(Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own).
Ten stories that as you read you get a feeling something is different, a feeling that you aren’t getting the full picture. A collection of short stories that as you reach the end you realize that you were only seeing a small portion of the story. You finish a story and want to go back and reread, hoping to pick up on the little details you missed the first time. Ten stories that by the end you have something to think about.
What I loved:
I was interested immediately in the collection when it began with a prologue. I am not used to seeing prolongs in a collection of short stories. I usually attribute a prologue to something setting up pieces later for a story. I was interested to see how a prologue worked in a short story collection.
The prologue set up the fact that all these stories take place in the same universe, or at least most seemed to. I wasn’t expecting for this greater connection. I not only enjoyed the overarching redemption storyline but I also liked the little nods to stories that had taken place previously. I liked to be able to say, “Oh yeah, I remember her or that incident.” These little call backs were fun and kept me reading because I wanted to see how things would connect further.
I also really enjoyed some of the twists in the story. There were a number of stories that you didn’t quite understand what you were reading until the end. Then I got what it was about and was eager to go back and find the clue that I missed earlier. Any story that keeps you wondering and has a satisfactory reveal is always fun.
What I was just okay with:
I am not an overly religious person. I am not an atheist but I don’t talk about religion often and I don’t connect life events to a religious meaning. This might be why the religious undertones sometimes threw me out of the story.
I won’t say it was too much, it wasn’t preachy. I am always hesitant to read stories that have religious overtones because I worry that it will become preachy and make me feel like I am being lectured. This collection didn’t do that until probably the last story. That one was the wrap up story and I understood why it made use of religion as it did but I just didn’t find myself as enthralled by the story as I was with the rest of the them.
I think most of the talk about God and spiritual connections was wrapped up in the stories well. It made sense most of the time. It was just personally for me I felt myself pulled out once in awhile.
What I wished was different:
This is another personal preference thing. I always enjoy author notes about their stories but for I wish they were in an appendix at the end of the collection. I feel like the explanations take me out of the world, especially with this collection because they were all connected. If I want to know more about the inspiration for a story I will go and read the explanation. If I am satisfied with how I read the story I may not read the explanation. I know I could skip the those but being right in front of my face I feel drawn to at leas scan them. For me, I just prefer the explanations at the very end.
I gave this collection four stars out of five on Goodreads. I enjoyed it. I liked the twists. I liked that they were all connected in some fashion. It was a quick and enjoyable read.
If you are interested in this collection there are a few giveaways and promotions that the author is currently running.
Amazon giveaway, 10 ebooks which ends on Nov. 22nd.
Goodreads giveaway, 5 paperbacks which ends on Nov. 24th.
Kindle Free promotion on Nov. 22nd and Nov. 23rd.
So if this collection sounds interesting to you, take advantage of any or all of these promotions! Or if you want to purchase it outright, be sure to check it out on Amazon.
Villains fascinate me. I think it is because their backstories are usually more in-depth and complicated than the protagonist’s. They make hard choices, even though they are usually the wrong choice. The path to making that choices is a twisting one that makes you reconsider your own choices. I like that even though we understand them we still feel some type of aversion to them.
Because You Love to Hate Me is a collection of 13 stories all told from the “villain’s” POV. Some are retellings or reimagining while others are involve original characters. The idea was for 13 Booktubers (Book bloggers on Youtube) to provide 13 authors with a villain centric prompt. The author then took the idea and created an original story for the collection. Each story was followed up by a quick piece by the Booktuber who provided the prompt.
What I loved…
I loved the way every story made you question who was supposed to be the villain. Some did it better than others but all the stories left you wondering if the “villain” was really that bad. I did not hate one of the main characters. I didn’t like some of the choices they made but I found myself not despising any of them.
By giving us the whole story from the “villain” POV only, we got to be surrounded by the idea that they were people facing tough obstacles. In these stories they were not the obstacles but were just people trying to find a way to solve a serious problem in their lives. I liked this because it allowed us to focus on them, their identities, their choices and the consequences of those choices. We as readers got to focus on what happens when you make poor decisions or choose based on selfish thoughts or ideas.
My favorite story was Victoria Schwab’s, “Death Knell.” Her prompt was “Hades wakes up after bring unconscious at the bottom of a well in Ireland.” She took this idea and twisted it to be about death in general. This is someone we don’t generally see a traditional villain. I loved the way she told her story.
It was a simple story but it was beautifully done. It focused on the idea of our fear of death and also created a new way to look at the idea. I loved how original and fresh the story felt. It was the one that stayed with me the longest.
Things I was just okay with….
Everyone of the stories had a Booktuber follow up with it. The small essays ranged from discussions about the story to quirky quizzes and how-to guides.
While most were entertaining in some fashion I wanted more from the commentary. I wanted to know they the topics were chosen. Why choose to ask for a story about a spy or giving Ursula’s backstory? Why did this intrigue you enough to ask for a story about the person or topic?
I felt like the stories could have had more depth if the explanations were deeper. Some were great, like the one after Victoria Schwab’s story but most were goofy or unconnected to the story. I wanted a better look into the ideas and thought processes.
What I wished was done differently….
I enjoyed most of the stories. They were fun looks at a different viewpoint. But many of the stories felt like generic retellings or just took the prompt given at face value.
I wanted the prompts to push more depth into the stories but many felt surface level. They didn’t dive into the psyche or thought process’s of the characters enough. I didn’t want what we already knew just told in a slightly different way. We have basics about many of these characters, I wanted that next, deeper layer.
On Goodreads I gave the collection a 3.5. It was a fun read but could have been improved by more depth from both the authors and the Booktubers providing the prompts.
“Most people din’t steal or kill or sell drugs because they want to, Holmes, or because they love being ‘bad guys’ so much. They do it because they’re born to a life with no exists. No chances. […]” (pg 104).
“People are peculiar. They have a way of seeing only what they want, or not seeing anything they don’t.” (pg 208).