If We Were Villains | review | ML Rio

Hiya, fam!

You know those books that you’re, like, hey, you have a nice cover; cool synopsis … but don’t know if you will ever read? Yeah, that was me with M.L. Rio’s If We Were Villains.

Image result for sherlock holmes gifs rdj
basically this book, 100%

And then, somehow, I ended up reading it. Loving it, rather.

It’s a mystery/contemporary set in the 90s, with so make Shakespeare thrown in, you won’t know what to do with it. But even if you aren’t a thespian, I’m sure that you’ll love this book…

… just as much as you’ll enjoy my review, lol. 😉

If We Were Villains
click for goodreads


Guys. I am absolutely in love.

IWWV is, like, the best book ever!! As I said in a post a few weeks back … VE Schwab herself personally recommended this book to me, so lots of expectations were placed on this!!

And it totally lived up to that hype.

The writing and set-up of the book is perfect. I had heard that it was reminiscent of Vicious (from VE herself, even!), and it so was! The way that the story was beautifully told and the narrative … it was brilliant. Even though the stories, themselves, are drastically different … I’m still in love. ❤

I also loved the ending. It wasn’t open, per se, but it also wasn’t final. I don’t want to spoil it too much … but it was perfection, imo.

And the aesthetic was just gorgeous. Kind of like creepy boarding school meets Shakespeare with a bit of teen drama thrown in. Love.

(the characters are also all to die for 😍💀)


The characters are really what makes up the story (along with the setting, lmao). It isn’t so much about the plot/mystery, which I adored.

Oliver is our narrator. And I think that he’s a mighty good one. I didn’t necessarily fall in love with him, but I loved how he perceived the world and interpreted it to us. And, I really liked his morals/philosophy – it’s a set that we don’t usually see in fiction.

I’ll have to admit, though, I didn’t really like James all that much. He’s Oliver’s roommate and partner in crime (or more rather, Oliver’s his partner, haha). I just … didn’t connect with him all that much. 🤷‍♀️

I did, however, love almost every other character. Alexander was a drug-addict and, honestly, he was the deepest of all of them – dropping all of these words of wisdom that you wouldn’t expect from him. Meredith blew away many of the “pretty girl” stereotypes and I love the depth that we got out of her.

Image result for sherlock holmes gifs rdj

Phillipa and Oliver’s relationships was, honestly, one of the best parts of the books. They have such a strong (platonic!!) bond and I am so here for that. Wren was so meek and easy going and despite her not being in it much … I absolutely fell in love with her.

And then there’s Richard. He … I honestly didn’t hate him, but I didn’t love him, either. I liked the presence that he had in the book, though.


It flips back and forth between “present day” for Oliver, and back in his college years (mid 90s – his college days) and I loved this. It added so much depth to the story without being distracting.

IWWV doesn’t so much focus on the mystery of it, which I am a huge fan for (mystery is not my favorite, sorry fam). Rather, it focused on the morality and relationships and how decisions can haunt you and … gah! It’s just so good.

And the AESTHETIC of the book, oml! I love love loved it! It’s all Shakespearean and there’s a castle and wrought iron fences and it’s the nineties and I am in love!

The writing itself is also super good! I will definitely be first in line to read Ms Rio’s next book. 😉


I … honestly can not think of much? This book is basically perfection??

I will say, though, perhaps I would have liked a bit more clarity. Not so much the ending, which I won’t spoil for you (it was perfect, imo), but rather throughout the book. So much is left up to interpretation … which I loved, and it fit with the book’s style … but I also got frustrated?? Oh well.

Image result for sherlock holmes gifs rdj


this book is pure gorgeousness. It has a romantic, gothic set to it (just looking at the cover can give you a clue to its aesthetic). The writing is gorgeous and poetic without being overly sappy. The characters are deep and problematic (in a good way). Everything about it is sheer perfection.

Now, this is an adult book. There’s lots of swearing and allusions to sex, so hey! Chicklins, move your feathers right along. For those of you who are okay with that kind of stuff, PLEASE READ THIS. I’M BEGGING YOU. IT IS 100% PURE BRILLIANCE.

It’s a fantastic mystery book that isn’t, well, just for those mystery fans. I felt edumacated in the thespian ways after reading this … so I hope that you will, too!

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Are any of you Shakespeare fans? I’m not a huge one, myself, lmao. Have you read this? Do you have any book recs similar to this? Regardless, I’d love to chat with y’all! ❤

3 thoughts on “If We Were Villains | review | ML Rio

Add yours

  1. Such high praise!
    You certainly intrigued me 😀 I’m not a fan of open sort of endings, but i’m willing to forgive if the writing is awesome, which it seems it is!

    Liked by 1 person

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