Codename Villanelle (Killing Eve #1)
Villanelle (a codename, of course) is one of the world's most skilled assassins. A catlike psychopath whose love for the creature comforts of her luxurious lifestyle is second only to her love of the game, she specializes in murdering the world's richest and most powerful. But when she murders an influential Russian politician, she draws a relentless foe to her tail. Eve Polastri (not a codename) is a former MI6 operative hired by the national security services for a singular task: to find and capture or kill the assassin responsible, and those who have aided her. Eve, whose quiet and otherwise unextraordinary life belies her quick wit and keen intellect, accepts the mission. The ensuing chase will lead them on a trail around the world, intersecting with corrupt governments and powerful criminal organizations, all leading towards a final confrontation from which neither will emerge unscathed. Codename Villanelle is a sleek, fast-paced international thriller from an exciting new voice in fiction.

Codename Villanelle (Killing Eve #1) Details

TitleCodename Villanelle (Killing Eve #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 3rd, 2018
PublisherMulholland Books
ISBN-139780316512527
Rating
GenreThriller, Fiction, Mystery, Crime, Lgbt, Spy Thriller, Espionage

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Codename Villanelle (Killing Eve #1) Review

  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    If you loved Killing Eve, chances are good you'll enjoy this. I loved it. Fast-paced, compelling plot progress. Villanelle is fascinating, efficient and quick on her feet. Enough details, but not too much. Far fewer characters than the TV series. It's entirely fresh and unlike anything else I've read, all in a good way. The writers of the series, however, made some key plot and personnel changes for their adaptation, so you need to accept that the novel isn't a blueprint of the show if you inten If you loved Killing Eve, chances are good you'll enjoy this. I loved it. Fast-paced, compelling plot progress. Villanelle is fascinating, efficient and quick on her feet. Enough details, but not too much. Far fewer characters than the TV series. It's entirely fresh and unlike anything else I've read, all in a good way. The writers of the series, however, made some key plot and personnel changes for their adaptation, so you need to accept that the novel isn't a blueprint of the show if you intend to enjoy it. For those who've watched the series and want to know some key differences between the novel and the adaptation?(view spoiler)[Konstantin dies earlier and differently. Frank isn't in the book and the traitor isn't anyone the team knows well. The Russia expert who hires Eve isn't female. FatPanda's death is far more peaceful. Villanelle isn't purchasing any comforters or delivering suitcases of fine apparel to Eve. At least not yet. (hide spoiler)]Note that the book is written entirely in the present tense. I adjusted to it, but it is not my preference and could send some readers up the proverbial wall.If you haven't seen Killing Eve, watch it first, then read this novel. If you read this novel first, I suspect you'll enjoy the series less.
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  • Kinksrock
    January 1, 1970
    I have to give credit to the producers of the series "Killing Eve" that they found in this mediocre novel the basis for a better than average tv show.This novel -- the introduction to a book series that is coming or has already happened? -- is really nothing special. It's the story of two women, one a psychopathic contract killer, the other a British agent, who are pitted against each other. I saw some influence of Ian Fleming, especially in the descriptions of clothing, and some influence of "T I have to give credit to the producers of the series "Killing Eve" that they found in this mediocre novel the basis for a better than average tv show.This novel -- the introduction to a book series that is coming or has already happened? -- is really nothing special. It's the story of two women, one a psychopathic contract killer, the other a British agent, who are pitted against each other. I saw some influence of Ian Fleming, especially in the descriptions of clothing, and some influence of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" series, notably the explicit sex. But that only emphasized that this book was nowhere near as good as a James Bond novel, the "Dragon Tattoo" novels, and is far inferior to the series that it inspired.Some elements of the novel just don't make sense, and the producers of the show were smart to cut them out. The whole novel we are told that "Villanelle" is a sociopath who can mimic feelings but doesn't feel them and can't have real relationships. But she has a friend that she socializes with. This is a distraction that doesn't fit in the story, and is not part of the tv series (good decision).I will continue watching "Killing Eve", but I'm not going to continue reading the "Villanelle" novels, assuming there are more coming. I recommend the show, not this book.
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  • Lo O'Neill
    January 1, 1970
    Not going to lie the reason that I wanted to read this book was because I watched the BBC adaption Killing Eve and I completely loved that. However, this did bring up the worry for me that the book wouldn’t be as good and that it was actually the cast of actors that I loved more (because they were amazing and so much fun to watch!). Luckily, watching the show has not detracted from the novel at all, which is an achievement considering the deviations from the book that TV show took. The character Not going to lie the reason that I wanted to read this book was because I watched the BBC adaption Killing Eve and I completely loved that. However, this did bring up the worry for me that the book wouldn’t be as good and that it was actually the cast of actors that I loved more (because they were amazing and so much fun to watch!). Luckily, watching the show has not detracted from the novel at all, which is an achievement considering the deviations from the book that TV show took. The characters are wonderfully developed (the actors of characters in the book have done a great job) and there are very few characters which I found refreshing, especially for a novel in this genre, it allowed all the focus to be on those that were important. I also loved Villanelle’s confidence in her sexuality throughout the book, which for me is always worth an additional half a star, especially when that is not the main focus of the story.The story is paced beautifully, albeit shorter than what I thought it would be. However, the cliff-hanger ending was frustrating and I did have a moment of thinking, this cannot be the end of the book! I loved that the story was mainly focused on Villanelle and we got to see her development and history without it ever taking away from the progression of the story. I would highly recommend that anyone that enjoyed the show also read the book, you won’t regret it! 3.5 stars for Codename Villanelle.
