A WEEK AGO
Prison was less important than what it aﬀorded Victor. Namely, time.
Five years in isolation gave him time to think.
Four years in integration (thanks to budget cuts and the lack of evidence that Vale was in any way abnormal) gave him time to practice. And 463 inmates to practice on.
And the last seven months had given him time to plan this moment.
“Did you know,” said Victor, skimming a book from the prison library on anatomy (he thought it particularly foolish to endow inmates with a detailed sense of the positions of vital organs, but there you go), “that when you take away a person’s fear of pain, you take away their fear of death? You make them, in their own eyes, immortal. Which of course they’re not, but what’s the saying? We are all immortal until proven otherwise?”
“Something like that,” said Mitch, who was a bit preoccupied.
Mitch was Victor’s cellmate at Wrighton Federal Penitentiary. Victor was fond of Mitch, in part because Mitch was thoroughly unconcerned with prison politics, and in part because he was clever. People didn’t seem to catch on because of the man’s size, but Vic-tor saw the talent, and put it to good use. For instance, Mitch was presently trying to short out a security camera with a gum wrapper, a cigarette, and a small piece of wire Victor had secured for him three days before.
“Got it,” said Mitch a few moments later, when Victor was thumbing through the chapter on the nervous system. He set the book aside, and ﬂexed his ﬁngers as the guard came down the aisle.
“Shall we?” he asked as the air began to hum.
Mitch took a long look around their cell, and nodded. “After you.”
VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab
(NOTE: This is a reissue of Vicious in anticipation of the publication of the sequel VENGEFUL on September 25, 2018.)
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.
About V.E. Schwab:
VICTORIA (V.E.) SCHWAB is the author of the NYT bestselling Shades of Magic series, as well as a number of MG and YA novels, including This Savage Song. She has been called “the heir to Diana Wynne Jones.” Her dynamic work has caught the attention of major TV and film studios. Schwab has a Masters degree in Art History from the University of Edinburgh. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, but frequents Edinburgh. You can visit her at https://www.veschwab.com/
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