Reviews

If We Were Villains, by M.L. Rio

vanitas's review against another edition

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

beccablc's review

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dark emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.5

really loved this book was not expecting it to unfold as it did and the characters were well thought out.

mbcromer's review

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dark emotional mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

ivybean's review

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dark emotional mysterious reflective sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

emmaholland0925's review

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dark emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

daredeviling's review

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3.0

I honestly am not quite sure what to write about this book, because I feel like I should have enjoyed it a lot more than I did. Mystery, murder, and theatre are all up my alley, along with a good helping of character development (and the inevitable comparison to The Secret History, which I loved). But ultimately, I had to give this book three stars, and it also clearly took me way too long to finish it.

I feel like my problems with this book ended up outweighing the positives, and I'm sure everyone will fight me on this because it seems like most people liked this book more than me. I guess I'll talk about the positives first briefly: I really liked the plot setup and the way the story unfolded as a story told to someone else. I loved the characters and all their development through the novel. The details of the school and everything involved in the setting of the book was amazing and definitely read like a theatrical backdrop to what was essentially a Shakespearean tragedy playing out - which I also appreciated, that the story itself was framed as a Shakespeare tragedy, everything hurtling towards the end result which could be nothing but unfortunate and unhappy.

(Also Alexander, sweet baby angel. I loved him and I needed about 100% more of him.)

Here are the things I was less of a fan of: The constant talking to each other using Shakespeare quotes. I mean, I get that they were students of Shakespeare and that it was their whole life, but it still felt very unreal. I don't think actual people would really do that. And also it just made it much harder to understand (though maybe that was the point, since these characters hid behind Shakespeare constantly). The character development (which I did also love) at times felt like less than logical leaps. For example, I never felt like Wren's PTSD and withdrawal was ever properly explored. It was like she suddenly faded away and we didn't really get a chance to notice or process it. And Wren/James was never really fleshed out, more used as a plot device for Oliver to realize he had feelings for James.

But I think the thing that made me stop reading for such a long time was that everyone acted SO STUPIDLY. I spent most of the book wanting to slap everyone (and also force them to watch a bunch of true crime), and again, maybe it was supposed to represent their lack of living in the "real" world and that they all felt everything so strongly as Shakespeare characters did, but everyone just ran around making stupid decisions and having problems and I guess it just got almost overdramatic for me at points.

Anyway, this book kind of just bummed me out because I think ultimately, no one is truly happy at the end. They made their choices and now they have to live with it and it's a fucking Shakespeare tragedy and I just want to give everyone hugs.

mag_da's review against another edition

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emotional mysterious reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Loveable characters? No

3.5

ellainalisa's review

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challenging dark emotional mysterious reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

angelica16tb's review

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mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

jacqbee's review

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4.0

this book had me in a grip for the first two-thirds but then it totally slowed for me near the end! I loved Oliver as a narrator and how Shakespeare was interwoven into the narrative. I thought the ending was decently obvious and just left me wanting more, especially after some really great plot and suspense building.