A Villainess for the Tyrant: A Witty Twist on the Villainess Story

Again, I remember stumbling on the webnovel last year. I randomly picked it up to kill time because of the pandemic. I hadn’t really expected myself to get into it. I read a couple of chapters, and I did find it pretty funny and interesting. The novel translations were then kind of put on hold as WordExcerpt rebranded and everything. In the meantime, I got into the webtoon. As usual, I started the series to kill time. Again, I wasn’t too sure if I would be all that into the webtoon. However, I found myself really enjoying it. I was pretty excited for the novel to be officially released in English as I was curious as to how the original compared to the webtoon. Would it be spicier? Were there a lot more details in the novel? Would I feel like I could better understand and connect with the characters? Would the series continue to feel fun, or would my interest fizzle out?

Honestly, I really do like this novel quite a bit. Y’all know I read so many different series. I do appreciate more mature, complex, and serious stories and characters. These kinds of stories are the ones that make up the bulk of my reading list. However, they can feel a bit too much, and too heavy at times. Sometimes I don’t want to use my brain that much. So one of the things I enjoyed most about A Villainess for the Tyrant is how it’s a more light-hearted series. I love the comedy and how it gives the series a lighter and silly vibe. While it does have its own bit of drama, I like that it’s not incredibly heavy and complex drama that I have to wrack my brain around. It makes it an easy read, and you don’t have to overthink things. There were silly gags and incidents, perhaps seemingly childish at times, but I found them to be pretty funny. Some of you may know that I sometimes use a text-to-speech app to “read” my novels while I’m working. It may be surprising to some, but I’m not a blogger by profession. Blogging is just a hobby that I do for fun when I have free time. It’s nothing serious. Hence why my posts are all super casual. I do have an actual job of running and managing my family’s business. Still, there are so many interesting series. So your girl had to find a way to multitask since there isn’t enough time in the day. Anyway, I loved the silly antics in this series. I laughed and smirked to myself a lot when I was listening to the chapters as I worked. It was to the point my mom and grandma were like, “WTF is wrong with you? Did you lose it…?” My workday might be dull at times, but this novel helped make it more fun~

Not Exactly the Villainess Story That You’d Expect

We know that villainess/villain novels and manhwa have been incredibly popular, especially so during the past year. Many series follow a similar kind of plot, have similar situations, or have very similar characters. It can feel a bit repetitive at times since they often follow similar formulas. It’s just a matter of what they add to spice it up a bit. Again, I’ve probably read at least 1,000 different manhwa/webtoon, manga, and Korean novel series over the past year. That’s not even an exaggeration… Again, many series follow the same formulas to the point that there are times that it starts to blur, and series can feel the same. To be honest, sometimes I have a hard time actually naming titles or even characters. A Villainess for the Tyrant does have some similar elements to several series romance-fantasy series that I’ve read or am reading. However, it also has just enough to stand out to me to the point that I can instantly name and recall it. It is technically an isekai series where characters find themselves in another world or life. Sure, an overwhelming majority of romance-fantasy Korean webtoons and novels use that kind of trope and fall into that category. However, it’s different in that our main characters are not aware that they’re characters in the book. We as readers just know it because one of the side characters is the author of the book in which Cecile’s world exists. What I really liked about A Villainess for the Tyrant is it’s a “villainess series” with a slight twist. That is, Cecile is not actually a villainess at all. I don’t mean in the typical tropes of a character being framed to look like a villainess or a villainess redemption type of story. I know this can be a bit confusing, especially if you’re just basing your expectation solely on the description of the novel. In fact, I saw a review somewhere where someone complained about how Cecile “stopped being a villainess after 5 minutes”. So I’ll make it clear that if you’re looking for a true villainess series, this isn’t really it. This series is about a girl who just puts on an act of being a villainess to survive…and entertain her new husband. She has to make everyone believe that she has the notorious tyrant completely wrapped around her finger. She basically has to act completely opposite of how she really is and feels awful about it. To her dismay though, she has the natural talent of acting like a confident villainess.

