If We Were Villains

If We Were Villains

Paperback Published on: 13/06/2017
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Bookseller Reviews

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If We Were Villains
Wonderfully written and intriguing
I loved this book a lot more than I was expecting to – I was thrilled to receive a copy from Titan Books and started reading it immediately. Truthfully, ... READ MORE
AE Osborne
If We Were Villains
an eloquent and enthralling story with a beautifully executed homage to Shakespeare.
Stunning plot. Many comparisons have been made to Donna Tartt's 'The Secret History' but 'If We Were Villians' holds its own in the world of dark academia.... READ MORE
Ronnie, Bluewater Bookseller
If We Were Villains
The intrigue of "The Secret History" meets Shakespeare's drama
I really enjoyed reading this book. At first, I was worried that it was going to be a bit of a rip-off of The Secret History, and the similarities put me ... READ MORE
If We Were Villains
There's no limit to how much I loved this book
Full disclosure: I expected to hate this book. I thought it was going to be about of pretentious students quoting Shakespeare at each other all day. Which... READ MORE
If We Were Villains
A truly thrilling debut
‘If We Were Villains’ is the Waterstones thriller of the month for May, and I can easily see why it was chosen as such. It’s an incredibly impressive debut... READ MORE
Ella at Lewes
If We Were Villains
A truly outstanding novel that had me hooked from the start - this is dark academia at it's very best! This book had it all and is by far one of the most c... READ MORE
Amy Q at Oldham
If We Were Villains
I can't stop thinking about this book
Even though I finished this book two weeks ago I still can't stop thinking about it. It is beautifully written and extremely compelling. It's great to find... READ MORE
Isabel at Romford
If We Were Villains
Addictive crime reading
I enjoyed this a lot more than I was expecting, I was initially worried it would be too literary for me but that was not the case at all. M.L Rio has given... READ MORE
Emma Smith at Bedford
If We Were Villains
I will never ever get over this book
The genius that is M.L Rio has crafted an immensely dark and tense story that had me hooked on every single page. I honestly could not put it down, with ev... READ MORE
Katie at Blackpool
If We Were Villains
10s across the board !
If We Were villains is officially my favourite book. I couldn't physically put this down and read it all in one sitting !!!! This murder mystery is a MUS... READ MORE
If We Were Villains
My favourite book of last year
As an ex-theatre student, this book felt so familiar and comforting (which was absolutely not the intention but oh well). It made me miss living on campus,... READ MORE
Cat at Northallerton
If We Were Villains
I absolutely devoured this book, couldn't put it down from the moment I read the first page. Beautifully written relationships and accurate representation ... READ MORE
If We Were Villains
Villainously good
A truly electrifying thriller of a tightknit group of friends at a elite arts school who have a habit of playing the roles they're cast offstage as well a... READ MORE
Joe at Bury St Edmunds Arc


Blood will have blood… I lean forward on my elbows, so my face is only a few inches from his, so he hears every word when I lower my voice. “It must eat you alive, not knowing. Not knowing who, not knowing how, not knowing why. But you didn’t know him.” 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. Like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, If We Were Villains draws readers into a close-knit, exclusive coterie and watches as rivalry and obsession cause alliances to fracture - with explosive results. Structured in scenes and acts and peppered with Shakespearean quotes and allusions the novel has the driving momentum of a classic tragedy. Beautifully written with a thrilling plot, it is a story of friendship, passion and what happens when driving passion becomes dangerous obsession.

  • Publisher: Titan Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 9781785656477
  • Dimensions: 198 x 130 mm

