Tuesday, April 18, 2017

If We Were Villians {by M.L. Rio}

Title: If We Were Villians
Author: M.L. Rio
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Genre: Adult Fiction
Purchase: Amazon
source: NetGalley

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, ingĂ©nue, 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.

Wow, did I love this one. I didn't realize it was considered a thriller when I first picked it up because that's not usually my genre, but it felt...different. (It actually reminded me a lot of Vicious by V.E. Schwab just in tone and overall mood and feeling).

One thing I loved most about this book is that I just never knew where it was going. I hadn't read the description because I wanted to go in blind (although the synopsis is pretty vague anyway), but this book had me entranced the whole time. I just quite honestly never knew where the book was going to go next. The thing I thought was going to be the climax happens pretty early on, leaving me wondering what else was going to happen??? Now, I did guess the whodunit pretty early on, but even pretty close to the end, I had no idea how everything was going to wrap up.

I loved the author's writing style. It was flowy and entrancing and sucked me right in. Also, this book is full of Shakespeare, so bonus points. I think theater kids especially will love this one.

This story is told in flashback from our MC, Oliver, about their senior year of school. Oliver and his 6 classmates are trying to finish their fourth year, when their very own tragedy occurs, causing them to fall apart. I thought our 7 MC's were fleshed out quite well. They each had their own personality, at least as seen by Oliver. There are quite a few relational dynamics, and I was glad to see all of them explored.

Again, I loved this book immensely, from the insider view on theater life to the character dynamics to the suspense and intrigue on what is happening. I can't wait to read more from this author.

M.L. Rio

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