I enjoyed the second installment in Schwab’s Villains series, but I didn’t like it as much as the first. I did not like this series as well as her Shades of Magic series. Villains felt slow to start and lacking in that beat of character development and adventure that I crave in books. That’s not to say it was a bad series; it is not.
Vengeful picks up five years after the events of Vicious. Victor Vale isn’t working right; after the events of Vicious, his power is on the fritz (pun intended). While he searches for a way to fix himself, Sydney (the young ward he picked up) is struggling with being a teenage girl in a prepubescent body. Mitch is just kinda of there for moral support. Eli is in EO prison and looking for a way to escape. And we are introduced to Marcella, a vicious and vengeful woman with a horrible power to destroy.
Marcella started out as such a cool, scary character. She had a reason to be mean, a reason to do what she wanted, and then… It just kind of plopped on the floor. She evolved into a stereotypical “I want power” villain, and when compared to Eli and Victor who are both quite villainous, she felt bland.
I connected with Sydney the most, which isn’t surprising considering I read almost exclusively YA. She is a teenage girl with teenage girl thoughts/desires, yet she looks like a ten year old. There is a scene where she tries to go to a college Halloween party, and a guy literally pushes her out of the door after asking who brought their little sister – that scene poked my heart.
I wish there had been more Sydney. Her story of being a stranger in her own body is one that needs to be told – because it speaks to an entire group of people who have the same feeling of disconnect without shoving the issue directly into your face.
I greatly envy Schwab’s ability to tell those kinds of stories, to connect groups of people so beautifully.
Now, overall, I gave Vengeful a 4 out of 5. It felt slow in places, but it was enjoyable. This series is definitely worth your time if you love villainous protagonists or superheros.