Vengeful is the sequel to Vicious by V E Schwab, following the not so nice characters of Eli Ever and Victor Vale. It was perfectly fine as a novel, but felt a bit disappointing compared to other books that she’s written.
I think maybe part of the problem is that most of the characters are unlikeable and the really likeable ones aren’t the main focus or aren’t really put in peril. Instead, the action and stress is place on Victor, Eli and a new character, Marcella (who is also basically a psychopath).
For example, even though in the first novel Victor isn’t entirely likeable, he is basically as bad as Eli in this novel as he tries to solve his own personal problem. And a bit transparently, it is so he can be tracked own as party of the plot (basically be leaving a trail of bodies behind). Marcella’s whole story arc also seems to just be way to have another confrontation between Victor and Eli. We get a bit of backstory for Eli but even though it should make you feel a bit sorry for him, I never felt that. I think the previous novel basically makes him a bit unredeemable for me.
Overall, I found the first part of the book a bit too harsh, even though it is part of the Villains series, it was just too mean to really care about what happened to anyone. It also took a really long time to get going, with the plot only coming into focus in the last 300 pages (it felt a bit too long to get to the point).
Things that I did like were some of the new characters. Marcella was pretty cartoonish but enjoyable, with her vast swathe of destruction. June, a shapeshifter, has the most complex motivations, which aren’t entirely revealed yet (book three maybe?) And I also liked the prominent part played by Dominic (who was in the last book).
Overall though, I didn’t feel the stress I normally feel with V E Schwab’s books. Maybe the characters were too villainous for me to care about or maybe that magic just wasn’t there. The book ping-ponged through various time lines, within a 5 year period from the ending of the last book. So even though there was a dramatic build up, it didn’t come with any sort of investment for me. It was just there and then it was over.
I’m not sure if this is one where it just didn’t resonate with me or if it wasn’t just as good a the last novel. Maybe it just erred too far on the side of being overtly-cartoonish in its villainy that the previous books. It just felt a bit too transparent as a plot, or one book that should have been two. I feel the EON/Eli plot and Marcella and June could have been entirely different books.
Anyway, it’s still pretty enjoyable but just not as fun as her previous book in the series. The end.