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If We Were Villains
If We Were Villains | M.L. Rio
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review
Night_Reader
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Pickpick

3.5/5 🌟

Admittedly, I found myself skimming through the Shakespearean elements, initially unsure if I'd make it to the end. However, I'm pleased to say that I did, and I'm glad for it. Overall, my experience with the book was mixed.

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Coueriamb
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Panpan

Oh, I was not the target audience for this book LOL
I am a stagehand, and this is a microcosm worst of the people I work with.

It was pompous, overdramatic, full of itself, the mystery was as transparent as a play you‘ve seen before.

The only thing I‘ve retained from this book was the unnecessary hate the costume department and stagehands got. Departments, might I add, that did NOT have any hand in killing someone. Get bent.

everlocalwest This is my favorite review of this book. Similar feelings here, minus the theater experience. 3mo
Coueriamb @everlocalwest Haha thank you! I‘m glad I resonated with someone. A shame such a good looking cover is wasted 3mo
BookmarkTavern LOL That definitely made me smile. 😂 3mo
6 likes3 comments
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BookMaven9
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Mehso-so

⭐️⭐️⭐️a great start, almost a 5 star read. Loved all the Shakespeare weaving in and out of dialogue, the isolated world of acting, etc. a bit of a Secret History knock off, but was unputdownable. However the ending blew it all for me. No shock or good twist. You can see it all coming.

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Hilary427
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Pickpick

I loved this book - it was not something I picked out for myself, nor would I have, given the opportunity. But it was amazing! The only downfall in my opinion was all the quoted Shakespeare, but it was to be expected. Not my typical book, but I highly recommend it! (7)
⭐️: 4.25/5

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks So pretty 😍 5mo
21 likes1 comment
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Lizpixie
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1. I‘ve always loved Ancient History, in particular Roman, Greek & Egyptian with a dash of Mesopotamia & Celts. And Geography. I excelled at Geography & would‘ve loved to pursue that🏺🌏🏛️
2. The tagged book is set in a Classical College full of Shakespearean scholars until a tragedy ends with a death & another in prison.

#TwoForTuesday #WinterGames #TeamEvergreen 1pt

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REPollock
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Bailedbailed

I have worked in professional theatre my whole adult life, and as soon as it became clear that this was A Secret History with Shakespeare quoting drama teens, I could not spend more time there. It is too much like work.

[Image: restored antique parasol by my graduate student Jillian Gregory]

julesG Agree with you on the book. I bailed for similar reasons. Gorgeous umbrella. 😍😍 9mo
14 likes1 comment
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Emilymdxn
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My first thought for masks for #autumnplease was the masquerade masks in if we were villains. This is a gorgeous illustration from the anniversary illustrated edition 🥰

#scarathlon #skeletoncrew

JMPemberton I‘m reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I‘ve been told that this and If We Were Villains are the two core dark academia books to read. Definitely adding this to my TBR. 9mo
Emilymdxn @JMPemberton in my opinion if we were villains isn‘t half as good as the secret history speaking as a dark academia obsessive :/ it‘s totally worth reading but it‘s not as magic. Have you tried Babel? 9mo
JMPemberton @Emilymdxn I‘m loving the Secret History so doesn‘t surprise me that if we were villains may not be as good. I‘ve got Babel on my shelf and will be getting to it soon. I feel like I‘m missing out not having read it yet. 9mo
Emilymdxn @JMPemberton I felt like if we were villains was all aesthetic and less genuine engagement with ideas, and I also found the idea of a uni that teaches 100% only Shakespeare a bit too silly. Maybe I should reread but it came across quite teenage 9mo
38 likes1 stack add4 comments
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MartinaLove
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#PhotoChallenge #Scarathlon @FlynnDewey #TeamWhoYouGonnaCall

Day 2: Skull/Bones

Only one book came to mind. It's not on my #Scarathlon TBR but it's definitely on my radar ☠️

bthegood 👻👻 9mo
FlynnDewey I love books with attention grabbing covers like this. 9mo
MartinaLove @FlynnDewey Me too! 🎃 9mo
21 likes3 comments
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ICantImReading
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Mehso-so

⭐️⭐️⭐️

A comparison to “The Secret History” will get me every time! This had the moody dark academia vibes that I love and I enjoyed the beginning, but it fizzled out after the second act. I had trouble believing in the characters and their motivations - they felt one-dimensional. I‘m also not really a fan of Shakespeare and found the large amount of Shakespearean quotes tiring.

