Vicious - Tor/Forge Blog
Close
post-featured-image

Fantasizing About Revenge

Revenge is a dish best served cold, but these revenge-centric fantasy novels are hot! 

Check ‘em out!


projections by sarah porterProjections by S. E. Porter

Catherine Bildstein is dead. She is not gone. She was murdered. Now, she’s out for revenge. 

In a gothic historical fantasy about poisonous attraction and strange magic, a sorcerer obsesses over a woman, and when he understands he cannot possess her, kills her. Unsatisfied with this peak level of despicability, he sends projections of himself out into the world to ruin the lives of more women who won’t deliver to him the affection to which he believes himself entitled. 

Dead Catherine may be, but her slighted ghost feels strongly the magnetism of revenge. The world is full of strange magic. Garbage wizards better watch out. 

one for my enemy by olivie blakeOne for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

This story of star-crossed love and Manhattan’s occult underworld is Romeo & Juliet done Olivie Blake-style. Those who have read The Atlas Series know that Blake doesn’t play when it comes to writing emotionally devastating arcs, and One for My Enemy is no exception. It’s the scions of shadow underlord Koschei the Deathless versus the daughters of potion maven Baba Yaga as heirs to two respective magical crime families. Doesn’t matter how supernatural you are though—love will turn the lives of you and everyone you know upside down, and strong feeling is a prerequisite for revenge. 

the traitor baru cormorant by seth dickinsonThe Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Baru wants revenge. She needs it, and her target: a colonial empire called the Masquerade. Educated in their schools and knowledgeable in their ways, Baru begins accumulating power but plays by their rules—for now. She becomes an accountant. Her goal is to hold the Masquerade accountable. 

Sometimes revenge is a numbers game. 

vicious by v. e. schwabVicious by V. E. Schwab

Victor and Eli start out as college roommates and that’s also where things go wrong. In their senior year, their shared passion leads them to research superpowers and the conditions under which a person might develop them. Of course, like many roommates in college, everything goes wrong and they despise each other. Victor’s been in prison for ten years now but is cooking an escape. Eli is at large in the world on a mission to exterminate everyone with superpowers. They both want vengeance. 

the archive undying by emma mieko candonThe Archive Undying by Emma Mieko Candon

This epic science fantasy about giant robots that eat people, tyrannical AI deities, and totalitarian police states follows a man named Sunai who cannot die. He was inferfacing with his AI god when it corrupted and now he’s immortal and upset about it. He’s been killed plenty of times though. It just hasn’t stuck. Sunai is fundamentally sad however, and unlikely to seek revenge against his many killers. Himself though? Yeah, he’ll take revenge on himself for every mistake he’s ever made. 

Pretty heavy, and the rest of this book is too. It’s also heart-achingly beautiful and there’s a robot composed of a chittering shifting coral carapace. 

post-featured-image

Tor’s Ice-Cold Villains

They say revenge is a dish best served cold, and you better believe it, because one of those people doing the saying is Khan, titular villain of 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In the spirit of Khan, and winter—being the time of cold, and of villains in general—being incredibly cool, have inspired us. 

Here’s a rundown of some of Tor’s Ice-Cold Villains™ 😎


Vicious by V.E. SchwabEli & Victor from Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Roommate squabbles are often a sad fact of life. Sometimes dishes pile up and noise happens at unfortunate times and you have to work that stuff out for the communal good of your homespace. Or, you could read Vicious, which has the worst ever case of and they were roommates… Eli and Victor go from arrogant and ambitious college roommates working together to arrogant and ambitious and superpowered ex-roommates now enemy villains.*

Eli would contend that he is not a villain, and in fact saving the world by doing all that murder. And Victor is trying to stop him, but is more of an antihero, in this case, technically


Poster Placeholder of - 14Kreon from Arch-Conspirator by Veronica Roth

Oh, this villain is a classic. Literally. Arch-Conspirator is Veronica Roth’s science fiction retelling of Sophocles’s famous tragedy Antigone. Diligent scholars may note that the spelling “Kreon” is a little different from the original “Creon,” but Antigone goes by Tig in this story too, because it’s the future. Other things have changed too—in Roth’s dystopian world, only those birthed through a eugenic process are considered rightly souled. Tig and her sisters, being born outside of the process, are unnatural, and Kreon doesn’t like that, or women. The rest of the story is pretty deadly, but far be it from us to spoil it, if somehow you’ve managed to avoid learning the deets of a famous story that’s been around for 2464 years. 