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  • Ian
    January 1, 1970
    The Girl with the Drag and Drop TattooThis book raises many questions, some of which are more easily answered than others.The big question is: can Luke Jennings keep both Villanelle and Eve alive long enough to milk the excellent TV series?Fortunately, sequels to both book and TV series are in the pipeline (as at the time of writing this review).Comparisons and QueriesNow for some comparisons:The four stories have the political thriller overtones of a John le Carre novel. They're set in a world The Girl with the Drag and Drop TattooThis book raises many questions, some of which are more easily answered than others.The big question is: can Luke Jennings keep both Villanelle and Eve alive long enough to milk the excellent TV series?Fortunately, sequels to both book and TV series are in the pipeline (as at the time of writing this review).Comparisons and QueriesNow for some comparisons:The four stories have the political thriller overtones of a John le Carre novel. They're set in a world where cyber-warfare between the US and the UK (on the one hand), and Russia and China (on the other), and their respective criminal underworlds, is a reality, and nobody bothers to deny it any longer. The settings are as exotic and diverse as those in David Mitchell's "Ghostwritten". Villanelle is a more conventionally attractive Lisbeth Salander. There are two more questions that I want to ask: how is Villanelle described in the book? and why is Eve so attracted to her? The first is easier to answer than the second. Perhaps that's part of the appeal of the TV series?The Physical Description of VillanelleLuke Jennings tells us repeatedly that Villanelle is beautiful and that she has small breasts (Eve calls them "neat little breasts"). She's 26. She has "sharp cat-like features." She also has a small scar on her top lip, the result of a childhood incident, "the last vestige of her former self." Her eyes are the grey colour of slate. We never learn the natural colour or cut of her hair, because she usually wears wigs for effect or disguise. She seems to default to a "chic Parisian crop". She can pass for a model ("she's a looker"), she has "the cheekbones and the fuck-you stare". When Eve sees her on CCTV, she thinks she has "an oval, high cheek-boned face, framed by a dark, glossy bob." Some witnesses recall that "her dark-blonde hair was worn in a ponytail." From a distance, Eve recognises her "dark blonde hair slicked back from fine, sharp-cut features. A subtle, sensual twist to the mouth."Villanelle's drink of choice is mineral water, but she's comfortable with watermelon Martinis. (I can only imagine, though I have had a watermelon cocktail at Spice Bar!)The Mutual Attraction of the Hunter and the HuntedAfter the assassination of a Russian political demagogue in London, Eve is on the hunt for Villanelle. When Villanelle realises it (it doesn't take her long), a cat and mouse game commences. The hunter becomes the hunted, the prey the predator. This is not your standard police procedural. Eve recognises something (of herself?) in Villanelle. She won't stop until she works out what it is. To succeed, she must learn about both herself and her prey.Villanelle has acquired "a vast repertoire of expressions: tenderness, sympathy, distress, guilt, shock, sadness...she has never actually experienced any such emotions, but she can simulate them all."Equally, she's never been or fallen in love. "Sex, for her, offers only fleeting physical satisfaction. What she finds much more exciting is to look into another person's eyes and to know, like a cobra swaying in front of its hypnotised prey, that she is in absolute control. But that game gets boring, too. People capitulate so easily... The moment someone else desires her, she loses interest in them. "Eve thinks that her Black Rose is in her mid-twenties, highly intelligent, and a loner. She is audacious, cool under pressure, and supremely skilled at compartmentalising her emotions. In all probability she is a sociopath, wholly lacking in affect and conscience. She will have few or no friends, and such relationships as she forms will be overwhelmingly manipulative and sexual in nature. Killing, in all probability, will have become necessary to her, with each successful murder further proof of her untouchability.""She's beautiful, in the way that a bird of prey is beautiful, but never has Eve encountered a gaze of such human blankness." Eve is ostensibly a heterosexual woman married to Niko, whom she loves. But that might not be the end of the story: "She's guarding him from the truth about herself. From the side of her that he knows exists, but that he chooses not to acknowledge. The side of her that is utterly absorbed by the woman she is hunting, and the dark, refracted world in which she exists." The book is quite different from the TV series, but lots of credit is due to author Luke Jennings and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Both characters and plot are compelling in each manifestation of the work.
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  • Josh
    January 1, 1970
    A conglomerate of the wealthy controlling worldwide drug trafficking, politics, and banking interests known as The Twelve is threatened when a European underworld faction muscles in on their trade. In response, they dispatch a lethal killer known only by her handle; Villanelle, to take care of the problem. Unbeknownst to The Twelve, Villanelle's bloody footprint will be closely followed by an industrious MI5 agent, Eve, commencing a deadly game of cat and mouse.Codename Villanelle is a fast, act A conglomerate of the wealthy controlling worldwide drug trafficking, politics, and banking interests known as The Twelve is threatened when a European underworld faction muscles in on their trade. In response, they dispatch a lethal killer known only by her handle; Villanelle, to take care of the problem. Unbeknownst to The Twelve, Villanelle's bloody footprint will be closely followed by an industrious MI5 agent, Eve, commencing a deadly game of cat and mouse.Codename Villanelle is a fast, action-orientated thriller which spans multiple continents, switching POV's between the deadly antagonist and the determined protagonist to provide a well rounded story showcasing both sides of the equation. My rating: 4/5 stars. This is the first in a new series featuring Villanelle and establishes the character really well; balancing out the backstory amid the present day setting while maintaining a frenetic momentum throughout. With the episodic-like action sequences well executed and engaging cast of characters, this series looks to be a winner.
