‘Assistant to the Villain’ breathes new life into grumpy/sunshine trope

Famous BookToker Hannah Nicole Maehrer has finally released her debut novel, “Assistant to the Villain.” For the past two years, Maehrer has been playing out important scenes on her viral TikTok account. After compiling all the scenes together, she released her novel in late August. 

As a longtime follower of Maehrer’s BookTok page, her novel was one that I was anxiously waiting for. Her down-to-earth characters, complex worldbuilding, plot-driven storyline and enemies-to-lovers romance will have you jumping right into the story to join in on the action. With a fun, easy-to-read writing style, her story is one that will have you coming back for more. 

“Assistant to the Villain” has already made it onto the New York Times bestseller list.  Featured photo courtesy of @hannahnicolemae, Instagram

Her novel is told from the third person point of view and alternates between following the Villain and his assistant Evie Sage. These main characters take the reader into their perspectives, letting you explore their relationships with everyone in the office and how they see the world. While their personalities differ in many ways, both take you on a journey of suspense, mystery, romance and twists that will have you racing to get to the end. 

The book begins with a description of Evie struggling to take care of herself as her job applications keep falling through. When a mishap in the woods puts her right up close and personal with the infamous Villain, she realizes that not everything is as it seems. When things turn south and Evie is faced with the decision of finding employment, the Villain offers her a job that she cannot turn away. No job in this world is perfect, but it is even more flawed when you start to develop a tiny crush on your evil boss.

Evie is the exact opposite of evil, but as she gets more and more comfortable with the darker side of the world, she gets convinced that someone on the inside is a rat with intentions to get the Villain killed. Evie must push aside her feelings for the Villain in order to remain levelheaded and save the one person who is looking out for her and who gave her a chance. She must find the person trying to destroy her boss and get to them before they get to her. 

Maehrer writes from her heart and creates a complex fantasy world that comes to life seamlessly. Her enthusiasm is shown in her laugh-out-loud banter and scenes that make you forget you are reading. “Assistant to the Villain” is unlike any other adult fantasy novel that has a “sunshine” and “morally gray” romance trope because of the amount of chemistry between the characters through every scene of the book. 

Throughout the novel, I caught myself kicking my feet like a little kid, getting giddy over sweet romantic lines from the Villain or even little quips from the sunshine assistant. Their chemistry surpasses all bounds and makes me believe that real love is possible.

Evie and the Villain may look different on the outside, but as you come to know them a little more, you realize that they would do anything for each other. They both have an unlikely partnership that brings them together and makes them the unstoppable pairing coming together so smoothly. 

If you are looking for a cute, romantic fantasy book that will give you butterflies in your stomach then give this book a try! This novel brings the bubbly/grumpy relationship to life and makes you want to live inside your own fantasy world and escape from reality. 

5/5 stars



Featured photo courtesy of @hannahnicolemae, Instagram