Chelsea.Poole I felt the same. 10mo
Karisimo My book club read it earlier this year and those of us who listened to it had a better experience than those who read it! 10mo
ICantImReading @Karisimo oh that‘s interesting!! Sometimes the format can really impact the experience! I read it on my Kindle, but I imagine the last half wouldn‘t have dragged as much for me on audio 10mo
ICantImReading @Chelsea.Poole I really wanted to love it, and I know a lot of people have enjoyed it… glad to not be alone, though! 🙂 10mo
45 likes1 stack add4 comments
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TheLudicReader
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Thanks for the tag @dabbe
1. I return to school on Aug 28. Students start after Labour Day
2. Tagged book, The Secret History, The Chatham School Affair, Reconstructing Amelia, Claire Marvel, The Girls Are all So Nice Here
#Two4Tuesday
@TheSpineView
Tagging @andrew61 @Texreader @iread2much @ShelleyBooksie

dabbe Yay! 🩵🖤💙 11mo
TheSpineView Thanks for playing!🌞 11mo
LeslieO Oh I LOVED The Chatham School Affair! 11mo
iread2much 1 - We have two districts in my city, so one starts this week and one starts next week. 2 - First Test by Tamils Pierce is one of my favorite school based books, although it‘s a very small and elite school for children training to be knights. Thanks for inviting me! 11mo
TheLudicReader @LeslieO I am delighted to meet anyone who enjoys Thomas H. Cook. I just can‘t figure out why he is not well known. I love him. 11mo
25 likes5 comments
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rachelinabook
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cr: if we were villains by m.l. rio

i just picked up this edition from b&n and im in LOVE with the cover

im also reading this with my book club over on the fable app if anyone wants to join us!!

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thewallflower0707
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My friend created a personalized book stamp for me for my birthday 🥳😍📖. Isn‘t it gorgeous!

#stamp #bookaccessorize

Saknicole Such a fun design too! 12mo
24 likes1 comment
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cjvander
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Mehso-so

3.5/5 A beautifully written and compelling story, and a masterful twist on Shakespeare. This book is one of a kind. The tone of this book is very dark, filled with jealousy, obsession, and sacrifice. I would recommend this book for anyone who likes psychological thrillers or murder mysteries, it truly is a page turner.

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E.Bolhafner
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Pickpick

This book is a juggernaut hurtling to the end. Well written, and moving quickly through a series of events that, as our narrator states in prologue, seemed inevitable. I have the feeling that I would have understood subplots better if I really paid attention to Shakespeare but I didn't and the events themselves sped along. Criticism I have seen is anti queer and male gaze neither of which I saw as bothersome. See comments below

E.Bolhafner Re: Male Gaze-you have 3 F MC one an ingenue, a siren, and a normal 'neutral' girl. The Siren, a Goddess, that all the boys want etc etc. The narrator talks of them being typecast due to their appearance. This is different from how I perceive 'the male gaze' criticism which *to me* means gratuitous sexiness to entertain the males. Yes the Siren was often in skin tight clothing/lingerie but it was in the plays but not her off stage. 14mo
E.Bolhafner Re: Queer Representation. 4 M MC including a gay male who was willing to be straight for The Siren slightly offensive. But I felt it was just talk--more of a commentary on the moth to flame effect she had than potential actions. He also had addiction problem & looked for 1st yrs to 'corrupt'. The narrator was in love with his room mate and speaks of this as well pg 12: pretty pg 16 possessive and jealous of the handsomest of us so repressed. 14mo
9 likes2 comments
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E.Bolhafner
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@Andrew65 #20in4 finished up with this beauty. I actually read @2 hrs without my timer on as I was so eager to get back to it after dinner tonight I totally forgot! Reviews forthcoming.

Andrew65 Awesome. Well done and thanks for taking part 👏👏👏🙌🥳🍾🥂🔥 (edited) 14mo
9 likes1 comment
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kera_11
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In theory, this was very Shakespearean and tragic, the cross over between the plays the characters act out and how they connect to their real life was well done. However. I‘m struggling to review this bc I loved the ending twist, left me staring at the wall.
But. This played into some gross queer stereotypes that were awful and a characters‘ sexuality should not be a plot twist. All female characters written via the male gaze was tough to read.

5 likes1 stack add
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Saknicole
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Pickpick

Am I obsessed with dark academia? Yes.

#darkacademia #shakespeare #NA #teachersoflitsy

23 likes1 stack add
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Breanne1
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Pickpick

This was very reminiscent of The Secret History but I enjoyed this one all the more for its links to Shakespeare and how the plays‘ themes were so interwoven in these college students‘ own experiences. And that ending!!!

14 likes1 stack add
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asterese
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These beautiful endpapers of the 5th anniversary special edition though. ??

"For someone who loved words as much as I did, it was amazing how often they failed me."

