BOOKS BLURBS: If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio


Oliver Marks has just served ten years for the murder of one of his closest friends – a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the detective who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened ten years ago.

As a young actor studying Shakespeare at an elite arts conservatory, Oliver noticed that his talented classmates seem to play the same roles onstage and off – villain, hero, tyrant, temptress – though Oliver felt doomed to always be a secondary character in someone else’s story. But when the teachers change up the casting, a good-natured rivalry turns ugly, and the plays spill dangerously over into life.

When tragedy strikes, one of the seven friends is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

RATING : ♦♦♦♦♦ / 5


This was one rollercoaster of a story. It left me heartbroken but also amazed & most of all, the way it ended has left me with a slight glimmer of hope for Oliver. I loved this book for what it is; a work of art. I don’t think so I’ll be able to come up with a review that’s going to even remotely do justice for this book.

I’ll be the first to admit that yes, this book was a bit of a drag in certain places and that was only & only because of my own lack of knowledge regarding Shakespeare (Yup, I have never read any of his works & my school is partly to be blamed for this due to the lack of literature in their syllabus, because I’m confident that if at an early age I had come across his works, I possibly might have liked it…)

Apart from all the Shakespeare references, which I admit did make me skeptical about reading further, God, I loved this book so very much. It was so very delicate & heart wrenching. This was a perfect story & I am so glad that I pushed through & kept reading, because the last part was simply the best.

I truly loved the dynamics between the main characters. Apart from the obvious favourites being Oliver & James, Filipa is another character that I truly, truly, truly adored. She is so very wonderfully caring, but she does so in such a subtle manner that you never realise how precious she is until the very end.

From what I’ve heard Shakespeare’s works have a tragic vibe to them & this book too has the very same vibe. As the story folded out, the turmoil of emotions I went through can never be put into mere words.

This novel is not only about uncovering the mystery behind an individual’s murder, oh no, this is much more than that. It goes into depth regarding all sorts of feelings & emotions, but most of all, it majorly focuses on what one can do for love, what one can sacrifice for love & when it is for love, that sacrifice doesn’t even feel like a sacrifice.

Yes, I absolutely loved this book & I would definitely recommend this. It was catastrophic but also so very beautiful. This novel is truly a fantastic piece of literary work.

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