Book Review: Because You Love to Hate Me

Amazon Cover


This edgy anthology teams up acclaimed YA authors and popular YouTubers to create 13 fairy tales and 13 inspired works–all from a “villain’s” perspective, in the vein of Maleficent or Wicked.

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!


This is very much a YA of the present (2019) generation. The villains are too sweet; all have justifications and are likable in the extreme. Some you might even rub elbows with. Each of them is someone a reader can understand and identify with.

I guess it is a good introduction to when villains are heroes in their own stories – but this feels more like what an 11 and 12 year old are fed rather than raising the moral questions a 13 and 14, let alone a 16 or 17, should be asking and investigating. The gimmick of the bloggers commenting actually improves the book in this regard. Some of the best writing is from them.

The Blood of Imuriv – Selfish boy with anger control issues. No where near as creepy as it should be. Blog commentary is A+.

Jack – A retelling of Jack in the Beanstalk. A lot of these are retelling of old myths and stories, and they suffer in comparison with the creepy, evil of the originals. This one doesn’t; it’s on par with Jack and the Beanstalk.

Gwen and Art and Lance – Another retelling, this one of Camelot. Very teen-angst. You can see where the evil is going to grow, but it isn’t true evil yet.

Shirley & Jim – Sherlock retelling. One of the few without the evil being the POV character. Love the villain and the relationship with the future hero. This one establishes everything which will follow and you can see it unspool in your mind after you are done reading. Great read.

The Blessing of Little Wants – I’m the wrong generation to enjoy this one. M. Night Shyanmalan’s movie is still too fresh in my head, and I saw the twist a mile away which deflated all the magic of this short story.

The Sea Witch – The little mermaid from a different point of view. The blogger questionnaire is interesting to answer.

Beautiful Venom – Medusa in a different mythos. Extra plus for diversity.

Death Knell – An original work, mostly. (I’m too widely read for delaying Death to be truly original.) Southern Gothic feel.

Marigold – Nice. This is how I like my elves in the woods to be. A historic piece that keeps several historic values of age and culture-stratus in place.

(Note that the three furthest from contemporary US culture (and that includes the sci-fi at the start) are grouped together – Beautiful Venom, Death Kneel, and Marigold.)

You, You It’s all about You – Don’t often see second person stories. This one pulls it off fairly well.

Julian Breaks Every Rule – This is one where the blogger gets it 100% right. The story needs to continue. (and yet it doesn’t – ends at a perfect time for a short story.) Captures both YA and villainy perfectly. This is what the whole anthology should have been like.

Indigo and Shade – Beauty and Beast retelling. Way too heavy-handed in trying to get parallels. It felt stiff; like a story constrained by the structure of the story it is emulating rather than a celebration like the previous short story of Jack.

Sera – Birth of a Death God. Has too many POVs to get emotionally invested in the story. This doesn’t disturb the way it should. The characters in the story has no agency – everything was destined from the beginning and no one had any choices. Either fighting or celebrating fate would have been more interesting.

Julian Breaks Every Rule and Marigold are what I hoped for the whole anthology to be like, with Jack, Shirley & Jim, You You It’s All About You, and Sera being close. The “villain” POV stories are a popular anthology sub-genre. This villain anthology concentrated on making the bad guys identify as good guys and neutered them too much in order to keep the YA feel. Villains don’t have to be likable; their willingness to do what needs doing is how a reader identifies with and envies them. Power has its own draw.

Read for book club; borrowed book from another member.