The Villainess is a Marionette


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Cayena, the Imperial Princess, was known as the most beautiful woman in the Empire. She was a woman who knew nothing but evil and luxury.

However, she was destined for ruin: she would be used as a chess piece by her younger brother to secure his throne and killed by her crazy husband.

“I’ll make you the Emperor.”

“… Sister, are you referring to me?”

“In exchange, give me freedom.”

She had to change things before she became that Cayena.

Associated Names
One entry per line
악녀는 마리오네트
Related Series
Lucia (3)
Death Is The Only Ending For The Villain (2)
I Don’t Want to Be Loved (2)
The Villainess Reverses the Hourglass (2)
I Should Have Read The Ending (1)
Lady To Queen (1)
Recommendation Lists
  1. Historical K-Novels
  2. Novels I've Read So Far
  3. K-Novels
  5. BG Baddies

Latest Release

Date Group Release
09/09/21 NovelQueen c137
08/14/21 NovelQueen c136
07/31/21 NovelQueen c135
07/23/21 NovelQueen c134
07/15/21 NovelQueen c133
06/30/21 NovelQueen c132
06/17/21 NovelQueen c131
06/16/21 NovelQueen c130
06/15/21 NovelQueen c129
06/09/21 NovelQueen c128
06/09/21 NovelQueen c127
06/09/21 NovelQueen c126
06/09/21 NovelQueen c125
05/25/21 NovelQueen c124
05/25/21 NovelQueen c123
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39 Reviews

New everylittlef
Sep 21, 2021
Status: c136
I read this novel after I read the manhwa and as expected I love it so much! The ML is so hot and I love the relationship. The original FL isn't a villain in this one, so that's also a plus. Cayena is so smart and wonderful. I haven't finished reading this novel because it's not completely translated yet, but I can't wait to read more.
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Aug 17, 2020
Status: c18
I’m really looking forward to reading more of this. Usually I despise ‘reborn’ Mc’s because the author doesn’t off set the s*upidity of their first life with clever writing and characterization.

You know what I mean? Those plot lines in which; “Oh, MC was self-centered and seeking death everyday~! She received a bad end because she was so ignorant of the true nature of the people around her despite being in an affluent position where she had all the resources at her fingertips~!

These reborn Mc’s whose author try to pluck at... more>> a readers heart strings by moaning and groaning how pitiful their character is always makes me roll my eyes.

Like; if your character was s*upid enough in her first life to get schemed to death, then I’m supposed to buy that right after death, she gets an IQ upgrade?

Gtfo XD

The author seems to understand the unlikeliness of that sort of scenario, so even though MC got reborn into a modern life right after her death as a princess, her dumb ass still got manipulated and used like she did as a princess, and it’s only after she died again, and was reborn in her former lifetime as a princess, that she’s finally mature enough to understand and manipulate the people around her.

But it really took homegirl two lifetimes before she learned, and I appreciate the author for that. <<less
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Dec 21, 2020
Status: c66
This is a yandere story with multiple yandere and dangerous males where the FL plays chess with them in order to survive. I know people seem to misunderstand the introduction of the new relationship with her brother, but I urge them to keep reading. People seem to forget, women in feudal/medieval societies are completely reliant on their families support. All power that the princess has comes from her father or brother, or her mother's family. Women are extensions of the power of what they bring by their relationship with their... more>> male relatives. So if the princess has no backing from her father, brother, mother's family, etc... she has no power. She's just a pretty vase.

And the princess is aware of that. I think younger readers struggle with this, but it wasn't until the 1900s that more western societies began to treat women like people. Allowing us to vote, have jobs, and be independent. This is still ongoing issue for our fellow sisters across the world. This is something I think younger readers who are new to historical fantasy novels need to remember and view the novel through this lens.

As for the pace of the story, it's a bit fast, but I find the pacing still very enjoyable as it is not rushed. Just quickly paced, as politics can be very fast. I love the FL, she's far more rational and calm that most females of reincarnation novels who seem to go full OP. FL just manipulates events with her knowledge of events, but still can't always completely escape unscathed in new events that have rippled out from her changes and choices.

