**3.5-stars rounded up**
I had zero expectations going into Assistant to the Villain. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up enjoying it. Vibes: cute and cozy!
The ending was a wee bit of a cliffhanger, so I will definitely be reading the sequel. I can’t wait for it actually. There’s something about this type of Cozy Romantic Fantasy that screams Winter Read to me.
In this story we meet Evie Stage, who due to an ill family member is in desperate need of steady employment. So when a mishap, or perhaps we should call it a Meet Cute, with a local Villain leads to a job offer, she can’t turn it down.
Keep in mind, this Villain is a Fantasy World Villain, so there’s torture, killing, mayhem and chaos involved in Evie’s new work environment. But that’s okay. No job is perfect.
When Evie starts feeling attracted to the Villain though, she realizes she may really in trouble. It’s not just that he is her boss, there are other things to consider.
I mean, who finds sexy, darkly brooding, powerful, quietly sensual and possibly evil men attractive?
There is more to the story than that though. Someone seems to have it out for the Villain and the sabotage attempts seem to be coming from the inside.
Evie is determined to get to the bottom of it and save her crush before it’s too late.
As mentioned before, this is super cute. The pace is energetic and you want more. The synopsis comps this to Once Upon A Time meeting The Office and I think that is quite apt.
There was something so delightful about that mix. The fantastical office setting was completely unique and I can’t wait for more of it. Additionally, there was a great sense of humor to it and I enjoyed watching the chemistry build.
I also appreciated the romance that Maehrer created within this story. It was more about pining, getting to know one another and mutual respect, versus steam, steam, steam. I gotta say, compared to a lot of the things I’ve been picking up lately, it was a nice change of pace.
I think leaving the steam out allowed me to really focus on getting to know these characters. I feel attached to them after a very short time.
I was delighted that we ended up getting the perspective of the Villain, Tristan, as well. Oh my goodness, did I enjoy my time with him.
We definitely spend more time with Evie, but learning about the Villain through his own thoughts and feelings was really sweet. I liked reading what he was thinking about Evie’s presence in his world and watching that change over time.
I did enjoy the mystery, although admittedly, that did play second fiddle to the romance element, but I feel like Maehrer intended it to be that way.
Overall, I thought this was adorable. I’m definitely looking forward to getting my hands on the next book. I am wondering if it will go more in depth with some of the side characters, who I enjoyed, but I didn’t really feel like I got to know that well in this installment.
Counting down the days until Apprentice to the Villain!!!