by V. E. Schwab

Rating: ★★

A rather disappointing alt-superhero story. Vicious wishes it was anything like as good as Worm, but none of the 'villain' characters are terribly compelling or creepy, the writing is plain at best, and there are no really interesting applications, restrictions or justifications of powers. The nearest approach is the compulsion-laying character, who underlines how strong such a power is.

Combine this scarcity of depth with the fact that the pages are breezy, some chapters being little more than a paragraph, and you end up with a story which could very well be an episode of X-men. I was a bit surprised to reach the end so quickly, because I wasn't reading very devotedly, and didn't think that much had happened -- something disguised a bit by the author flickering continually between different timeframes.

It's possible that if you're new to the genre, you can come away from Vicious with more than I did, but I think at best it's a stepping stone for a certain kind of reader.