Book Review - If We Were Villains by ML Rio Reviewed by Megan 

“What is more important, that Caesar is assassinated or that he is assassinated by his intimate friends? … That,’ Frederick said, 'is where the tragedy is.”

Seven Shakespearean theatre students at the elite, fictional Dellecher conservatory play the same roles on stage and off: hero, tyrant, villain, temptress, but Oliver is always the supporting character. When they are assigned new roles, the shifting dynamics bleeds dangerously into their personal lives. All we know is that Oliver Marks has just served ten years for the murder of his friend, but did he do it? Did anyone?

I have not cried so much over a book since I was ten and reading Harry Potter. The language M. L. Rio implores is bewitching, employing the tragically beautiful words first used in Shakespeare’s tragedies. This is how the characters express themselves, how they convey their love, their suffering, their pain, by hiding behind the words of Shakespeare. Each quote has been carefully chosen and perfectly expresses the beauty of their experiences.

If We Were Villains is reckless, passionate, and beautiful. The many plot twists will play on your mind for a long time after closing the cover. You’re thrown into their world, you experience their trials and tribulations alongside them. I have never been so interested in King Lear, or Caesar, or Macbeth, as I was when reading If We Were Villains. In a sense, the book is a tragedy of its own.

The ending is, perhaps, one of the greatest endings to a book that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I suspect I shall always be affected by this novel to some degree. If We Were Villains will change and stay with you. I cannot recommend it highly enough, for one who embarks on their journey will surely be a different person on the other side.

Reviewed by Megan