Audiobook Review: ‘If We Were Villains’

This is a book that has been on my TBR for…a WHILE and I’ve had the audiobook on hold for quite a while as well. I finally decided at the end of 2021 it was time to read this, and I finished it on January 2nd.

Have I already read one of my favorite books of 2022? Quite possibly. I saw this book on a lot of Best of 2021 lists and with very good reason. I’m so happy this was my first book of 2022!

Title: If We Were Villains
Author: M.L. Rio
Series: Standalone
Genres: Mystery, Thriller

Goodreads Summary

I went into this one not really knowing much, and I’ve found that usually works best for me and I enjoy books a lot that way. So my suggestion is, go into this one just knowing its worth the hype and it will F— YOU UP.

Thanks for coming to my review 😀

….ok, still here? LOL alright I’ll say a few more things. This is set in both the present and ten years in the past – mostly in the past with just a few interludes of present time. Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. The day he gets out, the detective who put him in prison meets him and asks if he really did it, because despite Oliver admitting he did, the detective didn’t believe it.

Oliver is one of seven fourth year students at a prestigious arts college studying Shakespeare and acting. They’re in their final year and only seven of them made it that far, that’s how elite the school is. I found learning about seven characters to be confusing at first but you actually do catch on quickly enough.

You don’t have to be well versed in Shakespeare to appreciate this book. I know only the bare minimum of Shakespeare’s works (Romeo & Juliet. That’s it, I swear), and I could still follow along without any issues. They act out various parts of various Shakespeare plays and I actually learned a bit.

You go into this story knowing someone dies, its a murder mystery after all, and while Oliver admits to the crime, you don’t find out who really did it until the end. This has a hint of unreliable narrator to it, but I wouldn’t really call this an unreliable narrator story. We know what Oliver knows as he learns it and as he tells it to the detective, but he never lies to us or omits anything.

I loved the suspense of this. The pacing is truly perfect, I was never bored and never felt there was a dull moment. I loved learning about the past more than the present, but at the end when the present catches up to us, ohhhh boy, it catches up in a good way. That ending though, that ending! I love endings like this.

I will also say I didn’t now this had such gay undertones to it. One of the seven, Alexander, is openly gay, but Oliver and James had such moments it was hard to believe they were both straight – they were both with female partners on and off page and various points.

I can’t even quite put my finger on just what was so good about this, but it was a fantastic story and I cannot wait to read whatever M.L. Rio writes next!

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I thought the audio presentation of this book was incredible! I really loved the narrator and thought he did a great job & had an easy to listen to voice. Highly recommend listening to this one.

My Rating:

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If you’re looking for a backlist book from 2017 that is still hyped up in present time, look no further. There’s a good reason this was on so many peoples Best of 2021 lists, and I have a strong feeling it’ll be on my Best of 2022 list in 11.5 months from now! If you like mystery and being kept on the edge of your seat – this is the book for you.

This is mainly set in the fall and winter so I would call it a fall/winter book, but honestly you can read it at anytime!

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3 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: ‘If We Were Villains’

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