starter villain by john scalziCharlie from Starter Villain by John Scalzi

Okay we’re warming things up a little for this one. Charlie isn’t really ice-cold, but he’s a good villain to start with, if you’re more looking to dip toes in the waters of villainy. That’s really what Charlie’s doing, in a lot of ways. He’s new to the gig, the inheritor of an evil organization, weapons, and a cadre of spy cats from his long-lost uncle. This is a cozy story for when you need to steal a little warmth back from an ice-cold world. Cozy villainy. 


The Atlas Six by Olivie BlakeEverybody from The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Not only does the rigorous process of higher education often feel like a system designed by a particularly sadistic villain, but sometimes the best way to survive a mad situation is to go a little mad. Enter, the entire cast of The Atlas Six, basically. They’re grad students with a lot of magical powers and even more issues and attractions to work out amongst themselves. And while they work on their research, they also must contend with the mandatory institutional tradition of sacrificing one member of each cohort. Sometimes grad school is murder. 


Place holder  of - 10Cairdine Farrier from The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

So Cairdine Farrier. This villain wears a lot of hats, including: merchant, explorer, agent, father figure (?!), and patron. He’s part of the Masquerade—the empire that took over Baru’s home and killed her parents. Manipulative and highly savvy, it’s difficult for others to parse his full motives and hidden thoughts. A truly dangerous villain, by which we mean: The kind who knows how to ingratiate. 

shivers

 

post-featured-image

Trope Spotlight: 5 Accidental Child Acquisitions

by Merlin Hoye

Here at Tor, we love stories, and the building block tropes that make them! Today, we’re thinking about The Mandalorian, The Last of Us, and Accidental Child Acquisition.

If you’re going through withdrawal from lack of content involving Pedro Pascal accidentally acquiring a child under extremely dangerous circumstances and then reluctantly growing to love said child so much that he would die for them, we totally get it. Lucky you, we’re here to fill that Pedro-shaped hole in your heart with some equally hot reluctant parental figures!

Check them out here. 


Mistborn by Brandon SandersonMistborn by Brandon Sanderson

In a world torn apart by a despot known only as Lord Ruler, a thief named Kelsier forms a crew to take back the world. Kelsier is a Mistborn, a person with the ability to use Allomancy, or metal magic. When he comes across a girl named Vin with the same unique ability, he begins training her in the arts of Allomancy and crime. Vin has had a hard life and she is initially reluctant to allow herself to grow attached to anyone, but as the two broken souls work together, they soon form a kind of trust that is new to both of them.


The Thousand Eyes by A. K. LarkwoodThe Thousand Eyes by A.K. Larkwood

Without being too plot-specific because The Thousand Eyes is the second and final book in the incredible Serpent Gates Duology—this book is in many ways about getting older, as we all must, and do. Our lives don’t turn out the way we thought, for better or for worse. Sometimes that can involve not being wed and sacrificed to the god of death. Sometimes that means not getting as much time as we would like with those we love. In The Thousand Eyes, a character (who never really learned how to get this whole life thing right so much as always be landing on their feet) finds themselves in a guardian role to the precocious child of a former enemy. The kid is powerful, and reckless, and their mom is scary, but so is their world, and our reluctant, frequently exasperated, and sharply witty guardian might be the ideal candidate to help them prepare for it. 


Pinocchio by Carlo CollodiPinocchio by Carlo Collodi

While there’s nothing accidental about the way Geppetto comes by Pinocchio, he’s kind of the OG when it comes to acquiring a child under unusual circumstances. After the lonely cobbler carves a boy out of wood and gives him a name, he is initially overjoyed when the boy magically comes to life. However, the puppet quickly shows a remarkable capacity for mischief and it isn’t long before Geppetto is rather wishing he could unacquire his new son as soon as possible. Don’t miss T.J. Klune’s wholesome take on the classic tale with In the Lives of Puppets, out next March!


