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Codename Villanelle (Villanelle #1a)
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Codename Villanelle

(Killing Eve #p-1a)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  1,048 ratings  ·  122 reviews
In an isolated remand centre in the Ural Mountains, Oxana Vorontsova awaits trial for murder. One man with his throat slashed to the bone, two shot in the face. Not quite the behaviour you’d expect of a star linguistics student at one of Russia’s top universities. But as a string of unnerving incidents attests, the signs were always there.

Half a world away, Oxana’s poten
Kindle Edition, 36 pages
Published February 4th 2014
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Nihar Yes, she is. However, the story & characters in books are not exactly the same as the TV show.

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Average rating 3.60  · 
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 ·  1,048 ratings  ·  122 reviews

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Ths is a collection of 4 kindle single stories about Oxana Vorontsova, a young woman who kills the men responsible for the death of her father. This lands her in prison, where she is approached with a deal. Oxana becomes erased with the cover story that she dies, and she acquires a whole new persona, Villanelle, and trained to become an extraordinary assassin in strong echoes of Nikita. Konstantin is the representative of the 12 powerful men who sanction Villanelle's hits. The stories are interc ...more
Sam Quixote
Oct 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Alright homefries, gun to your noggin: TELL ME A STORY ABOUT A FEMALE ASSASSIN! What do you come up with? If you’re as braindead as me, your empty mind will go to Marvel’s Black Widow and it’ll go something like: hot Russian babe skilled in martial arts and guncraft shoots henchmen John Wick-style before taking out the boss gangster.

Well guess what Codename: Villasmellypants is? Exactly that - and hacky Luke Jennings didn’t even has a gun to his head!

Jennings’ prose is utterly flat and unengag
Isa Lavinia
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it

I decided to read this after watching the first two episodes of BBC's Killing Eve and was not disappointed.
In fact, Jennings' descriptions and obvious knowledge of what he's writing give a more realistic feel to the story than the show's visuals have managed to do.
Jennings has a true gift for descriptive prose, you can't help but see in your mind's eye everything he writes, and he really nails the European atmosphere of the surroundings in the book.
I loved Villanelle (as much as you can l
May 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime, russia-fic
so far, ugh. this book is formulaic and so obviously written by a man with a fantasies about a woman assassin who gets to wear designer clothes & murder people. i am reading it because a) it's a 2week loan from the library, and b) sandra oh is in the movie and i adore her. otherwise, forget it. maybe there is some transformation in the character but i would not put any money on it. finished, terrible ...more
Sid Nuncius
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very enjoyable load of old hokum. It could be utterly dreadful – a ruthless, beautiful highly trained female assassin (the eponymous Villanelle) working for a shadowy group of ultra-rich people protecting their own interests isn't exactly a fresh-sounding set-up - but it's well done and actually very entertaining.

I've largely summarized the plot in the last sentence, but we also meet a British intelligence operative whose mission it is to catch and kill Villanelle. She is a rather enga
May 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
1 Not-What-I-Expected-Star ☆
I must say I was disappointed that the story was written in third-person. It took away from the emotional connection to characters and plot twists.
I couldn’t relate to anyone! Vilanelle is some cold, detached serial killer who has no feelings or emotions. And technically neither does the author for making her sound so dull.

Another flaw I found in the story are the descriptions. Everything, and I mean everything to and from the height of the glass, to the color of som
Susan Coley
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
A quick listen and not as bad as some said. The tv show is infinitely better because Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Good introduction to this special agent, the female assassin who is Villanelle. Her stories were originally introduced through Kindle Singles.
In Codename Villanelle we learn of her background and how she was 'chosen' to be a hit woman in a sinister organisation that has links across many governments but ultimately takes out contracts on individuals who are not in the common interest of a balance of power.
The young woman who was recruited rather than face a time in prison becomes their agent, he
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spies, kindle
I enjoyed Killing Eve a great deal, so I gave the first in this series of novellas a try. It's frustratingly short, but a thrilling read. ...more
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-the-magazine
When a book goes to screen I always try to read the book before it appears at the cinema or TV. I did this one the other way round, and I'm so pleased I did. After watching the Killing Eve series, I just had to read the book – Villanelle was under my skin. After reading a few book reviews, I realised that it wasn't liked by all but I felt that watching the series first gave a head start on Villanelle's character.

