Assistant to the Villain Summary, Characters and Themes

Assistant to the Villain is a 2023 fantasy romance novel by Hannah Nicole Maehrer. The story follows the “sunshine” assistant, Evangelina Sage, as she navigates working for the grumpy Evil Villain. Marketed as a funny, cozy, and whimsical workplace romance, the book has been praised for its humor and charming characters, though some critics have found the plot somewhat predictable.

The novel is the first in a series and was originally a viral TikTok series before being adapted into a full-length book. You can find it online or in bookstores. If you’re interested in a lighthearted and humorous romance with a fantasy twist, Assistant to the Villain might be a good choice for you.


Evangelina “Evie” Sage, a cheerful young woman, loses her job with the town blacksmith due to his unwelcome advances. 

Desperate to support her ailing father and younger sister, she stumbles into the path of the infamous Villain, Trystan Maverine. Surprisingly, he’s not the monstrous figure depicted in town but rather a handsome, brooding man. 

Impressed by her resilience, Trystan hires Evie as his assistant, and she finds it to be the best job she’s ever had.

Months later, they uncover a spy within the office, leaking information to Trystan’s archenemy, the king. 

Their investigation draws them closer, and Evie starts developing feelings for Trystan, despite his menacing reputation and the severed heads decorating the office.

Evie also befriends her coworkers, including the dragon tamer, Blade. When she finds an incriminating letter from the king in Blade’s possession, she urges him to confess to Trystan. 

Blade hesitates, and when Trystan finds the letter, he wrongfully accuses Evie of betrayal. Feeling hurt and deceived, Evie quits.

The office descends into chaos without her, and Trystan is consumed by guilt. Evie, initially devastated, realizes her worth and confronts Trystan, who apologizes and rehires her, earning her trust.

When the dragon’s chains are removed, they reveal a warning for Trystan and the mark of the blacksmith who had previously injured Evie with an enchanted dagger. Enraged by the blacksmith’s treatment of Evie, Trystan arranges an accident for him, showcasing his protective nature towards her.

The king seeks deadly guvres, but Trystan captures them first. An invitation to a party, suspected to be a trap, leads the office team to encounter Trystan’s father, Arthur. 

During a dance with Evie, Trystan allows himself a fleeting moment of happiness. But the guvres attack, released by the office spy, and Arthur is captured, accused of being the Villain.

Back at the office, the group plans a rescue mission. Evie discovers her father’s involvement as the spy, using the special ink he gave her and his matching alias. She confronts him, sedates him, and moves into the office.

Just as hope flickers, the king captures Trystan, leaving Evie with his guards, including the blacksmith. 

Using the dagger, Evie eliminates the blacksmith, ending her pain. Displaying his head as a trophy, she prepares to rescue Trystan, even if it means embracing villainy herself.

Assistant to the Villain Summary


Evangelina (Evie) Sage

Evie is a young woman characterized by her optimism, perkiness, and unwavering spirit. Despite facing hardships like losing her job and having an ailing father, she maintains a positive outlook and takes on challenges with a can-do attitude. 

Her resilience and determination are evident in her willingness to work for the Villain, despite the fear he instills in others. 

Evie’s compassion and sense of justice are evident in her relationships with her officemates and her desire to protect them from harm. 

However, her trusting nature sometimes leads her to be naive and susceptible to manipulation.

Trystan Maverine (The Villain)

Trystan, the Villain of the kingdom, is initially depicted as dark, brooding, and intimidating. He is feared by the townspeople and is known for his ruthless reputation. 

However, beneath his harsh exterior lies a complex and layered character. Trystan is intelligent, strategic, and fiercely loyal to those he cares about. He is also capable of genuine kindness and compassion, as seen in his growing affection for Evie. 

Trystan’s past traumas and the burdens of his position have shaped his personality, but he gradually opens up to Evie and reveals a more vulnerable side.

