Release Date: 24 September, 2013
A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world. 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?
I obtained a 100-page preview of this novel via NetGalley, and from page eight I was quoting lines to my partner and friends, sneaking paragraphs at work and unable to put it down, whilst at the same time forcing myself to because I only had 109 pages and I didn’t want them to be over.
It’s hard to place my finger on exactly what about it works – the characters are engaging, and so is the university setting half the book is set so far. It works because it’s split between the present (give or take a few days) and ten years beforehand and when you see where they are now you simply have to know how they came to such strife.
Mainly it’s Schwab’s way with words and her description. She says something, yet it leaves you even more intrigued than you were before rather than answering any questions you may have had – in a good way! For example:
Victor turned and sunk one of the spades into the earth. He then tossed the other one to Sydney, who unfolded her arms just in time to catch it. The shovel was almost as tall as she was. A few days shy of her thirteenth birthday, and even for twelve and eleven twelfths, Sydney Clarke was small. She had always been on the short side, but it certainly didn’t help that she had 5 barely grown an inch since the day she’d died.
Lockland University had a mandatory art credit, even for budding doctors and scientists (a quote I thought tumblr would appreciate)
All Eli had to do was smile. All Victor had to do was lie. Both proved frighteningly effective.
Already I can only hope that there will be move novels set with these characters in this world afterwards. I’m far too fascinated by Victor and Eli to give them up anytime soon. It’s less than three months until publication, and this book is already available for pre-order in most places.
Also, if you do pre-order the novel/e-copy and send through proof to the author via email, she’ll send you trading cards of the characters and herself! Details can be found at her blog at this link.
This was originally posted at SentientOnline on the 10th July 2013.