The Villain by L.J. Shen
New Adult and College Romance
December 16th, 2020
Reviewed by Jen
The Villain by L.J. Shen is the second book in her Boston Belles spin-off series. The Villain is the story of Cillian, nickname Kill, and Persephone (Persy). Kill is the brother of Hunter from book one. Kill is cold, sharp, callous, ruthless, and fairly unredeemable for me. I’ve really enjoyed Shen’s books, but this one didn’t sit as well. A very good read, but not one I was completely in love with and would read again. The reason is Kill. I just didn’t like him.
Here’s the story.
Kill is CEO of a giant oil and gas company. He’s very much THE villain. No warm conversations or heart felt angsty looks, no loving relationships in his life. His persona is that of a tycoon who gives zero F’s for the environment or his family and barely tolerates his friends. His two best friends include Sam, a thug who works on the more unsavory parts of Kill’s business and watches Kill’s back in his personal life. And, Devon is Kill’s very British, and far more charming friend, with a mysterious past in the UK. He is also Kill’s company’s lawyer.
Persy is married to an absolutely horrible man who left her with a huge amount of debt and some scary guys who plan to collect it from her in one way…or another. Use your imagination. Ewwww.
They’re violent, threatening, and Persy’s not sure how to climb out of this mess. As a preschool teacher, her salary can’t possibly cover what her husband owes. Persy lives with her sister, Belle, in a small apartment and hides her financial troubles from her family and friends. Prior to her marriage, Persy crushed on Kill forever and when he rejected her, she moved on.
Persy hits rock bottom and approaches Kill to ask for a loan. He embarrasses her and says no. THEN, Kill’s brother announces that his wife is pregnant and that throws Kill’s plans for the company (it’s the family company, his dad was the CEO until recently) into jeopardy. His father wants Kill to have a male child to take over some day and also thinks Kill having a family will soften his reputation, thus improving the business’s position as well.
There you have it- Persy needs some money fast. And Kill needs a wife and son.
There was quite a bit that I liked, but I never cared about Kill. Even when his backstory is revealed (and there’s a reason given for his lack of emotions and cruel behavior) I still didn’t care about him. I love a good anti-hero, but didn’t love him at all. There’s some good grovel that gets to the HEA, my heart swooned, but it still didn’t make up for him being largely unredeemable to me.
Persy was a decent character. I liked that she was stronger than I first anticipated. I didn’t like that she was so obsessed with Kill from the beginning. Besides his good looks and the pull of power (success + wealth), I never got why she had always loved him. He wasn’t witty, charming, no good deeds, no relationships of any depth with his siblings, no secret love for puppies. I kid, but the truth is, there was nothing there that said he was worth crushing over.
There is an engaging story line with a rival that I really enjoyed. The rival ends up being FAR WORSE than Kill. I loved how Persy handled that situation. I’m very much intrigued by his friend Devon, a side character in this book, who will no doubt be the star in another. The story itself was quite good, I think if there had been some tweaks to the main characters it would’ve been a home run for me.