It is time for another spooky book review!…okay, I am going to be honest with you, this one isn’t actually spooky. It is however about villains, so I am counting it as a Halloween read. if you haven’t guessed the book by now, I am, of course, talking about Because You Love To Hate Me by various YA authors. If you haven’t heard of this book, it is an anthology centred around villains. It contains 13 stories by YA authors, in collaboration with 13 booktubers. Because this is an anthology, I will be reviewing it in my usual anthology style, one review for the whole book with a mini review for each individual story. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
This was a very 50/50 anthology for me. Some of the stories I really really loved, others, not so much. I was also a little bit disappointed by it overall, just because it didn’t feel as villain focused as I was expecting. However, it is a nice little anthology. I really loved a few of the stories, for instance I really enjoyed The Sea Witch, Marigold and Death Knell. I loved how dark some of these stories where, although I did feel like some of them didn’t work as short stories. I also really liked that at the end of each story you got to see what the prompt given to the author was. I will also say that the snippet from each booktubers felt a little bit unnecessary and I personally didn’t feel that it added much to the book, but I do get why they are there, I just wasn’t particularly fussed by them. overall, I did enjoy this anthology, I just wish that it had been slightly more villain focused.
4 out of 5
The Blood of Imuriv by Renee Ahdieh (Prompt by Christine Riccio)
I simultaneously liked and disliked this one. I quite liked the writing style and the general storyline, but, I don’t think that it worked very well as a short story. It felt like the opening chapter of a book. There was a lot of world building, which I liked, a fair amount of character building, which I also liked but the story felt like the start of a book. It felt unfinished. I was left wanting a lot more from it and generally being a bit underwhelmed by it.
3 out of 5
Jack by Ameriie (Prompt by Tina Burke)
Well that took a turn. The whole way through that I was thinking, where is the villainous element? This feels like quite a sweet little story and then you get to the last couple of pages and, shit me, that got dark fast lol. It had been pretty boring up till that point, and then got very interesting for a very short amount of time.
2.5 out of 5
Gwen And Art And Lance by Soman Chainani (Prompt by Samantha Lane)
I actually quite liked this one. I liked that it was kind of a mash up of two tales and I really liked the style it was told in. it has been a long time since I read a story that was purely told through texts. I liked it. it was quick and easy to read. I do feel like the story would have been better if it was told in a more standard format, but I do think that this one worked for it. made it feel very teeny, cliquey. I liked it. could have been better, but pretty enjoyable.
3.5 out of 5
Shirley & Jim by Susan Dennard (Prompt by Sasha Alsberg)
I think that this may be my favourite story so far. It is a modern take on Sherlock Holmes. It has gender swaps, teenage Holmes, Watson and Moriarty, a scandal and a romance. I have always liked Sherlock Holmes and I really enjoyed this take on the story. I liked that it was different but still had that Sherlock feel to it. I really liked it. again, I feel this could be quite interesting if it was written as a full on novel, but it did work as a standalone short story. I also loved that it was all told in an email.
4 out of 4
The Blessing Of Little Wants by Sarah Enni (Prompt by Sophia Lee)
Well that was weird as hell, and yet I kind of liked it. It had a really good premises to it, but, like a lot stories in anthologies, it didn’t really work as a short story. This is a complex world that clearly has a really rich back story and you just couldn’t really appreciate it when reading this as it was too short. This is the kind of world and story that deserves a full novel. You would need it to truly appreciate it. that being said I did still enjoy it. It was really interesting and I did really like the glimpse of the world that we got.
4 out of 5
The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer (Prompt by Zoe Herdt)
I loved this story. I have always been curious about Ursula’s story. I think it is far more interesting then Ariel and Eric and I loved this take on it. it was human and sad, and dark and twisted and everything that you expect her story to be. I liked that even in this short story we got a whole story. We learned everything about Ursula’s past and you got character progressions. I also loved that the whole story was a mirror to Ariel’s. Marissa Meyers is the queen of fairy-tale retellings.
5 out of 5
Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon (Prompt by Benjamin Alderson)
I don’t know how I feel about this one. I liked the general idea and premise of it, but there was something about the execution of it that I just didn’t click with it. maybe if it was a longer story, a full novel, I may have clicked with it more, but I just struggled to connect to it. I don’t know, I just wasn’t the biggest fan of it, which is a shame because the premise of the story was good and I liked the twists on the original story, I just didn’t like the actual story.
1.5 out of 5
Death Knell by Victoria Schwab (Prompy by Jesse George)
My god, I love Schwab. This story was beautiful, even though it was tragic. I loved every second of it. I loved her interpretation of Death and how he works and comes to be. I loved the idea of Grace, her never ending desire to live and be free. I loved how beautifully written it was. I just loved it all. This has got to be my favourite story in the anthology so far (I have now finished the whole book and can confirm that this one is my favourite)
5 out of 5
Marigold by Samantha Shannon (Prompt by Regan Perusse)
I really liked this one. It was brilliant. I loved the 19th century setting, the complex, yet, understandable world, the creatures, the story, all of it. I loved this story. I am now intrigued over both Shannon’s writing and original The Erl-Queen story. The story was interesting and intriguing with mythology and mystery. And a love that is not all that it seems. It felt like a full novel, squeezed into 25 pages. It worked and I really enjoyed this story.
5 out of 5
You, You, It’s All About You by Adam Silvera (Prompt by Catriona Feeney)
I’m not sure how I feel about this one. It was very dark and twisted and honestly, weird as hell. I am kind of confused. I think that the general premise of this story was pretty decent and fairly interesting, but, like a few others in the collection, I don’t think that it worked very well as a short story. It just left you very confused and with way too many questions. It was like you picked up a book, read a chapter from the middle of it, then put it down again. I just wasn’t satisfying to read.
3 out of 5
Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith (Prompt by Raeleen Lemay)
I actually really liked this one. I found it really funny and interesting and smiled the whole way through it. it was a very enjoyable little story. Weird as hell and I kind of want answers, but I liked it. a lot. One of the best stories in this book. And I loved that ending.
4.5 out of 5
Indigo And Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke (Prompt by Whitney Atkinson)
I quite liked this one as well. I will admit that the main storyline is pretty obvious, you just know where it is going and what the plot twist is going to be, but it is still a good little story. It was an enjoyable read. I really liked the more modern spin on the Beauty and The Beast story. It was new and interesting but also dark and more supernatural then I was expecting. It took the story and spun it on its head, twisted it round and changed it. I really enjoyed it.
4 out of 5
Sera by Nicola Yoon (Prompt by Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy)
Okay, that was weird as fuck, but I kind of liked it. I feel like this one could have been amazing, but it left too much up to the reader’s interpretation. Sometimes in stories, this works, in this case, it didn’t. not really. I just left you kind of confused and underwhelmed. Which is a shame because the general idea for this one was really interesting. It was dark and weird and really twisted. It just fell a bit short in the execution.
2.5 out of 5
And there we have it. not the most Halloween-y read ever, but I did enjoy it. have you read this one yet? What did you think about it? I hope that you have enjoyed todays post and I will see you all again very soon.