• ★★★★★-5

Review: If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio (Spoiler-Free)

So what do you do? Ignore your grief, or indulge it?


I spent way too long mulling over which quote to feature. Because this book is brimming with them. I am absolutely astounded that this is a debut novel, and I'm eager to get my hands on what this author writes next.


What immediately struck me about this book was, evidently, the writing. It has a slower beginning as the foundation gets laid, but the gorgeous prose carried me right through it.


As an entity, I don't think this book could have been executed more perfectly. The Act structure, the foreshadowing, the characterization, and the ending—all of it culminated into something incredibly fitting and satisfying.


I could definitely see myself re-reading this, as I know there are so many clues and references I didn't pick up on the first time. I'm also very excited to continue discussing this book in my school's book club, because our discussion on the first half was so fun, and the second half was even crazier.


I'm fascinated by the direction this book went with Oliver, as I truly did not see it coming. It's clear that the author has an incredible passion and knowledge on the Bard, but don't let that intimidate you. I know next to nothing about Shakespeare, and while I think knowing more would certainly enhance the reading experience, not knowing much doesn't detract from it.


The dark academia aesthetic was displayed expertly here, and now I crave more of it. I'm looking at you, The Secret History.


So, if you're looking for obsession-driven, pretentious madness, a story where no one isn't at least part villain, I'd highly recommend this one.


'Do you blame Shakespeare for any of it?'


'I blame him for all of it.'



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