, new characters emerge to make the fight even bigger than before. Once again, we are forced to consider what it is to be good, to do right, and what it is to be evil. All of the characters do despicable things and yet their motives make a certain kind of sense-- even if I'm reluctant to admit it. The addition of a new character - Marcella - is a real highlight of this book. She is seriously terrible. And also freaking awesome.

    In fact, the female characters are far bigger stars in

    than they are in

    .

    June is another fantastic character and her snark made me smile with delight:

    's timeline jumps back and forth and all around, and frequently switches perspective. While less-skilled authors would probably give me whiplash with this, Schwab uses it really well. As the past races alongside the present, the tension increases until finally all the pieces come together. Never has the phrase “the past is catching up with you” been more appropriate.

    Between the new characters causing havoc and the inevitable confrontation between Eli and Victor, this book is just so addictively good. Eli's backstory made me love/hate him even more and Sydney's growth added another layer to the story. It was also great to have Victor confirm his asexuality on-page.

    It's such a good book, but I want to issue a quick warning so potential readers can make an informed decision: It's an adult book, with graphic violence and semi-graphic sex. Further

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  • Kai

    Am I Victor Vale yet cause I can assure you that I died several times during the course of this book.

    After wiping cold sweat off my forehead and 5 minutes of deep and thorough breathing exercises I am relieved and happy to tell you that I loved

    . I had high hopes, but my fears were taller. Ever since Victoria had announced that she would write a sequel to

    , I wondered whether this was a good idea. Don't get me wrong, I loved the first bo

    Am I Victor Vale yet cause I can assure you that I died several times during the course of this book.

    After wiping cold sweat off my forehead and 5 minutes of deep and thorough breathing exercises I am relieved and happy to tell you that I loved

    . I had high hopes, but my fears were taller. Ever since Victoria had announced that she would write a sequel to

    , I wondered whether this was a good idea. Don't get me wrong, I loved the first book, but that was the exact reason why I wanted it to keep being a standalone novel. It was perfect. I loved it from start to finish, I could not find a single thing that bothered me, I was in awe with every single aspect of this book. Victoria is one of my favourite authors and I knew that she could write. Her writing, her characters, her stories are exceptional. And still, I had my doubts. I was not the biggest fan of and the finale to the

    series was not as satisfying as I had wished.

    But then I opened the book and read the first page and I knew it, I knew this was the shit. This was going to be exactly what I wanted even though I had not known that I wanted it in the first place.

    Let's talk about the characters.

    I don't like Eli. He was a reckless fanatic and I wanted him to die. I didn't care for Victor. He was equally violent but at least not as self-righteous as Eli. My heart was always with Sydney, Doll, and Mitch. I want them to stay safe forever.

    Vengeful introduced me to Marcella, whom I loved from the very beginning. Her morals might have been even lower than those of Victor and Eli but I couldn't care less. June was another character I fell in love with. But she was not without issues either. However, I kind of like that her story was not explored in this book. We got hints, but her backstory is still draped in shadows...so if Victoria is actually going to write a third Villains book in five years - she said she might release a Villains book every five years - we might get to see more of June.

    The way this story was constructed was a work of art. Victoria managed to assemble an impressive amount of POVs, each with their own voice. Things could have easily become unrealistic or rushed, but Victoria managed to maintain the pacing and the result was a thrilling, breathtaking story about villains, power and death. I know that it took a lot of patience and willpower to write this book but it was worth it. 5 well-deserved stars.

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    was my second most anticipated book of this year, and it did not disappoint at all. It was absolutely a wild ride and I read it in, literally, two sittings within the same day. S0 let’s scream!

    I think Schwab’s writing style for

    is the best of every talent she has in the writing department; she

    was my second most anticipated book of this year, and it did not disappoint at all. It was absolutely a wild ride and I read it in, literally, two sittings within the same day. S0 let’s scream!

    I think Schwab’s writing style for

    is the best of every talent she has in the writing department; she’s abstract, a wide world without clear boundaries, but with enough detail that it’s hard not to be enthralled.

    The ease with which I visualized scenes was just incredible; in this series especially, I think she does a really good job conveying the image of a scene without being too specific.

    : The Syd/Victor scene on the balcony, the tea shop scene with Syd & June, and the scene in which a brick

    falls on Marcella all stuck out in my head in different ways.

    The power of women in this book is just so, so real. Schwab plays around with terrifying yet strangely compelling female villains, and sympathetic female villains, and complex female leads, and it’s just all gorgeous.

    All that is fantastic, but besides my absolute love for the writing, why did I read this so quickly and become so enthralled?

