What Makes a Great Villain: Black Moon Blog Tour and Giveaway!

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The Zodiac re-readathon continues! This week kicked off the Black Moon re-read, which I couldn’t be more excited about since this is my favorite book in the series so far. I am also going to be co-hosting the Twitter chat for this book on August 27th with my friend Sarah from The YA Book Traveler! It’s going to be so much fun, so be sure to join us!


What Makes a Great Villain

One of my favorite things about these books and Black Moon in particular is the villain! For me, there are a few key components that make up a truly great villain, and the villain  in the Zodiac books certainly illustrates all of them.

They Have a Great Backstory

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When I interviewed Charlie N. Holmberg a couple weeks ago, we discussed what makes a complex villain, and she said that every villain should be written like they are the hero of their own story. I could not agree with that more. For me, getting to see a villain’s backstory and understand the motivations for their terrible actions is crucial. I want to see how their character evolved into what it has become. It makes them a much more complex and believable character.

They Have Widespread Influence

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What’s a villain if they don’t have minions? A truly great villain is one who can get a large number of people to agree with their despicable ideals and help them to carry out their evil plans. It becomes even more interesting when their influence is so pervasive that our heroes no longer know which characters they can trust and which ones they cannot.

They Have Mental/Magical/Physical Powers to Rival the Hero’s

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What’s a good vs. evil story without an epic showdown? In order for the story’s stakes to be at their highest, and for readers to truly engage with the major conflict in the novel, the villain has to be strong enough to be a true threat to our hero.

We Have to Love to Hate Them

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A really great villain has got to be pretty terrible. Even once we understand their motivations, those motivations can’t be enough to justify their actions. The things they do still need to be awful enough for readers to just love to hate them.


About the Book

28529955Title: Black Moon

Author: Romina Russell

Pub. Date: December 6, 2016

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 320

Book 3 in the breathtaking sci-fi space saga inspired by astrology that will stun fans of the Illuminae Files and Starbound series.

One final secret stands between Rho and the enemy. But will the devastating truth be enough to destroy her first?

Rho, the courageous visionary from House Cancer, lost nearly everything when she exposed and fought against the Marad, a mysterious terrorist group bent on destroying balance in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now, the Marad has disappeared without a trace, and an uneasy peace has been declared.

But Rho is suspicious. She believes the Master is still out there in some other form. And looming over all are the eerie visions of her mother, who died many years ago, but is now appearing to Rho in the stars.

When news of a stylish new political party supported by her best friend, Nishi, sends Rho on another journey across the galaxy, she uses it as an opportunity to hunt the hidden master and seek out information about her mother. And what she uncovers sheds light on the truth–but casts darkness upon the entire Zodiac world.

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Enter the Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win either one (1) grand prize set of Romina Russell’s Zodiac Series in paperback, including Zodiac, Wandering Star, and Black Moon (32.97) or to be one (1) of five (5) second place winners to receive a copy of Zodiac by Romina Russell (ARV: $10.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on August 7, 2017 and 12:00 AM on August 28, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about September 1, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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About the Author

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Romina Russell is a Los Angeles based author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig—College She Wrote, a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not working on the ZODIAC series, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a Virgo to the core.


Follow the Blog Tour

Thanks so much to Penguin Teen for hosting this blog tour! Be sure to check out all the amazing blog posts for Zodiac and stay tuned for news on the Wander Star tour!

Week One:

August 7 – A Perfection Called Books – Hysan Appreciation Post

August 7 – Bookiemoji – Book Photography

August 8 – The Book Nut – Mood Board

August 9 – YA and Wine – What Makes a Great Villain?

August 10 – In Wonderland – Black Moon Book Look

August 10 – The Hardcover Lover

August 11 – Swoony Boys Podcast

Week Two:

August 14 – Here’s To Happy Endings – Review

August 15 – Picture Books to YA – Review

August 16 – Live Love Read

August 16 – The Hermit Librarian – Black Moon Playlist

August 17 – MundieMoms

August 18 – The Eater of Books!

