If We Were Villains – ML Rio

I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for If We Were Villians, by M.L. Rio.

If We Were Villains tells the story of seven students in their final year at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, an exclusive arts school.  The friends find their world rocked by a tragedy one morning, and nothing is ever quite the same again.

Ten years later we meet Oliver Marks, one of the seven, freshly released from prison. He’s met by Detective Colborne, the man who put him away a decade earlier, a man who wants to finally get to the truth…

The story is told from two perspectives – it opens with Oliver and Detective Colborne walking back over the grounds of Dellecher Conservatory to the site of the fateful event, and flashbacks to that final year at school.

I loved If We Were Villains – despite some reservations about the subject matter (I was never particularly into Shakespeare) you can’t help but be drawn into the narrative as the players take the stage and the drama unfolds. The characters are deftly drawn and entirely believable, and their habit of quoting lines from Shakespeare, which I initially found a little distracting (but entirely in character), gives the story extra depth.

There’s an awful lot going on in the book – love, lust, jealousy, tragedy, intrigue, revenge (would you expect anything else from something so Shakespearean?) but the story artfully weaves them together into a web of truths and lies.

If We Were Villains delivered that rare treat of keeping me reading until the early hours of the morning. Definitely one of the ‘just one more chapter’ books! Highly recommended.

The blog tour continues tomorrow. If We Were Villians by M.L. Rio is published by @titanbooks and is out on June 13th. Many thanks to Philippa Ward at Titan Books for the advance copy.

Enter the players. There were seven of us then, seven bright young things with wide precious futures ahead of us. Until that year, we saw no further than the books in front of our faces.

On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.

Ten years ago: Oliver is one of seven young Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a place of keen ambition and fierce competition. In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But in their fourth and final year, the balance of power begins to shift, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make believe. In the morning, the fourth-years find themselves facing their very own tragedy, and their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, each other, and themselves that they are innocent.

Part coming-of-age story, part confession, If We Were Villains explores the magical and dangerous boundary between art and life. In this tale of loyalty and betrayal, madness and ecstasy, the players must choose what roles to play before the curtain falls.


Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

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