A super-powered collision of extraordinary minds and vengeful intentions–V. E. Schwab returns with the thrilling follow-up to Vicious. Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.
But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought–and will use her newfound power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other once more.
With Marcella’s rise, new enmities create opportunity–and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.
The story is told in much the same way as the first book. Each chapter is in a random order, with one chapter titled “Four weeks ago” and another “Fourteen years ago” as the story contains lots of flashbacks for a certain character which I found to be very interesting. As we get closer to the end of the story though, the timeline becomes smaller with chapters titled “The last morning” and “The last afternoon”. Like with the first book I found it surprisingly easy to follow and rather than the POVs constantly changing, it seemed to be mainly split between Victor, Eli and Marcella. Three beautiful masterminds. That’s not to say we don’t get chapters from other characters such as Sydney because we do but I just thought the bulk of the story was told from our three favourite villains.
Again, I enjoyed being fed random pieces of the story although I did miss having rapid changing perspectives as we seemed to stick with one character for a good chunk of the book. I didn’t think there was as many twists in this one but I loved how much it was focused on Marcella just flipping out and burning every man to the ground. It’s like a flip switched in her head when she died and she came back pure evil. I was secretly rooting for her though and enjoyed watching her wreak havoc and get revenge on those who’d wronged her. It’s like she’d just had enough and now that she was powerful, she was going to take and do whatever she wanted. It was awesome. I loved how easily she put people down who came after her and how she wanted to fight back against EON. It was so refreshing to be given a badass female villain with powers as opposed to the usual male villain.
Another badass female character in this story was Jude and we are told very little about her. I hope Schwab writes a third book in this series because I’m definitely curious to know more about her and where she came from. She just appears and all we know is she is a hitman but she is on a personal mission as well. Her power is amazing because she’s a shapeshifter but also a living voodoo doll which makes her near impossible to kill. She takes a weird liking to Sydney and it’s never explained why she’s so protective of her? So if Schwab wrote a third book I’d like an explanation provided for this and also to know more about her background: what trauma she suffered and how she ended up with her power. Mainly I just loved how she showed up to a shootout and took people out one by one. She was another extremely badass character and seeing her team up with Marcella was incredible.
Now for the two amazing villains that kicked it all off in the first book: Victor (my favourite) and Eli. I liked how even though they were mainly in the background of this story, their hatred of one another didn’t dissipate – if anything more fuel was added to already raging fire! The way Victor acted in this story was very questionable: he was extremely ruthless and heartless for what felt like no reason. I mean he had reasons but I just didn’t think it justified his actions. I get that he was desperate but surely he had other options. Even though he is a villain, my heart still hurt for him and I really want him to be happy even though he doesn’t deserve it. He’s the lesser evil compared to Eli and I can’t help but like him for it.
On the other hand, if I thought Victor was bad, Eli was like a psychopath. Even though he has been captured, that didn’t stop him from plotting and scheming throughout. What makes Eli such a terrifying villain is that he can manipulate people so easily and get them to do whatever he wants without even trying. He just plants a seed and watches it grow then strikes when the time is right. We got to learn so much about him and I can’t deny that it wasn’t interesting. I was so curious to find out more about him and he’s such a typical villain. Normally I’m drawn to villains because of their tragic past but this didn’t work for Eli as I definitely prefer Victor. I don’t know why but I just find Victor so much more interesting. I think because Eli doesn’t let anyone get close to him whereas Victor has a mismatched family of sorts and I like how he is with Sydney.
Speaking of Sydney, even though she is the youngest character, I think she is definitely one of the strongest. She has been through so much and has been betrayed by so many people yet she is so forgiving and such a kind person. I really enjoyed seeing how much she had changed since Vicious and how in Vengeful, she is going through her own personal journey. I think Sydney still has so much of her story to tell and I hope we get that in the future.
I think I will go stir crazy if we don’t get a third book after reading that ending. I have no clue what happened and I really want to beg Schwab to tell me what the last few chapters meant and if the story is really over. I’m not sure if it ends on a cliffhanger but I’d definitely say the story is not wrapped up and it hints there is more to come but whether there is or not I don’t know! Also WHAT did that note from Victor mean at the end! I hope it doesn’t mean what I think it means because damn. I’m seriously not ready to say goodbye to these characters. It was an incredible story and I’m so grateful to Schwab for putting so much effort into Vengeful. I know she says it cost her a lot but I can’t imagine not having this book in the world. It was fantastic!