With visual characters already in my head, I quickly got into the story, slightly di
May 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
Boy, this was disappointing. Love the tv show, but the book? Whoa boy.

Okay first of all, it's only half a book. At around 135 pages, it's short. And it's not short because it's a whole story that is just short, it's short because it literally reads like half a book.

Why was a novel cut in half and published as two seperate novels? Ripping off consumers? I can only assume.

Second problem, it's clearly written by a man, because gosh Villanelle is terribly terribly aware of her breasts all the time.
May 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Actually not as good as the TV series! Written in the present tense (mostly) which I generally find very irritating, the story of Villanelle's background is way more interesting than just about anything else in this novel. Naturally Villanelle is beautiful, stylish, sociopathic and sexually voracious, but most of it reads as a male wet-dream fantasy of what a professional assassin could be like in this world of mysterious organizations that secretly run the world.

Watch the TV series - it's much
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly entertaining cat and mouse thriller centering on two women and one theme; good vs evil! Engagingly descriptive prose highlight a scenic world wide chase that begs the question; who is chasing who. I liked this book mainly because like all book to movie/TV adaptations, it's far superior to the rather cartoonish BBC production. Fun quarantine book #1 in a series which I plan on continuing because quarantine reading requires all the literary fun we can handle, no? ...more
Jul 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
I watched Killing Eve on BBC with my husband. We loved the show. I was so excited to read the book! Well, that feeling didn't last. I thought the book was boring. SO BORING. Sex scenes = boring. The murders = boring! I can't remember a time when I thought the tv or movie was BETTER than the book. That being said I will probably read the other books. Just to be able to compare to the tv show. ...more
I'm going to risk my reputation as a reader-not-viewer here, but don't bother reading this - the screen version is vastly better. ...more
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Engaging, but not amazing. I watched the show first which definitely made the book a bit stranger to read since there are a few large discrepancies between the original and the adaptation. Honestly, I think I preferred the show because one, crucial moments were more emotional, and two, everything seemed more cohesive.
I found that while reading the book I had a hard time following all the characters. Most of them sort of... melted together. I also thought the ending was a bit of a let down. It's
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very much enjoyed the Killing Eve tv series, which I was drawn to by Sandra Oh (amazing Grey's alumni) and am now wholly bewitched by Jodie Comer.

Anyway - on to the book! It is good, but.... while I'm not finished it yet... it bothers me that you can tell it was written by a man? Our central characters are Eve and Villanelle. The description of each female character and their effect on men & women around them, goes beyond the necessary. I get it - Eve is plain, Villanelle is beauty personified.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm kind of mixed on this one. I love the KILLING EVE TV show on which this story and the others in the series are based. It's enjoyable and it gave some background on Villanelle that the show didn't go into but as a story, it didn't quite work for me. 80% of it is back story and comes across as an outline than a self contained story it. Overall, I'm not sure how I feel about it, unfortunately. ...more
Costin Manda
Sep 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I started watching Killing Eve, the BBC TV series starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, and I quite liked it. So I've decided to read the books it is based on, Codename Villanelle being the first one. The result is a mixed bag. I clearly prefer the TV show, but the book is not bad either. They are, I have to say, quite different.

While both focus on a police woman trying to find a highly skilled female professional sociopath assassin, the show adds a little dark humor, which is both nice and off pu
Claire Sinclair
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have watched the TV series, and loved it, and wanted to see how the book compared.
I was not disappointed. It had the same build up of characters and intensity as the TV series.
I only finished the book yesterday and already have the second one lined up to read.
Bianca Bowers
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In Luke Jennings’ British thriller novel Codename Villanelle, a female analyst hunts an up-and-coming female assassin, who is sanctioned by 12 powerful illuminati-type men with an aggressive political and economic global agenda.