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  • Charles
    January 1, 1970
    Firstly, I read this entirely because I’m enjoying the TV Series , which is very good. Despite the differences the book adds details that make the TV Series richer. Secondly, unlike the TV Series, the book is more of a guys read. In some ways it reminds me of Atomic Blonde: The Coldest City. Finally, the book ends in a cliffhanger, which causes me some consternation.This is a very short book at about 220 pages. Its internally separated into four (4) long chapters or sections. Each of the chapter Firstly, I read this entirely because I’m enjoying the TV Series , which is very good. Despite the differences the book adds details that make the TV Series richer. Secondly, unlike the TV Series, the book is more of a guys read. In some ways it reminds me of Atomic Blonde: The Coldest City. Finally, the book ends in a cliffhanger, which causes me some consternation.This is a very short book at about 220 pages. Its internally separated into four (4) long chapters or sections. Each of the chapter/sections is the length of a short story. Generally, each of the sections is a description of one of Villanelle’s hits. Long term plotlines are woven through each hit.Writing was good. Dialog was likely better than descriptive prose. Inner dialog is more important than spoken. The protagonist and antagonist both aren't much of a talker. I first thought the descriptive prose, was better, but after the second section, I noticed that there was a lot of repetition. For example, all fashionable, women's shoes are described as "strappy". In addition, I am not as tickled by haute couture as I am by the descriptions of Russian and eastern European firearms. The action sequences were good. Flashbacks and POV changes were well-handled. Folks with TV-14 sensibilities may be uncomfortable with the sex and violence. The sex is not heteronormative and (I thought) tastefully graphic. Violence is less explicit than the sex, but not gratuitous. Body count is high, but not OTT.There were very few characters-- Villanelle (a codename) and Polastri provide the two POVs. The author is a man. Both the main characters are women. Perhaps they’re not the best rendered female characters, but ones a sociopath and the other has high functioning autism. Who’s to say how they talk, think and act? Supporting characters are standard fare for the espionage genre. The other major characters are Niko and the Handlers. Polastri’s Polish husband Niko gets some advanced development. Theirs is a geek-on-geek romance. Villanelle’s handler Konstantin is a cipher. Edwards is Polastri’s handler. He’s a cipher too. I expect Polastri’s handler will get future development. The other characters are recognizable: spies, civil servants and members of the demimonde.Plot is a variation of the Benevolent Conspiracy . An extra-legal plot exists to maintain the status quo of world political and economic power. It’s engineered by a supra-national, anonymous, power block. (Think The Deep State.) Spy novels are all about: Money, Ideology, Compromise (or Coercion), and Ego. The Conspiracy is way ahead of national security organizations in matters of infiltration and compromise. Villanelle is Russian and Polastri is Ex-MI5 now MI6. Villenelle is an unstable tool of The Conspiracy applying coercion and dealing with her ego. Polastri is her good-guy hunter working sub rosa from within MI6. The story bears a certain resemblance to an old-skool East vs. West spy novel. (Russian spies never go out of style.) Although, the story is more Ian Fleming than John le Carré.Note there is a strong edu-tainment component to the story. It includes: major foreign city geography lessons, spy craft, firearms and munitions, haute couture, mixology, and other accoutrements of the bourgeois, clandestine, operative lifestyle.In addition, it was interesting to compare and contrast how the TV series screenwriters had changed the story. For example cutting-out the Shanghai location to save location shooting costs and gender-bending of certain characters. Reading the book also added details that ended-up giving the TV series more depth. For example, there is a lot more backstory on Villanelle's victims and details on the hit are given.Finally, this book ends in a cliffhanger. Actually, it just stops, with you knowing what the next step in Polastri’s investigation will be and Villanelle being apprehensive about her standing in The Conspiracy. You may want to wait for the series to end before reading this.This is not a particularly well written story. However, it’s solidly written enough. I think where it has problems is that it’s a guy’s novel; written by a man, that happens to have women as the main characters. The women are not authentic enough. In addition, Villanelle is moderately sexualized. I can understand why lovers of the TV series are disappointed with this book. However, if you’re at home with post post-9/11 action thrillers you’ll find this book is quiet readable for a beach or airplane read. This book also has the advantage of being short.I expect to read the sequel Villanelle: No Tomorrow. Readers interested in sociopath, assassin-based action thrillers may also like: A Clean Kill in Tokyo.
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  • Miriam Smith
    January 1, 1970
    "Codename Villanelle" written by Luke Jennings is a very entertaining and enjoyable book, I did struggle a little with the foreign names and places but once you familiarise yourself with them the story flows easily and has a fantastic and ingenious plot to it.An excellently written international thriller with a kick ass female assassin, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to all readers who like intelligent and fast paced thrillers, just be aware of some adult themes that run throughout the story.4 "Codename Villanelle" written by Luke Jennings is a very entertaining and enjoyable book, I did struggle a little with the foreign names and places but once you familiarise yourself with them the story flows easily and has a fantastic and ingenious plot to it.An excellently written international thriller with a kick ass female assassin, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to all readers who like intelligent and fast paced thrillers, just be aware of some adult themes that run throughout the story.4 stars
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  • murphy ✌ (daydreamofalife)
    January 1, 1970
    "So how was London?" he enquires. "I was there in November. Were you very busy?""Yes, work's always murder..." 3 / 5Short review because I'm in a bit of a review-writing funk, so yeah.Read this in preparation for watching the BBC adaptation of the series, which I'm very excited for (I mean, with both Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh as leads, I refuse to believe it will be anything less than amazing). Anywho, the plot for these four stories was more La Femme Nikita than Spy vs Spy as the description i "So how was London?" he enquires. "I was there in November. Were you very busy?""Yes, work's always murder..." 3 / 5Short review because I'm in a bit of a review-writing funk, so yeah.Read this in preparation for watching the BBC adaptation of the series, which I'm very excited for (I mean, with both Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh as leads, I refuse to believe it will be anything less than amazing). Anywho, the plot for these four stories was more La Femme Nikita than Spy vs Spy as the description indicates, but it was hardly disappointing. The leading ladies are both interesting characters and the writing, while not my favorite, was anything but sub-par.It's definitely not the greatest thing I've ever read, but it was entertaining and if you're interested in a fast, introductory read to an interesting world with fascinating characters, then look no further.Some quotes I liked:"It's called Villanelle," said the assistant. "It was the favourite scent of the Comtesse du Barry. The perfume house added the red ribbon after she was guillotined in 1793.""I shall have to be careful, then," said Oxana. Two days later, Konstantin came to collect her from the hotel. "My cover name," she said. "I've chosen it.""What mattered to Villanelle was that she had been chosen. Chosen as the instrument of an all-powerful organisation which had understood, just as she herself had always understood, that she was different. They had recognized her talent, sought her out, and taken her from the lowest place in the world to the highest, where she belonged. A predator, an instrument of evolution, one of the elite to whom no moral law applied. Inside her, this knowledge bloomed like a great dark rose, filling every cavity of her being.""Her hostile behaviour had been deliberate. Men make themselves forget women who are unimpressed by them; Konstantin had taught her that.""If we stay here, Villanelle thinks, we're dead. And I really, really don't want to die here, among these criminally ugly furnishings."
