When I first started seeing the fantastic reviews for this book from all of my friends, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical. After all, I was one of the oddballs that didn’t love ‘Blood to Dust’ like most of my friends did. I wasn’t sure if maybe this just wasn’t the author for me. Luckily for me, my curiosity won out.
While I may not have fallen in love with ‘Blood to Dust’, ‘Vicious’ was a fantastic read for me. This book had one of the biggest a**holes ever to grace the pages of a romance novel…and I couldn’t get enough! I could not believe the stuff that this guy did!
On the other hand, Emilia, was one of the kindest and strongest heroines that I’ve ever encountered. I absolutely loved her inner-strength and her self-awareness when it came to her weakness for Vicious. She didn’t deserve his cruel treatment, but she endured it incredibly well.
Emilia’s parents take a job working for Vicious’ parents when she is in high school. He is the spoiled, but neglected, rich kid. As he frequently points out, she is the “Help”.
From their very first meeting, Vicious makes it a point to make Emilia’s life a living hell. He bullies her relentlessly, even as he is somewhat protective and possessive. She is his to torment and he makes it known.
When Emilia begins dating one of his closest friends, Vicious steps it up a notch. He is outraged at the defiance of Emilia and Dean, used to being in control of everyone and everything around him. Emilia is essentially ran out of town by Vicious and doesn’t see him again until their paths cross again a decade later.
From the start, I was intrigued by the relationship between Emilia and Vicious. There was a constant push and pull between the two of them, and a playfulness underlying their adversarial actions. Vicious, in particular, left me feeling confounded.
This story is a slow-burn and the history between the main characters is well-developed. I appreciated the thoroughly thought out back-story and the slow build-up of anticipation. I loved the pace that this story moved at.
As Vicious’ past comes to light, I grew to understand his actions a little better. Don’t get me wrong, he did some inexcusable things. However, it was hard to view him as a monster after everything he’d endured.
When Vicious screws things up – and he does, of course – Emilia makes him really work for forgiveness. You know how I feel about the necessity of groveling, and grovel he does! Emilia is no pushover and she’s been at the losing end of his games one too many times.
The only thing that I could’ve lived without was the whole pen-pal connection. It felt a little too similar to ‘Punk 57’ for me, especially when combined with the high school bullying theme, and I didn’t think it added much to the story. Both of these books were released so close together, that they were probably being written during the same period of time. However, the similarities were noticeable. They probably stand out to me more than usual since I read ‘Punk 57’ fairly recently.
All things considered, this was a “win” for me. This book was so much better than I expected and I’m so glad that I picked it up. I loved the angsty, back and forth relationship between Vicious and Emilia. I’m looking forward to seeing where the rest of this series will go.