VICIOUS by V. E. Schwab or How to Sympathize With Villains

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SYNOPSIS

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates. Brilliant, ambitious and cunning, they got along more than fine until senior year. When a shared interest in adrenaline and near-death experiences helps them uncover the secrets behind EOs—ExtraOrdinary beings—Victor and Eli develop an obsession with turning themselves into EOs. 

Fast forward ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison with an insatiable desire to take revenge on Eli. With an escaped convict and hacker, a twelve-year-old girl with necromancy powers and an undead dog in tow, Victor sets himself on a hunt for his long-ago friend now foe. What could have happened ten years ago to make Victor and Eli turn against each other? And who between the two will be left alive at the end? 

Alternating between several perspectives and timelines, Vicious is a riveting tale of revenge, broken friendship, and sheer wickedness. 

 

GENRES: Adult Fantasy, Sci-Fi


Often enough, fantasy authors create two basic types of characters: the strong and virtuous protagonist and their devilish antagonists. I might be playing into the stereotypes here, but typical stories are indeed woven into this pattern—hopefully with a few creative elements incorporated in there. 

Imagine my wonder when I dived into Vicious by V.E. Schwab and was catapulted into a fantastic tale full of anti-heroes, betrayal, jealousy and lofty ambition. None of the typical tropes used in fantasy books found their way into Vicious. There’s no hero, no romance, no swords, no honor and no morals.

Let’s put the emphasis on “no morals” here. 

Our two main characters, Victor and Eli, are both terrible human beings. They are two of the most twisted and forbidding souls imaginable. And you know what’s most fascinating about Victor and Eli? As much as they’re portrayed as the most despicable of humans, it’s impossible not to sympathize with them to a certain extent.

That’s what I wish to discuss today. I think it is fascinating and no doubt thought-provoking that we, readers, are somehow able to find redeeming qualities in horrible characters. 

So let’s look into what makes Victor and Eli so evil and why they are deemed as likable, redeemable souls nonetheless. Does it have something to do about V.E. Schwab’s talent for creating complex stories and characters? Or does it rather have something to do with what qualities our society values? 

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Is THE ENGLISH WIFE by Lauren Willig Really Worth Reading?

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34945222 SYNOPSIS

When Bayard van Duyvil is found dead at the ball he is hosting, his wife, Annabelle, goes missing. Soon, everybody believes Annabelle is responsible for her husband’s murder.

Janie, Bayard’s sister, doesn’t believe it for one second and claims she has seen Annabelle dead in the river. To make light on what really happened that night and to try and save her family’s reputation, Janie seeks out the help of a journalist, Mr. Burke.

Together, they will unravel the web of secrets surrounding Bayard and Annabelle’s marriage and piece each fragment together while everything Janie thought she knew starts to crumble into dust.

 

GENRES: Mystery, Historical Fiction


The premise of this book sounds tremendous. Who doesn’t enjoy a vile murder and a desperate hunt for answers that lead to the unburying of dirty family secrets?

The combination of an enthralling intrigue and a late nineteenth-century setting is also a favorite of mine. Books including both often result in a 5-star rating for me—don’t judge me for my lack of impartiality, I can’t help having a soft spot for Victorian settings!

But with The English Wife, that didn’t happen.

As much as I believe this novel holds potential, I also think it needs some serious polishing. In my opinion, there are two main issues in The English Wife. If it wasn’t for those, I would probably have given this book a much better rating because there was some very good stuff in there. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get past the problematic elements in this book, so let’s talk about those!

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4 Reasons to Devour THE DARKLING BRIDE by Laura Anderson on a Rainy Day

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34019139.jpg  SYNOPSIS

When Aidan Gallagher wants to sell Deeprath Castle, which has been home to the Gallagher family for more than seven-hundred years, Carragh Ryan is hired to take inventory of its vast library. Bookworm and scholar, she cannot wait to put her nose in the castle’s book collection and thread the same hallways as Evan Chase, a famous author who, more than a century prior, came to Ireland to write a new book and ended up marrying the infamous Jenny Gallagher instead. 

What sounded like a very exciting job for Carragh will turn into a much more complicating task after she gets stuck in the middle of some Gallagher family drama and a criminal investigation for the murder of Aidan’s parents, which happened more than 20 years ago.  

To complicate things further, odd incidents start happening, remembering Carragh that in the castle are believed to roam ghosts, including the wrathful Darkling Bride.

 

GENRES: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Gothic


Oh, rainy days. How I love them! 

They’re perfect for curling up on the couch with a thick, gripping novel and a fuming cup of black tea. Who could chasten you for staying indoors all day, engrossed in a fascinating story when it’s pouring down in torrents out the window? 

The faint sound of the leaves dripping, the patchy fog covering the ground and the fragrant breeze of stormy days create a dreamy atmosphere that I think is ideal for spine-chilling mystery novels. 

I recently came across The Darkling Bride, which I believe is perfect for your next cozy rainy day spent making your way through a book. Here are 4 reasons why!

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CALL ME BY YOUR NAME: Why You Should Read the Book AND Watch the Movie

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SYNOPSIS:

Call Me by Your Name is a compelling story about the romance that blossoms between seventeen-year-old Elio and Oliver, a graduate student from Columbia University.

When Oliver spends a few weeks in Italy during the summer of 1983, he stays at a distinguished professor’s villa. There he meets the professor’s son, Elio.

Neither Elio nor Oliver expected their world to collide so forcefully. Unexpected love and an idyllic few weeks soon follow, leaving neither of them unscathed when summer must come to an end. 

 

GENRES: Contemporary, Romance, LGBT


If you’ve neither heard of the book nor the movie yet… Where have you been in the last few months??? Call Me by Your Name has been on everybody’s lips, whether they’re a book or a movie lover.

After diving into both—and loving them both very fiercely—I only have praise for this story. If it can give you any indication, I watched the movie 4 TIMES IN 2 DAYS! Then I listened to the audiobook and dived into the physical copy a few days later. So now, let me tell you why this story took over my life—and compromised my finals—and why you should give in to it as well!

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Why EMERGENCY CONTACT by Mary H.K. Choi Is a Real Breath of Fresh Air

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35297272 via Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

When Penny Lee heads to college in Austin, Texas, she can’t wait to leave her boring life and her high-maintenance mother behind and start a new life.

There, she unexpectedly meets Sam, a 21-year-old who wants to be a movie director but is stuck working—and living—at a café.

Penny and Sam will get to know each other via text messages and rapidly become inseparable because life is way easier when you don’t actually have to hang out with each other.

 

GENRES: Young-Adult Contemporary, Romance


This book is a breath of fresh air.

I usually go to YA contemporary books during the spring and summer seasons, when the sun shining and the flowers blooming warm my cold heart enough so I can enjoy a cute and fluffy story.

This book, though. It breaks all the standards surrounding YA contemporary romances.

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