    God I fucking love how she makes every character dynamic and interesting through just a few words, just a little hint of knowledge about them conveyed so beautifully and immediately you feel that you understand this character and that you root for this character.

    Okay, so, here’s a quick rundown of all the sides and characters:

    - one of the best well-intentioned villain-from-one-point-of-view characters of all time.

    - a slow-aging teenager who can bring back the dead. a legend and a queen and i love her.

    - Victor’s sidekick, with no powers. the purest person in this book by all measures.

    - the ever-resurrecting dog. the only other pure being.

    - a far more unwilling sidekick who can step outside time and is Done With This Shit. I actually love Dom.

    - is immortal and has also been through some shit, and he is

    .

    Everyone said I would learn to sympathize with Eli this book, and you know what, you were all correct. I've always thought Eli made a fantastic villain, but his character writing here really hit a STRIDE.

    - former wife of a gangster who can quite literally erode people.

    - a human voodoo doll. I have

    what to make of her but I know I love her.

    - a strangely forgettable character but oh well - that’s the point.

    I loved the presence of such complexity in the villains here, and how well these three sides were integrated into the broader plot. The sheer character juggling here is really is impressive.

    Between

    and this, I really, really am in love with this series - it's my favorite by her without competition.

    ✨ buddyread with most of goodreads, probably

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  • Em (RunawayWithDreamthieves)

     I WOULD DIE A THOUSAND FIERY DEATHS FOR THIS BOOK.

    I feel like I need to dress up for reviewing this book, to take it in gratitude for a night out in someplace fancy, to offer it drinks. I’m so full of an unnamed wanting that I can’t bear it—like whatever I will allow to crawl out of my heart and down my arm and out my fingers is

    because I just [clenches fist] love this series SO MUCH.

    I first read

    a couple years a

     I WOULD DIE A THOUSAND FIERY DEATHS FOR THIS BOOK.

    I feel like I need to dress up for reviewing this book, to take it in gratitude for a night out in someplace fancy, to offer it drinks. I’m so full of an unnamed wanting that I can’t bear it—like whatever I will allow to crawl out of my heart and down my arm and out my fingers is

    because I just [clenches fist] love this series SO MUCH.

    I first read

    a couple years ago, and I completely inhaled it. I read it again last year and afterward, it stayed inside my heart, setting me alight  from within like a candle flame. I was beyond excited for this sequel and I think my situation now is rather an object lesson in being careful what you wished for because that ending still presses hard into my ribs, making me feel simultaneously warm and sad.

    Five years have made

    ’s hatred of Eli Cardale lose its spark, its flame dampened by the fear introduced with Victor’s new unsettling reality:

    . Victor, it seems, has been torn and broken and put back together with half the pieces missing. He is desperate to not die, and even more than that,

    . In the collision of his whirling thoughts a plan begins to form, an architecture of gruesome messes that Victor will haul out in the hope of suturing himself back together. And Victor’s makeshift family—Sydney, Mitch, Dominic—is a lifeline to be tightly gripped…but things between them are falling apart in direct proportion to the rate at which Victor’s time is swirling away.

    Good luck doesn’t seem to be something that holds the hands of

    these days either. Captured and imprisoned, he is left tormenting himself with the notion that his most desperate desires are just out of his reach, and one name leaps to mind above and before all others:

    .

    Meanwhile,

    —a new EO—has made theater of murder in the town of Merit. Fear was her medium, and nightmares her art. She refuses to bow to fate and determines to embody the word that defines her:

    . Marcella has upended the game board and sent the pieces flying, and many would wager that in all of time there had never been a purer wrath than hers.

    ; on her side is Jonathan, a taciturn human-shield, and June, a shapeshifter whose past is shrouded in secrecy and shadows.

    The one thing they all have in common? They’d all put themselves on top of a trapdoor going directly to the bowels of hell…with absolutely no way to unlatch it.

    is a gripping and a staggeringly satisfying tightrope walk of a book. It’s so damn

    . Though I’m not sure you’d call any of the people in it “good.” Within this ornately structured, reality-contorting framework, Schwab weaves together with a sure hand all the separate threads she's seeded along the way into a resoundingly orchestrated ending that will leave you wondering if healing is even remotely possible.

    Schwab wastes no time in bringing readers back into her massive, complex world—smartly beginning to expand her world outward into new dimensions, fleshing out new characters and seeing heads aflame, more than once.

    There are so many aspects of this book that leap out to me as brilliant: the introduction of women who were not beholden to the story of the men around them but rather had their own agency on full display, the examination of the grey spaces that exist between traditional definitions of good and evil, the terrifying and exhilarating situations, the whimsy and unsubtle darkness, the varied and wonderful character voices, Schwab’s love of antiheroes and her lilting voice, how she gives her characters power without the moral imperative to be

    but does not allow them to slough off their culpability, how this book synthesizes the material in the previous book and gives it a new, different wholeness—

    .

