FICTION//Codename Villanelle- Luke Jennings

Like everyone else, I became obsessed with Killing Eve- funny, sassy and sexy, with a brilliant pairing at the centre of it. Eve and Villanelle’s game of cat-and-mouse with cracking dialogue and surprising twists meant it became probably my favourite show of the year.

Of course, I had to read the book.

Codename Villanelle is a collection of the first four novellas written by Luke Jennings; these became the basis of Killing Eve and provide a back story for both Villanelle and her nemesis, British agent Eve. We learn about Villanelle’s life as a rudderless orphan, clawing her way through a brutal world in the time before before she became an international assassin and about Eve’s home life before she became all-consumed with her work. 

Characters here are different to those on screen (as to be expected)- Eve is British, Konstantin is younger… Eve’s boss is a man. 

The thing is, I was expecting to love this- the dialogue in the show is so witty and smart. But that’s the product of Phoebe Waller-Bridge and she’s turned what definitely feels like a book written by a man (there’s a lot more of a focus on breasts) into something better, at least in my opinion. I love the feminine energy of a show in a genre that is so dominated by men and the male gaze. The ‘world’ of Villanelle feels more superficial here.

It’s a rarity when I say that the TV show was better than the book. And whereas I’ll be itching for the second series of the show, I’m not sure I’ll be rushing out to buy the second Villanelle book.



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