Again, Cecile isn’t an actual villainess though. Cecile was the illegitimate child between the king of Navitan and a maid that he got pregnant when he was drunk. She was a neglected and forgotten princess of a small country. Her mother died, and she was basically left and forgotten in the corner of the palace. She received only the bare minimum education and was basically treated no differently from a maid compared to how her siblings were treated. Still, she was able to live a pretty comfy life just eating, sleeping, and playing. That is until her father called and saw her for the first time to announce that she would be married off. She knew the reality for a princess, especially a neglected one of her status, would simply be used as a pawn. She was ready for the reality of probably being married off as the second wife to some old guy. However, he hit her with the news that she is to marry Emperor Estian of the Empire, the crazy, notorious, and bloody tyrant. Cecile is understandably pissed and offended considering how she had never even met, seen, or been acknowledged by her sperm donor father or siblings before. It’s quite literally her first time seeing them, yet they’re acting incredibly friendly as if they’ve always been close. They’re suddenly addressing and treating her like a princess and dear princess when they never did so before, much less even be aware of her existence. She’s just a convenient sacrifice for them.

Cecile is gorgeous, but she’s also a nice girl who’s lived quietly without any complaints. She’s never done anything wrong or bothered anyone. Yet, she was unfairly made to be a sacrifice against her will. Of course, she would be pretty salty about it. So what’s a pissed-off gal to do? Wreak some havoc for the first time, of course. She’s accepted her seemingly inescapable fate. Cecile figures that she’s probably going to die anyway, so she might as well take down her family with her. Thus she puts on an act of a demanding princess. The quiet girl who would leave nothing behind figured that she might as well go all out and leave a hella crazy and memorable impression. She makes up incredibly ridiculous demands for the tyrannical groom. She hopes to piss him off enough to make him end her family and Navitan. The demands and her attitude she’s putting up are so ridiculous that the Empire’s people are pretty pissed, but they’re also afraid that Emperor Estian would go on a rampage. Cecile is sure that he would be pissed to the point of immediately ending her life. She even picks off flower petals to debate whether her head will roll off to the right or left when he swings his sword at her. To her surprise, the crazy tyrant Emperor Estian happily and cooly accepts and meets every one of her demands. Rather than enraging him with her ridiculous demands, he finds her demands and attitude to be amusing. She’s piqued his interest, and he finds her entertaining.

Estian is quickly pretty smitten with Cecile, so she doesn’t really have to worry about him ending her life now. However, she’s not totally out of the clear. After all, the scary and powerful tyrant actually allowed this ridiculous woman to live. The empress would be seen as his weakness and an easy target. During their wedding night, Estian even saves her from an assassination attempt on her life. She’s scared now because, despite her previous resignation, she actually doesn’t want to die. She discards the act she had put up before, revealing to Estian her true personality and want to live. Again, Estian is pretty smitten with Cecile and finds her entertaining. He finds that she has a very natural talent for acting. Thus he comes up with a plan to ensure her survival in this dangerous life as the empress. She has to be a villainess that has a reputation even more notorious than that of the Empire’s tyrannical emperor, the strongest, most powerful, and notorious man that everyone fears. By displaying an act that she has even the most notorious and highest man in the land wrapped around her finger, she would assert that she is in a powerful position that’s even higher than the infamous Emperor Estian. Therefore, she would be instilling fear and ensuring her own safety. Plus, it’s entertaining as hell for Estian as he gets to shake up the Empire. Seriously, Estian enjoys it a bit too much. So Cecile and Estian put on a hell of a show, even though Cecile is basically screaming on the inside. Thus, hilarious situations and reactions ensue. Although, not all of the act is far from reality. Estian isn’t really acting though, as he really is totally smitten with Cecile. Estian basically IS wrapped around Cecile’s finger, whether she realizes that or not. For the most part, she just seems to think he enjoys teasing her though.

What I Liked

Admittedly, this series may not be for everyone. A lot of the situations and characters may seem ridiculous, even for a romance-fantasy series. But I mean… it is a comedy and fantasy series. So it’s one of those series where you don’t need to really think too hard and just go with it. Personally, I found those aspects to be a part of its charm and what made it enjoyable for me. Again, many of the series I’ve read tend to be on the more serious, angsty, drama-filled, and complex side. This was a series that did have some drama and mystery elements. Still, it was more on the lighthearted and comedic side. It’s just more about silly fun with a bit of sweet and fluffy romance to it. I had fun seeing what ridiculous thing would happen next. I also especially love Cecile and Estian’s relationship. Despite Estian being kind of extreme and crazy, he’s super sweet, loyal, and completely dedicated to Cecile. I love that sweet and wholesome aspect.

