Title: Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy
Author: Ameriie (Editor)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Release Date: July 13th 2017
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: Renee 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).
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
I’m not a massive fan of anthologies, I feel like they can be a tricky thing to get right given how few pages and words the author has to get their story across. However after seeing some of the authors who contributed to Because You Love to Hate Me I knew I had to have it. Any book that combines stories by Marissa Meyer, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon and Adam Silvera is a book I need in my hands as soon as humanly possible.
The Blood of Imuriv by Renee Ahdieh
I’ve loved all of Renee Ahdieh’s books I’ve read so far and while I still enjoyed this short story, making it no exception, I wasn’t that impressed. The Blood of Imuriv was well written, and considering it was a short story the world building was pretty well done as well, however it felt like the beginning to something bigger because when I got to the end the story just felt unfinished.
Jack by Ameriie
My feelings on this story are a little mixed. I loved the premise and what Ameriie was trying to do with the prompt she had been given. However I wasn’t able to connect with the giantess and considering Jack was told from her perspective it made this a hard story to get into. That said the ending was brilliant; well written, and chilling even though it was the only way it could have ended.
Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani
Looking back on this story I think the only thing that worked for me was the prompt. Gwen and Art and Lance was an Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere retelling with hints of the Hades and Persephone story mixed in. However Chainani chose to write it through text message conversations between the three main characters which left me detached from their development and motivations.
Shirley and Jim by Susan Dennard
Again this was a short story I wasn’t that keen on looking back; telling the story of Sherlock and Moriarty but in a modern day setting before the characters’ become who they are as adult Shirley and Jim had the potential to be amazing. However I was left disappointed by Shirley’s characterisation because in my mind she felt like a very watered down version of Sherlock.
The Blessing of Little Wants by Sarah Enni
This was an incredible premise and I love the world we were introduced to in this short story, a world where magic exists but is limited leaving its use strictly regulated. The ending was a little confusing, I still can’t wrap my head around Sigrid and Thomas and what actually happened to them, but the world building and the journey they went on was enough to make this read more good than bad.
The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer
The Sea Witch was one of the stories I had been waiting for and Marissa Meyer definitely didn’t disappoint. I feel fairytale retellings are one of Meyer’s strong points as a writer and The Sea Witch, which retells The Little Mermaid but with the sea witch as the main character with the choice to make, was wonderfully written. Like with Heartless Meyer made me identify with Nerit, all she wanted was to belong, to have someone who loved her, but it was the one thing she couldn’t find.
Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon
Trigger warning: Rape scene, it’s not graphic but it’s there.
I was surprised by this story, but in the very best way. Cindy Pon retells the legend of Medusa but replaces the Greek mythology with Asian, and for me Beautiful Venom was one of the best additions to this anthology. Pon’s Medusa was an incredible character, one you couldn’t help but feel for as she thinks on her past and how she was so wronged by the Gods she worshipped.
Death Knell by Victoria Schwab
If I’m being honest Victoria Schwab’s addition to this anthology was the one I was the most excited for, and it’s probably no surprise when I say that Death Knell was my favourite of the lot. It was a haunting tale that was incredibly written, two things I feel are trademarks when it comes to Schwab’s books because if the authors’ names hadn’t been printed with their stories I would have instantly known which was Schwab’s contribution.
Marigold by Samantha Shannon
I was a little thrown by this story at first, simply because at the very beginning there was a lot of information thrown at the reader to help us understand the background and the world. That said once the story started I was hooked. Shannon created an incredible story from an interesting prompt; featuring Erl-folk and more than a few ambiguous characters which meant I was never sure who was the villain and who was the hero, at least not until the very end.
You, You, It’s All About You by Adam Silvera
This is a short story that really shows the diversity of Adam Silvera’s writing. Without his name next to the title I would have never guessed this was his contribution because it’s so different to the stories I’ve read by him before. Then again Silvera is great at creating well developed characters and that’s exactly what he’s done in this story, albeit with a character I never want to meet in real life.
Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith
This was a really humorous take on the prompt and I loved it. The story is narrated by Julian so it seems as if he’s talking directly to the readers, and it made me like his character even more. I didn’t see the ending coming, despite the ‘foreshadowing’, and although I was left wanting more from Andrew Smith and Julian it wasn’t the same way Ahdieh’s contribution left me wanting more.
Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke
It wasn’t until I got to the end and read the prompt that I realised what aspects of the original tale Indigo and Shade was retelling. It certainly made for an interesting story, and I enjoyed Tucholke’s writing and characters, but in the end this wasn’t a standout for me. It was good but not great, and looking back the only part that stuck with me was the last couple of chapters.
Sera by Nicola Yoon
While there were contributions to this anthology I enjoyed more, I think Sera was the perfect one to end on because it’s the one that’s stayed with me the longest. The story itself was so-so but the characters were amazing, we’re told most of the story from the mothers perspective but we get glimpses of Sera at the end and it’s those glimpses I enjoyed the most.
I can’t say I loved every story in this anthology, but there were more that I loved than ones I didn’t which makes Because You Love to Hate Me a success in my mind. I got brilliant stories from my favourite authors which I expected, and even one or two I didn’t expect which I enjoyed just as much. That said I am now hungry for more stories where villains take the centre stage, so if you have any recommendations please let me know.
What did you think of Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.