Narrator: Jeremy Arthur
Series: Villains #2
Published by MacMillan on September 25, 2018
Genres: Science Fiction Fantasy
Length: 12 hours, 57 minutes
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there's Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn't know about his most recent act of vengeance.
Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.
Villains is a series to read when you want something out of the ordinary. It is for when you are ready to root for the bad guy or you’re just tired of Mary Janes and Gary Stus in books. These are not misunderstood good guys. These are the Villains of the world, they kill apologetically, they do not have altruistic tendencies and it is really a kill or be killed kind of black and white world to them.
When the majority of the main characters have some exceptional power, better known as Extra Ordinary (EO) and kill with no remorse you might think that it would be difficult to like and root for them. Maybe it is for some other readers out there but this is one of those books where I definitely picked a side and it wasn’t the ‘good guys’ side.
Vengeful is told in a really chaotic manor. Not only are there PoV jumps but there are also time jumps anywhere from ten years ago to just hours before the big showdown. I really like how that works for this book. It is a little jumpy at times but the slow doling out of information about what Victor, Mitch and Sydney have been doing over the last five years really worked for me. It also give a ton of insight into the side characters in a short period of time.
Victor is not a good guy. I mean I thought we knew that in Vicious but he is now even worse and has very little conscience if he has one at all. He will protect himself and Sydney and Mitch if possible but that is really where his priorities lay. While I like him still in some regard because of his loyalty to Mitch and Syd, he really is awful.
Mitch and Syd are the only characters in this who have any redeeming qualities and can be deemed good. They are devoted to Victor though and have a little family unit of a kind. I connected with Syd the most in this series as she is living life with the two men after her sister’s death and trying to become stronger in her power. Dom, an ex-soldier, is also an EO just trying to get by in life and a pawn on Victor’s chess board.
There is a new villain in town. Marcella is a woman scorned who ended up with EO powers and is now marching her way through everyone who ever did her wrong. She is a pretty straight forward character and was not a good person before she had her near-death experience. Now that she has some extraordinary power she will use it to take all the power.
Eli is back and V.E. Schwab was able to make me feel bad for him. He has been captured by EON, the human agency, tracking and detaining EOs for an indefinite period of time. I actually felt incredibly bad for Eli, especially after learning about his past, and experiencing the torture he was going through at EON, in the beginning of his captivity.
June is also a new quantity. She can change who she is in a blink. The way her power worked was so strange and different. I really liked the twist to it. I’m still not sure if I like her or not, even at the end of this book but compared to all of the other characters, she seems more normal than most. I liked her friendship with Sydney even if it worried me a lot.
There is a big showdown at the end involving Victor, the other villainous EOs and EON. Things happen and well it definitely is a showdown not everyone makes it out of. Schwab doesn’t do the standard HEA ending most stories have and so if that is what you always need in a story, you will be out of luck. But she has interesting and unique endings and I like that about her.
This series is a duology right now and I’m not sure if Schwab will revisit it in the future. Although I like it if she did, it would be interesting to see the character situations five or ten years down the road. The ending is left open enough that it could be a possibility if the right story formed in her mind.
“If you kill all the EOs you meet,” she said, “how are you better than Eli?”
Victor’s teeth clenched. “I take no pleasure in this, Sydney, but if EON finds them, they’ll be one step closer to finding us. Do you want that to happen?”
“Do you know what they’ll do? First they’ll kill Dol, and then they will take you, and me, and Mitch, and we will never see the light of day, let alone each other, ever again.” Sydney’s eyes widened, but Victor went on. “If you’re lucky, they’ll lock you in a cage. Alone. If you’re not, they’ll turn you into a science experiment—”
“Victor,” warned Mitch, but he only stepped closer.
Sydney stared up at him, fists clenched. He knelt so they were eye to eye. “You think I’m acting like Eli? You think I’m playing God? Fine, you play, Sydney. You decide, right now, who should live. Us, or them.”
Tears hovered on her lashes. She didn’t look at him, kept her gaze focused on his shirtfront as her lips moved, short and soundless.
“What was that?” he asked.
This time, he heard it. “Us.”
Victor went around acting like the world was one big game of chess. Tapping people and saying, “You’re a pawn, you’re a knight, you’re a rook.”
Jeremy Arthur brought the characters to life for me. I especially like his portrayals of Victor, Mitch and Sydney. He also did a good job on the female characters. I was able to listen to this at my normal 1.5x speed without losing intonation.
Listen to a clip:
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