To be clear, I DNF’d the Killing Eve: Codename Villanelle (vol. 1) for a few reasons so it won’t be a glowing review. I’ve watched all of the currently aired episodes of Killing Eve on TV and I love it. I think Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are great leading women. It makes a nice change this show mainly centres two very interesting, powerful and FLAWED women without over sexualising them (like ALIAS with Jennifer Garner which also has a very unfortunate black face moment…) and the humour being on more the dark side vs. things like Charlie’s Angels (which I love btw, just saying it’s very different).
It was also amazing to see casual bisexuality with Villanelle, the plot isn’t only about her sexuality but it is part of her. This is the same in the book, thankfully.
The first volume of the book series, however, had a weird structure. The book is pretty small so I thought it would be an easy read, the first chapter was 40 ish pages and I thought this would continue on this way. 40 more pages in I’m only half way through the next chapter. Overall, there are only 4 chapters of varied lengths which made it really difficult for me to get into a reading rhythm.
Half of the book was world building and context. It was interesting to begin and when Eve was introduced, it was interesting again but there was so much of it before they really cross paths and start dancing around each other I got bored. I didn’t even read up until them meeting or fulling being aware of each other. I don’t know a lot of lingo to do with spy/crime books but I could skin through the weapon descriptions because I know they are relevant to people who do understand, but I’m gonna just make it up in my brain coz I’m not bothered. Also, Eve is 29 in the book?? Seems a bit weird reading this, coz clearly Sandra Oh’s character on TV is not 29. It was hard to imagine someone so young doing this job, and then makes less sense for Villanelle to become obsessed with her as her teacher was quite a bit older… I dunno man, I think the show made everything make more sense.
There was a moment when I realised this was definitely written by a man (I hadn’t taken any notice of author name tbh) and it was when boobs kept being mentioned. It’s not as bad as some of the Twitter threads about men writing women and writing boobs, but it just made me very aware that a man wrote these women and everything felt a little less cool and a little more soft porn. Just totally irrelevant tiddy moments. It also felt like the POV changed at times, and there was no real distinction between Eve and Villanelle POV except a paragraph break.
My overall opinion is that the TV production took this concept and made it better. I like that the show has cut ALL of Villanelle’s backstory from the show, I think it still applies and is canon but none of it is mentioned and it’s still a mystery how she became who she is, so a lot of the mystery immediately disappeared in the novel.
I recommend the TV show, not the book. Sorry.