The ML does come to his awakening of emotions sooner in typical reincarnation novels, but he still restrains himself as well. I like the variation of yandere/dangerous male tropes you see in this novel. But the best part, is the healthy and loyal relationships the princess makes with women. I think this something that lot of novels lack; an actual support circle of fellow females.

So far the novel is well rounded and very enjoyable. <<less
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Sep 26, 2020
Status: c17
Alright so this is the 1st part of my review cause I still havent finish reading this yet so here are what I like and what I dont like in the novel:

Lets first start with the things I hate cause there's a bunch of them:

1. First thing I hate is how disgusting and tr*shy Mc's brother (Rezef) is.I mean even though he has a reason on why he became tr*sh still the things he did... he just stooped so low like how he treated her sister as a doll just... more>> for his selfishness and how when now MC treated him better his now starting to warm up to her (he doesnt deserve Mc's kindness😠). Its also not just him but the other characters as well. They all are just messed up by going to Lydia and then to the Emperor they signify the word complete tr*sh.I really cant tolerate MC being kind to Rezef when he harmed her.

2.I don't like ML because I really hate it when they just suddenly see someone they hate mature and become smarter than before then they will go and disturb Mc's life.I mean if someone you hate becomes a better person will you be like 'oh I wanna go and spy and check if he or she really changed like dude back off.I hope someone would actually love her for who she is and not for entertainment and let ML end up with someone who he shouldve ended up with.

3.I also actually really hate how fake this sister and brother is like how the heroine treated Rezef and so MC used that to lower her brothers guard.I also really just makes me puke to see them brother and sister so friendly when behind it is a disturbing and disgusting truth.I hope Mc's brother doesnt suddenly like MC just cause she scolded himXD.

4. The way ML is falling for MC seems forced. Like how MC helped him and kept distance from him he suddenly got interested in her and then be like "what is this feeling I'm having?" or "why dont I feel disgust when I kissed her hand?" those kind of moments are the ones I hate cause of how it seemed forced and cause of how suddenly his heart suddenly felt "badump" when MC is trying to avoid him. Do you really think Mc's gonna fall for you just cause you fell for her too?Well technically she will and that's why I hate it when stories go like that.I really wish that someday I can read about a novel where MC is independent and have the Ml's that ones hated her come flocking around then she'll reject them then the Ml's will feel regret.

Thats all let me finish this novel to write a review.

I finally finished reading it and here is my review:

1. One of the things I like about this story is how interesting its plot is like you wanna keep reading what happens next.I really love reading about losers turn to a badass so this was just my taste.

2.I like how it finally revolves on MC cause in novels I read it always talk about the heroine and would sometimes neglect the MC.

3.I love how perfect the MC is. Shes smart and badass that also knows whats right or wrong instead of other Mc's thats just a disgrace to the word MC.

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Jun 01, 2020
Status: v1c1
The story is very interesting so far,

It's kinda sad how the original villainess host was deceived and then married off. It hurt when I read how the villainess was pleading with her brother and how all of the knights betrayed her.


The story is thrilling but also a little sad at the same time, it really caught my attention

Can't wait for next chapter!!~~.

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May 05, 2021
Status: c119
  • book is 200 chapters long
  • reviews have only read the first ten chapters XD bruh hold up, at that point the story hasn't even started yet.

    Basically, the thing that makes this story interesting is the 'keep your friends close but your enemies closer' theme. The premise, and the thing that makes this story so good, is that the protagonist is completely boxed in and surrounded with enemies from the very start. To the extent that the ultimate evil, final boss antagonist of the story is literally breathing down her neck from the first page, poised to kill her and anybody she appears to care about if she so much as flinches funny.

    Eh? Why is that great? Obviously, because it creates infinite opportunities for the protagonist to act clever of course! And oh does the story deliver! Unlike so many other stories with excellent premises and disappointing execution, this story is on point and laser focused on providing exactly what it promises: razor's edge political scheming and a protagonist smart enough to walk that tightrope. She's got brains and balls of steel to back it up, the protagonist is exactly crazy enough to survive her life surrounded by lunatics. It's refreshing - an interesting concept that's fleshed out properly, for once.

