This series was always on the periphery of my mind but I only picked up Vicious close to the release date of Vengeful, probably because it was being hyped so much in the community and I wanted to give it a try. It was an interesting read but I didn’t feel compelled to pick up the sequel immediately, waiting for the right mood. I also didn’t have a lot of expectations and the book seems to live up to that.
One of the most interesting part of Vicious was the rivalry/revenge plot between Victor and Eli. There was always the showdown looming at the back of my head and I was excited for it. But this book fails to create the same excitement. The author recreates the same non-linear timeline and I found it easier to read this time around. I found the pacing also quite better and finished it much faster. We also discover some new kinds of EO powers which were very fascinating and I wanted to know more. The book is also much more darker than the first – more blood, more gore and just more killing. But the story never managed to make me feel invested in what was happening, so when any twists happened, it didn’t feel like a gut punch. The plot also meandered a lot and there just wasn’t a cohesive tight story. However, there are some amazing and highly quotable lines peppered throughout the book and I had a fun time highlighting.
I had a hard time liking the characters in the first book and nothing much has changed. Eli maybe imprisoned but his motivations haven’t changed, so I still hate him but the flashbacks from his childhood were probably the best part of the story, and it was interesting to see how he became the killer he is. But he is also imprisoned for most of the book, so there wasn’t much he could actually do. Victor is on a mission to find out what’s wrong with him after being resurrected, but his story gets too repetitive too quickly. I could sympathize with Sydney for feeling lonely and missing her sister, but she hardly had any development. It was the same case with Mitch who is still the nicest guy in this series but doesn’t get to do much. Dominic had a very good arc this time and I definitely came to like him a lot.
Now it’s the new characters Marcella and June who are much more fascinating. June’s powers are supercool and I liked the way she handled everything, but I never did understand her fixation for Sydney. And Marcella is the most badass character of this series, she has immense power and ambition, and isn’t afraid to use them. She is completely unfazed by any opponent and is ready to take on everyone. She also has the best lines in the book. But ultimately, I felt that the author did a disservice to her character. For all the potential she had, her arc felt very anticlimactic and and I just wanted more for her story. Also because of the many characters and POVs, we never spend enough time with anyone and it felt unsatisfying.
Finally, I just want to say that this sequel didn’t feel better than its predecessor. It’s written well and is a fast paced read, but just not impactful enough. You should obviously check it out if you loved Vicious, but I still feel that book could have been left as a stand-alone. Also, I hated that this book has an open ending without giving us a clear indication whether we’ll have another book.