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    I have enjoyed the BBC tv series "Killing Eve"a lot, it is a show about an assassin so what is not to like. To top it of it is a show about a female assassin and her huntress a female MI5 security officer who has been chasing this unknown assassin and she figured it could be a new female face on the map. Villanelle the assassin is absolutely the opposite of the #metoo movement, she is the alpha character that is the center of the story. Her opponent Eva Polastri is the career woman with a marria I have enjoyed the BBC tv series "Killing Eve"a lot, it is a show about an assassin so what is not to like. To top it of it is a show about a female assassin and her huntress a female MI5 security officer who has been chasing this unknown assassin and she figured it could be a new female face on the map. Villanelle the assassin is absolutely the opposite of the #metoo movement, she is the alpha character that is the center of the story. Her opponent Eva Polastri is the career woman with a marriage who pays a big price for her quest.This book is essentially a collection of 4 novellas that make up part of the story that is sadly left in a cliffhanger which has been fulfilled by the October release of the second book. So the book is like the TV show that left the viewers with a cliffhanger and a large interest for the second season. This is a well written collection of stories that does not spend too much of its time on too much of characterization, unless it is Eve of Villanelle. The stories are fast actioners that deliver and make it easy to read. Certainly the writer does not deliver a great literary product, but he does deliver and it is great fun to read. And leaving your readers wanting more means you have done a good job.I am sure that the TV show is better in my humble opinion, but the 4 novella's are well worth your time. And passes time while waiting for season 2 on the telly.A fun read and I am sure to follow this one up somewhere in the next month or so.
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  • Toby
    January 1, 1970
    The basis for the fantastic new TV show Killing Eve. All it has done is reinforce my infatuation with Phoebe Waller-Bridge as an incredibly talented writer (although I find it impossible to disentangle my crush on her Fleabag character from this infatuation) as Luke Jennings really is not much of a fiction writer at all it seems. His prose is clunky and over written, something I find even more disconcerting considering this book is a collection of short stories originally published online - why The basis for the fantastic new TV show Killing Eve. All it has done is reinforce my infatuation with Phoebe Waller-Bridge as an incredibly talented writer (although I find it impossible to disentangle my crush on her Fleabag character from this infatuation) as Luke Jennings really is not much of a fiction writer at all it seems. His prose is clunky and over written, something I find even more disconcerting considering this book is a collection of short stories originally published online - why the need for such word count padding? But i guess this is what we should come to expect from self published ebooks that become popular, there’s a long track record proving that a good editor at a real publishing house is worth their weight in gold and don’t @ me to talk about fluffy nonsense like Andy Weir’s Mars book either. People who routinely read popular garbage from James Patterson will probably love this but i expect anyone with a knowledge of storytelling, sentence structure and an IQ higher than populist morons like Donald Trump to be unimpressed.
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  • aPriL does feral sometimes
    January 1, 1970
    ‘Codename: Villanelle’ is the thriller novel a new BBC show, Killing Eve, is based on. Below is a link to a promo trailer:https://youtu.be/LtKkfmzYXo4Unfortunately for us fans of the TV show and interested readers in the book series, at the time I am writing this review, book two is coming next year (2019) which hopefully will resolve the cliffhangers. In my opinion, the TV show is better than the book, but Villanelle’s backstory is told in its entirety in the novel. The novel is a typical thril ‘Codename: Villanelle’ is the thriller novel a new BBC show, Killing Eve, is based on. Below is a link to a promo trailer:https://youtu.be/LtKkfmzYXo4Unfortunately for us fans of the TV show and interested readers in the book series, at the time I am writing this review, book two is coming next year (2019) which hopefully will resolve the cliffhangers. In my opinion, the TV show is better than the book, but Villanelle’s backstory is told in its entirety in the novel. The novel is a typical thriller and the action is graphic. The characters in the book are straight out of central casting, so, it is interesting enough, but nothing special to me. However, I’m a jaded reader and past my prime in addition, so my hormones have slowed, admittedly. The TV show is amazing though because of the actors, Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh, chosen to play the parts of the main characters, Villanelle and Eve Polastri.Eve Polastri used to work for MI5, but due to her diligence tracking a mysterious contract assassin around the world despite the scoffing disbelief of her direct supervisor, she is secretly enlisted and transferred into the top secret British agency National Security Services. Her primary job is analysis of information whether it is obtained from public sources or spying. She is a desk worker, not a field agent, normally.Villanelle, not her real name, is one of the world’s top assassins. She doesn’t know who her employees are and she doesn’t care. She is a psychopath. However, her handler, Konstantin, or his employers, has discovered that Eve Polastri has been assigned to track down Villanelle full time. Curious she looks up Eve on the internet, but not until Eve shows up at one of Villanelle’s hits does her curiosity becomes fascination. The beautiful assassin is gay, so perhaps Villanelle’s interest is so strong because of Eve’s appearance. Or maybe, she wants to see who is the better woman. They both are incredibly smart and good at what they do.Eve adores her ex-boss, Simon Mortimer, who was busted down in rank after a field assignment of protecting a visiting dignitary went wrong. Now, he is working with Eve as her subordinate on tracking down Villanelle. They do not know her name or her face, but they know her style. Simon and Eve learn of a killing in Shanghai which very likely is an assassination performed by Villanelle, so they meet up with a Chinese spy in Shanghai to compare notes. Afterwords, the Chinese Secret Service agent invites Eve out to dinner, so Simon goes to the redlight district for fun. Unfortunately, he ends up meeting Villanelle. Eve vows revenge. She is going to find this assassin even if it costs her her marriage to her mathematician husband Niko as well as her job.The book is a two-and-a-half stars read, in my opinion, but the TV show is far superior.