Customer Reviews

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If We Were Villains
The stage is set, the characters are in place...
A group of friends with a passion for Shakespeare. Turning grief, triumph, rage and rapture into words we can understand. Innocent enough, you might think,... READ MORE
If We Were Villains
This is a beautifully crafted debut – recommended
If We Were Villains is a clever, beautifully written book which combines the old with the new, focusing on young students at a prestigious drama school stu... READ MORE
Laura Nazmdeh
If We Were Villains
If we were villains
A stunning psychological thiller. I couldn't put it down. One of those books that grabs you and you can't rest until you have solved the mystery. Incred... READ MORE
Liz  Gaydon
If We Were Villains
"O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!"
We chose this book for our in store Book Club and I am very happy that we did. My colleagues are huge Donna Tart fans and had been equally raving about M L... READ MORE
Bookseller Meg
If We Were Villains
The Secret History's exciting younger cousin?
It would be hard to write about If We Were Villains and not mention the comparisons to Donna Tartt's The Secret History because there are so many of them. ... READ MORE
If We Were Villains
A New Favourite
I was in a bit of a reading slump when I started reading this and it felt amazing to have that feeling again of being totally immersed in a book. I’d look ... READ MORE
If We Were Villains
Great plot and drama
A real page-turner with satisfying twists. Good for Shakespeare fans and others in different ways.
Megan Jenkins
If We Were Villains
A book for aficionados of Shakespeare
I believe that experts on Shakespeare would appreciate and enjoy this book. I am not and I did neither. It took ~ 200 pages before I started to take an int... READ MORE
Robert Turpie
If We Were Villains
It made me fall in love with drama again
After questioning my degree as a drama and theatre student, reading this book inspired me and regained my love for Shakespeare and theatre. This book is gr... READ MORE
Libbie Grubb
If We Were Villains
Full of twists and turns, you never quite know where Rio is going. Truly a wild ride of a book.
Kaitlyn Easter-Bell
If We Were Villains
An extraordinary piece of literature...
If We Were Villains by M.L.Rio is an extraordinary piece of literature, filled with everything that great works require, friendship, love, lust, anger, obs... READ MORE
Jodi Robertson
If We Were Villains
Could not put it down.
I bought this book on a whim after seeing a gorgeously made fan-poster circulating on the internet, and the phrase "alike to Tartt's 'The Secret History'" ... READ MORE
Rosie Pollard
If We Were Villains
loved it!
i honestly was on the fence with this book, on whether or not i would enjoy it. turns out, i enjoyed it more than i thought i would. definitely recommend i... READ MORE
If We Were Villains
My favourite book
a lot of people compare it to the secret history (which i personally didn’t enjoy) but being set at a university and the plot being about a murder within a... READ MORE
Megan Hall
If We Were Villains
i really love this book, particularly the open ending. it’s like the perfect book for dark academia and the storyline was just perfection
Sian Greenwood
If We Were Villains
An intrigue like you've never read before
As many layers as an onion to this debut novel. A cast of obsessed Shakespearean students in America and the life they lead.
Julie Cockerill
If We Were Villains
Love this book
One of my all time favorites. Amazing story and characters who you’ll hate
Winston Krone
If We Were Villains
Broke me a little bit would recommend. Am ashamed in myself that I haven’t read a secret history tho
Anysia  Marchington
If We Were Villains
Never judge a book by its hype, hey?
First and foremost, this is another book that needs no introduction or plot explanation, so I will skip those straight away. This is going to be another r... READ MORE
Filipa Mendonca
If We Were Villains
long delivery and didn’t let me cancel it
If We Were Villains
Probably one of the best books I've ever read
Emily Mccreadie
If We Were Villains
Absolutely adored this book
Must read I loved this book may be a favurite of all time
Anysia  Marchington
If We Were Villains
i loved it !
Grace Allen
If We Were Villains
Visual sense evoking
A great journey through the eyes of these group of students. Very visual in evoking the senses.
If We Were Villains
'the curtain was about to rise of a drama of our own invention'
This book is extremely well written, and I can honestly say it had me hooked from the first time I read it to the constant re-reads I'm now prone to. The... READ MORE
ava lourdes
If We Were Villains
Perfectly tragic story
This book is possibly my new favourite book. The story is beautiful and tragic, filled with references to Shakespeare's plays and sonnets, a perfect mix of... READ MORE
Angharad Stemp
If We Were Villains
Loved it
Beautifully written
Jess Gibbons
If We Were Villains
A gripping read
Possibly the best book I have read in years . An interesting concept- a detective trying to find out if the convicted murderer he put away 10 years ago wa... READ MORE
david littleton
If We Were Villains
If you liked “The Secret History” you will love this book
This book is really amazing! You will love it if, like me, you are passionate about dark academia. I will probably read this again.
Martina Muni
If We Were Villains
What a Debut!
An incredibly absorbing, dark tale of a group of College thespians and the ‘tangled web they weave when first they practice to deceive’. “All school-days’... READ MORE
Richard Lewis
If We Were Villains
the plot twist will leave you speechless
heart stopped jaw dropped please just read this book. it’s broken me in the best way
If We Were Villains
Loved ittt!!
I really loved this book, I’ve picked it for my dissertation and it was amazing. The mystery and tension building was so good and it kept me intrigued. Hig... READ MORE
Robyn Goodfellow

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