Series: Villainous Things
Time to read: 2h15m
Date read: 11 July 2023 (re-read)
What a ride!
So, heads up, I’ve now read this book three times.
And at some point, I’m sure I’ll get through the audiobook, too.
It’s just so much fun!
Truth is, I saw a bunch of posts about it on social media before I picked it up for the first time and I wasn’t sure if I was going to dig in. I had – as I always do – a massive TBR, and this was a new series from a new-to-me author, so I wasn’t sure when I’d get around to reading it.
Then I saw people on Instagram recommending it and I was like, okay, let’s give this a go.
This book grabs you from the get-go. Rochelle has a very distinct way of writing her character voices and, though I’m sure it’s not for everyone, it absolutely works for me. There’s a clear savviness with the genre that means the voice and tone exquisitely walk that fine line between being absolutely on point versus tipping into cringe – this is a difficult feat, but it’s one I think she’s pulled off.
Seriously, this reads like dirty Deadpool and although I’m kind of over Marvel at this point, I’m here for this.
But what about the book itself?
Well, on the one hand, we’ve got Xander Suarez, aka Doctor Antihero. He’s from a powerful supervillain family – the son of two absolute terrors – but when it comes to his own powers? He’s got zilch. Nothing.
So, instead, he spends his time inventing devices that might actually be helpful, eating the best fried chicken in Big City, being bullied by his bestie, Kai, and Domming the fuck out of the guys he sleeps with.
Oh yeah, it’s that kind of spicy.
And then, there’s Butch. Captain Masculine might be a big, strong superhero, but Butch is desperately trying to work out what he wants from his life because he knows that being indebted to this city, trying to live up to his parents’ reputation, and marry a woman to have superbabies isn’t it.
Both Xander and Butch find themselves on a dating app, and although Xander doesn’t want to be there, and Butch is sure he was only looking for women, they still agree to meet. But can a supervillain and a superhero make it work?
Xander is absolutely my favourite, and three books into this series, that’s even more the case. Obviously, every romance book is designed to make you fall in love with its characters, and I love every new pair, but then Xander pops up and I’m like, oh, there he is. He’s a good entry character, too, as his experience as a normie in a family full of supes gives us a nice introduction to the world and its lore, which is important for the external plot we’re going to have to follow.
Kai is hilarious as Xander’s bestie (he’s not pleased about it except when he is) and although we only briefly meet some of his siblings, Wolfgang is mysterious and interesting, so it’s fun that the second book is all about him!
As for Butch? There’s some interesting family stuff going on with him, which does require a bit of concentration in terms of superhero names and civilian names that get thrown around all the time. Xander and Butch’s relationship is absolutely the main driver of the entire plot (it’s the only reason the external plot even really comes up), and that meant I cared more about the external plot in my re-read; in the first read, I just wanted them to end up together!
Oh, and of course, it’s spicy AF. There are content/trigger warnings at the beginning of each of Rochelle’s books that are worth reading, though I wouldn’t necessarily say any of these are the darkest things I’ve read.
The kinks, though. 🥵
So much of the journey between Xander and Butch is sexual as well as emotional and it’s lovely to see how much they grow into where they end up.
So what’s going on outside the bedroom?
Some favourite scenes…
These are mostly without spoilers – just look out for them.
THAT dinner at the compound. I love, love, LOVE a book where characters are hiding their identities – whether intentionally or not – and then the putting it all together that comes up later. Bonus points if the characters aren’t mad at each other about it. This scene/chapter or two is super fun as things start to come to light. (And because we all kind of know what’s going to happen before it does!)
Xander and Butch’s first date. This scene really sets the tone. It’s hot, and there’s the odd quip thrown, but Xander’s immediately thawing for Butch and Butch is ready to follow him to the ends of the Earth (on his knees, of course). Add in the little hitch in their plans at the end, and I think this is a great set-up for the overall vibe of these books.
Not a scene as such but just: the image of Violentia sailing away on her little segway and playing chicken with a bus. Iconic. Love her.
Give it a read!
Want to give a sassy, sexy, superhero-meets-supervillain romance a try? Check it out, and then let me know what your favourite scene was, too!