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asterese
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I'm generally not one for special editions, but I had to make an exception for one of my favorite books of all time. ? and it's gorgeous. ? gold foil, illustrations, signed by the author?! I love this 5th anniversary edition so much. ?

"Make art, make mistakes, and have no regrets."

(And then there's the Zweig I got secondhand. It just felt right to give it a new home. To my surprise, I'm slowly building up a collection of his books.)

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Nalbuque
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Mehso-so

another near bail! This was rec‘ed as a comparable read to Secret History, which I liked the story and the vibe, but… I dno, this didn‘t quite deliver it, imo? English is not my first language so I did not extensively study Shakespeare growing up- I think this book woulda felt way more interesting if I did. Some of it was prob wasted on me. The final twist was…Altho unpredictable, kinda meh. I dno. In theory should be a 🤘🏽for me, but it wasn‘t.

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Branwen
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Barnes & Noble has a special edition of this delightful book! 😱 Do I already own the regular edition? Yes! Did I get this one anyway? Also yes! 😂

49 likes1 stack add
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Julsmarshall
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Pickpick

Dark and mysterious, felt like an ode to The Secret History written by a Shakespearean scholar. Heartbreaking as only a group of university friends who love, hate, revere, and envy each other can be. And the Bard‘s words and atmosphere are woven through it all effortlessly and made it all quite wonderful. #BookspinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

51 likes1 stack add1 comment
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broughtyoubooks
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Pickpick

So good after reading Secret History, was worried about there becoming a dark academia formula, but while there's big parallels this was incredible itself. Painful, but managing to make me feel more than Tartt's novel, ESPECIALLY in that final Act.

smalldogs_bigbooks2419 I have this book. Should I also get Secret History and read it first? 2y
broughtyoubooks @smalldogs_bigbooks2419 I think read in either order, Secret History is just considered the 'original,' popularised dark academia novel. I would recommend reading both eventually, just because they are interesting to compare! 2y
smalldogs_bigbooks2419 Is Procopius the author of Secret History? 2y
See All 6 Comments
broughtyoubooks @smalldogs_bigbooks2419 oh no, iwas meaning Donna Tartt's Secret History. 2y
smalldogs_bigbooks2419 @broughtyoubooks haha! I just bought that as a gift because I saw it on a friend‘s TBR list. It‘s on my list too. I‘ll have to get myself a copy now too. 2y
smalldogs_bigbooks2419 Haha! I just bought that book as a gift because I saw it on a friend‘s TBR list. It‘s on mine as well. I guess I‘ll have to go back and get myself a copy! 2y
63 likes2 stack adds6 comments
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LoverOfLearning
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Mehso-so

Very 50/50 for me. I did enjoy the mystery and the cultish vibes this book gave off.

I didn't love it because I had no connection to any of the characters and it was very limited setting wise. I was expecting a much cooler ending so it definitely fell flat for me at the very end.

3 stars / 5

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perfectlywinged
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This Shakespeare focused A Secret History read alike is starting off strong!

Lauren890 One of my favorites!! 2y
perfectlywinged @Lauren890 I am loving all the Shakespeare text in here! 2y
16 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Twocougs
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Pickpick

Thespians, Shakespeare, youth, and serious drama. I enjoyed every moment.

33 likes1 stack add
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Gissy
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#Scarathlon2022 #TeamMonsterMash

#ScarathlonDailyPrompt #22 skeleton

5 points
Post- 1 point
Total= 6 points

@Staycurious

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Chili
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Another library book from September finished. Doesn‘t fit the team theme but 253 word search words. Total 2536
#Scarathlon2022 #TeamMontsterMash

Clwojick Woohoo! 2y
26 likes1 comment
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LeslieO
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1. 🎭💀👮‍♂️ (I just started it so that‘s all I got!)
2. I‘m hoping for a sequel to Lessons in Chemistry, maybe the story of the daughter, all grown up.
3. 5⭐️ The Fortnight in September

#WondrousWednesday

Eggs Thanks for joining in 📚👍🏼 2y
29 likes1 stack add1 comment
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KristiAhlers
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Pickpick

This is indeed a different kinda of suspense read. One must appreciate the bard though as the author uses a lot of “Shakespeare” type lines. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 read for me. I liked the characters and the storyline was such that I stuck with it to see how it would end.

49 likes1 stack add
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thepostman96
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I had the sudden urge to reread If We Were Villains and I‘m so glad I indulged. The Halloween performance of Macbeth just hits right every single time.

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rachelk
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Pickpick

Crime and surrounding mystery test friendships of close knit college students at an elite arts conservatory. The novel is a bit dark academia, a bit ‘The Secret History‘ and a bit Shakespearean — with many quotes. I enjoyed this book but didn‘t love it nearly as much as the aforementioned novel that Donna Tartt published in 1992.

