Review: If We Were Villains

Do you ever just wander through your local bookstore, not really looking for your next book but knowing that you will somehow find it along the way? This happened to me about a month ago with this lovely book. It was like finding a soulmate and judging by the cover first. The picture on the front is absolutely haunting and tells me that the story will be tragic with love woven throughout. The matte black says that this story will stick with you long after you finish it. The title says that the characters will become like friends to you. And the length says that even though you have plans this weekend, you’re going to clear them to marathon this book, because it is so capturing.

IMG_4637 copy

The book If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio was elegantly written and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat for the entire length of the book. (Goodreads and Rio’s blog)

The story starts when Oliver is released from jail after 10 years and Detective Coldborne, who worked his case, is waiting for him and wants to get the real story after 10 years. Oliver was one of the seven Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory and in his last years of his studies. Something goes terribly wrong as the power in their close-knit friend group starts to shift and their onstage and offstage roles shift. This coming of age story slash confession slash mystery shows how fragile the boundaries of life really are.


The characters.

First off, there’s seven individual characters in their friend group, all of which Rio created flawlessly and shows how they ebbed and flowed together. Then you have the two main teachers, a couple of side characters, and the ever looming presence of Detective Colborne. All of her characters had a personal mysterious side to them, which helped to cast a gloomy veil over the whole story. Each of the characters that she created were wholly her own, and yet they each seemed to be people that you could meet in everyday life, as if they could walk right off the page.


The setting.

The way that she designed the campus of Dellecher Classical Conservatory made me want to go to school there immediately! It was haunting but also cozy and welcoming at the same time. The student body of the campus was unique, because they all had their certain talent or art, extremely separate, but at times they would all come together and create the whole picture of the next generation of artists.

IMG_4635 copy.jpg


The style.

I wish that I could go study under her so that I could get more insight on how she developed this style. You won’t understand it until you read this book, but in the simplicity, there is a deeper complexity that makes the story more meaningful. In the simple portrayal of everyday life for these students, she wove another story that feels like it can only happen in real, everyday life.



The ending was shocking. The characters came together beautifully. There was a tragic twist that feels like only Shakespeare himself could create. This was a masterpiece and I hope that she continues to write more books. I give this book 4.7/5 stars. It broke my heart at the end, but it couldn’t have been more perfect.


You can find this book at most Barnes and Nobles, on Amazon, Kindle, and probably some other book selling places. It’s only been out for a couple of months (since March I believe).

Go check it out, I definitely recommend it!


Keep on reading,

Love Loren.

Posted by

I'm an avid reader who can't get her nose out of a book. I am an English undergraduate student in the Midwest who dreams of being an author one day.

One thought on “Review: If We Were Villains

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.