    There’s also something so captivating about the motley collection of punctured, unpredictable, darkly likeable individuals which makes up the heart of this book. Schwab is a skilled writer with a gift for voice and characterization. She makes every character a concrete individual with a definite presence. My old feelings for the recurring cast came softly thronging back, while I grew fond of new characters. I mean, look, they’re

    terrible people, unmoored to any discernible first principles that guide their decision-making and always hoping for cruel ends to justify their brutal means but…¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I would take a bullet for my asexual fashionista foster father, Victor Vale. I know he’s all-too-powerful and doesn’t really need me to, but it just feels like the right thing to do.

    Schwab’s building of his character is as careful and subtle and clever as anything—though it’s sometimes easy to miss in the noise and gloss and intensity of his persona.

    Victor completely subverts both the hero and anti-hero archetype. He’s willing to do and has done anything to protect those immediately close to him and he is often surprised to find himself possessed by something perilously close to

    for them. But he’s not at all nice or soft—he’s cold and calculating and remorseless and gives an incredible illusion of sanity and stability but you never know what’s going on below his dispassionate mask. A lot of the things he’s done are irredeemable. Yet, you come to understand him deeply without being pushed to erase his past behavior. And while he does change in bursts and clashes (he’s shed enough of his selfishness to carve a place for Syd and Mitch, and he’s even less of a jerk to Dominic),

    .

    Our perception of him does, though. Victor’s desperation and the thrum of fear he’s constantly experiencing at the thought of irreversible death and leaving his family unprotected sort of humanizes him. I lived for those scattered smithereens of grudging vulnerability. Yet, somehow, I still feel like we’ll never know

    the carefully cobbled pieces of him. There's just so much layers to his character and it's positively riveting!

    This is my way of reiterating:

    .

    Well, he's alive and well…much to my chagrin.

    I haven’t quite parsed out my own relationship to Eli’s character but here’s the thing: part of me wants to believe that maybe, just maybe, the man who’s deception steeped in elegance, from his sharp smile to his unsettling eyes, malefic, hate-ravaged and bent on vengeance, is only a piece of who Eli is.

    Because over the course of this book, we are transported by the narrative back to Eli’s childhood and all that youthful hubris and quick-tempered rage and holier-than-thou drivel is swept away to reveal a deeply damaged individual whose life had come to him tangled in hate, and when he’d tried to untangle it, he’d failed. How he got there, and how the youth became this man, is one of this book’s most intriguing mysteries, pulling you ever deeper into the story. Another part of me, though, wishes I could root through my memories and shred my knowledge of his backstory—those years with his father’s vicious, careless cruelties and his mother’s indifferent neglect. Because Eli is

    . But I can't.

    Also, I feel like I’ll never stop feeling the scorch of acute nostalgia for when Eli and Victor had been better at loving each other, and worse at getting in one another’s way. And it’s frightening—in a really visceral way—the realization that everything could go wrong so horrendously, so quickly, and that, in the wrong circumstances, anyone might become a monster.

    You know what? I want more Byronic women figures. I want more self-important, reckless women libertines in silk dresses and steel-heeled stilettos leaving a string of broken men in their wake while dashing off threats and coolly bargaining with rivals who wish to gnaw on their souls.

    I want more women characters with an utter, unflinching embrace of self who are just on the charming, mercurial side of unlikeable assholes—definitely unreliable and more often than not morally questionable.

    To say that Marcella is an intemperate, murderous lunatic would wound the feelings of most intemperate, murderous lunatics. And I am still a bit embarrassed about this next part—as it speaks to a black part of my character—but I would gladly let her step on my throat.

    Marcella is a study in brutality, a paragon of sheer and untampered force. She does not take things in, she only spins them around, sharpening them into weapons and recklessly flinging them right back. The men in her life couldn’t accept the idea that women are supposed to be multidimensional. They were happy to have her because they were happy with weakness. The more pliable a leader was, the more power they had. And who could be more pliable than a simple woman, playing at dominance?

    But Marcella wielded that ignorance like a finely knapped glass-knife. She pushed back against what the world decided for her. She was going to play the lead role in the grand cosmic drama, and not merely a bit part with no lines. She  required no validation. Her wish was her command. Her voice was her own; she uses it. Her life was her own; she carved a place for it. She was relentless in her dedication to herself. And she would never again allow weakness or softness, fear or ineptitude to hold her frozen. She hadn’t really known yet what she was capable of. And her gift had been untested.

    Until it wasn't.

    I also

    to talk about Mitch and Syd.

