Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings

Book Cover: Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings
Part of the Killing Eve series:
  • Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings

'"You know she's a fucking psycho," said Frank.
"Nobody's perfect," said Konstantin."'

"God, I'm tired." [from the TV Show]

The BBC show Killing Eve is fantastic! A top 10 show of all time for me. I loved the show so much that I started reading the book to see if it would give any hints to what happens in Season 2.

Luke Jennings originally published Codename Villanelle as a series of four e-book novellas which are compiled into this book:
1. Codename Villanelle
2. Villanelle: Hollowpoint
3. Villanelle: Shanghai
4. Odessa

The show took a lot of smart departures from Jennings' book. Without giving any real spoilers, there are a lot of new characters in the TV show but it also cuts out a couple of weak characters from the novel. The novel focuses much more on Villanelle (Eve isn't introduced until the 2nd novella). The novel gives more of Villanelle's backstory. The relationship between Eve and Villanelle and their obsession with each other is much stronger in the show. Their dynamic is what made the show so great (and funny), but they don't meet in this book (I think because the storyline doesn't run as far). The show's creators cut out a plot line in the book that strengthens Eve's relationship with her husband Niko. That was probably to increase their conflict in the show which ends up strengthening Eve and Villanelle's obsession with each other.

The book is worth a read if you like the TV show. I think the book enriches the show. But I'm not sure how I would have felt about the book if I had read it first. It probably would have been one star less. But if you read it for what it originally was (a series of novellas that were published separately), you can understand some of the disconnectedness between chapters as well as the cliffhanger ending.

I have to thank Luke Jennings for creating Eve and Villanelle, two characters I love and then thank the show for making the characters much stronger.

If I had to choose, I'd definitely choose to watch the TV show over reading the book. However, I'm still looking forward to No Tomorrow. Even though it's not published yet, I wonder if Luke Jennings wrote it before the TV show aired? Curious to know if the TV show influenced the direction of the book.

Originally published on Goodreads.

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