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ibsn13: 9780765387523
series: Villains - Book 2

There’s no denying that V.E. Schwab is a great writer. She’s able to construct stories that entice you to keep reading despite the underlying story not being all it’s cracked up to be.

Her Villains duology leaves me feeling empty. She knows what the big moments she wants to have in her story are and she constantly steers her characters in the direction of those big moments without it feeling earned.

Book 1: Vicious ⭐⭐⭐▫️▫️ Book 2: Vengeful ⭐⭐▫️▫️▫️

Usually her characters haphazardly waffle about, forcing her to quickly redirect the paths of characters such that the big moments can happen as she imagines them.

But these big moments come out of nowhere and don’t feel earned. She has a hard time writing characters that feel real.

The choice to go back and forth between various times allows the author to patch holes in her story to make it make more sense. It also gives her an A plot (present) / B plot (past) to keep you occupied. But it’s a crutch that hurts more than it helps because it gives her ample room to hang herself with a paper thin plot and cardboard cutout characters.

To be fair, in Vengeful, the characters have a lot more life to them compared to the first novel. It sucks that none of the characters other than our two heartthrob hot men Eli and Victor (the most shippable pair to ever grace a page) matter or have any sort of character arc.

Every character in this story serves only to set up the final confrontation between Eli and Victor. They don’t exist outside of that.

I need a break from V. E. Schwab. Her Darker Shades of Magic series is better than this one overall.

The Villains series is all style no substance. It’s the novel equivalent of the Transformer movies. It’s a “Blockbuster”, it’s got a lot of flashing lights and cool effects but it lacks anything underneath the surface.

There’s nothing stopping someone from writing a great story with sexy shippable pairs of all kinds for fans to write heinously explicit fan fiction about but Vengeful isn’t one of them.