Queer book review! All reviews touch on genre/plot, tropes (if any), and quality of gay content, and include both spoilerish and spoiler-light versions. Catch up on my last book review of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeannette Winterson.
First, let me point out that yes, this is the second book in the Killing Eve trilogy and no, I did not review the first book (yet). Codename Villanelle (book 1) was a pretty dense (but great!) read and I was not reading my own copy so I could not annotate it. Could I have reviewed it directly after reading without annotations perfectly fine? Probably. Did I do that? No, because I’m too easily distracted by my girlfriend. Anyway, here goes:
No Tomorrow is the follow-up to Codename Villanelle, the novel that BCC America’s Killing Eve is based on. The little credit that comes up on each episode saying “Based on the books by” that’s my man, Luke Jennings. So, (you guessed it!) the book centers around the mutual obsession between two women, MI6 agent, Eve Polastri, and Russian assassin, Villanelle. That’s right folks!! Canon mutual obsession!! I will talk about how the show compares with the book a tad in the spoiler(ish) section.
As stated, mutual !!! obsession !!! Villanelle has canon sexual relationships with other women while Eve is romantically involved with a man, but she indicates her concerning interest in Villanelle through her thoughts and subtle actions. In line with the show, Villanelle has a “more” queer identity as displayed through more overt actions.
The queer content in both of Luke’s novels is incredibly relaxed in the best possible way. If you’re someone (like me) who has begun to crave content with much less emphasis on Labels and Identity Statements™ then this is the book for you.
The characters’ sexualities are the simple result of mutual gravitation towards one another, not a characteristic set under an identity microscope by either character. Therefore, there are no sexualities labels. “But,” Luke points out, “[Villanelle’s] significant/romantic relationships [are] all f/f.” These characters exist as they do because it makes sense for them as characters, not because Jennings dreamed to please a certain demographic. (But mark me down as pleased for my lesbian demographic.)
Firstly, this book is not queerbait! Like the show, the obsession that borderlines on the possibility of something more is canon, and it is a delightful seven-course meal. (And the final course is definitely the best part!) I have also seen a few concerns that Villanelle’s character mimics an unpopular queer trope, the Predatory Lesbian. I would argue this is not the case, as the book gives Villanelle more attention for readers to understand how she defies this trope. (I would also argue BBC’s version of Villanelle also falls outside the trope too, but I’ll save this for later.)
As for the show/book comparison: you should know that season two and book two diverge much more so than the first versions of both, since No Tomorrow was not published until after the second season began production. Therefore, the ends of both vary significantly. If you’re looking for something a little more optimistic, pick up the book. You deserve some positive vibes for enduring such a painful season finale.
Coming Up Next
My next book review will be for Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady by Susan Quinn. Have you read either book in the Killing Eve trilogy? What did you think? Let me know by commenting below or sending a message on Twitter, Instagram, or Curious Cat!