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  • Kiwicmc
    January 1, 1970
    This is a punitive rating for the cliffhanger ending. An annoying practice which should be stamped out. Half a book only deserves half a rating!
  • Ashleigh
    January 1, 1970
    Codename Villanelle follows the titular Villanelle, Russian orphan turned assassin. Born Oxana Vorontsova, she drew attention to herself after murdering three men who had previously killed her father and wound up being arrested for it, where a mysterious man saved her from prison and whisks her away to become an assassin. Naming herself after a bottle of perfume, the girl becomes Villanelle and fits instantly into a life of killing targets. But when Villanelle kills a Russian demagogue in Lond Codename Villanelle follows the titular Villanelle, Russian orphan turned assassin. Born Oxana Vorontsova, she drew attention to herself after murdering three men who had previously killed her father and wound up being arrested for it, where a mysterious man saved her from prison and whisks her away to become an assassin. Naming herself after a bottle of perfume, the girl becomes Villanelle and fits instantly into a life of killing targets. But when Villanelle kills a Russian demagogue in London and costs Eve Polastri her job in MI5, the young woman becomes determined to track the assassin down and make her pay..I'm not a huge fan of political thrillers, but I live for assassins in any story. Wew, what a story! And what an assassin! Villanelle is such a badass and sociopathic and while I loved her, I hated her. Know what I mean? I did have problems with this book. At times, I didn't fully understand what was going on because so much was thrown at us, and then some moments were rushed and I would have liked more. That being said, I am looking forward to reading the next one.
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  • jess
    January 1, 1970
    deciding on a rating for this one was hard, since i read it after having finished the television show so i couldn't help but compare the two. the book alone is a solid read and easily worth three stars, but coming into it already knowing and caring about the main characters definitely felt like it increased my enjoyment of the novel a fair amount. so also a warning that this review is probably going to mention the television show quite a bit since i can't really separate the two in my mind. unsu deciding on a rating for this one was hard, since i read it after having finished the television show so i couldn't help but compare the two. the book alone is a solid read and easily worth three stars, but coming into it already knowing and caring about the main characters definitely felt like it increased my enjoyment of the novel a fair amount. so also a warning that this review is probably going to mention the television show quite a bit since i can't really separate the two in my mind. unsurprisingly i loved villanelle, i mean what's not to love about a badass bisexual assassin?? reading her inner monologue was very interesting and i loved how confident the entire book was with her sexuality. and i love how we got to see more of the other people in her life beyond konstantin, this villanelle felt far less isolated than the one in the television show. eve was probably further from her television counterpart, but that's not necessarily a criticism. she didn't get as much focus as villanelle so it's harder to get an overall feel for her character, but i enjoyed learning more about her life and i felt like i understood what exactly her job was much better. my biggest complaint was how little interaction eve and villanelle had with each other. namely; none. they're aware of each others existence, but that's about it. which when the summary promises a "final confrontation from which neither will emerge unscathed", feels like a bit of a letdown. The whole novel was on the shorter side and definitely felt more like the first half of a full story than an entire novel on its own. but i'm sure all of those issues will be addressed in the upcoming sequel, which i'll definitely be sure to check out.
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  • kat (paperfaeries)
    January 1, 1970
    I was tempted to rate this one star, but I think my love for the show might have persuaded me to raise it.Making characters that are women into stone-cold and badass killers does not make them interesting. Though the book goes into Villanelle’s backstory and history, unlike the show, Villanelle’s character was horribly boring and lacked complexity. Though she is a main character, she was written as if she served more as a plot purpose. In general, it felt like the author was just another man tha I was tempted to rate this one star, but I think my love for the show might have persuaded me to raise it.Making characters that are women into stone-cold and badass killers does not make them interesting. Though the book goes into Villanelle’s backstory and history, unlike the show, Villanelle’s character was horribly boring and lacked complexity. Though she is a main character, she was written as if she served more as a plot purpose. In general, it felt like the author was just another man that doesn’t understand that women are complicated human beings too.Additionally, though the book had queer characters and themes, it felt heavily fake and purposeless. Much of it seemed to be heavily fetishized, and though there were wlw, there were no mlm. The author also uses a transphobic slur that was highly unnecessary to get the point across and served no higher purpose in the writing.Though Codename Villanelle still featured action as in any thriller novel, it was highly underwhelming and quite crude in some parts.In a rare occasion where the adaptation is much better than the original, Killing Eve is an extraordinarily done show that features a fast-moving and exciting plot and fantastic acting. Codename Villanelle, however, leaves much to be desired. Though it gives insight into Villanelle’s past, it doesn’t live up to Killing Eve, which shows to an exquisitely well-executed show.