    Personally, not my favorite story since I just like fluffy garbage, but objectively I think it's *very* good. IMO one of the best books on this site, from a technical 'quality craftsmanship" standpoint. One huge sign of it's quality is that the source material is actually completed - the author had a plan in mind instead of just meandering around, making it up as they go, and then successfully followed through on that plan. It is a full, well defined story that really goes somewhere. The author clearly has skills and the translation is flawless. It is well worth reading, I recommend it if the premise sounds like the kind of thing you're into.
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Feb 09, 2021
Status: c90
Highly recommended

Cayena is truly the ideal female lead. She can fight against all the manipulative characters around her; has her own pace; stands for what she believes; strong physically and mentally; won't stop until she achieve something she set her eyes on; not to mention she's exquisitely beautiful and I believe that word is still an understatement.

Also, Raphael's character development is the most satisfying thing I have ever read! He went from 10-100 throughout the series. He speaks what's on his mind; a really great support system to Cayena; a... more>> "handsome" knight in shining armor. (Although Cayena is really courageous, Raphael is always there for her whenever things don't go the way Cayena planned it to)

The conflicts don't stem up from misunderstandings but power struggle for the throne. They all have complicated and interesting back stories.


I love how Rezef is Cayena and Raphael's brother. And how Raphael said that he doesn't know how to tell Cayena that her brother is his brother too.


That was really.. *Chef kiss*

And please know that Ethel is just a cute little bean :3 I hope he become the emperor, but we'll see. <<less
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Jan 14, 2021
Status: c77
I don't know why, but this novel has an unbearable similarity to " A Tale Of Two Phoenixes", mostly the beginning.

They both have smart and powerful, somewhat cold male leads that fall in love with the after the MC gives up on pursuing them. Both push their feelings on the MC. The brother in both stories are tyrants.

The MCs are both villainess princesses. The MC tries to change their tyrant brother to stop being cruel before eventually giving up. Both tyrant brothers identify their sisters with a fragrance. Both sisters help calm down their brothers. Both kinda have a harem of men liking them.

In adddition, I dislike that:

    • The MC is a Mary Sue. She is exceptionally skilled in political affairs, although it never goes into detail to explain how she knows everything. Like everything works for her and all her predictions and foils are accurate? Nothing goes off course even though she is significantly different? Butterfly effect? Also her decision making process pulls through even in situations she didn't know about.
    • Plot holes. She once tried to stop a jail break by herself with only a gun. And somehow, she came out totally unscathed. She also locks herself in jail, and blames it on the other party. How???? How come she didn't get her

      powers first to help protect her? Why is it one of the later things even tho the palace is dangerous?

    • Everyone is either bewitched, mystified or infatuated with the MC. Or they hate her.
    • pushy/persistent ML
    • Lack of romance (they just kiss all of a sudden even tho she has been indecisive or straight up denying, talking to him about her past feelings/promise/imaginary husband)
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Sep 30, 2020
Status: c30
It may be still too early to judge, but the novel is promising. It's common for second-chance novels to involve face slapping, but it's rather rare for them to involve face slapping with plotting of any level of sophistication, as most are something along the lines of:

Bad Characters: "Let's cut holes in the chest area of her dress. That'll show her!"
MC: [Pulls off a Regina George and makes everyone fall in love with her by being "fashion-forward"]

This novel so far suggests MC is quite the plotter, but because we... more>> are shown the first little bits, which all have been for preparing for the grand plot, we aren't entirely sure how shrewd she is. Her past two lives gave her the lesson of disliking being controlled and knowing when she's being controlled; neither gave her an ability to become a politician or a plotter, so it does appear to be a sudden case of genius, but the author implies her abilities so far come from the fact that she's already familiar with the characters around her and what drives them, having seen to what end they controlled her and their past actions in her previous life.