Witch King by Martha WellsWitch King by Martha Wells

Kai is a demon. And he was dead. But after getting rudely re-alived by a particularly inept mage, Kai must rally his few allies in order to figure out what on earth has been going on since his assassination. A power called the Rising World Coalition is growing and Kai’’s ragtag group of demons, witches, and sorceresses sets out to stop them, picking up a plucky street urchin named Sanja along the way. There is no one better at writing prickly, emotional characters than Martha Wells and this is a touching story of loveable monsters who ultimately care greatly about one another.


Vicious by V.E. SchwabVicious by V.E. Schwab

When Victor is released from prison, he has only one thought in his mind – getting even with his best friend-turned-arch-nemesis, Eli. The two were college roommates who conducted dangerous experiments involving supernatural powers and superhuman abilities which eventually landed Victor in jail. With the help of Sydney, a young girl with extraordinary powers, he sets out to track down his old friend who he now blames for his misfortunes. In a story of superpowers gone wrong and morally-grey characters, the relationship between Victor and Sydney is the beating heart. If their budding friendship doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, yes it did. You’re lying.

 

post-featured-image

How Long Our Fav Characters Would Survive in a Horror Novel

HI EVERYBODY IT’S OUR FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR IT’S HALLOWEEN SEASON AT LAST YES 🎃👻🍬🍭🕸🕷🦇😈🧟‍♂️🔮🕯

Whew, okay that was a lot of emoji’s there BUT y’all get it. We’re excited for Halloween! And in an excess of autumnal holiday warm feelings, we’re asking folks around our virtual office how long they think some of their favorite characters would survive if transplanted into a horror novel.

Check it out! (And also check out that fantastic header image made for us by a really cool person on tumblr)


The Unspoken Name by A. K. LarkwoodTalasseres Charossa — The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood

My favorite character / unrequited love interest Talasseres Charossa is as petulant and grouchy as he is brave and gay. He’s gone toe-to-toe and steel-on-steel with god(s) and garbage wizards, but would he survive a horror novel? Unfortunately not. Let’s be real. He’s gonna trip and fall into a patch of evil quicksand, or willingly surrender to a hot vampyre lord of advanced age.

a cat, Digital Marketing Coordinator


Nettle & Bone by T. KingfisherThe Demon-chicken — Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

Would this chicken survive? Absolutely. This chicken would be the VILLAIN of the horror movie. But just as the protagonists wipe the blood off their brows and the sun breaks over the horizon and hope seems to burn anew, the camera would slowly pan to the side until we are greeted with the beady black eyes of the demon-chicken. You will gaze into those eyes and witness the abyss, understanding that the true horror is that we will never escape from its fowl [sic] clutches.

Yvonne Ye, Ad/Promo Assistant


Legends & Lattes by Travis BaldreeViv — Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

So I know my favorite character and general light of my life, Viv from Legends & Lattes, would absolutely DEMOLISH anything that came at her in a horror novel. A bad-ass orc barbarian who’s spent years on the road packing steel and raising hell as a sword for hire? Yeah, she’ll be fine. PLUS she has a cozy coffee shop filled with lattes, giant cinnamon rolls, and other treats to make it home to. What other motivation does she need? 💪

Rachel Taylor, Senior Marketing Manager


Book of Night by Holly BlackCharlie Hall — Book of Night by Holly Black

Back again with another character because authors are simply too good at their game and have created too many favs. Next up, I’m choosing Charlie Hall from Book of Night and I’m saying she’s Final Girl™️ material and she’s going to survive. So Charlie occupies a world of devious shadow magic practitioners and they’re all kind of in competition with each other to access more techniques, knowledge, and power. The presence of supernatural powers puts vanilla human Charlie at a disadvantage, but that’s why she’d survive a horror novel. She’s used to this shit, y’all. Also she’s really cool and Book of Night makes me want to buy goth clothes and get another tattoo.

 a cat, Digital Marketing Coordinator


Nettle Bone by TKingfisherThe Demon-chicken (again) — Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

For me, T. Kingfisher is the ultimate horror author. Whether she’s writing low stakes fantasy or high stakes horror, you know it’s gonna be spooky and that I’m gonna be wrapped in a blanket with a cup of tea in my paw and it’s GONNA be raining. Therefore, I choose the chicken familiar from Nettle & Bone. This chicken is literally possessed by an evil entity but only helps our protagonist princess to her end goal. The chicken only uses her evil powers for good. In conclusion, the chicken familiar is quite literally a horror novel unto herself; not only would she survive, she’d help her friends along the way, and maybe even lay an egg or two.