In a Palazzo surrounded by pines and cypresses, overlooking an Italian Lake, 12 men gather to discuss Salvatore Greco—a member of the Sicilian Mafia. Each man is given a pair of ivory fish; one yellowed with age and one blood red. When the votes are counted, 12 red fish e
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It is often said that the book is better than the movie (notable exceptions in my opinion: Fried Green Tomatoes and Silence of the Lambs). In this case, the TV series (Killing Eve) is better than the book. The TV series benefits from being extraordinarily well-cast in the two lead roles (Eve Polastri, a British intelligence agent, and Villanelle, the titular globe-trotting assassin), making smart choices in structuring the story (the series gradually reveals Villanelle's backstory, while the boo ...more
Cassondra Marton
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a short, fun read. Villanelle is a dark, but enjoyable anti-hero. Eve is an intelligent, but relatable woman. I loved the descriptions and I definitely laughed out loud a few times with the characters. My main complaint is even though it’s nice to read short books every once in awhile, the book ended very abruptly which leads me to think the series was written as one book, but the publishers/author wanted more money so they marketed it as a series instead as a larger novel. Still enjoye ...more
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, suspense, gblt, glbt
I love the Killing Eve, the BBC television starring the marvelous Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, and Fiona Shaw, so I wanted to read the novels, which I did over the weekend. While there are many differences between the books and the series, which I will not go into, I loved the original. A note, the book(s) are a trilogy and the series must last multiple seasons is one of the major reasons for the differences in plotting. So if you are a fan of the show and get angry because of the differences, rememb ...more
Ellen Klempner
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it
The only reason I gave this little book 3 stars is because it gave me some back story for the fantastic BBC America series "Killing Eve" which is very loosely and incompletely based on it. Actually I'm here to recommend seeing what is in fact a black assasination comedy also streaming on Amazon if you don't have BBC. Jodie Comer stars as a sometimes likeable psychopath assassin employed by a Russian group named "The Twelve". She switches personas and languages at the drop of a hat. Sandra Oh als ...more
Michelle B
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
After watching ‘Killing Eve’ on BBC3 I was eager to read Codename Villanelle, and as usual, the book is even better than the show!
Although the series is based on the book, there are plenty of differences in the plot of the book so that it means that even if, like me you’ve watched and enjoyed enjoyed every episode, you will not feel you’re merely reading a screenplay of the series, but the series has stayed true to the book in many ways so if you’re someone who is a mega fan of the show, you wil
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved it! I admit that I read this book after seeing the series "Killing Eve" which I found riveting so perhaps my bias is showing. However, I think it's a clever novel and Villanelle is a wonderful anti-hero. The assassinations are perhaps implausible but oh so cleverly executed (the pun!)
I have previously given poor reviews to books that finish "up in the air" and it could be argued that this is exactly what this one does. In my mind it was quite a good conclusion as the reader is left wonderi
May 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
Like many people, I am a huge fan of the TV series so my judgement was always going to be swayed by that. First things first, I found this to be more like soft porn than anything else. I understand that sex is used to show how Villanelle can manipulate and showcase the dominant aspects of her personality but there were times when I just found it an unnecessary addition to the book. The plot, is much better in the book than the series, but I do prefer the characters in the series and the playfuln ...more
Joanne Askew
May 20, 2021 rated it it was ok
Honestly? What a let down. I laughed at most of this book and it's not a comedy. Gave myself 10 points for each head hop in the book and won my own game by chapter 1. Full of harmful eastern european stereotypes and female stereotypes. Within a few sentences you can tell this is written by a man who does not understand women and merely views them as devices for entertainment. Why is Villanelle so obsessed with her own boobs? Why is the writer dropping in so many references to fashion designers? ...more
Virginia May
Jan 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
Very disappointed in the book after watching the brilliant television adaptation. Far too many mentions of brand names and designers etc most of whom I had not heard of! Knowing the make of gun and knife used in the assassinations likewise did nothing to add to the story. In fact all the detail (which actually became very repetitious) totally detracted from the story. This was read for a Book Club and I definitely will not be reading any sequels although I await the new dramatised series with ba ...more
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Luke Jennings is an author and the dance critic of The Observer. He trained at the Rambert School and was a dancer for ten years before turning to writing.

As a journalist he has written for Vanity Fair, the New Yorker and Time, as well as for numerous British titles. He is the author of Blood Knots, a memoir, short-listed for the 2010 Samuel Johnson and William Hill prizes, and of three novels: Br

Other books in the series

Killing Eve (3 books)
  • Codename Villanelle (Killing Eve, #1)
  • No Tomorrow (Killing Eve, #2)
  • Endgame (Killing Eve #3)

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