Published: January 20 2015
Number of pages: 384
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: supernatural, mystery, paranormal, scifi
Audience: older adults
Rating: 4/5 owl hoots
Victor and Eli are two brilliant but arrogant college students recognized for their sharpness and ambition. In their senior year, they both shared a research project on adrenaline and near death experiences that may reveal supernatural abilities. But when their thesis moves from academic to experimental, something goes horribly wrong.
Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison and is out hunting for Eli, aided by a young girl with a stunning ability. In the meantime, Eli is on a mission to uncover every supernatural person he can find along with his sidekick, an enigmatic young woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, and driven by memories of betrayal and loss, these men are on a course for revenge but who will live in the end?
I like to take a moment and say that VE Schwab is one of the most brilliant authors ever. If you haven’t read her books yet, I encourage you to do so especially if you love reading fantasy and scifi books as much as I do then you must read her books! She is just awesome you guys, I have never met her in person because her tours are always in the States, but if there was ever an opportunity when she might come up and visit Vancouver, then I would drop everything so I can finally meet this incredible author in person! Her writing is amazing and her imagination is spectacular! I mean who would have thought about writing a story of a magician travelling between parallel Londons? Bloody brilliant! After reading A Darker Shade of Magic I have been on a mission to read her earlier books including The Archived which I’m currently reading. I absolutely love her writing, her imagination, her story telling that VE Schwab is number two on my list after Neil Gaiman. Ok now that I’m done proclaiming my love for this wonderful author, I will go back to my review.
I freaking love this book! The time jumping, the plot, the characters were effing brilliant! And yes, I realize that I’ve been using the word ‘brilliant’ a lot to describe this author and her books so no need to point that out. To describe this story, it was like the X-men meets the Count of Monte Cristo. The pacing is slow only to introduce the characters and to build up their backstories. The plot jumps from the past to the present as we’re introduced to Victor Vale and Eli Ever, both college students recognized by their peers and professors as intelligent and arrogant. Victor and Eli are like brothers, both with sharp ambitions but their friendship didn’t always start as being friendly with each other.
Poor Victoria feels like he’s stuck in Eli’s shadow and even though it looks like he has respect for him, he really hates being outsmarted by Eli. If I were to choose Victor or Eli, it would be Victor because despite his dark side, at least he isn’t as arrogant and egotistic compared to his friend. I never liked Eli in the beginning, he was way too obsessed with proving how right he is about his experiments which turned him into this self-righteous jerk who made his only friend turn against him.
Expect a big cast of characters too, each one of them with a significant role that contributes to the storyline. We also see some secondary characters with their backstories introduced to help us understand their motive for joining sides. I admit that Victor and Eli chose their players well, especially with the Clarke sisters, although Serena was one of the most irritating female characters because of her selfish nature. I really hated Serena as she has no consideration for anyone else but herself. I was a bit touched after that sister moment in the end though, but afterwards Serena returned as the bitch she was before so I came back to hating her again.
This cat and mouse game between Victor and Eli was very entertaining and totally intense. There was no telling as to who, when, where, and what was going to happen next which was fun because I do love surprises, and this story was full of it! This cannot be a stand-alone book as that ending was screaming to be a cliffhanger, and I was so relieved to hear that Victoria is coming out with a sequel, which I desperately need right now!