On the Same Page: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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ON THE SAME PAGE: VICIOUS and ANTIHEROES

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Upon finishing VICIOUS, I came to the somehow surprising realization that I really, really enjoy antiheroes. Really, I don’t know why this was a surprising revelation for me since I’ve grown attached to quite a few antiheroes featured in literature, TV, and film, but for some reason main character Victor Vale really opened my eyes to this.

Why do I love the antihero so much? I think it’s in part because I love seeing justice being served in a way that doesn’t compromise the protagonist’s virtue in a traditional sense. A lot of antiheroes have already been hardened. They’re not you’re typical hero so they tend to have dark pasts with dark motives and may or may not have already committed a few unspeakable crimes before we even meet them. When it comes down to that final moment for the antihero to eliminate the villain, and let’s face it, usually with murder on the mind, it doesn’t feel like an innocence is being lost if they succeed. We all knew that it had to come down to Harry Potter killing Voldemort, for example, but he was just a kid! He didn’t want to kill anyone. He did have a dark past but he was truly a good person and no one wanted to see him have to kill someone, no matter how evil. When a true hero is put in the position to kill someone, it’s heart-breaking and bittersweet. When an antihero is put in a position to off the villain, I find myself rooting for them.

The antihero is also very appealing to me, I think, because the villain that they come up against has committed WAY more heinous crimes. If I find myself rooting for someone who’s not a traditional hero, chances are the person they’re battling has done something extremely terrible! There always has to be a guy who’s worse, right? Often times the villain has done things that are just TOO appalling that it takes a special kind of someone to take him down where others have failed — maybe the traditional hero’s conventional methods just aren’t enough. Enter: antihero.

I also enjoy being able dabble in the dark side while still rooting for the side of “good”. Sometimes the dark side is the more interesting side. It’s like passing a car crash that you just can’t help but stare at — it’s horrifying but incredibly interesting. The antihero sometimes has a much more interesting past, or a much more complicated present and often times their morals function with more of a gray area. The antihero allows us to look the other way on certain crimes in order to right the wrongs and establish justice once more.

Enter the soft side: One of my favorite things about antiheroes is seeing them soften towards other characters. Be it a child, a dog, a romance… It’s so much more touching to see the softer side of them because it’s not something you often see. Antiheroes are more likely to keep to themselves, keep their emotions under wraps (whether by choice or by initial nature), and so when they show a compassionate side, it just makes my insides melt! I think that really establishes an emotional connection with the antihero and it makes me want to root for them even more. There’s a bit of a good guy deep down there somewhere and when the audience sees that side, it just makes them feel so much more wronged and betrayed if something bad happens to those characters!

Victor Vale is a complicated character. He’s never quite been the traditional good guy and he makes a fantastic antihero in VICIOUS. I loved seeing his motives, his thought processes, and the way he formed relationships. If I didn’t know if before, I surely know it now: I really do enjoy a good antihero to save the day.

vicious         dexter  

      flick            dragontattoo

Don’t forget to check out Alyssa’s and Amy’s posts for Vicious today too!

Alyssa — Books Take You Places ||  Amy — Tripping Over Books

9 thoughts on “On the Same Page: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

  1. Jan

    I’m a huge fan of the anti-hero too! They’re just so much more interesting because they’re usually more complex and have a bit more spark to them!

  2. Allie @ Little Birdie

    I love a good anti-hero in books, movies & TV shows (hello final season Spike!).

    What I don’t like is when a bad guy is turned into a good guy by retconning all the bad things he has ever done, instead of trying to redeem him through his future actions. I don’t like my anti-heros to lose all of their complexity so the plot can be tied in a bow!

    Great post 🙂

  3. Rebecca @ The Library Canary

    I love this post! I feel the exact same way about antiheroes. I love them. I find them to be such interesting characters. I think it’s because they always have a dark past (which makes them interesting) and I love seeing the growth. When they grow it just seems more noticeable to me than when a regular hero grows, you know what I mean? It just stands out and makes me so happy when their walls start to break down. Take Warner from the Shatter Me series for example. He was such a “bad” character, but I was rooting for him because I saw slivers of another side and I knew that he could be good. Or Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass. She has a really dark past and isn’t exactly a good person (being an assassin) so I love reading about moments where she softens a bit and shows her more human side.

  4. Pamela D

    I love anti-heroes too. I love reading crime books from the criminal’s POV. There is something so relaxing about reading from the anti-hero’s POV.

  5. Alexa S.

    Antiheroes can be so fun to read about! They’ve got that good side to them that allows them to “save the day”, but they’re also sassy and smartasses and generally got an attitude problem — which is all the more entertaining for me!

  6. Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

    I can’t wait to start Vicious. I loved Flick, Dexter and Lisbeth so much so I know I will love Victor. Vicious is definitely on my “read ASAP” list. I am ashamed to admit that I got it from the library TWICE and both times had to return it because I didn’t read it in time. Anyway back to the topic at hand – I LOVE THE ANTIHERO. It’s so much fun “dabbling in the dark side” as you put it!

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