They say revenge is a dish best served cold, and you better believe it, because one of those people doing the saying is Khan, titular villain of 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In the spirit of Khan, and winter—being the time of cold, and of villains in general—being incredibly cool, have inspired us.
Here’s a rundown of some of Tor’s Ice-Cold Villains™ 😎
Eli & Victor from Vicious by V. E. Schwab
Roommate squabbles are often a sad fact of life. Sometimes dishes pile up and noise happens at unfortunate times and you have to work that stuff out for the communal good of your homespace. Or, you could read Vicious, which has the worst ever case of and they were roommates… Eli and Victor go from arrogant and ambitious college roommates working together to arrogant and ambitious and superpowered ex-roommates now enemy villains.*
*Eli would contend that he is not a villain, and in fact saving the world by doing all that murder. And Victor is trying to stop him, but is more of an antihero, in this case, technically
Kreon from Arch-Conspirator by Veronica Roth
Oh, this villain is a classic. Literally. Arch-Conspirator is Veronica Roth’s science fiction retelling of Sophocles’s famous tragedy Antigone. Diligent scholars may note that the spelling “Kreon” is a little different from the original “Creon,” but Antigone goes by Tig in this story too, because it’s the future. Other things have changed too—in Roth’s dystopian world, only those birthed through a eugenic process are considered rightly souled. Tig and her sisters, being born outside of the process, are unnatural, and Kreon doesn’t like that, or women. The rest of the story is pretty deadly, but far be it from us to spoil it, if somehow you’ve managed to avoid learning the deets of a famous story that’s been around for 2464 years.
Charlie from Starter Villain by John Scalzi
Okay we’re warming things up a little for this one. Charlie isn’t really ice-cold, but he’s a good villain to start with, if you’re more looking to dip toes in the waters of villainy. That’s really what Charlie’s doing, in a lot of ways. He’s new to the gig, the inheritor of an evil organization, weapons, and a cadre of spy cats from his long-lost uncle. This is a cozy story for when you need to steal a little warmth back from an ice-cold world. Cozy villainy.
Everybody from The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
Not only does the rigorous process of higher education often feel like a system designed by a particularly sadistic villain, but sometimes the best way to survive a mad situation is to go a little mad. Enter, the entire cast of The Atlas Six, basically. They’re grad students with a lot of magical powers and even more issues and attractions to work out amongst themselves. And while they work on their research, they also must contend with the mandatory institutional tradition of sacrificing one member of each cohort. Sometimes grad school is murder.
Cairdine Farrier from The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
So Cairdine Farrier. This villain wears a lot of hats, including: merchant, explorer, agent, father figure (?!), and patron. He’s part of the Masquerade—the empire that took over Baru’s home and killed her parents. Manipulative and highly savvy, it’s difficult for others to parse his full motives and hidden thoughts. A truly dangerous villain, by which we mean: The kind who knows how to ingratiate.