World building: 8/10
Writing style: 9/10
Character building: 10/10
My Opinionated Review
I enjoy a good superhero-supervillain dynamic, superhero movies are just wonderful entertainment. This book is about exactly that, and yet describing it just like a simple superhero story does not do the book justice. Some books just have a feeling that when you read them, they become something more. And this one was a masterpiece.
Just looking at the base of the story, the plot appears to be very predictable and cliché. It has the origin story, a hero’s journey, a fight between a hero and a villain, and how superpowers can be used for both good and evil. Yet the story is not that simple. There was no true hero in this book. Nor there was a true villain. It was about twisted, messed up anti-heroes, and about the importance of perception. How one perceives himself to be a hero, yet his actions are villainous, and a perceived villain, who is actually no worse than the ‘hero’. There was no good side in this book; no black and white. The thing that annoys me the most in superhero stories is the drawn line between the good and bad. And this text eliminated the boring ordeal, making everybody grey. Well maybe more dark grey, since both sides have involved themselves in horrible mischiefs.
I was surprised how the author succeeded in crafting every single character in the matter that the reader tries to understand them, cares for them, and even sees the reason behind the actions. The jumps in the timeline guaranteed that the story was never boring. The multiple perceptions gave the reader an insight into every character’s thoughts and feelings. And all the dynamics were electrifying.
I have loved the twisted sisterly bond between Serena and Sidney, and the absolute power these two girls possessed. I have felt the dysfunctional, yet passionate and the captivating relationship between Eli and Serena. The unlikely team up on Victor’s side was the true heart of the story. And ,of course, the friendship turned to hate and revenge dynamic between the anti-heroes – Victor Vale and Eli Ever. This story is raw. It’s ExtraOrdinary, and yet it makes you wonder where is the line between the good and the evil, and how much everything is based on your perception.
V.E. Shwab has done a wonderful job in creating this messed-up world and truly captivating characters. Her writing style blew me away, and I am certain I will be checking out more of her work in the future.