Review: Because You Love to Hate Me by Various Authors, Edited by Ameriie

8:57 PM

Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy by Various Authors, Edited by Ameriie | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

Firstly, I have to say how exhausting it was to see some responses to the prompts in this collection being provided by the very admirable and very hard working Booktube community. I can see a lot of unfavorable comments to them, which is entirely unwarranted, and I just have to say: everyone who has been spending their time since Because You Love to Hate Me was announced, all the way to its recent publication, just slamming the mere presence of Booktubers in the collection, I am ashamed of you. There's no reason to be so tacky and mean spirited. Unless you are striving to have a book written about your rudeness. Perhaps the next topic should be about judgmental internet trolls--now that's an anthology I'd get behind just as easily. Can some-one make that happen? Pretty please?

As for the collection itself, I really enjoyed most of the stories from Because You Love to Hate Me. In all its delectable, villainy glory--from the wide range of unforgettable talent and the contributions brought forward by some of the most prominent book vloggers of the last decade, there was a little something for everyone. Certainly, there were some flaws--a few duds in terms of short stories--but for the most part, I had a little difficulty in putting the book down for even lunch. The way the stories each flowed and tangled themselves in your mind caused a massive (!!!!!) addiction on my part and I had a blast just reading it!

Now, to be honest with you, I've never been a huge fan of villains or romanticizing them. This is not a collection that twists and mends their flaws to excuse them. While they are flawed in many different ways, each of these villains are never described as anything but. What I like about villains most is the times when they are shamelessly dark and carved out of humanity perfectly. In the case of Because You Love to Hate Me, every single one of the stories features that--it's what makes the collection all the more worth our while.

I came into this collection with many uncertainties, but they were all washed away. Why? Because of the familiarity, the villains fleshed out in ways that were believable and chilling. It is, indeed, easy to hate them. I love to hate the bad-guys in this go around.

Because of the simple fact that Because You Love to Hate Me is a collection of short stories and I do not want to spoil it for the readers who haven't yet picked it up, I am just going to give a brief list of what I liked most about the collection. As there are some stories featured in the line-up that I don't love (but don't hate), I will just be leaving those out of the mix. My cup of tea isn't always everyone else's and I'm okay with that.

  • Susan Dennard's offering was my personal favourite. I suppose this is because (1) Sherlock is one of my favourite fiction characters and (2) Moriarty. I adore Moriarty in the sense that he is a fantastic villain. He is one of those rare villains that I'll say I truly love and hate all at once. I've loved many takes on his character and each of them offers something different to the table. In Shirley & Jim, I enjoyed seeing the tables turning on their relationship. Both are young, both are fond of each other. I adored the format--it all being a letter from Shirley to Jean (FEMALE Sherlock and John? Yes, please.) and thought it had all the makings of a fun retelling. I would totally love a full-fledged spin off novel of these two; seeing Shirley run after James and all the inevitable tension and game playing that would follow. The only thing missing was that Jean should have had a bigger presence in it beyond being on the receiving end of Shirley's letter. It was so fun! 
  • Death Kneel by Victoria Schwab was a fast favourite of mine, too. I always have heard such wonderful things about Schwab's writing and now that I've experienced it first hand--in so little words--I have to admit I'm in love and intrigued. I really found this short story to be full of so much... spark. I was going to say life, which works too, but what strikes me that most about Death Kneel is how unexpected it is. The prose is delicious, the plot is beyond dark and dreamy. I loved it. For me, this was the big one--the fastest read. There's just something about it I seemed to devour even faster than the others.
  • The Sea Witch. Marissa Meyer and I have a mixed history when it comes to her previous books. I find that she has a lot of hits and misses when it comes to my personal preference, which has nothing at all to do with her. The Sea Witch is perhaps one of my favourite stories she has penned and I couldn't get enough of it. I liked the uncertainty that came with it, the entire vibe that captured the essence of that thin line between villain and heroine. There was something about the way it had been drawn out that got under my skin and unsettled me in the best of ways. While the two short stories I listed before are my favourites as a whole, this one provided me with one of my favourite characters from the lineup. 
  • Cindy Pon is not an author I have read much by. But after reading the heart-thudding story that is Beautiful Venom, I already have this itching desire to pick up more by her. She is a true gift in terms of prose and I found her writing to be positively stunning. The story is centered around Medusa and I adore mythology, so naturally my pom-poms were out shaking when I realized this fact. In Beautiful Venom, we see and feel so much for our main character. There's a lot of nods to victim shaming in this one, providing not only an origin story but something that is easy to center into our lives and how society views certain things. I don't think it's possible to walk away from this story without feeling anything. 
  • Samantha Shannon knocked me down with her unexpected twist-and-turn plotline of Marigold. I wasn't sure what I was expecting by title alone but it was definitely not what I got in the tale. I appreciate that. The writing is wonderful, the level of fantasy in the Victorian age is delicious and I adored literally everything about this story. It was so fun and so very dark. There are no words to explain how enjoyable this one is.
  • You, You, You It's All About You by Adam Silvera was another one I adored because of its sheer darkness. I can't say I expected any of the story to turn out as it had and there was this deep sense of confusion that came with its conclusion. Not confusion for what had happened (this was portrayed quite clearly) but confusion as to what would happen next. There was something deeply unsettling in this story--in all the ways that a villain's tale should be--and it was one of two in this collection that I just yelled, "MORE!" for because... OH-MY-GOD. Give me more. Please.
  • Lastly, the final story in the collection, Sera. Nicola Yoon is one of the best writers of our life-time. Hands down. I loved the feeling of unease that came with reading Sera. From any view, there was just something so curious and captivating about the story and the character. I loved that feeling of chills that came with the prose. It was... wow. Just, wow. The perfect story to wrap up the collection. Any other story would have been a great injustice compared to this one and I adore it. In fact, while I've been thinking about each of the villains and the stories since reading it, some more than others, my mind keeps circling in on Sera. 
Overall, I enjoyed Because You Love to Hate Me. Some stories more than others. Some just weren't my cup of tea. As a whole, the good outweighs the bad in this one and it's definitely worth a second glance if you are interested in, well, villains. Not only were the stories of an excellent quality, the little breaks and blurbs between every story from various book vloggers were a delight. I definitely had fun reading this!

And seriously, guys, stop being gross about the presence of vloggers. They're literature lovers. They are here to stay. You should grow up and respect them as they respect us. If anyone knows literature... it's the community. And they are a big part of it. 

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