I'm a bit surprised at how little the whole marionette concept plays in the plot. Her being controlled is so minor. The previous driving subplot could have been anything else and the current story would still make sense. But all in all, the story seems to be: "In this empire, you don't control the marionette; the marionette controls you!" <<less
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Jun 09, 2021
Status: c131
What the? Omg. The cliff-hanger.. I hate this.... Please update 😭

How I want Cayena to tell Raphael everything.
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Jun 14, 2020
Status: c3
The story is very promising. I love how the MC think about her situation thoroughly with so much composure. Can't wait for moreeee!!!
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Nov 06, 2020
Status: c62
This one actually perked my interest very well. Maybe it was because of a s*upid novel before this that I've read, I see this novel as more like a gem.

I'm sick of dense MC or equally naive MC that has been rebirth but still doesn't know her own limit and idk, do things that actually doesn't make sense but then the everyone were just tolerating her behavior or having a positive misunderstanding just because she's the MC, iykwim.

Although this novel is currently lacked in the romance department, but the schemes... more>> here are quite exquisite. The MC knows her limit in the palace and were carefully threading her way to survive the full of scheming place, we'll see if she'll really survive or there will be more to this but I really like that she's very manipulative, not being reckless and think logically in her every moves.

The other characters are also being careful and not easily change sides, they will also think of the pros and cons of their decision to side with whom. Reading this is like watching people playing chess, slow but steady. (Or maybe bc I just recently watch Queen's Gambit lol)

Overall I recommend, but if you're currently more into fluffy and sickening dog-food romance, please set this story aside for a moment and read this when you're bored or ready. I don't know about you but this story is worthy to read. <<less
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May 13, 2021
Status: --
Amazing, I also recommend the manhwa because the art is beautiful but the only reason the manhwa can be great is because it had a solid story as a base.
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Nov 02, 2020
Status: c42
TL;DR its okay

First of all, I read this novel because of ReadIsLif's 3 star review. You can check his/her review down below. 2 things that makes me read this are the words of forced moment and perfect MC.

Yes the word perfect is just so provoking for me to see for myself wth is a perfect MC.

So I read it, and not even 5ch in I already found the so called forced moment. She thank her lady in waiting then the whole room weep. And its not stopping there. She said... more>> something then the everyone are in awe. She did something then the whole country stunned.

Think about it, this bratty bit*h that used to bully and whine all the time suddenly said thank you, so what? Even hitler can say thank you. What are you guys weeping for?

Its like that world was created to anticipate her. Which is okay, that was what fantasy world does, but can't the author be more subtle about it?

So yes, ReadIsLif is right, there are many (too obvious) forced moment that can cringe you a little. But for the perfect MC, that is debatable. She just looked perfect because that world made her looked perfect.

Though I have to admit I learn a bit from this novel. The lady in waiting, wariness of enemy faction, battle for small authority, etc. The story itself are pretty fun to read so I cant really say this novel was that bad, at worst its an okay novel. 4/5. <<less
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Mar 08, 2021
Status: Completed
It's quite enjoyable! I simply adore reincarnation stories like these; I, too, wish I could redo my life like that. The storyline is nice, but I also agree with 17_rj17; it could've been much more enjoyable if the fake husband route went like that.

Still would recommend tho. Don't forget to read the manwha as well!
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Mar 04, 2021
Status: c100
The cast is quite likable overall and the plot direction is nice. The protagonist is a bit of a Mary Sue, but I honestly don't mind. The male lead is alright, but largely because he's contrasted with a bunch of psychopaths while he remains quite polite and doesn't try to force his decisions on Cayena. On his own he's quite boring as your typical stoic duke.
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Feb 19, 2021
Status: c92
Honestly, it's interesting. All of it. The characters, the plot, their interaction.