Jordan Hanley, Senior Marketing Manager


Vicious by V. E. SchwabVictor Vale — Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Cold, calculating Victor Vale is as ambitious as he is intelligent. He also has a tendency to be ruthless and obsessive, willing to push the limits of his own body to the brink of death in the pursuit of powers beyond imagination. With his ability to manipulate the pain of others he may last until the grand finale of the horror movie, but his tendency to adopt kids and dogs with his former cellmate will inevitably get him killed. The real question is whether he’ll stay dead or if he might rise up in the post-credits scene to star in a horror movie of his own.

Becky Yeager, Senior Manager of Ad/Promo & Marketing

post-featured-image

Five of Our Favorite Fictional Hackers

Look, our mothers are still disappointed in us for not becoming doctors. But we are disappointed in ourselves for not becoming hackers. 

It’s a digital world and an uncertain world, and our vision of hacking (perhaps a little influenced by pop culture) presents a robin-hood, windy-side-of-the-law path to a little more control over our world. And an opportunity to stick it to jerks and tyrants.

We haven’t ruled out a career change, but in the meantime, we will live our hacker dreams vicariously through badass fictional hackers. Here’s a list of some of our favorite sci-fi hackers.


Poster Placeholder of - 46Murderbot from The Murderbot Diaries series by Martha Wells

Hacking is easier when you’re part bot and you’ve got loads of raw processing power to go with your organic parts. Murderbot could have become a mass murderer when they hacked their governor module, but instead they turned their hacking skills to torrenting hours and hours of media to read, watch, and listen to while still pretending to do their day job: trying to stop humans from dying.

Placeholder of  -22Marcus Yallow  a.k.a “w1n5t0n” and Masha Maximow from Little Brother, Homeland, and Attack Surface

Look we like Marcus because he’s a rebel wunderkind who takes on the evil overreaching DHS with modded xboxes and a can-do attitude. He’s kind of easy to love.

Masha is… less easy to love. She rationalizes herself into some downright morally dubious things in all three books (she’s a bit of an antagonist in Little Brother and Homeland), but she’s a wildly intelligent realist with a chip on her shoulder who likes defying her corporate overlords for fun. So we can’t help but love her too. Check out Attack Surface in paperback now! 

Image Place holder  of - 73The Zer0es from Zer0es by Chuck Wendig

We’re cheating because there are several hackers to vie for favorite in Zer0es. The Zer0es themselves are a motley crew of hackers of varying skill levels.

There’s Chance, who’s a little bit of a con man but he dreams of being an Anonymous-style hacker; Aleena, an Arab Spring hacktivist; DeAndre, a criminal hacker who specializes in credit card data; Reagan, who’s a hacker but also kind of an douchey troll; and Wade, a grizzled old conspiracy theorist. At first look, they sound like a bunch of assholes. But so are the guardians of the galaxy, and these guys have to come together when their blackmailed into working for the government and learn… surprise surprise, our government is way more evil than they are.

Place holder  of - 74Image Placeholder of - 79Case (Henry Dorsett Case) from Neuromancer by William Gibson

Look we know he’s a mess. But we love ourselves a scrappy anti-hero and the fact that he’s a hacker just makes it better. Washed-up hacker is a great archetype (and our favorite way to play Honey Heist). Case has mad skills and considering he’s been booby-trapped and blackmailed, a hell of a lot of motivation. We won’t… spoil it (THIS BOOK CAME OUT IN THE 80s GET ON IT), but he’s also the centerpiece of a cyberpunk classic that is designed to mess with your mind and expectations, and we can’t help but love him for that too.

book-catfishingCheshireCat from Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer

So it’s also a little easier to hack when you are a sentient AI like CheshireCat. But Cheshire is a gem and we love them too much to not include them in any list of excellent hackers. They are fully willing to hack anything from smart cars to bad robo sex ed teachers to help out their favorite humans. They also hack a small army of service bots as a small private army and we stan a sentient AI who’s willing to put in the work to keep their squishier friends around.