Blade (The Dragon Tamer)

Blade, the dragon tamer, is a mysterious and enigmatic character. 

He is fiercely protective of the dragon he stole from the king and values loyalty above all else. Blade’s motivations are initially unclear, but as the story progresses, his genuine care for the dragon and his growing affection for Evie become evident. 

He is a skilled fighter and a valuable ally to Trystan, but his past secrets and his role in the unfolding events add an element of intrigue to his character.

The Blacksmith

The blacksmith is a minor but significant character in the story. He is initially presented as a potential suitor for Evie, but his true nature is revealed when he harasses her and leaves her with a cursed wound. 

The blacksmith’s actions serve as a catalyst for Evie’s journey and highlight the dangers and injustices she faces in a male-dominated society. His eventual demise at Evie’s hands signifies her growth and empowerment.

Evie’s Father

Evie’s father is a complex and morally ambiguous character. 

He is portrayed as loving and caring towards his daughters but harbors a hidden secret that jeopardizes Evie’s trust and loyalty. 

His actions as a spy for the king create conflict and tension in the story, ultimately leading to his downfall. The revelation of his true identity adds a layer of betrayal and complexity to Evie’s character arc.


The Blurring Lines Between Good and Evil

The novel challenges traditional notions of good and evil by depicting a Villain who is not inherently malicious and a supposed “good guy” king who is, in fact, selfish and power-hungry. 

Trystan, the Villain, is shown to be a complex character with a tragic past, capable of kindness and loyalty, while the king is revealed to be the true antagonist, using his position for personal gain. 

This subversion of expectations forces readers to reconsider the simplistic binaries often presented in stories and to acknowledge the nuances of morality. 

Even Evie, initially repulsed by the idea of working for a villain, begins to question her own assumptions as she learns more about Trystan and his motivations, ultimately embracing the “villain” label herself when it means protecting the ones she loves.

The Transformative Power of Trust and Vulnerability

Trust is a central theme throughout the novel, as both Evie and Trystan have been deeply hurt in the past and struggle to open up to others. 

Evie’s unwavering optimism and belief in the good in people eventually chip away at Trystan’s hardened exterior, allowing him to experience vulnerability and genuine connection. 

This transformation is not one-sided, as Trystan’s protectiveness and loyalty towards Evie help her to overcome her own insecurities and self-doubt. 

The novel highlights the importance of trust in building healthy relationships, emphasizing that even those who seem most guarded can find healing and growth through vulnerability and connection.

The relationship between Evie and Trystan demonstrates that trust can be a powerful force for change, fostering personal growth and allowing individuals to overcome past traumas and embrace their true selves.

The Importance of Found Family

While both Evie and Trystan have biological families, they find a sense of belonging and acceptance within their unconventional work family. 

Evie’s officemates, including the dragon tamer Blade, become her support system and allies, offering her a safe space to be herself and fostering a sense of camaraderie amidst the chaos of their villainous workplace. 

Similarly, Trystan’s strained relationship with his siblings contrasts with the genuine affection and loyalty he develops for his employees, who see beyond his villainous facade and appreciate him for his true self. 

The novel suggests that family is not always defined by blood ties but rather by shared experiences, trust, and unconditional support.

The Power of Perception and Stereotypes

The novel challenges readers to question their assumptions and to look beyond appearances. 

Trystan, the Villain, is initially presented as a terrifying figure, but as the story unfolds, his complexities and vulnerabilities are revealed, making him a more sympathetic character. 

Conversely, the king, who is supposed to be the righteous ruler, is shown to be manipulative and deceitful. Evie herself struggles with societal expectations, having been raised to believe in a clear-cut division between good and evil. 

However, her experiences working for Trystan and interacting with his “villain” employees challenge her preconceived notions and ultimately lead her to embrace a more nuanced understanding of morality. 

The novel encourages readers to be critical of stereotypes and to recognize that individuals are often more complex than their labels suggest.