If We Were Villains by M.L Rio

(c) Trang for Bookidote

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

If you spend some time on Instagram lurking around the #bookstagram community, you would probably see this book pop into view a few times. One thing caught my attention right away was the title. I’ve always been fascinating by villains and their roles in the stories, so adding this book to my TBR was a must. I had no prior knowledge what it is about and I must say it makes the whole experience even more enjoyable.

(c) Trang for Bookidote

If We Were Villains centered around a group of 4th Year students from Dellecher, a theatre school. As they tackled their senior years, a few tensions rose and imminently their behaviors will be tested as the pressure to perform increases as the difficulties to separate one’s self from the plays.

“Imagine having all your own thoughts and feelings tangled up with all the thoughts and feelings of a whole other person. It can be hard, sometimes, to sort out which is which.”

If We Were Villains, M.L Rio

This book is pretty much a fantasy comes true for anyone with an interest for college-set, Shakespeares’ plays and language. It’s as if the author dedicates the whole book to literature and art, which was very pleasing to read. Throughout the story, the students four of Shakespeare’s plays which manifests a few themes in common : love, loss, jealousy, betrayal, and violence.

These themes are explored by each of the student’s character. The rawness in M.L Rio’s words is breathtaking and stunning. The main protagonist is Oliver, not much of a character at first, always the last one to be picked kind of vibe but somehow his character development was one of the wildest.

(c) Trang for Bookidote

The interesting part of the book is also the criticism the author seemed to be doing about competition and high-achieving school environment, often toxic but blinded by the student’s love to attain perfection and please the teachers. The only thing that was annoying to me is when the characters insist on speaking to each other in Shakespeare’s verses. At the beginning, it was pretty interesting but as the book goes on and I realize that they would speak like this no matter what I started skipping some lines.

Overall, I don’t think I have ever enjoyed quite a book like this in a long time and it’s a book that I would add to my re-read list. Definitely recommend this title for anyone who loves a good mystery and a college-set-up kind of story.

What do you think? Would you read this book? If you already have, what are your thoughts about the novel?

RATING: 5/5

REVIEW BY TRANG TRAN

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