Estian would seem like the typical powerful and tyrannical male lead of a novel that exudes confidence, danger, and sexiness. The kind that has looks, intelligence, talent, and also strikes fear into everyone. Yet, he is totally soft for the female lead. While Estian isn’t exactly my perfect type of male lead, I do like him because I appreciate that he’s not a toxic or trashy male lead. Especially because, if I’m to be honest, a lot of romance fantasy series tend to have what I consider pretty trashy male leads. Y’all know the ones I’m talking about. The kind of male leads that are playboys, cheat (and feel no guilt), those who act like it’s not a big deal for other women to come on to them despite being taken, they don’t really respect the female lead, they disregard consent, they don’t really see or treat their partner as a partner or equal, etc. Overall, those kinds of male leads have some pretty damning toxic and trashy traits that make me want to yet them into BAYOG’s metaphorical volcano. However, I find Estian to be very sweet and wholesome (in his own crazy way) when it comes to Cecile. The man literally went out to conquer another kingdom because he wanted to give Cecile a pretty (and famous) gem. As if he was going to the store to pick up milk or something. I mean, sucks for that country, but at the same time… it’s somewhat sweet how he goes through such a crazy extent because he wants to please Cecile. Although to be fair, she was also kind of withholding what he wanted (sex… ahem)… (ಸヮಸ) Still, Estian really dotes on Cecile. The webtoon is a lot further ahead, so I do know spoilers of what’s to come. All I can say is that there are some especially sweet displays of affection and dedication to Cecile. It’s got my heart all soft and squishy at times. I like that he not only dotes on her, but he really is totally dedicated to her. The male lead who doesn’t see or care for any other woman. There’s no temptation on his radar. He’s totally faithful to her. Y’all think that would be a given, but there are some series where the male lead gets tempted or trusts some random woman over his lover. Ugh. Which brings me to a very important part of why I like Estian and his relationship with Cecile. Respect, trust, and treating her as an equal partner. Some historical fantasy series carry over the toxic and chauvinistic beliefs of medieval times. They’ll see women as less than them, as property, and as tools that should just do what they say. Yeah… I’m not about that. Estian can be a bit pushy and tends to tease Cecile a lot (especially when it comes to his sex drive with Cecile). However, he does see and treat her as his partner as they’re working together to put up this act of her being a villainess. However, we know it’s not totally an act as he truly is wrapped around her finger. So in a way, he lets her kind of have more control and power over him. When it comes down to it, he trusts her, supports her, and treasures her. I also like that there’s no deliberate attempt to hurt her. It’s a pretty healthy relationship, and I really appreciate that.

While I tend to be more of a fan of strong, badass, incredibly competent, and intelligent female leads, I had a soft spot for Cecile. Cecile can come off as your typical shoujo kind of heroine. She can be a bit naive and silly, but I didn’t find her overly ditzy and annoying. Despite being a forgotten princess who previously spent her whole life within a villa in the corner of the palace, she does have moments where she’s pretty witty. Look, I can appreciate her because at least she’s not a completely dumb airhead. She’s also more powerful than she realizes and is able to achieve some really surprising feats. Honestly, I felt like she was sweet and relatable at times. I felt like I’d probably be down to be friends with her. She’s also a big fan of romance novels. ONE OF US! ONE OF US! So yeah, probably could be friends with her. Despite this reputation she’s made of being a villainess, Cecile truly is beautiful and charming inside and out. She’s able to appeal to people and make unexpected friends. It’s actually cute to see her befriend Tania, her maid. I love seeing them fangirl over romance novels. Of course, my favorite thing about Cecile is that I just love how she’s such a natural at acting like a villainess, despite her constant feeling of hesitation and regret. The beginning bit at the wedding is probably my favorite. I just love how she’s straight up, “Eff this. If I gotta go down for no reason, then I’m taking all of you with me!” It’s just fun to see how crazy it can be, and how everyone reacts to it. I love that there are misunderstandings that just add fuel to the ridiculous rumors about her. Plus, I’m just a sucker for female leads that turn tyrannical male leads into doting softies. Dat gap moe~ I also love how she’s a true heroine that doesn’t hesitate to support and love Estian. Of course, there also does seem to be a bit of drama and mystery regarding Cecile and Estian as well. I’m just looking forward to seeing how that backstory unravels and how everything ties together. Estian and Cecile may not be my absolute favorite characters in a series, but I do like them. I just really love their relationship. It’s just crazy, sweet, funny, but also not toxic or problematic.

