Review: Villains Series
Updated: Sep 23, 2021
The Villains Series - Vicious (2013), Warm Up (2013), and Vengeful (2018), by V.E. Schwab
Warm up is a short story that goes along with the two Villans series books, Vicious, and Vengeful. Schwab has hinted that there might at some point be a third book, but has made no promises. The end of Vengeful certainly leaves the possibilities open, but also wraps things up in a nice enough way that it was satisfying and doesn't feel like a cliffhanger that might never be completed.
Having been pretty much obsessed with the Shades of Magic series (A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, and A Conjuring of Light), and telling everyone I know about it who likes fantasy, I'm wading into some of her other works. I actually read Vicious a few years ago, but reread it this week so I could continue with the rest of the story.
This comic-book-esque series follows two brilliant young men, Victor Vale and Elliot Cardale, who meet in college and bond over their interest in the existence of EO's, or ExtraOrdinaries - that is, people with superpowers. (Spoiler alert: they exist! Otherwise where would the story go?!) Victor and Eli begin to experiment with near-death experiences after finding evidence that others have gained superpowers after having these "NDE's." As they fall further into the EO world, they turn against each other, involving other EO's along the way. The books are character-driven, focusing on the flawed and ultimately human EO's (who aren't considered human at all), the relationships forged, and those that being to erode. It's "a super-powered collision of extraordinary minds and vengeful intentions!"
If you find yourself thinking about the X-Men while reading the series, you're definitely not alone. The powers are similar, and the world is sort of dark and gritty in that way, unlike your more typical Marvel or DC superheroes. Actually, if you've watched the Jessica Jones series on Netflix (highly recommend!), the feel of this series is a lot like that, down to the fact that having superpowers doesn't automatically mean you're a hero.
While not as inventive or unique as the Shades of Magic series, Schwab creates what seems to be her signature shadowy, broken world, and a cast of anti-heroes that makes you constantly question who you should be rooting for.
If you're going to read them, do so in this order:
2. Warm Up
... because Warm Up won't make any sense without Vicious, and will be obsolete after reading Vengeful.
UP NEXT: Bellweather Rhapsody, by Kate Racculia
(mentioned in What's Making Us Happy on Pop Culture Happy Hour,
and sent to me by my friend Shannon!)