I am so excited to talk about this book to you guys! I did not expect to love it as much as I did, but it is definitely one of my favorite books now.
That book is If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. It has been on my TBR for a really long time, and just the fact that I finally read it is an accomplishment in itself.
But, the reason I’m so happy I enjoyed it is because I recently read The Secret History by Donna Tart, and that book only got about 3 stars from me. I really thought I was going to love that book, but it let me down big time. If We Were Villains was constantly being compared to TSH, so I was really worried about reading it. Luckily, it exceeded my expectations!
First, a Goodreads Synopsis:
Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.
As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.
Ok, let me start out by once again saying this book is like The Secret History. But, it was fast-paced in my opinion, the writing was better, and I liked the characters more. It definitely made me realize I really do like dark academia. It was honestly just such a beautifully written and interesting book.
Every character was so unique and I wanted to keep reading more about them, even the ones who were unlikeable. I did have trouble keeping up with all of the names at first, but once the story got going, you can clearly see their differences and you can figure it out easily.
Also, I am not a huge Shakespeare fan, but the references were all just so perfect and fit with the pretentiousness of each other characters. It actually made me want to pick up Shakespeare, which is not something I thought I would ever say.
As far as the plot- it was SO. DRAMATIC. And I mean that in the best way possible. It sort of reminded me a bit of The Great Gatsby, which is a book I love! Also, the ending was INSANE. I was able to predict some of it, but not all. It left me satisfied, even though it was very shocking.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to my mystery/thriller loving friends! It was just very well done and it was definitely my favorite read of the first month of the year.
Have you read this book before? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments, and please recommend me similar titles!