Review: If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
In many ways, this novel feels like a poor cousin to The Secret History. Much like the eccentrics that fill the pages of Donna Tartt's modern classic, this group of students are wealthy and part of an exclusive group who do everything together but, arguably don't like one another very much. Their language is peppered with Shakespeare quotes, which is more annoying than atmospheric and each individual character has very little depth. Each is meant to represent the different stereotypes found in Shakespeare's plays--hero, villain, seductress ect, but I never really got a strong sense of it on the page. The murder occurs in the second act, which whilst shocking, also slows the plot of the remainder of the rest of the novel. And the reasons for Oliver's confession, lacks the detail and depth for it to feel believable. I feel that the author's intent was to write something akin to one of Shakespeare's tragedies but it never really gets there.
Overall, I cannot say I enjoyed this one. It was overlong, irritating and lacked the kind of detail that would have caused me to feel more empathy for Oliver and the other characters.