Evie Braithwaite's Reviews > If We Were Villains

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
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it was amazing
bookshelves: crime, drama, favourites, fiction, mystery, library, books-about-books

“For someone who loved words as much as I did, it was amazing how often they failed me.”


This was incredible. I was so captivated by the layers of deception which run deep in this novel. It is one clever story and I was completely invested into the lives of the seven thespians at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, an elite arts college. It was atmospheric, whimsical and indomitably emotional, this book was astounding.

If We Were Villains is rife with Shakespeare quotes and references, the students dedicating their lives to his works. So much so, the young thespians integrate Shakespeare quotes into their everyday speech. Even they admit to this being pretentious, but their Bardolatry made the story all the more theatrical and authentic. I couldn’t help but feel a spark of nostalgia to nine-year-old me starring as Hermia in our school’s drama club performance, my own first real introduction to Shakespeare’s works. Inevitable memories of vigorously studying Macbeth in secondary school also came to mind upon reading their dark performance. Overall, this book has rekindled my adoration for Shakespeare.

The characters adhere to the roles they perform onstage in real life; the hero, the villain, the seductress, the girl next door, the nice guy. However, after a real-life tragedy occurs, they’re left questioning whether any of them are being their true authentic selves, or whether they’re all merely playing pretend. Events spiral out of control, yet I was still most enamoured by the lives of the characters. It was so easy to get caught up in the thorny tangle of frustration, the longing, rivalry, guilt and all the other emotions that consume them. The infatuations, the unrequited love, the secrets, anger and resentment, it all made for a spellbinding story. A true modern-day Shakespearean tragedy.

This is more than a psychological thriller. It’s a literary novel filled with obsession and angst in which every plot point was perfectly placed. I should have known better than to have hoped for a happy ending. Following true Shakespearean convention, I ended the book with a broken heart, yet still feeling incredibly inspired. This is without a doubt one of my new favourite books.

For any lover of the arts, Shakespeare or crime fans alike, you’ll enjoy this one.
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Reading Progress

August 30, 2018 – Shelved
August 30, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
February 13, 2019 – Started Reading
February 14, 2019 –
page 97
26.36%
February 17, 2019 – Shelved as: crime
February 17, 2019 – Shelved as: drama
February 17, 2019 – Shelved as: favourites
February 17, 2019 – Shelved as: fiction
February 17, 2019 – Shelved as: mystery
February 17, 2019 – Shelved as: library
February 17, 2019 – Finished Reading
April 8, 2019 – Shelved as: books-about-books

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