Thank-you to Bloomsbury Australia who sent me a copy to review. This in no way impacted my thoughts and all opinions remain my own
Release Date: July 11th, 2017
Goodreads Review: here
Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.
In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.
These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!
Featuring writing from . . .
Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon
BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel).
R A M B L E
Because You Love To Hate Me is a hard book to rate. I really struggled with it. This is because the book is a collection of stories from thirteen authors with thirteen BookTubers having their say on what was written (basically writing essays on the author’s work). It was strange in some parts and I really struggled with some stories. However, there are stories I basically devoured and wanted in full-length novels.
Do you see why I struggled now?
This review will split into my talking about each story and hopefully keep it relatively short and sweet (we’ll see). No time to waste, let’s jump into this!
The Blood of Imuriv by Renée Ahdieh
Renée’s writing is usually a hit or miss for me. I couldn’t stand Wrath of the Dawn but I loved Flame In The Mist. So, I was really feeling mediocre about The Blood of Imuriv. It was clear to see the shape the story was taking throughout this piece, but it would have been a lot better if it could have been stretched to fill a whole book, I think.
The ending was just too quick though I did enjoy it. It really did show the villain element of this anthology very well. I just feel this story would have been a lot more enjoyable if the feelings of the POV were explained in a longer format.
Jack by Ameriie
I really enjoyed Jack. I wasn’t sure I would, as it is a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk a narrative I have never really cared for my whole life no many how many movies it gets turned into. However, I loved this piece. It has to be one of my favourites in the whole anthology.
The build up and tension were so well done. The author hints at nothing which results in the ending of the story and I was left speechless when I did reach the end. Unable to believe that that happened. I’m not sure why I was so shocked, this is a book about villains.
Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani
Gwen and Art and Lance was a story that took me a hot minute to work out it was a mixed retelling of both King Arthur and the story of Hades and Persephone. However, when I worked it out I was so on board. I am low key trash for King Arthur retellings. I have probably watched that Avalon High movie by Disney around fifty times (no matter how cheesy it is).
This particular story is told through texts our main character, Gwen, has with others. It was such an interesting way of telling this particular story that I was able to fly through it faster than the others in the anthology.
No matter how much I enjoyed it, though, I didn’t really see it as a villain story. It may be because I have such a traditional sense of what villains are that when the person isn’t doing evil things I don’t class them under the category. A really interesting story though and very deserving of four stars.
Shirley & Jim by Susan Dennard
I can’t speak much on Shirley & Jim. Mainly because I didn’t actually finish the story. I know, sue me. I’m not a fan of Sherlock Holmes and basically, every single reference and action were going straight over my head to the point I was so mad I had to skim. I was also struggling greatly with the writing style; I found it hard to follow and was not connecting to a single character in the piece.
The Blessing of Little Wants by Sarah Enni
This is another story I didn’t particularly enjoy. The Blessing of Little Wants just wasn’t for me. I was not enjoying it and I was quite done with the characters. I believe this story was about witches, our two main characters are two of the most powerful witches of their age but have to hide it.
The writing itself didn’t feel…magical. I’m not sure if that makes sense. I like my witch stories to have a magical sense to them so I feel like this could exist in this reality. However, I did not get that from this particular story.
The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer
A Little Mermaid retelling calls to me in more ways than one. When I was younger my favourite Disney films were The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. However, my grandparents latched onto The Little Mermaid since I watched that with them and bought me so many stickers. They actually still use them. So, seeing this story in the anthology had me excited.
Marissa Meyer didn’t disappoint either. I adored her Lunar Chronicles series and if only she would extend this story into a full-length novel, I would be happy. Mainly because of Nerit, our main character is such a good villain. She is ruthless and bides her time to search revenge. She goes through transformations for other people but finally realises that who she is is someone completely different.
Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon
trigger warning; sexual assault & victim blaming
Much like The Little Mermaid, I am also obsessed with Greek mythology. So, a medusa tale was one I was excited for. How would this story change set in this different setting?I was very curious. I had problems though. The writing was great but the message of the piece made me mad.
Ultimately, our main character is raped. After this happens the Goddess of Purity turns her into Medusa because she “never said no” or “disinvited the interest”. I don’t remember the exact quote but I was not happy with the victim blaming present. The fact that is also her villain origin story didn’t sit well in my boat either.
I wish these events didn’t happen because the writing would have made this a solid four-star story.
Death Knell by Victoria Schwab
I say this while hiding in a castle, I don’t enjoy Victoria Schwab’s writing. I know. I am the actual worst. Everyone likes her writing. So, I didn’t expect to like her story, Death Knell, in this anthology.
I was right. I didn’t feel that the prompt given by the BookTuber translated well into this piece either (Hades wakes up at the bottom of a well in Ireland). I was incredibly confused throughout the piece and didn’t quite get where it was leading or what it was supposed to mean until I read the prompt after finishing.
Marigold by Samantha Shannon
This is another story that fell short on me. Marigold just fell so short. I didn’t care for the writing and I most certainly had no idea what was happening. I have never heard of the Erl-Queen and I did not get the Victorian London vibe from the piece.
I was just so confused throughout the story that I can’t even speak on the villain acts that occurred or if any did. I had to spend more than an hour after finishing trying to work out the retelling that went into this and, honestly, I’m still confused.
You, You, It’s All About You by Adam Silvera
Adam Silvera can write. Boy, can this guy write amazingly. I have read two out of three of his books and loved both. I knew I would love his story, You, You, It’s All About You. And, sure as heck, I loved it.
This is the example of a story I need in a 600-page novel. I want to completely devour it and sit there screaming about how anti-heroes are the only ones we need. The prompt for this piece was simply ‘teen girl drug lord with a mask’ and Adam made this story his bitch.
The backstory and writing throughout this piece is flawless. I just can’t fault a single thing. The way Adam weaves a villain character into one I felt sympathy for was brilliant. I truly can’t wait to read more of his upcoming works.
Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith
If I had to describe Julian Breaks every Rule, it would be disappointing. I was really expecting…more. With a prompt that is a psychopath in a futuristic setting, you tend to expect…well exactly what the prompt is. That is not what this piece delivers. I was disappointed in the lack of on the page villain acts.
The piece ends off on an ominous note but I feel if it had started from the end it would have been a lot stronger. It was just a very mediocre story that would have been better if it had been extended into a longer narrative, I think.
Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke
Now, Indigo and Shade has to be one of the most interesting stories in this anthology. A retelling about Gaston where he isn’t that villainous. I was interested. It was incredibly well done too…if this wasn’t an anthology of villains. I would have loved this story any other time, the writing was excellent and it was so engaging as a reader. It did feature insta-love but in this particular story, Gaston is so close to getting the girl.
It could have also been a longer piece and I would not have been made in the slightest.
Sera by Nicola Yoon
Gender flipped war God? Sign me the fuck up. I loved this story. This was what I wanted. It was so well written and so brilliant that I could not put the book down once I had started.
I am just speechless apart from the word awesome. I truly didn’t expect this when I started this story and I was left mouth agape and absorbed. The fact both characters are villains in this piece is interesting since it is in ways you would never expect. It is insane to me just how perfectly this story fit both the prompt and idea of the anthology.
Definitely giving Nicola Yoon all the praise for this story. A true masterpiece.
So, there we have it. Probably one of the longest posts I’ve written on my blog but I really had some opinions and thoughts about these stories. Despite my ratings for each story, this anthology was so well executed. The essays by the BookTubers added an extra something that can be read at a later date if you choose to. The prompts they chose are also very interesting.
Have you read this anthology? What was your favourite story?