Seventy-two chapters for 366 pages … welcome to the James Patterson school of writing. And half the chapters are flashbacks! So this short novel (novella? Novelette?) that should have lots of narrative momentum, loses its propulsion because every other chapter is a flashback which completely destroys the story’s forward progression.
The story: Two college roommates figure out how to give people superpowers – they are called ExtraOrdinarys, or EOs. The process involves dying, being resurrected, and viola! You’re an EO! They naturally begin with themselves, however, superpowers do not make a person superhero. As these two morally ambiguous characters become rivals things become deadly.
I was not surprised to discover that the author, V.E. Shwab, had written several YA novels, because Vicious IS a YA novel, yet marketed toward adults. The story is flimsy – a direct knock-off from X-Men – and the character development is James Patterson-worthy.
The number of authors I respect and enjoy reading that have given Vicious rave reviews makes me suspicious … a suspect a tit-for-tat among them. Most likely they share a publisher.
All in all, it’s pretty juvenile.