By: V.E. Schwab
Okay, just fair warning since this is the follow-up to Vicious there’s going to be spoilers concerning the end of that book. Also a warning if you loved Vicious like I did maybe just keep the happy memories in tact.
And yes, I know before anyone points out these are not supposed to be good people. I just think when writing about bad people it helps not to make them boring and cliche.
So Vengeful has a metric ton of POV’s and time jumps since its picking up years after the end of the first. I must admit that they do all come together for a nice little action packed X-Men movie style ending so points to Schwab for pulling that off.
Though I seriously wouldn’t have been surprised if we had gotten the dog’s POV.
Unfortunately it’s a chore to read otherwise and I thought could have used some editing. Did we need the Doctor’s short though it was? And then there’s June- a shapeshifter who is pretty much an enigma throughout. She really wants Sydney. I think her motives are mostly pure where Sydney is concerned at least but that’s the problem for all the time we spend with June I couldn’t figure out why she wanted her.
And that pretty much leads into why I didn’t like Vengeful.
The characters sucked.
Well okay, there was a bright shining light with Eli of all people whose having a torturous time in prison and then starts helping track down EO’s again. I admit I liked seeing him use his skill, being haunted by Victor, and the bits into his past… probably important. Eli is also the only one who seems to have any interest in that bigger question- whether these people should survive. And that’s especially important concerning Marcella as she seems un-killable and wrecks havoc taking the lives of plenty of innocent people up to and including a florist who suggested the wrong flowers.
But that doesn’t last. Hell, it didn’t even last within Eli’s POV because as soon as he figures out Victor’s alive he’s back to one-note.
I mentioned my problems with June so let’s go to the two biggest disasters: Marcella and Victor Vale himself.
Victor wasn’t a nice guy in the first book but he had purpose and meaning. In Vengeful he’s a straight-up serial killer. He’s Eli basically but where Eli at least believed he was chosen by God to right the EO wrong Victor is just a dickhead killing people who can’t help cure him and then covering his tracks. Sometimes we get enough to see these are good people. Like the guy who was saving the wounded animals. Yeah, Victor can go jump off a cliff.
He’s not even particular nice to Sydney and poor Mitchell. I don’t know if Schwab was doubling down on the he’s a bad guy aspect but there was nothing likable this time out and worse than that there was nothing interesting to mitigate that.
Speaking of Sydney and Mitch. I did appreciate that she found out what happened to her sister and thought her working through it was nice but they were barely made an impact against everything I disliked. Mitch was hardly in the story. I cannot understand why they were still following Victor around. It’s pretty much an abusive family unit at this point.
And then there’s Marcella. Good Lord, she was like a mob wife cliche gone mad! She actually uses the phrase honey, I’m home and hell hath no fury like a woman scorned in a very short space. I wonder if she knew she was a cliche? But unlikely since she took herself super fucking seriously.
Her “death” is at the hands of her husband and there are comments throughout that made me wonder if I wasn’t supposed to feel sorry for her. Like she was very ‘men are stupid, they underestimated me forever, they only saw my beauty’ yada, yada. Only Marcella is awful! Even with her husband yeah, he was a killer but in her flashbacks we saw she knew that. Hell, she encouraged it. An the author never loses a chance to emphasis her looks.
Everything about her just made me roll my eyes.
There’s a thin line between love to hate and just plain hate and unfortunately Victor and Marcella fell into the just plain hate side.
I think there’s about 30% of this book I liked but I know from Goodreads I’m in the minority on this one. Perhaps if more time had passed between my reading Vicious I would have been more forgiving and happy to see them again. Alas, it is what it is and Vengeful was a letdown.
Recommend: No. I would stop at Vicious- but like I said that seems to be a minority opinion.