I like a cat-stroking, sitting-in-his-chair-laughing-evilly kind of villain. They can be rather entertaining and drive the plot. However the villains I find most disturbing are the ones you can emphasise with, the ones you can understand their motivation, the ones that make you struggle not to like them.
In Leigh Bardugo’s The Grisha trilogy, a YA series starting with Shadow and Bone, the Darkling is a villain who will stay with you forever. He is incredibly seductive and makes you question what side you are on. I remember a friend of mine said she wanted to kill the author because for the first time in her life she didn’t know if she should root for the hero or the villain.
In Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series she describes Councillor Henry Scott. He is a villain with a mission and what he gets up to achieve his goals is upsetting, but I found his minion Andrea Vasquez far more disturbing. You see the most of him in Heart of Obsidian. Andrea is a follower, not a leader. He follows orders with dogged determination, but he is not stupid. He can adjust and change his approach, but he never loses sight of his goal.
I find this kind of unwavering determination unsettling. You cannot argue with someone who is a zealot, someone who only sees their way as the right way and is completely unwilling to consider another side. Out of all the villains and evil minions I have come across in my reading Andrea Vasquez has stayed with me.
Do you have a favourite villain or Evil Minion? I’d love to hear who has stayed with you.