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Book Review: ‘Assistant to the Villain’ is quite charming

Spoiler warning: Minor spoilers ahead


Spicy = Level of sexual content

YA = Young Adult 

Slow Burn = Slow-building romance

“Assistant to the Villain” takes place in a medieval-corporate world. We are introduced to our female lead Evie as she wanders through the forest after another failed attempt at finding a job. She runs into “The Villain,” the dark magician and brutal killer known across the kingdom of Rennedawn. 

After a series of small unfortunate events, including being chased by royal guards after The Villain, she starts her employment as his assistant. We get introduced to the lovable magical companion of The Villian, Kingsley, a talking frog who can only say one word at a time, who is a rather comical addition to the cast. 

We see times of laughter, sadness, confrontation of past trauma and the introduction of a building romance as we follow our sunshine protagonist catering to the whims and woes of her brooding-grumpy villain boss. 

This book was a very enjoyable read. It is a silly-bright book. The setting in itself is a corporate office in medieval times. We see medieval sword fights, magic and dragons right after seeing office workers drinking coffee. It was written to give people a good time reading. 

If you have seen this book on TikTok, then you may either see the extreme reviews ranging from “This book is one of the worst books of the year” to “This is Fantastic!”

Many people seem to have started reading the book with high expectations, thinking that this would be a dark-spicy romance. In fairness, the story in itself was marketed as being a spicy series. However, the first book was marketed as being a combination of the best YA novels. 

It is a slow burn. There is not any sexual content in the book. There is romantic and sexual tension that helps to build the character relationships. So, if you need a good, cute and wholesome book as a palette cleanser, this is a good book for it. 

There have been many critiques about the writing. The book has some fallbacks when it comes to its literary devices. There is a need for editing, as an over and unnecessary use of descriptive words can be seen in the book. The connection between events and the progression of the story can be tricky to follow as well.

This is not a book for those who expect a one-and-done literary masterpiece. However, despite its flaws, it is not a bad read. 

As stated previously, many people came in with high expectations due to the way the book was marketed. Many people who enjoyed the book set the bar high for readers who read more serious and practiced authors. 

The book was described as “‘Once Upon a Time’ meets ‘The Office’” in The NerdDaily’s interview with the novel’s author, Hannah Nicole Maehrer. She is known for using quirky-cringe humor to get readers involved in the story. 

It was a main tool in adding comedic relief and developing the relationships and personalities of the characters. While there have been many negative opinions about the characters and the quality they are written in, they are still being developed. 

This is not a standalone book. The characters have been introduced and are being developed through the rest of the trilogy. It would be unfair to critique not knowing every minuscule detail of various characters in the first book of a trilogy. The book set up the future world-building that will be expected to happen in the next two books. 

The world-building could have used some work. Learning about the world around the characters more than just their personal interactions with it should have been included. 

It also would have been great to learn more about the antagonist and the propaganda surrounding the villain, along with the rest of the kingdom and its political and cultural climate. Hopefully, it will be included in the second and third installments of the trilogy. 

Taking the book as it is meant to be read, the beginnings of it allow for the book to be a quirky, sometimes cringy, wholesome, slow-burn fantasy novel. The book was made to have a fun time and be refreshing to its reader.

If you need a break from hardcore reads and dark romances, or just need a place to escape in a nonsensical yet adorable work, this book is a recommended unserious and wholesome read. It is exactly how you would expect a tale from a storybook to be: charming. 

Rating:  3.6/5


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