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  • Rachel Hall
    January 1, 1970
    3.5Ridiculously entertaining escapism up to a point.. Heavy of detail with no real resolution.Not having viewed the BBC series, Killing Eve, or particularly drawn to the premise of a spy thriller featuring a beautiful female assassin without conscience, I was surprised by just how entertaining I found Codename Villanelle. With the series now in the public conscience, the premise is well-known and not entirely original, owing much to Nikita (the Luc Besson thriller). Simply put, this is the story 3.5Ridiculously entertaining escapism up to a point.. Heavy of detail with no real resolution.Not having viewed the BBC series, Killing Eve, or particularly drawn to the premise of a spy thriller featuring a beautiful female assassin without conscience, I was surprised by just how entertaining I found Codename Villanelle. With the series now in the public conscience, the premise is well-known and not entirely original, owing much to Nikita (the Luc Besson thriller). Simply put, this is the story of Russian born Oxana Vorontsova whose life at a mere twenty-six years of age has seen her go from a fractured home life and orphanage to a linguistics student at a top university in Russia and eventual incarceration in a Dobryanka remand centre for executing the men who murdered her father. Sentenced to death and held behind bars in a brutal regime in the Ural Mountains her future looks bleak. Rescued by a man whom she knows only as Konstantin who recognises her sociopathic personality and the skill-set of a born predator, she is trained to become an lethal assassin.Operating through Konstantin and on behalf of an international organisation of a dozen wealthy men (collectively known as the Twelve) whose secret ballots chose her targets, a year of intense training and a brand new moniker (Villanelle) prepares her. Operating on an ‘ask no questions’ basis and with total dispassion her initial success takes her to London where she audaciously eliminates a Russian politician - Viktor Kedrin - whose influential reach is a growing threat to western stability and thereby attracts the attention of the British MI5 agent, Eve Polastri, who was tasked with his protection whilst in the UK. As a database of high profile assassinations believed to be the work of a enigmatic female killer starts to emerge, Eve is drawn into Villanelle’s realm. Devoting herself wholly to removing Villanelle, sacrificing her marital harmony and peace of mind, Eve’s mission takes her across the globe, from the catwalks of Paris to the Shanghai backstreets. With Villanelle having lightening fast reactions, rapid cognitive processing and a narcissistic personality driven to manipulate, her paymaster, Konstantin, is secure in the knowledge that she will never be compromised by emotion. But when Villanelle’s latest kill eradicates Eve’s colleague and sends a direct message designed to taunt her, the British agent’s resolve is doubled and regardless of what it takes she fixates on achieving a mission that has just become very personal.Dense in detail (names of foreign agents, shadowy organisations with links to each other and technical weaponry) much of it will go “in one ear and out the other” of the reader and is not easily memorable. I suspect that the medium of television would have proved a far more engaging and effective method of conveying. Ridiculously far-fetched and gratuitously violent methods of execution and raunchy sex scenes (indifferent of gender) complete the picture of a story of a thriller which is likely aided by visual imagery!Although the contrast between the two female protagonists works well and the alternating focus on each of their movements sets up a thrilling cat and mouse pursuit, I lacked any empathy for either Villanelle or Eve. It is Villanelle whom Jennings focuses primarily on and unless the reader is interested in the sexual proclivities or thrills straight from a porn magazine then there is very little to induce the reader to care or invest in her character. Meanwhile Eve had the potential for more character development but aside from her harried demeanour, unprepossessing attire, scruffy hair and absence of make-up, she remains a distant presence in comparison to Villanelle.Originally released as four novellas, the opened-ended conclusion proved a source of frustration and the novel equivalent of to be continued..! I doubt I will venture forth with further instalments as I have no appetite for more over-the-top assassinations and Villanelle staying one step ahead of MI5 agent Eve all the way (yawn)! However as a one-shot, fast-paced adventure and total baloney, I enjoyed this break from my normal reading material! Thankfully Luke Jennings doesn’t seem to take the whole thing too seriously either, and the detailed backstory (technical training, intellectual prowess, ability to simulate expressions, infinite access to resources), adds a tongue-in-cheek irony to the whole thing.
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  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    Definitely a great short story. I want more!
  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    Villanelle is not just a codename, is the essence of Oxana, a deathly killer with no remorse or feelings.Villanelle is part of a mysterious group that rules the world in the dark and uses Villanelle as their perfect weapon, she kills without questions asked and no one knows her... until Eve Polastri, a MI5 agent, that starts to investigate the mysterious killer.This book is just the first scene between these two women, they are playing cat-and-mouse game, and let me say that I can not wait to re Villanelle is not just a codename, is the essence of Oxana, a deathly killer with no remorse or feelings.Villanelle is part of a mysterious group that rules the world in the dark and uses Villanelle as their perfect weapon, she kills without questions asked and no one knows her... until Eve Polastri, a MI5 agent, that starts to investigate the mysterious killer.This book is just the first scene between these two women, they are playing cat-and-mouse game, and let me say that I can not wait to read how it will be their next face off, seems promising. They are completely opposites, but at the same time their work is the most important thing in their lives... so maybe they are not so different...Villanelle is a curious character, she doesn't have feelings or empathy, uses her body as a seduction weapon for pleasure or for business, it doesn't really matter, nothing affects her, just the rush of adrenaline when she has a mission to kill. I am quite curious if she will start making some questions in the next book... just wondering!This had been a quick read and to say the truth I read it in one stand. I was captivated by these two powerful and brave women's life and work. Be prepared for a non stop action book where a minimal error will cost your life.Ready for Villanelle?
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  • Ash
    January 1, 1970
    I am obsessed with BBC America's new show, Killing Eve. When I saw it was a book, I immediately asked for it at my local library. Apparently, Luke Jennings' Codename Villanelle is actually four novellas in one book. It explains the long but small chapter count. Each chapter was the start of a novella. Codename Villanelle is about the titular character who is a ruthless, efficient, and sociopathic assassin. Eve Polastri, formerly of MI:5, is recruited by the British Secret Service, to hunt Villan I am obsessed with BBC America's new show, Killing Eve. When I saw it was a book, I immediately asked for it at my local library. Apparently, Luke Jennings' Codename Villanelle is actually four novellas in one book. It explains the long but small chapter count. Each chapter was the start of a novella. Codename Villanelle is about the titular character who is a ruthless, efficient, and sociopathic assassin. Eve Polastri, formerly of MI:5, is recruited by the British Secret Service, to hunt Villanelle after figuring out that random assassinations happening were not so random at all. Eve was also the one to figure out that the killer might be a woman. Jennings did a really good job with writing a fast paced espionage thriller. Codename Villanelle was a compulsive read. I liked the backstory of both Villanelle and Eve. Speaking of which, Jennings did a great job writing two strong and likable characters. I also liked his descriptions of the exotic locales. It was very atmospheric; I felt like I was actually there. Jennings left Codename Villanelle for a sequel. I really need this sequel to be real. I can't wait!