    . I would lay down both of my kidneys for Sydney. And we all know Mitch is so buff because all his muscles are filled with love. He's probably at the gym, furiously doing weights, and thinking “I’m going to be

    at hugging.” WHAT AN ANGEL.

    I'm not gonna lie, the only thing sustaining me right now is the elaborate, self-indulgent fantasy version that I’ve created in my mind of a world where Victor, Syd, Mitch and their thrice-dead dog are safe and together and away from

    .

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  • jessica

    theres nothing quite like reading about a bunch of sociopaths to make you feel good about your life. additionally, theres nothing like

    a book about sociopaths to make you feel the need to re-evaluate your life. lol.

    this had everything i loved about vicious, and so much more! i dont even know where to begin. how lucky we are to even get a sequel? how much more world building was present in this? the fact that mitch was still so wholesome? the brilliance of schwabs storytelling? how much

    theres nothing quite like reading about a bunch of sociopaths to make you feel good about your life. additionally, theres nothing like

    a book about sociopaths to make you feel the need to re-evaluate your life. lol.

    this had everything i loved about vicious, and so much more! i dont even know where to begin. how lucky we are to even get a sequel? how much more world building was present in this? the fact that mitch was still so wholesome? the brilliance of schwabs storytelling? how much this made me wish i could shapeshift? or quite possibly the fact that i HAVE A CRUSH ON ELI?! what is even wrong with me!? i am just going to take my falling for a mass killer as proof that story was exceptionally well-written, the character development was on point, and everything about this got me so invested.

    if i could have made one teeny tiny little change, i would have preferred less side plots/minor characters. eli and victor definitely deserved to be the focus of this book at all times. i think these additional characters were added to set up for another book (maybe? possibly? fingers crossed?), but i felt like they diverted too much attention away from the people who really mattered.

    overall, when all is said and done, this book definitely made me feel like i need therapy because it was almost the death of me (that ending though, seriously). so i will be forwarding you my treatment bill, ms. schwab. be sure to check your junk mail. :P

  • Lia  (a paper pigeon)

    Okay. I'm gonna be a big brave girl and say it.

    This wasn't that great.

    There, I said it.

    Phew. That was a hard one to admit.

    I mean

    -yes, I liked it.

    -yes, Victoria Schwab could write assembly instructions and I'd still read every word like it was prose.

    -yes, it was great to be back into the Villains universe.

    -yes, it was entertaining and made me lose my mind.

    -and yes, I still think Mitch should adopt us all.

    But I can't say I loved Vengeful as much as I loved Vicious because it'd be a lie.

    Okay. I'm gonna be a big brave girl and say it.

    This wasn't that great.

    There, I said it.

    Phew. That was a hard one to admit.

    I mean

    -yes, I liked it.

    -yes, Victoria Schwab could write assembly instructions and I'd still read every word like it was prose.

    -yes, it was great to be back into the Villains universe.

    -yes, it was entertaining and made me lose my mind.

    -and yes, I still think Mitch should adopt us all.

    But I can't say I loved Vengeful as much as I loved Vicious because it'd be a lie.

    I don't know if I should believe the tingling and bothering feeling in my brain that suggests that maybe this one suffered from the sequel curse, or if the disappointment comes from it being too long & packed with side characters/plots I couldn't get myself to fully care about, but I didn't feel the same enthusiasm I did last year, when Victor, Syd, Eli and their merry brigade came into my life.

    I have no idea what happened. Somewhere between the first and the last chapters I got lost (and a bit bored sigh) and couldn't focus on it properly, despite the twists and raw scenes.

    I felt like something was missing and, at the same time, something was imposing.

    I guess I'll figure out what exactly didn't do it for me, someday.

    But, man, what a pity.

    Don't get me wrong, Vengeful is still far from the tragedy that are many overhyped sequels out there, and I've still loved parts of it that I'll maybe gush about once the spoiler alert is at its minimum, but I still think Vicious was better.

    And, if possible, sort of different.

    @ Victoria Schwab, I still love you to pieces.

    Please, don't ever stop writing.

    Please, don't hate me.

  • Lexie

    Verily, that the sequel to

    is titled

    is a beautiful case of both alliteration and sinister phrasing. Then again, it

    Victor Vale, so perhaps poetry and peril were par for the course.

  • Victoria Schwab

    One day I will be finished writing/rewriting this book.

    ETA: HAH. I DEFEATED YOU, BOOK MONSTER.

    ETA: Holy shit, VENGEFUL is up for a Goodreads Choice Award!! If you follow me at all online, you know what this book took from me in terms of blood, sweat, tears, and sanity, and how proud I am of the finished product. I'd be honored to have your vote!

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