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erzascarletbookgasm
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#AlphabetGame #letterI @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

This one was pretty clever, dark and twisted, with Shakespeare references. It reminds me of The Secret History. Didn‘t love it, but found it very interesting and nicely constructed. Recommended if you like dark academia novels, Shakespeare, and slow burn stories.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing! 2y
35 likes1 comment
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babyruth2510
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Mehso-so

Interesting story of a group of seven young thespians who are inseparable until one of them ends up dead. For me this was somewhat hard to read due to much of the dialogue being lines from Shakespeare plays. On the one hand—cool format and makes sense that the kids would intersperse Shakespeare into their vocabulary. On the other hand—Shakespeare is not easy to read and digest quickly. I liked the story but didn‘t love it

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Magpiegem
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Pickpick

35/22 whilst the kiddos splashed about I finished this. This is a softer pick for me then I imagined it would be on beginning. I can certainly say as someone who trained at one conservatoire and then taught at another that the pretensions and friendships rang true. But it just felt a bit too long and I don‘t understand the origin of Richards personality change which frustrated me. #booked2022 #darkacademia

Cinfhen Kiddos look like they‘re having a blast!!!! Fun 🤩 I‘ve read other reviews who loved this book but also felt it was too long. 2y
32 likes1 comment
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Magpiegem
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One eye on my book, one eye on my rockpooling kids! This book is keeping me interested but I have a feeling I will end up frustrated at the end! We will see.

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Magpiegem
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A book that ticks something off all four of my reading challenges! Yes please!

#booked2022 #darkacademianovel #192025 #2017 #atozchallenge #I #roadtripUSA2022 #illinois

I started this one last night and it‘s drawn me straight in. It‘s just what I needed right now!

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Magpiegem
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July‘s physical TBR, plus not shown (on my Kindle) is My Sister The Serial Killer, which I‘m reading for #booked2022 as well the top three books in the pile. The bottom two I‘m reading because I have way too many black and white books on my rainbow bookshelf and I‘m trying to rebalance it! 📚

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Augustdana
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It‘s too hot to do anything, so I‘ve parked myself in front of my glorious electric AC and I‘m finishing this. It‘s really good.

Augustdana Ok I finished it. She‘s good. Very good. 2y
16 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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smalldogs_bigbooks2419
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I love a good book dedication. This one says: “For the many weird and wonderful thespians whom I have had the good fortune to call my friends. (I promise this is not about you.)” 🎭. This has been on my TBR list for a while. I even have the audio version of it on my audible.com account. I ordered a physical copy of it as well a few days ago from Amazon, instead of from my local bookstore, and my husband is making me feel so guilty!

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kecolem300
Pickpick

Love love loved this book! Don‘t need a vast Shakespearean knowledge, like none at all, to enjoy this book. It‘s like I want to keep this book under wraps because it‘s still such a well kept secret. What do you all think?

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PickettT
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6 likes1 stack add
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Bookgirl
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Pickpick

I liked it. A lot. I‘m a dark academia fan and have made it a point to read books in this genre. Somehow just got around to this one and I‘m glad I did. The story centers on 7 theater students at a fine arts college who exclusively study and perform Shakespeare. Of course there‘s a murder and mysteries. Definitely has Secret History vibes. I liked it better, but I don‘t love SH despite my love of dark academia. Loved the end twist.

LiteraryinLawrence Nice! Do you consider this one dark academia? 2y
Bookgirl @LiteraryinLawrence Yes! It‘s pretty high on my to read list. Have you read it? 2y
CherMoreBooks I‘ve heard great things about this one! 2y
46 likes3 comments
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BookBr
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Mehso-so

An interesting book in some ways — the Shakespearean conceit shaped the book in format but also in form, as its tragedy played out with an awful sort of inevitability. The characters were pretentious and careless and self-absorbed, but probably no more than any college seniors at the height of their field. My problem was that the story was engaging enough while reading, but didn‘t draw me back to the book when I wasn‘t. Clever, but not smart?

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AlysonCB
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Mehso-so

Beautiful writing but just a tad too much Shakespeare for me. Also not enough mystery, I found the whole plot just a little bit too predictable. Still, interesting concept and kept me engaged throughout.

RaeLovesToRead Agree. I loved the atmosphere of this one, but the story didn't have enough complexity or twistiness for me to truly love it! 2y
53 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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BookBr
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A pick from my Christmas pile! Looking forward to digging in…

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MrsReads1
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Pickpick

I reread this book in April and it continues to be one of my all-time favorite books! The writing, the characters, the put of control shenanigans they het up to...and the SHAKESPEARE! If you like dark academia I encourage you to pick this one up. 5/5 stars