Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? (From Goodreads)
Full disclosure I love V.E. Schwab, she is my favorite author and can basically do no wrong in my eyes. I think I loved this book more today than when I read it back in 2013.
I often find myself liking the “villain” more than the “hero” in books and I love how this book sort of turns those labels around. Who is the villain and who is the hero. First, let me just say that I do not think Victor is a “good guy” he is completely fueled by his need for revenge, but he also isn’t a “bad” guy. I love the character of Sydney, not only is she a great character in her own right, but she is a great device for showing Victor’s humanity.
The story jumps around in time, and normally that would irritate me, but it is so perfectly placed to answer the questions that came up in the previous chapter that I have no complaints. These add the perfect little flashbacks of background information that just add to story. The plot is extremely interesting. I will say the beginning is a little slow. It is very necessary to the plot because you need to understand the backstory between Eli and Victor, but I was ready to get into the story. Once you get past that, the plot moves along and the book is very hard to put down.
In many ways reading this book in the current social climate made more of an impact on me. Who is really bad and who is really good, at the end of the day is anyone?