The more I read Villains Are Destined to Die, the more obsessed I become with it. It’s able to take its readers into the story and make you turn page after page, always wanting more.
The story picks up right where Volume 1 left off. Penelope has decided which of the love interests is more likely to help her survive—Eckles. There is just one small problem. He’s a slave, and she needs to get hold of him without her brothers or anyone else present. The opportunity arises during the town festival when she gets separated from her brothers and, of course, gets into trouble. However, this escapade brings more to light. The characters are starting to behave differently from the way Penelope remembers they behaved in the game. Their actions are different, and everyone starts taking an interest in Penelope, whether she likes it or not. Well, she doesn’t really care if they like her… she only cares about surviving and Eckles seems like her best bet.
Penelope still sees this life as a game. She knows how difficult it is to survive in hard mode when even the smallest mistake could get her killed. She still hasn’t found the logic or the formula that makes the affection meter of the characters rise (or fall). Yes, fulfilling missions and events helps, but some of her answers do too. The problem is figuring out which ones so that the affection meter doesn’t come crashing down once again. Although when she encounters a new character, that’s exactly what happens. Thankfully, Penelope is able to bring the level back up almost as quickly, but still… that was scary! For a few pages I wondered if it was finally time for her to run for her life.
Eckles, the slave whom Penelope acquires, is introduced for the first time in this volume. He is a noble from a fallen kingdom, and he’s prized for his skills with the sword. However, for Penelope to turn him into a sword master before the game’s original timeline is not going to be easy. Eckles doesn’t know what to think of his master yet. Yes, he has to play the obedient dog for the moment, but we still don’t know if this façade will continue. We don’t know much about his past, so we don’t know if he needs his freedom back to do something or to meet someone.
Penelope’s father and brother are behaving strangely. They seem worried when she disappears among the crowd at the festival. But is that true or is something else going on that we don’t know yet? My hope is that the current Penelope can thaw their hearts, but it’s too early in the series to know for sure.
The only downside of this volume for me is the ending. It’s neither good nor bad and that for me is the issue. It doesn’t even have a cliffhanger. It seems like an in-between setting between the arc of finding Eckles and the next arc, which I assume will start in Volume 3. Ending this volume with a different scene might have impelled more readers to get the next volume as soon as possible to find out what will happen.
Villains Are Destined to Die is a manhwa in full colour. The illustrations are amazing, and they focus on details. It differs from other manhwa released in the English language thanks to its darker storyline and the gritty female lead. Compared to other isekai stories I’ve read, Penelope is a no-nonsense person and doesn’t accept anything at face value. She has a goal and she’ll do anything to survive and reach it. Moreover, due to the darker atmosphere of the story, it doesn’t have the comedy and naïve characters that you usually find in isekai stories.
Villains Are Destined to Die by Gwen Gyeoeul and SUOL is released in English thanks to Ize Press with a translation by David Odell. Volume 3 is slated for release in May 2023.