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

At long last! It really is the time for me to read this phenomenon.


Genre : Thriller, Mystery
Page : 432 pages
Published : 13th June 2017


Oliver Marks has just served ten years for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day of his release, he is greeted by the detective who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, and he wants to know what really happened a decade before.

As a young actor at an elite conservatory, Oliver noticed that his talented classmates seem to play the same characters onstage and off – villain, hero, temptress – though he was always a supporting role. But when the teachers change the casting, a good-natured rivalry turns ugly, and the plays spill dangerously over into real 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…


“But that is how a tragedy like ours or King Lear breaks your heart—by making you believe that the ending might still be happy, until the very last minute.”

Okay. I am absolutely thrill to read this one!


If We Were Villains— Following the story of Oliver, who recites the murder happened a decade earlier to Detective Colborne in which he may or may not be the killer.


The story start, introducing Oliver- whom was just released from the prison. Up to this point, I was already drawn to the story. Digging deeper into the lives of ex-convict and following Oliver’s story of what really happened back then a decade earlier. Oh I’m definitely pump up on this.

The more I read, the more I fall in love with the plot and promising story it will lead. I love how this book is branded as thriller, while in fact, it does not really feel that intimidating. And I mean it in a good way. Truly.

Turns out, Oliver is in a group of seven during his study in an elite conservatory. And oh my god, how I love their friendship. It’s like the world revolves among themselves and they don’t even give a damn to the outsiders. They are and forever will be seven with their never ending firendship ties.

The story build up step by step, showing their fondness to one another, their routine, until their first crack and finally, the biggest rift they had in history.

The slow build up is both an advantage and weakness for me. I love how this book took it’s time to really flaunt each characters personality and development, and made it’s way to my heart. The fondness is just heartwarming. It feels like watching them grow up myself.

However, I am not a kind fo reader who sits well with slow build up? I mean, I could tolerate it and I’ve read may slow-build up books to know they might as well been amazing. But I think this book has been too slow for my slow build up preference ╥﹏╥ Remember, it’s not because the book is bad. I just think it mostly because of my own preference.

And I think, literature students are going to love this book in bits. Because it discuss tons of Shakespeare writing which I love so much in the beginning. Oliver and his troupe of seven, is young actors in the conservatory and a good one.

Until the murder.

And here’s the deal. Finding the murderer in a field of actors is like picking needles out of haystack. This is also the reason, I’m so pump up to reach the conclusion to the story.

Now, back to Shakespeare. As a non literature student, it was a fun ride to know more history of Shakespeare. The tragedy, the quotes, the writing, the play and the actors, all blend into one and it fits this book so well.

But the more the story progress, I think there’s too much Shakespeare going on in the book. Like, the play. I know these students are somehow actors but I think these whole Shakespeare thing kinda subdue and cover up the murder that actually had happened. I don’t feel too good about it because I came to read this book for the murder.

But again, literature student or just anybody who loves play and theatre might love this book fiercely for it, for it is a good book.

And don’t get me started on the ending. It was like, my most favourite part of the book. Also, personally, I don’t think this book will be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ll recommend this book to you nonetheless. Hope you’ll love the book fellas!

“How could we explain that standing on a stage and speaking someone else’s words as if they are your own is less an act of bravery than a desperate lunge at mutual understanding?”

Author: Celine

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