Aside from our leads, the series has plenty of eccentric and fun characters. I found the characters to be a lot of fun. You’ve got this crazy author who got transmigrated into her own novel. However, she’s upset because instead of being the female lead who’ll get Estian, she ended up becoming the saintess. She’s pretty thirsty for her characters too, particularly Estian. She’s literally the opposite of what a saintess would seem like. Her antics and futile attempts can make her seem a bit annoying at times, but I still found it to be pretty funny. We also have this crazy mage and lord of the Magic Tower who looks like a hot young man but is several centuries old. He seems to have some history with Estian. It’s kind of funny because Estian hates him and is always trying to kill him. The funny twist is that the dude can’t die. Tania, Cecile’s maid, is probably my favorite supporting character. Just because I can relate to her. She’s the daughter of a margrave, but she’s basically a country bumpkin who wanted to see and experience the city life. Yet, she surprisingly got selected to be the seemingly villainous empress’ personal maid. Now you’d think she’d be like this weak, prim, and proper noble lady. Nah. She comes from a family that is crazy about sword practice, crossbow practice, and hunting. She’s surprisingly pretty strong with her family having monstrous strength and mastery of martial arts. But I just love her friendship with Cecile, especially because she’s basically Cecile’s first friend. It’s a bit heartwarming, and I do love a good friendship. Aside from that, we also have a dragon and some other crazy characters as well. It’s just the combination of the eccentric characters, the crazy and funny antics, and the hilarious misunderstandings that add charm to the series and make it enjoyable for me.

Characters aside, because it’s mostly lighthearted and not overly complicated, it’s a pretty easy read. It doesn’t require hella deep thinking or any crazy mental gymnastics. So you can breeze through it pretty quickly. Of course, for me, it took me a while because I didn’t have much time to read everything in long periods of time. Still, if I were given a day completely free of errands, work, side project commitments, and interruptions… I could probably easily finish the book within a few hours. So yeah… Overall, I do recommend this series. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I personally found it to be enjoyable. It’s Minty approved. There are a lot of aspects that you often find in other romance series. Yet at the same time, it’s got some aspects that make it a bit different from what you would expect. It’s those things that I found made the series rather charming and fun to read. So yeah, it’s become one of my favorite novels at the moment.

So TLDR Recap

This is a good series for you if:

  • You’re looking for something more lighthearted, not really serious, and doesn’t have a complex drama-filled plot.
  • You like silly comedy and antics.
  • You’re a fan of the “misunderstandings lead to funny reactions and situations” trope.
  • You’re into sweet, loyal, and doting male leads.
    • Especially if you’re into scary and tyrannical male leads who are sweet, loyal, and totally dedicated to their lady love. They’re only soft and different with their person… Dat gap moe~
    • Especially if you’re into male leads that do extreme and ridiculous things for their lady love.
  • You’re into a female lead that is sweet and kind, can be a bit naive, but isn’t frustratingly stupid.
  • You’re looking for a series with a more healthy, non-toxic/non-problematic, and pretty wholesome ship (compared to many other series).
  • You like stories with eccentric characters.
  • You’re into historical fantasies; Middle ages, magic, fairies, dragons…all that stuff.
    • More so if you like non-accurate, silly versions of historical fantasy series. The kinds that pull some stuff from modern times and what not.
  • You like novels that have been adapted into manhwa/webtoons.
  • You’ll probably like this if you’re also a fan of The Concubine Contract.


Volume 1 of the series will cost you about $9-10 USD. If you’re interested in this series, please know that there are two versions: the ebook/print versions and the web series version. WordExcerpt would also like to emphasize that they are not the same!

Ebook/Print Version:

  • Has greater attention to detail, as well as additional rounds of editing
  • Tends to have less than 10 chapters. The chapters are based on acts; typically being over 10k-20k words.

Webnovel Version:

  • Fewer rounds of editing compared to the ebook/print version.
  • Chapters are made to be bite-sized. It’s broken into smaller chapters to be read more quickly. These webnovel chapters are about 1500 words.

I also want to add that the webnovel version can be read on several different platforms. I did literally go through each platform to confirm that there are some minor differences across the platforms. It’s usually just the occasional slightly different usage of words and phrases. It’s also a bit of a similar case between the ebook/print and webnovel versions. The wording does differ a bit at times compared to the webnovel versions. However, it’s still the same story all around. Volume 1 for both versions ends at the same part of the story as well.

To read the series, visit skywuxia.com.