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  • anna
    January 1, 1970
    “The truth, Oxana Borisovna, is that the world has a problem with people like you. Men or women who are born, as you were, without a conscience, or the ability to feel guilt. You represent a tiny fraction of the population at large, but without you…”He lit another cigarette, and sat back in his chair. “Without predators, people who can think the unthinkable, and act without fear or hesitation, the world stands still. You are an evolutionary necessity.”those flashbacks of villanelle's previous li “The truth, Oxana Borisovna, is that the world has a problem with people like you. Men or women who are born, as you were, without a conscience, or the ability to feel guilt. You represent a tiny fraction of the population at large, but without you…”He lit another cigarette, and sat back in his chair. “Without predators, people who can think the unthinkable, and act without fear or hesitation, the world stands still. You are an evolutionary necessity.”those flashbacks of villanelle's previous life was amazing. finally i know who is anna to her.also it was interesting how v is bisexual but she seemingly can only connect with women whereas for men she was just mainly using them. and more importantly i love that we get eve's perspective on her work. why she was obsessed with female serial killers and that but where she said she tried to hide this other part of herself from other people.damn i can't wait to watch all of this unfolds in killing eve.
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  • Sophie
    January 1, 1970
    I'm impressed they made such a great TV show out of a thoroughly average book. It's an easy read, but not very compelling and a not very satisfying end (it is very clear leading into a bigger series but I like my books in a series to have more individual closure). My expectations were certainly high from the TV show and I know that is definitely giving me a lower impression of this book, but that emotional intensity that drew me into the show, is not here in the book and I found it very lacking I'm impressed they made such a great TV show out of a thoroughly average book. It's an easy read, but not very compelling and a not very satisfying end (it is very clear leading into a bigger series but I like my books in a series to have more individual closure). My expectations were certainly high from the TV show and I know that is definitely giving me a lower impression of this book, but that emotional intensity that drew me into the show, is not here in the book and I found it very lacking without it.
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  • Katy Noyes
    January 1, 1970
    The TV show made me want to explore the source material. Great additional background on Villanelle.4.5 stars.I've found the TV series a breath of fresh air, a smart, capable female investigator and the strong, capable female assassin she is hunting. The book gives us a lot more background detail.Villanelle is a highly trained sociopathic assassin, given assignments around the world that she takes pleasure in carrying out. Eve becomes part of the team hunting her down, scraping clues as to her id The TV show made me want to explore the source material. Great additional background on Villanelle.4.5 stars.I've found the TV series a breath of fresh air, a smart, capable female investigator and the strong, capable female assassin she is hunting. The book gives us a lot more background detail.Villanelle is a highly trained sociopathic assassin, given assignments around the world that she takes pleasure in carrying out. Eve becomes part of the team hunting her down, scraping clues as to her identity from anywhere she is able. Both feel a mutual respect for the other, though it does not prevent them from continuing their daily work.A little of the TV show's humour is missing, but I found the book has its own. I liked the focus on Villanelle, the author seemed to be a little in love with her at times, while making it clear how sociopathic she is. Eve is always one step behind her, and in comparison to the coiffed and cool assassin is definitely worlds away.A flowing read, it flits between the two women, building the story of the killings and chase, and ends with no conclusion, but open for the next chapter. If you read this first, you'll find the TV series contains many changes, but I enjoyed getting the extra details after having watched it. I may look for the next in the series, which must mean I liked it as I don't continue a series very often.With thanks to Netgalley for providing a sample reading copy.
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  • Lady Delacour
    January 1, 1970
    Having watched the TV showwanted to listen to the bookthat the show was based upon.(and I did) A lot of the storyfelt like a Suspense Romance.Skipped over embarrassing partssame as I did with the TV show.Listened with TTS.NOT CLEAN.Crude and Foul language.
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  • Jill Mackin
    January 1, 1970
    Three and a half stars. A true page turner, it is a quick read. Cunning assassin Villanelle goes up against Eve, an agent of the SIS.
  • Claire Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, when I realised that Killing Eve was based on a book series, I immediately stopped watching the programme, preferring to enjoy the book first and I'm glad I did. Codename Villanelle is a fast-paced thriller which I couldn't put down and finished in one sitting. Can't wait for No Tomorrow. 4 stars
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  • Julie Lacey
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fast paced thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have seen ‘Killing Eve’ and was intrigued to read this book. I liked how I could visualise Eve and Villanelle after seeing them act out the story on TV, and there were enough differences in the plot to make it feel like another story. There’s obviously elements that have been transferred to the TV programme but overall the book was a good introduction to both characters, and left me wanting more. Thanks to John Murray and NetGalley for This is a fast paced thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have seen ‘Killing Eve’ and was intrigued to read this book. I liked how I could visualise Eve and Villanelle after seeing them act out the story on TV, and there were enough differences in the plot to make it feel like another story. There’s obviously elements that have been transferred to the TV programme but overall the book was a good introduction to both characters, and left me wanting more. Thanks to John Murray and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free review copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest unedited feedback.Villanelle is a Russian orphan who was sentenced to death after killing her father’s killers, she is saved from the death sentence by a man known only as Konstantin but the people calling the shots are a group that call themselves The Twelve, obviously they have not done this for any altruistic reasons, they believe that as a sociopath Villanelle will make an excellent assassin.Eve is the MI5 agent assig I received a free review copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest unedited feedback.Villanelle is a Russian orphan who was sentenced to death after killing her father’s killers, she is saved from the death sentence by a man known only as Konstantin but the people calling the shots are a group that call themselves The Twelve, obviously they have not done this for any altruistic reasons, they believe that as a sociopath Villanelle will make an excellent assassin.Eve is the MI5 agent assigned to bring in Villanelle at all costs.This is not a novel but a three short stories that are the basis for the t.v series Killing Eve, I am glad that I watched the series before reading the book because based on this I wouldn’t have watched it.The characters are one dimensional, especially the MI5 agents, you don’t care if they live or die, and Villanelle doesn’t convince as a sociopath, she comes across as a spoiled wilful child.
