Title: Because You Hate Love to Hate Me
Author(s): Ameriie, Renee Ahdieh, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, Nicola Yoon
Series Status: Standalone (Anthology)
# of pages: 339
My rating: 4/5 stars
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).
So this review will be done slightly differently since this is an anthology. I really enjoyed this book as a whole but it is hard to review this book as a singular read when it’s really a compilation of multiple stories. Instead I am going to talk about the individual stories and give my individual rating for each one.
The Blood of Imuriv by Renée Ahdieh 3.5/5 stars
This story felt short and simple and to the point. It’s all about a matriarchial society where a son is born and wants to be just like his dictator grandmother. I really liked this twist on the story. The main character, Rhone, is wanting to take control and have an active role in his world but is unable to do so due to gender. This felt like it took that old story of the princess wanting to get involved and completely flipped it. While it was short and simple I did enjoy the complexity behind the idea; however, I felt like the story didn’t grab me in enough and left me with little sympathy for the main character. I know he’s the villain and all but while I sympathized with his position he felt a little one dimensional and I found it hard to connect to him specifically.
Jack by Ameriie 3.5/5 stars
Now this is one that was completely different than what I expected. The story created such a narrative that you felt sympathetic toward the main character. While I enjoyed this unique outlook on the villain by getting to hear her point of view, her story overall dragged until the end. This story downplayed all the villain evilness until the closer to the end and while I see that it was meant to be that way it made it harder to get into it.
Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani 4/5 stars
I liked that this story was told completely in text messages. It added that air of mystery, because everyone can interpret a text differently, especially with vague wording. While this story felt mild (in some forms) on the villain scale compared to some of the other stories I really loved that it was about very realistic and real experiences. Something else that I loved was how relatable I found the main character to be which is seriously terrifying. She just wants a “normal” high school experience and while I wouldn’t have acted the same as her I found that her choices are not that unrealistic compared to what most people would choose. For me that made the story because it created that uneasy feeling that this does actually happen.
Shirley and Jim by Susan Dennard 4/5 stars
This was another unique format for a story because it is told in a singular email to a friend. Again this was a story that hooked me because of it’s realistic aspect. A new twist on the Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty story- who wouldn’t want that? This story was one of my favorites because it was hard at times to distinguish the villain. The story was of slower pace but it only helped the development and brought it to a point where the story collided with the present and made an ultimate point about the villain. I really liked this and wanted another entire book dedicated to this story.
The Blessing of Little Wants by Sarah Enni 2.5/5 stars
I hate saying that I disliked this story because there wasn’t really anything wrong with it. I just couldn’t get into it or connect to it. I felt like the main character was one dimensional and already too villainistic in trait that she wasn’t able to gain my empathy or anything. Her whole story felt like it was something that I’ve read before in the flashback of another story and that combined with the flat main character made it hard for me want to read.
The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer 4/5 stars
Okay this story was one I went into not thinking I would enjoy because it sounded so simplistic. It’s all about the Sea Witch if she had been Ariel and I was not sure what exactly that would entail other than things obviously not working out as they had in The Little Mermaid. Once, I read the story though, this one became another favorite from this anthology. It was dark and twisted and the development and sympathy of the main character was there. While obviously she is a villain this story really provided her origin story and showed exactly what happened and this made the story very compelling.
Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon 3.5/5 stars
This story was one where I enjoyed the message more than the actual story. It’s all about a girl who’s been told her whole life how important purity is and then she is raped by a god and the goddess of purity turns on her. To me I see how the main character, Mei Du, turns into a villain but her story was one where the sympathy went so deep that it was hard to view her that way. She is almost completely the result of others actions as opposed to her own and while that doesn’t change or in anyway excuse the actions of what she does later it does make her unique to some of the other villains. I loved that her story was more about the other villains of the story rather than herself. It showed corruption, misogyny, and more and how these affect a person. This story ran deep and resonated what it’s like to be a victim and then become villainized for it.
Death Knell by Victoria Schwab 5/5 stars
I think it’s a little obvious that this would probably end up being my favorite story but Schwab seriously amazed me with this story. I loved this story so much and the view of death was so twisted and unique. It’s all about death waking up in a well in Ireland and having to go bring someone to their end. One of my favorite things about this story was how slowly Death became sympathetic to the girl but never changed his resolve in what he must do. While the story seems darker (and it is) it had some lighthearted moments and helped solidify a view of death that isn’t often thought of.
Marigold by Samantha Shannon 3.5/5 stars
This is another story that I enjoyed the meaning more than the story. It’s about something that I haven’t read much of before and I really enjoyed learning more about that than the characters or story itself. What I did like a lot was the message behind the story. It’s all about these two guys who think they are saving Marigold from certainly a horrible life but instead they are the ones who are making her life horrible. It was such a unique story and I liked that aspect but the focus from the one guys point of view while intentionally oblivious to all this felt more like he really didn’t care about much. It created kind of a bland narrative for me and made the story feel like it was dragging.
You, You, It’s All About You by Adam Silvera 3/5 stars
Dark, this story was definitely dark. I don’t know about this story because part of me really enjoyed it because it was so dark but there was also part of me that wanted more development from the characters. Like one of the more important main characters are given very little development and it kind of bothered me that there was so little development of this. The story was still interesting and drew me in but I felt like it was missing something.
Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith 3.5/5 stars
Again I am conflicted with this story too because Julian sets a standard as an unreliable or maybe reliable narrator. He’s a psychopath talking about people in his life dying after he wishes for it but it’s never stated if he’s killing them or if his thoughts are enough. But obviously they aren’t for Steven Kemple because Steven just won’t die and Julian is losing it because of that. Julian tells everything so plainly that you think there’s no way he cares enough to even be lying but perhaps thats what he wants? This story creeped me out more than I realized as I kept thinking about it. But I’m conflicted because the actual plot didn’t have much going on. It’s all about his hatred of Steven and an accidental party but not much other than that happens. It diminished the deeper outlook of his character for me because so little was happening in the story.
Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke 3/5 stars
I don’t have much to say about this story because it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t get drawn into it and the villain in it wasn’t one that did much of anything to me. This story felt unfinished and like something that I wanted to enjoy but just didn’t.
Sera by Nicola Yoon 3/5 stars
This concluding tale left me wanting more. I really liked that this story was split up from the ending to flash backs that brought you back to the present. It set up for a nice form of development but it ultimately didn’t hook me in. The vagueness of the story felt specific since Sera herself doesn’t seem to recognize whats happening but the overall story just missed something to hook me in.
Before I wrap up this review (thank you if you’ve read this far!) I wanted to talk about the booktubers and bloggers additions to this anthology. Not only did they give prompts to the writers but they also all wrote a little piece to go with the story and this made each story that much better. From quizzes to know if you are a villain, to letters to death asking if it feels anything when it takes a life, their additions made the story run that much deeper and helped see the reasoning behind each prompt.