Hello everyone! I am here today with Jacqueline Silvester, the author of Wunderkids. In case you haven’t heard about Wunderkids here’s the link to the Amazon page. Since her book has some very witty and scary villains, I asked her what her top “worst” villains and here’s what she said:
The Darkling from the Shadow and Bone series (Grishaverse) is one of my favorite villains because of his complexity, and the fact that I still rooted for him long after I had discovered that he was the villain in the story. I love villains that make you want to root for them, despite your better judgment.
There is a vulnerability to the Darkling, a kind of brokenness. There is also his desire to be loved, and of course there is the seductive appeal of his beauty and his power. He’s such great character it’s almost hard to hate him. Almost.
Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter)
What I love about Dolores is that she’s not a physical villain, she’s not a fighter and there is not physical aspect to her villainy. She’s an old lady in a pink tweed suit, giggling and tittering about and talking about. But somehow she is still terrifying. I love this juxtaposition in villain and J.K Rowling pulled it off brilliantly (not like anyone is surprised.) The contrast of her being an elderly lady, who likes pink and cats and bone china, but is also the cruelest person at Hogwarts, is fascinating. And the amount of damage she is able to cause with legislation reminds you that politicians can be some of the most dangerous people.
Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
If you read Wunderkids you would know that evil nurses are my kryptonite. However, where I consider my villain Mrs. Smith to be mid-range scary, but her literary ancestor Nurse Ratched is positively terrifying. When I saw “One Flew Over the Cuckoos’ Nest” I had nightmares about the cruel nurse for years. Nurse Ratched rules over her hospital with an iron fist, and punishes, humiliates and abuses her patients. Villain indeed.
Nils Bjurman (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Now moving on to truly terrifying villains. Nils Bjurman from “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is everything I fear personified-a sadist and a rapist, in a position of power over the young protagonist. Even though he gets his own in the end the damage that he causes to Lisbeth can never truly be undone. Nils Bjurman is what nightmares are made of.
All things John Malkovich
To me Malkovich personifies villains. I’m sure in life he’s a lovely person, but on screen he is able to school his features into an expression of perfect unmistakable evil. I kept a photo of him up in my office to help me write out the expressions that my villains (particularly the Dean) make.
Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame/Disney)
As you may have noticed from my list, I’m most afraid of powerful people who abuse their power. From nurses to guardians to priests- people who are put in a position to help the weak and vulnerable and instead use that power to hurt them are pure evil in my book. Top of the list is Quasimodo’s guardian Frollo (the Disney version, Victor Hugo’s Frollo was more compassionate and caring.) Hiding a disabled person in your bell tower? Check. Using your power to prey on the weak and justifying it with religion? Check. Creepy and repressed sexual desires towards woman half your age? Check.
So since Jacqueline offered up an inside to what scares her most, I thought I’d offer up a similar piece. Beware though: while Jacqueline is scared of those in power, I am scared of things that go bump in the night.
Pennywise the Dancing Clown (It by Stephen King)
I know I recently raved about Pennywise in a recent review, but he legitimately scared me in my first read of the novel… when I was 10…. Parents this is why you monitor what your child is reading! I think what really scared me about him is that his favorite personification was of a clown which represents childhood carefree nature and innocence. The other part that scared me was that he’s a freaking demon who can shapeshift into your worst fears! He can also appear anywhere and he’s not just restricted to the sewers of Derry. The thought of him lying under my bed at night gave me many a sleepless night. Since I’ve read a few Stephen King books now I think I can say that this is King’s scariest monster to date.
Governor Dragna aka Scarlet and Tella’s Father (Caraval by Stephanie Garber)
It’s probably due to my background in Criminal Justice, but I CAN’T STAND bad parents! It makes me want to punch them in the face, especially those who have abused their children or whoever the main character may be. Aside from feelings of anger, I’ve never really experienced an abusive parental figure in a book that made me very nervous until I read Caraval. Scarlett and Tella’s father made me very jumpy while reading the book. I just expected him to pop up anywhere at any time. I think the author did a good job of making the fear that Scarlet and Tella felt towards their father feel very real to the reader.
Minya (Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor)
Aren’t children supposed to be sweet and innocent? Well this Godspawn is no angel sent from above. Her powers include trapping departing souls, making them into slaves, and forcing them to do her bidding for as long as she may live. Oh and she’s stuck as a child forever. I love the uniqueness of this character and that she does not appear threatening nor does she have threatening powers to the living. The fearsome part of her is not that you’ll have to face her down while alive, it’s that you’ll have to face down her undead army and risk being her slave for the rest of eternity.
The Weeping Angels (Doctor Who)
“Don’t blink”. The two scariest words uttered in a Doctor Who episode ever. While these villains may appear as just normal statues that mourn the loss of our dearly departed, they’re much more than that. They move faster that you can imagine and with one touch they can send you back in time. They feed on the energy of what could have been, what should have been, but never will be. And in one episode they demonstrate their intelligence by creating a hotel in which they constantly send people back in time to feed off them. The only way you stop them? You have to stare at them (not a picture of them though, that creates an image in your eye and thus you are the weeping angel then). This doesn’t tend to work well when they are working in packs of 3 or 4 though.
Steelheart (Steelhart by Brandon Sanderson)
“I’ve seen Steelheart bleed.” This was the opening line for the Reckoner’s series. Now you might think that this would make a villain appear weak, but you are oh so wrong. This villain cannot be injured by any means. He’s literally impenetrable and he can make anything into steel. While he’s only one of the many villainous “heroes” Calamity caused, he’s the one who struck fear in all of Chicago (now called Newcago). I loved how Sanderson wrote all of the “heroes” in this series and how their powers and their weakness had parallels. While it showed me that sometimes your greatest enemies power can also be their weakness, it didn’t make me fear Steelheart any less.
AIDAN (The Illuminae Files by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)
At first (and during the audiobook) you might think of AIDAN as a Baymax-type character: here to help and never harm. However, whether it be due to damage sustained during the war at Kerenza or because of just AI things, AIDAN quickly turns murderous and decides some people are better left dead. I think the scariest thing about this is that we are willingly giving our trust to these inanimate objects that are supposed to make our lives easier and better. They’re supposed to be helping us when really they might be plotting our demise.
If you’ve made it to this point then YAY! Thanks for reading! Jacqueline’s book is very good. It’s a sci-fi boarding school type YA book. I love books set in boarding school type settings and this book was very unique in it’s field. If you want to know more about it check out my blog post here. You should also check out her Twitter, Blog, and Instagram page! She is seriously such a sweet person and a brilliant author. I loved her book and I can’t wait for when the next one comes out! Go check her out and leave me a comment with your favorite “worst” villains!
Jacqueline is a London-based novelist and screenwriter. Her first YA novel Wunderkids (book 1) Wildwood Academy was released in June 2017. Currently, Jacqueline is working on her second novel; book 2 in the Wunderkids trilogy. She also works as screenwriter and producer on multiple cartoon series. In her spare time she likes to re-watch old episodes of Buffy, talk about her most recent book haul, and play with her direwolf Laika.