Honorable mentions to Mitch from Vicious by V. E. Schwab and Wade from Ready Player One (and Two now!) by Ernest Kline.

*We tried to write about our favorite real life hackers but they somehow managed to hack this article and make it fictional.

post-featured-image

Vicious Summer Sweepstakes

Our #ViciousSummer continues! Love villains, superpowers, and tales of revenge? We’ve got something just for you. Comment below for a chance to win a copy of the new hardcover edition of Vicious by V. E. Schwab and a Vengeful tote!

We’ll be offering more chances to win copies of Vicious all summer long. Make sure you follow @torbooks on Twitter so you don’t miss out on the next chance to win!

No purchase necessary. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States, D.C. and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are age 13 or older. Entry period begins at 9:00 AM Eastern Time (ET) on September 4, 2018 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on September 9, 2018. Void where prohibited. For full Official Rules, visit https://www.torforgeblog.com/vicious-september-sweepstakes/. Sponsored by Tom Doherty Associates, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10010.

post-featured-image

Vicious Summer Sweepstakes

Our #ViciousSummer continues! Love villains, superpowers, and tales of revenge? We’ve got something just for you. Comment below for a chance to win a copy of the new hardcover edition of Vicious by V. E. Schwab, plus some villainous swag including a tote and a set of character cards!

We’ll be offering more chances to win copies of Vicious all summer long. Make sure you follow @torbooks on Twitter so you don’t miss out on the next chance to win!

No purchase necessary. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States, D.C. and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are age 13 or older. Entry period begins at 9:00 AM Eastern Time (ET) on August 21, 2018 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on August 26, 2018. Void where prohibited. For full Official Rules, visit https://www.torforgeblog.com/villains-august-swag-sweepstakes. Sponsored by Tom Doherty Associates, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10010.

post-featured-image

Vicious Summer Sweepstakes

Our #ViciousSummer continues! Love villains, superpowers, and tales of revenge? We’ve got something just for you. Comment below for a chance to win a copy of the new hardcover edition of Vicious by V. E. Schwab and a tote!

We’ll be offering more chances to win copies of Vicious all summer long. Make sure you follow @torbooks on Twitter so you don’t miss out on the next chance to win!

No purchase necessary. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States, D.C. and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are age 13 or older. Entry period begins at 9:00 AM Eastern Time (ET) on August 7, 2018 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on August 12, 2018. Void where prohibited. For full Official Rules, visit https://www.torforgeblog.com/vicious-august-sweepstakes/. Sponsored by Tom Doherty Associates, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10010.

post-featured-image

Vicious Summer Sweepstakes

Our #ViciousSummer continues! Love villains, superpowers, and tales of revenge? We’ve got something just for you. Comment below for a chance to win a copy of the new hardcover edition of Vicious by V. E. Schwab, plus a Vengeful tote and a set of character cards!

We’ll be offering more chances to win copies of Vicious all summer long. Make sure you follow @torbooks on Twitter so you don’t miss out on the next chance to win!

No purchase necessary. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States, D.C. and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are age 13 or older. Entry period begins at 9:00 AM Eastern Time (ET) on July 24, 2018 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on July 29, 2018. Void where prohibited. For full Official Rules, visit https://www.torforgeblog.com/villains-july-swag-sweepstakes/. Sponsored by Tom Doherty Associates, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10010.

post-featured-image

Vicious Summer Sweepstakes

Our #ViciousSummer continues! Love villains, superpowers, and tales of revenge? We’ve got something just for you. Comment below for a chance to win a copy of the new hardcover edition of Vicious by V. E. Schwab and a tote!

We’ll be offering more chances to win copies of Vicious all summer long. Make sure you follow @torbooks on Twitter so you don’t miss out on the next chance to win!

No purchase necessary. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States, D.C. and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are age 13 or older. Entry period begins at 9:00 AM Eastern Time (ET) on July 10, 2018 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on July 15, 2018. Void where prohibited. For full Official Rules, visit https://www.torforgeblog.com/vicious-july-sweepstakes/. Sponsored by Tom Doherty Associates, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10010.

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.