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  • Camille
    January 1, 1970
    I would definitely recommend the show, "Killing Eve," over the novel. You still might like it if you liked the show, but it just wasn't really my cup of tea. The fact that I had watched the show first and really liked it definitely left me subconsciously comparing this book to it, and finding it lacking, so my opinion of this book has probably been altered by that fact.All in all this is really quite an average espionage story. First of all, the series is called Killing Eve, but nobody really ev I would definitely recommend the show, "Killing Eve," over the novel. You still might like it if you liked the show, but it just wasn't really my cup of tea. The fact that I had watched the show first and really liked it definitely left me subconsciously comparing this book to it, and finding it lacking, so my opinion of this book has probably been altered by that fact.All in all this is really quite an average espionage story. First of all, the series is called Killing Eve, but nobody really even tries to kill Eve. The intense cat-and-mouse aspect, the tension, both sexual and intellectual, between Eve and Villanelle, and the shocking actions of both characters, all of which are present in the show, are either absent or underwhelming in the book. I also didn't like how Jennings revealed so much of Villanelle's past so early in the book. Part of the appeal of her character is the mystery behind her clever, relentless, and unpredictable facade. How could a person commit such atrocities? (Don't actually tell me right from the get-go!) I also think Jodie Comer's acting really added a whole new layer to the psychopath that Jennings created, especially with the twinkle of humor in her eye that belongs only to the insane. The ending was also a bit anti-climactic. It only felt like the very beginning of a story that might have included more of what I had anticipated for this book had it only been condensed and therefore continued. I'm not sure if I'll read the second book when it comes out.In all I think the creators of the show really took the best parts of this novel about two powerful, intelligent women and added to it to create something really fantastic and crazy that's great to watch late at night after synchro practice.
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  • 3 no 7
    January 1, 1970
    “Codename Villanelle” by Luke Jennings has been adapted into the hit TV series “Killing Eve.” In general, I prefer the original novel to its TV or movie adaptation, but in this case, both have compelling advantages. While the TV variation “Killing Eve” presents events primarily from Eve’s viewpoint, “Code name Villanelle” reflects events from Villanelle’s perspective. Oxana’s transformation into Villanelle, the highly skilled assassin, is detailed including her training and the choice of her cov “Codename Villanelle” by Luke Jennings has been adapted into the hit TV series “Killing Eve.” In general, I prefer the original novel to its TV or movie adaptation, but in this case, both have compelling advantages. While the TV variation “Killing Eve” presents events primarily from Eve’s viewpoint, “Code name Villanelle” reflects events from Villanelle’s perspective. Oxana’s transformation into Villanelle, the highly skilled assassin, is detailed including her training and the choice of her cover name. “Later that afternoon, they visited a boutique selling scent...Cautiously Oxana touched the amber scent to her wrist… ‘It’s called Villanelle’ said the assistant. ‘It was the favourite scent of the Comtesse du Barry. The perfume house added the red ribbon after she was guillotined in 1793’”Readers gather clues about “The Twelve” right in the first chapter. “I sometimes wonder who they are, these employers of ours.”Villanelle’s assigned victims are cast in a more evil light in the books, more deserving of death, but to her, the work is the same. “Work is always murder.” Some of characters have very different roles in the novel, and not all characters in the TV adaptation appear in the book. Eve makes her entrance just shy of halfway through the book, but her role is significant. “Eve knows nothing will ever be the same again.” “Codename Villanelle” is a compelling companion to its TV adaptation “Killing Eve.” In this rare case, both the book and the TV version are equal partners in the narrative that is Villanelle. The book is compelling in its narrative, and you will not want to put it down. I finished in in one day. “Killing Eve” is one of the truly “binge-worthy” TV adaptations. Do not miss either one.
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  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    ...well. I'm so curious to see what the show does with this book.Things I liked:-look, I don't read a lot of spy novels/thrillers, and picking this up was kinda like picking up a james bond movie but with ladies in every role. -it's just that it also kept all the bog-standard sexism and terribleness-Vilanelle is pretty terrible but I love her one-liners; the occasions the book finds to be funny I find deeply endearing-Vilanelle also has the capacity to walk into a room and inspire everyone in ey ...well. I'm so curious to see what the show does with this book.Things I liked:-look, I don't read a lot of spy novels/thrillers, and picking this up was kinda like picking up a james bond movie but with ladies in every role. -it's just that it also kept all the bog-standard sexism and terribleness-Vilanelle is pretty terrible but I love her one-liners; the occasions the book finds to be funny I find deeply endearing-Vilanelle also has the capacity to walk into a room and inspire everyone in eyesight to want to fuck her immediately, and then she murders them. this is, while i was laughing at and not with the book, also fun.-it's fast and it's slick and while it's dumb it's also, like, readable.Things I cared less for:-holy shit the sexism. in all the most classic male writer-y ways, the obsession of female POV characters with their own breasts, literally everything about Eve's "i'm not taken seriously at work because i'm female" plot, the writing... generally-the similarly kind of standard "sociopath" bisexual, transphobic language, just-- ugh just bad. a lot of cringe.-the writing is sloppy. it's an omniscient third that dips into characters heads but forgets that when it does so that Certain Characters Shouldn't Know Certain Things. there's also no differentiation between who is talking- the character who wears sweatpants and "doesn't care to be pretty" still knows all her brand names, the namedropping of which takes up a significant portion of page real estate.-this is a "my bad" part of the review but I kind of thought it would be over in one book - it certainly had room to be finished - but instead we end with (view spoiler)["No, it's just beginning." (hide spoiler)] which is not only hilariously bad, it was also infuriating.
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