If We Were Villains If We Were Villains

If We Were Villains

A Novel

    • 4.3 • 371 Ratings
    • $11.99
    • $11.99

Publisher Description

“Much like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, M. L. Rio’s sparkling debut is a richly layered story of love, friendship, and obsession...will keep you riveted through its final, electrifying moments.”
—Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, New York Times bestselling author of The Nest

"Nerdily (and winningly) in love with Shakespeare…Readable, smart.”
New York Times Book Review

On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.

A decade ago: Oliver is one of seven young Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a place of keen ambition and fierce competition. In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extras.

But in their fourth and final year, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make-believe. In the morning, the fourth-years find themselves facing their very own tragedy, and their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, each other, and themselves that they are innocent.

If We Were Villains was named one of Bustle's Best Thriller Novels of the Year, and Mystery Scene says, "A well-written and gripping ode to the stage...A fascinating, unorthodox take on rivalry, friendship, and truth."

Mysteries & Thrillers
April 11
Flatiron Books

Customer Reviews

KatelynSKM ,

What a journey…

This is such a beautiful tale of jealousy, profound love, and secrecy that left me bawling by the approach of the resolution. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all - to be honest, I didn’t enjoy the first hundred pages very much because I didn’t like the characters much at all. That changed, of course, as my heart grew fond of some and more distant from others. I myself was a theatre major in college and some of this hit too close to home, the ease of pretentious attitudes and the flow of illegal activities. Brought back some unsavory memories, if I’m being honest. It should have been a clear indication that an effective and entertaining journey awaited.

The second half of the book is worth the first feeling a little forced, at times. I could have done without most of the Shakespeare in it, as sometimes I felt like it was distracting from the important bits of the story (even though it was placed intentionally), but all in all, this book is solid. The emotion gathers in the second half and leaves you broken by the end.

Nickname: All is taken ,

Dark Academia?!

Finally a worthy read. I want to read it for the first time again.
Though I don’t know anything about Shakespeare’s plays I just loved how they were immersed in it.
Also the ending….

Kangaroo Cowboy 25 ,

Loved this!

Grating at first (I went to a performing arts college and while I got my BFA in Film, I acted a lot (I even did Shakespeare!) and was very involved with our theater department and can assure all of you that NOBODY, not even pretentious theater kids, actually talks like these characters do) but the plot and chemistry of the characters and secondhand rush of putting on performances, and sinking your teeth into a new role really makes up for some of the cringey dialogue. I find Meredith to be the most interesting character to me and I wish we knew more about Richard and why he went from pretentious older brother figure to full blown abusive tyrant but all in all, this was truly great and I plan on reading it again soon.

Shoutout to two truly inspired stagings of Shakespeare: Rio’s visions for Macbeth and King Lear sound phenomenal and I’d happily watch either in real life.

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If we were villains If we were villains
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