In this book we meet two young college roommates and best friends, Victor and Eli, who, through some pretty dramatic research, figure out how to get superpowers. All for the sake of their thesis on Extra-Ordinaries, of course. And then things go very wrong. Flashforward into the future, Victor breaks out of prison to look for Eli, his now arch nemesis, and kill him. And Eli has a terrible plot going on himself.
THIS BOOK IS FUCKING AMAZING. Excuse my French. It’s that good though, I’m flailing over here just trying to express how much I loved it. I read this book earlier this summer and I’m still in awe. I read it in one sitting, completely hypnotized, and it went straight onto my favorites shelf after I was done. This book has been very hyped up, but for me it definitely lived up to it.
Not only are the characters great and the plot something I haven’t read before, but Victoria Schwab’s writing style is so beautiful. I fell in love with it right away.
“Someone could call themselves a hero and still walk around killing dozens. Someone else could be labeled a villain for trying to stop them. Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”
This book is about superheroes and supervillains. It’s got the whole “what makes a villain and what makes a hero” thing going on that I really like. Victor is the perfect anti-hero for me, I really liked him as a character, flaws and all. I think he might be one of my favorite fictional characters. And Eli… well. When I read the portion of this book that took place during their college years I imagined these boys kind of like I imagine a college aged Sherlock Holmes (the BBC version). So that tells you a little bit what kind of characters they are: ambitious, kind of arrogant, and dangerously brilliant but with a touch of loneliness and desperation. I loved their relationship and the complexity of it.
Where are my Victor/Eli college years fanfics? Someone get on that.
“All Eli had to do was smile. All Victor had to do was lie. Both proved frighteningly effective.”
There were other great characters in this book apart from Victor and Eli and they were all fleshed out and complex. I’m going to mention Sydney especially, a young girl with a truly tragic story. It was heartbreaking to read from her perspective sometimes. And Mitch, bless him, another great character.
Even if you’re not into superheroes I really recommend you try this book. Actually I recommend it to everyone and their mother. I think my mother would like it. It’s fast paced and brilliantly written. I think some of my favorite parts were actually the scenes that described their attempts at getting superpowers, it was so creepy and dark and such a clever idea. When I read it I was actually like “yeah, that makes perfect sense.”
I think this book has great crossover appeal from the young adult genre. If you usually only read YA it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to read this.
Read this book now. Just do it.