Peter Lyke



Superb action thriller. Halfway through, I thought this book is a mashup of the movie Flatliners meets the comic book X-men. I’ll be honest, there was a moment when I had to stop and ask myself, is this Young Adult fiction? Yet I shrugged away the apprehension and dove right back in. It wasn’t, by the way. I think it was the simplicity of the writing that fooled me. No big words or long exposition. Nothing extraneous, just plot and character. It read like a Dan Brown thriller without the historical tidbits that keep you wanting more from Dan. Instead, I realized I didn’t need those blocks of trivia to keep me interested. VE Schwab has created a rapid paced thriller with “Extra Ordinaries” instead of comic book mutants. People attain a power that Schwab doesn’t fret about justifying with long scientific background. And that’s what I liked, a minimum of fluff. The plot just moves. The third act had me hooked like it was a bank heist with the chapters counting down with a neatly tied bow of a climax. You know there’s a plan unwinding and even though the powers seem like you can surmise where it’s going, you can’t and you won’t. As a closing note, I thoroughly enjoyed that this story was written with a villain vs villain mentality. I really wasn’t sure if I was supposed to like the hero and as the story went on, I realized it didn’t matter. Does enjoying or rooting for Hannibal Lecter ruin Silence of the Lambs; I think not. Vicious had that same feel with its characters. You know who the villain actually is but the hero’s aren’t that different from the villains. The super powered characters are similar but it’s their motivations that define them. Except for one, the powers all seem to corrupt their wielders. It’s not until the end that you realize who’s actually “good.” It’s all part of the plan, one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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Books | V. E. Schwab

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