This was…bizarre. More bizarre than I was expecting even given the screwball pitch. But it was fun?
Actual plot: ★★
Sometimes, you read a book for the vibes. Assistant to the Villain is that book.
Evie Sage needs a job. Her father is ill, her sister is young, and they have no money. So when she encounters The Villain—the land's most notorious criminal and murderer!!—in the woods on the run from the king's guard, Evie finds herself in the bizarre position of accepting The Villain's offer of employment. Evie handled herself well in the crisis of escape, and The Villain wants her to handle his office.
It turns out Evie is the perfect personal assistant to The Villain.
From office drama to document filing disasters, Evie has The Villain's lair in tip-top shape. Her drama with the office manager, dastardly Becky, is a prick in her side, but Evie won't let that get to her. She is a professional. (Even when the severed heads of The Villain's enemies drip blood on her when she's trying to get to her desk.)
The Villain has no idea how he came to have Evie in his employ. She's fearless, she's clumsier than any human ought to be and make it alive to adulthood, and she's determined to succeed in her profession. (The Villain refuses to acknowledge that he would do a great many things to keep Evie's mood happy and content. Her smile and twinkling personality do absolutely nothing to the odd flutter in his stomach when she's nearby.)
But like all evil overlords, The Villain has those who wish him dead. And as a plot to end his reign of terror unfolds, Evie and The Villain find themselves trying to find a hidden culprit before its too late...
From that pitch, you know this is an odd satirical tale. It's like The Office mixed with medieval villainy, and it's a screwball pitch on a good day. Mix in a dash of romantic drama, some very iconic yet limited side characters, and you've got quite a narrative setup.
And I'll be honest... it was fun. Was it my favorite though? No.
This concept was fantastic, and the author clearly has a talent for the odd mix of Monty Python energy mixed with grounded plot. But in full transparency, this book was a lot. It was both easy to put down and very exhausting to try to read in large chunks. With a lot of sameness in the humor and some interesting turns in the plot that lost me rather than gripped me, Assistant to the Villain was a book that I found myself enjoying but not loving.
I also assumed this novel was a standalone, but it VERY clearly is not. So be warned for an unresolved ending that apparently has two more books... However, all that being said, I am intrigued enough to continue and see where the author takes us.
Amy Imogene Reads
Just someone looking for her own door into Wonderland.