I love Shakespeare, some might say in an unhealthy amount (cough cough my sister cough cough). So naturally when I found out this book was all about Shakespearean obsessed undergrad actors and also murder, I knew it was a story right up my alley.
If We Were Villains tells the story of Oliver Marks who has just been released from jail after serving a decade in jail for murder, Oliver Marks is ready to tell the now retired Detective Colbourn the true story and the innocence or guilt of that of himself and his friends. Ten years ago Oliver and his six friends lived and breathed Shakespeare as students at the esteemed Dellecher Classical Conservatory each having been typecast and now grown into their assigned roles since first years. But during their final year of school their roles began switching and with it tensions rose leading to a dark act, a deep secret, and each of them believing they were innocent.
Rio structured this book the way only a true Bard lover could. Telling the story in the five act structure with each chapter as different scenes just made my English major heart soar. The cleverness of the character-types as well as all the details and significance with the plays discussed and performed throughout the novel were simply perfect. I also loved how Rio wrote her characters, really turning them into their stereotypes.
What really makes the book worth it is it’s ending, it sent shivers down me and I had to re-read the last chapter over and over to firmly understand what I was reading and looked up other reviews on Goodreads just to get more immersed in it all.
This book also had the opposite effect on me where it wanted me to find groups of people equally as in love with Shakespeare as I am even though this book tells how bad that can turn out. Not to worry though, their are no local Shakespearean lovers in my area.
If you loved Shakespeare then you will love If We Were Villains without a doubt for it’s charm and villainy, but even if your trudged through Shakespeare in school this book is perfect for lovers of a good thriller and mystery!
Publication: April 11th 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Pages: 368 pages
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤
Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.
As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.