Brad Baron is used to looking lame compared to his older brother, Blake. Though Brad’s basically a genius, Blake is a superhero in the elite Justice Force. And Brad doesn’t measure up at his high school, either, where powers like super-strength and flying are the norm. So when Brad makes friends who are more into political action than weight lifting, he’s happy to join a new crew-especially since it means spending more time with Layla, a girl who may or may not have a totally illegal, totally secret super-power. And with her help, Brad begins to hone a dangerous new power of his own.
But when they’re pulled into a web of nefarious criminals, high-stakes battles, and startling family secrets, Brad must choose which side he’s on. And once he does, there’s no turning back.
Perfect for fans of The Avengers, Ironman, and classic comic books, V is for Villain reveals that it’s good to be bad.
In the world of superheroes and villains, there’s this apparently clear-cut between them. The other one is the good guy and in need to triumph, while the bad guy must be defeated. But is that always the case? And so when a story tries to blur the lines, flip the coin, and start focusing on the bad guys, this always leaves me intrigued. This is why I was so engrossed with Victoria Schwab’s Vicious; like someone said before, villains often times see themselves as protagonists of their own story. And that’s true and this book tried to showcase that (operative word: tried).
Now, it’s not say that I don’t like it. This book is a bit tamer and bit juvenile for my taste but overall still enjoyable. Perhaps, I’m more used to a darker tone when it comes to this kind of theme and this didn’t have that heavy atmosphere I was expecting it to. The protagonist, Brad isn’t evil per se and while the road he had taken (along with his friends) wasn’t the heroes’ path, their objectives weren’t morally unacceptable. In fact, they are actually doing mankind a favor. There’s a big conspiracy going on behind the scene and it involved innocent lives: one that led to what people mostly feared. And if I think about it, Brad and company could be the true heroes here, and the good guys are just a front, unaware even; deceiving the people of the truth.
I’m not sure about it but I think it also tried to convey subtle message about differences. Brad came from a family with a superhero legacy. His brother was the hero everyone adored, and to compare him to his brother, he didn’t stand a chance. He thought he has zero powers but he has his own talents, abilities of his own. And when he got himself associated with Layla and the rest of the gang (The Hellions, Woot!), he actually learned to like what he has and come to terms to fully utilize it to benefit their own goals.
I think it did make the flow of the story a little lighter when it injected a few humor, her and there. Brad could be sarcastic (or just plain honest, must come with his ability), even his new found friends added a few light moments. But in the end, for me, it wasn’t about him being the villain. It was the question of who the real villain is and what makes them one. When people have standard type of who is good and evil, sometimes they forgot to question and just simply accept what the norm is (that’s why they had this super cliché set-up). Plus, who’s to say that telepathy (Brad’s) isn’t valuable as super strength? Right? So maybe Brad is out there doing supposedly ‘bad’ things but I think he has good reasons for it.
Format: Advance Reader’s Copy
Preview Quote: “But he didn’t come off that way to me. I just had this gut feeling that there was more going on with him than the heroes or newspaper had led us to believe.”