... more>>

I just don't like how she become like a FL and abandoned her original plan. Man, that's such waste potential interesting plot. She chose the "empress" and "first love" route and it left me like, meh, same like other those chinese novels and some of the korean novel about empress stuff. Yeah she gained power, yeah she chose that to face her fear, her character progress I admit it. But man what a waste potential plot. Plus it's such same that she fell in love with that duke. I know all men around her is crazy, and so far the duke quite normal (well not really he's pretty possessive. But at least he knows his place and courteous so that's plus). All I can say that the couple really suit each other. That's fact. And that's why it's quite boring for me.


If only this novel:


1. Stick with the original olan etting her fake husband. And this so called fake husband is from the underground people, but slowly gaining power, falling in love with the princess, become a weapon for her. 2. She still keep her promise not to fall in love with the duke, and let him as her best friend and trusted aid. 3. Or she could choose that magician from the cathedral, man what a waste. 4. Rezef redemption or at least not to go to yandere bro route, but it's too late I think. I just hope he don't die. He's so far the most interesting character to explore oh and that magician too. Although he's sociopath.




it's all the king fault. Why would he blame and punish his wife's son or daughter due to her mistake? Or should I say more hate to Rezef?


Anyway, not gonna spoil any futher. Just read it at yourself <<less
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Feb 09, 2021
Status: c100
I really have enjoyed the story so far. The cleverness of the MC is well thought out and it doesn’t seem like the author is just throwing endless problems at the novel. Everything builds quite well. The only thing super cliche thing in the novel is the fact that the ML initially became interested in the MC because she was not attached to him like she was before (i.e. You don’t pay attention to me anymore now I love you). Asides from that, the development is quite sweet. I highly... more>> recommend anyone read it. The MC is a strong powerful woman, not a Mary Sue at all. She works hard to get what she wants and is willing to be flexible in her goals. <<less
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Apr 22, 2021
Status: c118
Really good novel about court politics with an emotionally smart MC and no obvious plot holes at first glance. Romance is just a subplot that comes into play in the later half of the story, and not much abrupt/out-of-place.

I deducted one star for Rezef's yandere-ness. I personally am a sucker for fluff and I can tolerate mild yandere male leads but Rezef was a bit too strong for my taste ... more>>

especially the case with Cayena's nanny


Many people consider her as Mary Sue but she has shown sufficient hardwork/background for it in my opinion. She is living her 3rd lifetime which is often apparent in the beginning where she considers herself as older than everyone else.

She also studies for nights to prepare the council meetings

She is shown to put quite a lot of effort with a full lifetime in corporate Korea, that should somewhat explain her wisdom.

The best part for me :

When she gives up on her brother, that was proper growth right there. I would've been disappointed if she still made him emperor

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Mar 29, 2021
Status: c100
This is really good. The politics is not boring. Translation is excellents. One thing that I dont really like is a slow paced romances.

... more>>

They'll do hold hands and kiss starting at chapter 77+. Slice of life and politics is the centre of this novel. So if you want full romance and fluff, this may not be for you. But still there is fluff where ML is a gentlemen and always helps MC everytime she face crisis.




oh yes. All of the male here are possesive and obsessive af.


unfortunatelly, the translations stops till c100 unfinished. He said another translation group take it but didn't have any appearance up till now. I hope this novel will continue. <<less
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Feb 21, 2021
Status: c100
Frankly, it's quite the read.

If I had to describe this story in the fewest words possible, I'd say 'Korean Game of Thrones'.

Now, it's not the same, or even that close as GoT, but it is a political drama where pretty much everyone's a horrible person, including the MC. Though she isn't so terrible of a person, but you can see where how she hasn't lost her villainess tendencies though she's gotten rid of her naivete.

Even the characters that seem decent on the surface, a lot of the time aren't, unless... more>> if they're just a minor character with who'll end up getting used by the political machinations of the major characters.

I really look forward to seeing how the MC's relationship with the ML is going to get developed as more and more of his deeper personalities show, but unfortunately it seems like the story got licensed, so there won't be any new chapters for a few years.

I just hope that the licensor don't drop the story halfway or something and we'll be able to read the conclusion someday.

It's a great read though, despite stopping midway.

One of the few really good dramas that are really thought out and well planned. <<less
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