Week Three:

August 21 – The Royal Polar Bear Reads – Book Photography

August 22 – The Book Talk

August 23 – Four Violet

August 24 – The Wednesday Blog – Zodiac Fun Facts

August 25 – The Biblio Life – Spotlight

Twitter Chat: August 27th @ 8PM EST Hosted by @KrystiYAandWine @  YA and Wine & @thebooktraveler @ The YA Book Traveler


Who are some of your favorite literary villains? What do you think makes for a good villain?


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34 thoughts on “What Makes a Great Villain: Black Moon Blog Tour and Giveaway!

  1. Kristy Petree says:

    Great post! Of course there has to be a villain and you have listed some great ones! I’ve only recently become interested in this series when I realized there was a space theme (something I’ve only developed a fondness for in the last year or so). Thanks for hosting!

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Thanks so much! I love that this book has the space theme, like you said, and that it’s all built around astrological signs. I think that’s a fascinating premise and so much fun! 🙂

  2. bookprincessreviews says:

    Ooooh, I like your reasons behind what makes a good villain. They are so true! I know a lot of people that love villains, but personally, I’m not quite one of them. But a few really have stuck out to me, and I think it’s because of the reasons that you said. Wonderful post, Krysti, and do I need to know anything about the book to be a part of the book chat? (EEKS SO EXCITED FOR YOU TO BE A HOST)

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Thanks, Mandy! I do love a good villain, but I’m always ultimately on the hero’s side. 🙂 And nope! The chat is totally spoiler free and you don’t need to have read the books to participate! I’m really excited to host. It will be my first time, so hopefully it’s fun! 🙂

  3. Sophie @ Blame Chocolate says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you, Krysti! Those are definitely some of the traits I look for in villains, though sometimes it’s hard to really put into words how they manage to enchant me… I guess it really depends.
    It takes a very skilled writer to make villains come to life, and keep them interesting. I haven’t read this series yet but I’m glad it features one of those awesome bad guys 🙂
    Great post!

  4. carhicks says:

    I really liked this post. Interesting reading about villians and I agree with what you said, but did not think about it before. The series sounds interesting but I can not enter the giveaway because I live in Canada.

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Thanks so much! This is a wonderful series. So sorry about that. I do have an international giveaway for LAST STAR BURNING going right now though!

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Thanks so much! There is definitely something to be said about villains and even unreliable narrators. I kind of can’t get enough of them. 🙂

  5. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    This is a super cool post. I totally agree with you about everything above! I would also add that they either need to be someone we can sympathize with (Professor Snape, the Wicked Witch of the West, Lucifer from Paradise Lost, etc.) or someone we absolutely abhor– someone who fully believes what they are doing is right when it could never possibly be so (Hitler, Professor Umbridge, etc.).

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Thanks, Jackie! Those are such wonderful additions to this post.

      Off topic, but what did you study in college? Chatting with you reminds me of all my lit classes and I love that. ☺️

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

        You might be surprised to learn that I studied music! I have degrees in percussion music performance and K-12 Instrumental Music education. I never took a lit class after my senior year of high school, if you can believe that. I just like challenging myself and the people around me to think more about what they are reading and writing. It’s a fun hobby. 😀

        What did you study?

      • KrystiYAandWine says:

        Oh, interesting! Well, you certainly sound like an English major in your reviews and comments. 🙂 I actually did study English.

  6. Jen says:

    Ohhhh I LOVE when I hate a villain. When I want to see them suffer and get taken down (why does that make me sound like a horrible person?! lol). Some series where I loathed the villain(s) sooo much but can’t say who they are is The Lux Series by JLA, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi and The Library Jumpers by Brenda Drake. 🙂

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Well, I don’t think so, because I feel the exact same way. LOL. Those are great examples. I really love The Library Jumpers series. 🙂

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