Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Review: The Vindico by Wesley King

The Vindico by Wesley King
Series: The Vindico book one
Genre: Sci-Fi/Contemporary
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The Vindico are a group of supervillains who have been fighting the League of Heroes for as long as anyone can remember. Realizing they’re not as young as they used to be, they devise a plan to kidnap a group of teenagers to take over for them when they retire—after all, how hard can it be to teach a bunch of angsty teens to be evil?

Held captive in a remote mansion, five teens train with their mentors and receive superpowers beyond their wildest dreams. Struggling to uncover the motives of the Vindico, the teens have to trust each other to plot their escape. But they quickly learn that the differences between good and evil are not as black and white as they seem, and they are left wondering whose side they should be fighting on after all . . .

They'll soon find out that it's far more fun to be a villain.

Question: How do you recruit a supervillain?

Answer: Kidnap five young students, brainwash them and offer them revenge on whoever has wronged them. And four of the five are teens, so of course someone had wronged them.

Perhaps a better question would have been: How do you train a supervillain?

This book is so much fun. It's the story of James, Lana, Hayden, Emily and Sam as they are kidnapped by the Vindico - more commonly known as Villains to the League's heroes.

I found the characters interesting, although I didn't like all of them. Even the ones I didn't like were well enough developed that I could read about them without wanting to punch them. (Not all books have that honor.) Each character was different than the next and I love the way each one was introduced.

Also, they interacted well and, if they were a little bit of a stereotype, at least they were different enough from each other. And they each had their obvious part in the story. I can see this as a TV series, which I think would be amazing, the characters are all vibrant enough.

The plotline was fairly straightforward. Five kids are kidnapped… Time is spent on training them and explaining superhero/supervillain backstory to them - and us. Some of my favorite moments though was of the kids just hanging out, becoming friends.

I liked the world building. It's really just our world with superpowers. But, these superpowers are given a history. Humans don't know why some people have them, but there are theories. The also didn't just show up at the beginning of the story. Things happened in the past - things that didn't happen in our world - because of superpowers. Which, I thought was really nice to see.

As good as all this was, there was something I loved about the book, beyond everything else.

The hero/villain characterization.

I really didn't expect it to be as…I almost want to say nuanced - as it was. The villains were not as villainous as I had half expected them to be. We got a couple brief looks into each of their heads and I really liked what I saw. They each had a different reason for being there, and I really hope that gets fleshed out better for the next book.

The heroes are - basically - villains with good publicity. They are not the typical shiny superheroes. They've done things that 'heroes' shouldn't be doing and…unsurprisingly, the villains actually came about because of the heroes. 

I really look forward to more information about each group for the next book and hope we get to see more interplay between the heroes and villains.