Format – Prose
Edition – Hardback
Date of Publication – 11/07/17
No of Pages – 339
Genre – Mix of contemporary, fantasy, dystopia
Age – YA
Edited by Ameriie
Average Goodreads Rating – 3.61 out of 5
We all read the stories of good vs evil, of heroes and villains who often fight to the death, and more often than not, we like to root for the underdog. When the villains take centre stage, we expect the heroes to come back out on top, reclaim their rightful place, but who is to say that the villains should be slain?
In modern day fiction, the line between villainy and heroism is blurred. Villains are more complex, full of their own problems, and we know that their inherent evil is most likely made not born. They have to continue on the path they’ve forged for themselves, causing pain and suffering even if it gives them a greater strength and life than ever before. Some redeem themselves, are given the opportunity to live like a hero and reclaim their stolen glory, but others don’t have that chance. Some don’t even realise the extent of their villainy until it is too late.
Because You Love To Hate Me is the anthology that creates the villains you want to root for. A unique collaboration between authors and popular BookTubers, it proves to us that the most monstrous and evil of villains can be loved.
I am a fan of short stories, I like being able to sample an author’s work before diving into their main books, and I love the prospect of instantly being sucked into a story you know might not end the way you expect. Short stories also bring an ambiguity that is sometimes lost with full-length novels.
When I heard from some of the participating BookTubers that this anthology was being created, I was instantly excited. Villains combined with the writing of some of my favourite authors was certainly going to be a highly anticipated read.
For the most part, it didn’t disappoint and I enjoyed it a lot. I’m not sure if I gained much from some of the commentaries but each insight into the reason behind the tales was intriguing enough.
I’m going to quickly go through all of the tales and put them in the order of their individual ratings. For me, they do spread across the board so don’t feel deflated if your favourite tales is one I didn’t like. They were all constructed and written well, it’s just that I connected to some more than others.
Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith, with commentary by Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07)
This story follows Julian, a psychopath who keeps wondering why a particular guy at his school won’t die. In actual fact, this was the only one I had to stop reading because I couldn’t click with the story or Julian as a character. I also skipped over the commentary as I was not too bothered by it.
Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani, with commentary by Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes)
A contemporary mash up of the legend of King Arthur and Persephone. I thought that the story was okay, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the layout. The texts back and forth made me feel really lost as to whom was talking and I struggled to get a lot out of it. However, the commentary saved the story a little because it was interesting and certainly true to how modern fictional villains and heroes are written and perceived.
The Blood of Imuriv by Renée Ahdieh, with commentary by Christine Riccio (PolandbananasBooks)
Getting jealous over a game of chess doesn’t sound like the most interesting plot ever, so I think Ahdieh did the best out of what she was given. The story was okay and I completely sympathise with Rhone, but it didn’t strike me as anything fantastic. The commentary was witty and fun, but at the same time, I’m not convinced that popular culture references and a dystopian/fantasy story are a good mix.
You, You, It’s All About You by Adam Silvera, with commentary by Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl)
A female teen crime lord sounds like an amazing premise but there is one snag to the story that brought it down for me. Nonetheless, the story was well crafted and the character of Slate was interesting. It just wasn’t memorable enough for me to be worth much. Nonetheless, the commentary did leave me thinking about how much we show of ourselves when out and about in society.
Sera by Nicola Yoon, with commentary by Steph Sinclair and Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery)
A female God of War, wow! I liked it, and I am surprised at how much I like Nicola Yoon’s writing. I would love for this one to be a full-length story because I would certainly read that. However, I did skim read the commentary as I thought it didn’t do anything for the story.
The Blossom of Little Wants by Sarah Enni, with commentary by Sophia Lee (thebookbasement)
The fact that the main characters of Sigrid and Thomas have magic and are at a school called Pendle Hill made me giddy from the off. I really loved this story and I want more of it. The commentary, however, was meagre compared to the story itself.
Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon with commentary by Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes)
This is one story I feel really strongly about due to its parallels with our society and how the system treats women. Based on the mythology of Medusa and intertwined with Chinese culture, it is definitely one of the stories that ought to be read, not just for the good storytelling and writing, but for the message itself. It would be a 5-star read but I didn’t think the commentary really amounted to anything.
Jack by Ameriie with commentary by Tina Burke (Thelushables)
A Jack and the Beanstalk retelling! Yay! We all know by now that I love fairy tale retellings and this one was fabulous. It was the perfect length, had a great villainous character, and it stole my heart. The commentary was a good read too.
Shirley and Jim by Susan Dennard, with commentary by Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia)
To me, this was an excellent reworking of Moriarty and his twisted mind. He is not as chilling as I expected him to be, but I think that understatement and subtlety are what makes him brilliant. I also like the email format as it gives structure to the story and rounds it off nicely. The commentary was not a bad edition either.
The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer, with commentary by Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe)
For me, Marissa Meyer is the queen of twisting fairy tales around and this story is no exception! As a character, Nerit is relatable and I can easily empathise with her. She’s a villain that deserves some love and I certainly would have her in place of Disney’s Ursula because she continues to creep me out, and not in a good way! I also like the commentary – mainly as I can see myself writing it.
Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke, with commentary by Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels)
So we all know that I am going to love nearly all the Beauty and the Beast retellings, and this was no exception! I always fall for the Beast, the Gaston character is not an idiot so I automatically like him, and the story just gives me feels. Let’s just say this a story I enjoy immensely, even if the commentary does state the obvious.
Marigold by Samantha Shannon, with commentary by Reagan Perusse (PeruseProject)
Victorian London, fair-folk, and women’s rights. Of course, I am going to love this story. I certainly do, and Samantha Shannon pulls it off brilliantly. Her writing is as good as always, the story is engrossing, and she turns a classic fairy tale trope on its head. The commentary also fits nicely next to story which is a plus.
Death Knell by Victoria (VE) Schwab, with commentary by Jesse George (JessetheReader)
This story along with the commentary hits me hard in the feels. When I was reading this, I kept thinking of the Charmed episode where Prue sees the Angel of Death and I still can’t get that image out of my head. With personal life what it is at the minute, I feel like I am going to be thinking about this story a lot and that obviously speaks volumes.
So all in all, my average rating for this book comes in at:
4 out of 5 Stars
I did enjoy it and I’m glad that my expectations weren’t destroyed in any way.
If you’ve read it, what are your favourite stories?
What do you think of the book as a whole?
Thanks for reading and have a good day!