by V. E. Schwab
First sentence: “Victor readjusted the shovels on his shoulder and stepped gingerly over an old, half-sunken grave.”
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Content: There is a lot of violence, and some swearing, including quite a few f-bombs. It’s in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section of the bookstore.
Victor has just gotten out of prison, after spending ten years there for a murder he accidentally committed, and he is out for revenge. The target is his ex-best friend Eli, who has decided to become the judge, jury, and executioner of the city’s EO – extraordinary people, those with special powers. The thing is that Victor and Eli are both EOs: ten years ago, when they were best friends at college, they became interested in how EOs came to be, and they recreated the conditions to give themselves powers. But things went awry (hence accidental murder) and Victor is hell-bent on stopping Eli.
This is a straightforward revenge story, building up to a climax at midnight when the two foes face each other. But, because it’s Schwab, it’s also more than that. You get their history together (and a feeling that Victor was in love with Eli), and the ups and downs of their early experimentation. And the way their relationship so spectacularly imploded. There are minor characters you both come to care about as well as loathe, and you have to wonder who is “good” in this book. (Answer: no one, really.) The last bit made me incredibly anxious: Schwab is ruthless and has no mercy for her characters, so you didn’t know, going in, who was going to come out of this alive.
In short: it was fantastic.