Review : If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio 

Enter the players. There were seven of us then, seven bright young things with wide precious futures ahead of us. Until that year, we saw no further than the books in front of our faces.

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.

Ten years 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, extra. But in their fourth and final year, the balance of power begins to shift, 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.

Part coming-of-age story, part confession, If We Were Villains explores the magical and dangerous boundary between art and life. In this tale of loyalty and betrayal, madness and ecstasy, the players must choose what roles to play before the curtain falls.  (From: Goodreads)

Title: If We Were Villains 

Author: M. L. Rio 

Genres: fiction, contemporary, mystery 

Publisher: Flatiron Books (US), April 2017

Edition: paperback, 358 pages 

⭐⭐⭐⭐(⭐) Villain stars!!!

“Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Roman more.”

People, I am speechless!

The truth is that I didn’t plan to buy this book.  Last week, I went to a bookstore and came cross this book in the new-release section.  The title caught my attention right away since I’m always intrigued by villains.  The synopsis made me decide to buy this book right away.  Shakespeare!  Yeah, maybe to you, he’s a pain in the ass.  However, lucky me, I didn’t need to study English literature when I was in high school.  I heard of his works, but I had no idea what they were about. (Except for midsummer night’s dream because I played it with my classmates when I was in primary school.)  And yes, in case you wonder, I only know one important about the story of Romeo and Juliet that is, they both died in the end.  I have no idea what happened between the details.  Ah!  Okay.  I read Richard III last year for a school report.  It was fun.  (Well, Richard was horrible, but the translated-reading was fun.)

Things I Like About It 

– the idea of the story 

A group of actors and a dead body.  Did each character from Shakespeare’s plays reflect the real them in the real world?  You’ll want to dig deeper into the story.  You’ll want to find the truth by yourself because, after all, they were a bunch of actors.  Can you really trust them?

– the storyline 

The story is separated into five part.  In the beginning of each part, there’s a prologue describing Oliver’s thirty-one-year old life.  Then there come the scenes, telling the story when Oliver was twenty-one. 


Honestly, there’s nothing I dislike about this book.  Ooooh!  I’m still in a daze.  It gave me so many feelings!  I’m a person who rarely feels anything strong when reading a book.   And this book just…!!!  I feel like I’m gonna have a stroke.

It’s so good.  I absolutely love it!  Still wondering whether I should rate it five-star or 4.75 stars because I’m weird.  I highly recommend this book to everyone of you who is interested in mystery and Shakespeare, or anyone who just wants to read a nice book.

That’s all for my review of If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio.  Go pick up this book and let me know what you think!

Have a nice day and I’ll see you soon.  Bye-bye 👋

xoxo Remi 


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