Friday 14 July 2017

Book review: If We Were Villains

Title: If We Were VillainsAuthor: M. L. RioPublisher: Titan BooksRelease date: June 13th 2017Synopsis: 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

Review: I came in to this book on the wrong mind set. I don;t mind admitting that. I was sold on Shakespeare and Thriller and that took me back to a book i'd read years ago called The Shakespeare Secret and so i felt that's what I wanted and didn't get. But that's not what this book was or should be. 

If I was giving you my bookseller pitch I would say to you "This book does for Shakespeare what Black swan did for Ballet". It was an intense mind bender that just shows what happen's when you go too far down the rabbit hole. 

 What this book screams is Shakespeare, you can tell Mel studied Shakespeare and hard and this bled into the characters. They live and breath it ( as you hope you would if it's your in depth field of study), possibly for me a little too much. Only in that I at times felt overwhelmed, I like Shakespeare but its so rich and there is so much in his works, a lot of which I haven't seen, so that references and quotes were lost on me. Shakespeare for me is very much about the interpretation and inference of what is said and how its said and if you have to keep doing that when you;re trying to keep up with the pace of the book that I lost it's meaning. But that's more me than the book.

With anything Dramatic character is important and as in Shakespeare there was a range here and they all played their parts. This is where my love for this book comes into play. You can play a part and you can be given a part and often a book has to describe your part for you, to compliment how we read you as a reader. This book blended the character and their Shakespeare personas sooo well. right down to the flaws and the cracks. Then wrapped the whole thing up in a murder mystery. But this was just like in Shakespeare...lets go with Hamlet, a plot devise to unravel the characters and push them to the limit. This book was all about the character and personality, how it grew and got uglier, you picked sides, whilst wanting to know every perspective. Emotions got very raw and then that was projected onto the stage to play out in apt dramatic fashion.
I really gravitated to Oliver as a character he was a great pivotal point for me and i enjoyed his perspective throughout.  Each character held their own and for better want of an analogy played their part well. 

I saw this book on a crime table last week, and I don't agree with that because it sits in a lot of places and at it's core I don;t think its crime. I only mention this because I feel that this book has a wide appeal that a lot of different interests can enjoy. and because i like a bad cliche/joke i'll go out on one:

To read or not to read that is the question. I did and now you have to decide. Let me know what you thought! 


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