V. E. Schwab
Finally! A Schwab book I can get behind. I heard good things about the villains and good vs. evil of this book, which is exactly what I was looking for and I was happy with the plot and characters.
This book is about two very smart men, Victor and Eli, who get caught up in Eli's thesis on EOs (or ExtraOrdinaries). They quickly find a way to become EOs and put their theories to the test, but things don't end well for the two and they end up becoming mortal nemeses. The story centers around Victor's search for Eli and revenge while picking up some sidekicks along the way.
The main reason I liked this book so much was because of the theoretical framework of good vs. evil and also on science vs. religion and beliefs. Eli thinks that EOs are unnatural, and that his ability is a sign from God that he should eliminate other EOs. Does this make him the hero or the villain? What does that make Victor? What effect do their beliefs have on how they use their abilities or how they view themselves after trauma? It's all very interesting.
And then there's the characters. I love any books with abilities, because there are so many different directions you can go with what people can do. The abilities that Schwab included were pretty original and made for a better read than some X-men recreation like most abilities tend to become. I also love that the characters had science backing their theories and realized that peoples' abilities are caused by their feelings or thoughts during their climb back from death. I loved Sydney and her grapple with being able to do something so dark and still having the innocence of a child. I loved her conflict with her sister, and also how Serena struggled with her own ability and abuse of power. I especially loved how Schwab included Mitch, someone completely ordinary but so very useful to Victor, even without an ability.
The only complaint I had while reading was that Victor and Eli knew each other entirely too well and wouldn't fall into each others' traps. Both men were way ahead of each other and thinking about what moves the other would make and it led to some confusion when it came to their plans.
Overall, it was a good read. I really hope the second book continues along the same lines.