Book Review: Because You Love To Hate Me


Anthologies are my Achilles heel. As you know by now, anthologies will have some hits and misses, making it impossible to rank the book. You`ll also feel biased towards your favourite authors. Yes, reviewing anthologies is not an easy job. Especially when they`re as controversial as "Because You Love to Hate Me". In my opinion, this collection of short stories received an unnecessary amount of hate. People on Goodreads were giving it one star based on the fact that some booktubers worked on it. Which is unfair towards the authors. And it also makes me think you`re a hater (God, I hate that word) that jumps to conclusions before knowing all the facts. 

Personally, I see how some authors might have a problem with the fact that these booktubers had their names on the book. I know many people get turned down by publishing houses and it`s discouraging to see that others are so lucky (at a first glance, at least). But as a book blogger, I also know the amount of time we put into our work. It`s not easy peeps! Obviously, we could go into the whole process of questioning why these people were picked and not others, but that`s a topic for another day. I just think that people should have read the book before bashing it. Or give it a try, because the stories are written by talented authors and not booktubers. This will be quite a long review, as I will talk about each story and commentary separately. 

"The Blood of Imuriv" by Renne Ahdieh, commentary by Christine Riccio
Christine`s challenge for Renee was to write about the grandson of an evil, matriarch dictator who wants to follow in her footsteps. While the story was beautifully written, I did not care for the main character. He wasn`t evil per se, more like spoiled and short tempered. I don`t know, I was expecting to root more for him. Because isn`t this the point of the book? To root for the villain? I also thought that Christine`s comment was stupid. I`m not trying to be mean or offensive, but she tried too hard to be funny. And to me, that came across as annoying. Overall, the story deserved 3 stars and Riccio`s ramblings 1 star.

"Jack" by Ameriie, commentary by Tina Burke
The story and poignant commentary were a complete surprise for me. Ameriie reinterpreted the story of "Jack and the Beanstalk" in such an original way. A teenager Jack befriends a teenager giant, making her more confident. Little does he know that this leads to his peril. Like I said, I loved everything about it, from the characters to the unexpected final twist. Tina`s explanation is really good, identifying giants as a metaphor for growing up and talking about the new perspectives fairy-tales can give us. 5 stars for both.


"Gwen and Art and Lance" by Soman Chainani, commentary by Samantha Lane
The format of the story was not for me, as it was told through text messages. I did not get a chance to connect with the characters and did not care for them. Also, Gwen was a self-entitled bitch, but I would not call her a villain. Many rich teenagers are like that (or so American teen shows made me believe). I am a big fan of Samantha and her commentary was OK. 1 star for the story, 3 stars for Sam`s piece.


"Shirley & Jim" by Susan Dennard, commentary by Sasha Alsberg
I was so fascinated by this story! As you might have guessed, it`s about a young Moriarty. But Sherlock is changed into Shirley, a teenage girl that falls for Jim and ultimately is tricked by him. I need this story to become a series! Right now! Because it was so good and it left the ending open to so many interpretations. 

"The Blessing of LittleWants" by Sarah Enni, commentary by Sophia Lee
The story focuses on a dark sorcerer's quest for omnipotence. It`s another one that made me want more. I think that the challenge with short stories in creating good plots and developed characters. It`s not easy doing that in less than 30 pages. But Sarah did a phenomenal job and I was very intrigued by her villain. 

"The Sea Witch" by Marissa Meyer, commentary by Zoe Herdt
Marissa Meyer is a Goddes when it comes to retellings and this story is no exception. She needs to come up with a 300 pages book inspired by this. Her villain is the Sea Witch, who was once in Ariel`s shoes. However, after being tricked she decides to kill the love interest and become a mermaid again.  The story was so compelling at I was rooting for Nerit the whole time. Like many others, she was a victim of circumstances. 


"Beautiful Venom" by Cindy Venom, commentary by Benjamin Alderson
This was about Medusa and while I liked the story, I wish she would have done more. Like in the previous case, Mei Du is a victim at first and these events turn her into a villain? Or do they? What can you do when society rejects you and defines you as evil? The story was good, but I would have liked the villain to get her revenge. Ben also makes some valid points about how society treats a rape victim, as they`re to blame for their misfortune.

"Death Knell" by Victoria Schwab, commentary by Jesse George
I was expecting to love this story because it`s written by Victoria Schwab. It also centres on a young Hades that wakes up at the bottom of a well in Ireland. But sadly, I wasn`t blown away by it. It was pretty basic and I did not care for the story.

"Marigold" by Samantha Shannon, commentary by Regan Perusse
Two Victorian gentlemen set up a rescue party for a maiden taken by the Erl-Queen. But as the story progresses we see that the heroes are the real villains. Once again, evil is subjective. Regan also made some poignant remarks about sexism in Victorian London and her overall analyse had something to do with the story.

"You, you, it`s all about you" by Adam Silvera, commentary by Catriona Feeney
You all know how much I love Adam`s writing so I might be a bit biased. The story was good, albeit not as fascinating as "Jack" or "The Sea Witch". His villain, a teen crime lord, was a total psycho, without any redeeming qualities.

"Julian Breaks Every Rule" by Andrew Smith, commentary by Raeleen |Lemay
In this story, we got another psychopath, albeit a charming one. I`ll admit that I did not read anything by Andrew Smith before, but I`m fascinated by his dark humour. It`s strange how much I was able to relate with his sarcastic villain.


"Indigo And Shade" by April Genevieve Tucholke, commentary by Whitney Atkinson
This was a retelling of "Beauty and the Beast", told from the suitor`s POV. But the problem is that I wasn`t too sure who`s the villain. The suitor or the beast?

"Sera" by Nicola Yoon, commentary by Steph Sinclair and Kat Kennedy
This story would make an awesome anime, so make that happen. Sera is the reincarnation of the God of War and although she fights it, she cannot deny her nature. I was so compelled by this story and the end definitely left me wanting for more.

As much as I liked some of the stories, I gave this book 2 stars. Some parts were amazing, but others were underwhelming and they left me wanting for more. I also don`t get why they had to include some of the commentaries. No shade, these are people that I follow (most of them, anyway), but I wish that their parts were more related to the stories. Obviously, it was an attempt to make more money, but I`m not sure that it worked. Personally, I expected more from this anthology, but like I said in the beginning, people should read it before dismissing it.






12 comments :

  1. sounds like they tried to pack a LOT in just one book. If they had picked just the best ones lol
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

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    1. Yeah, sadly they tried too much with it.

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  2. Such a bummer that this wasn't better. I'm hit and miss when it comes to anthologies but was really looking forward to this one based on the authors included and the subject matter. I'm sure I'll still read it, but will definitely keep my expectations in check. Great post!

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    1. Most of the stories are good, with a couple of misses. But the commentary from the Booktubers was totally pointless.

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  3. I haven't really read any anthologies, at least not lately, but I was looking forward to this one because the subject matter sounded so interesting! I think I'll still read it, but maybe go in with slightly lowered expectations!

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    1. I mean, you might enjoy it more than I have, who knows?

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  4. I don't watch any booktube at all, so I definitely meh about their commentary and whatnot. However, so many of my favorite authors are included and I know I need to read their stories! I'm sorry it was underwhelming for you.

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    1. I mean, I respect those people, I know how hard they work. But I don`t think their contribution was relevant.

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  5. This really seems like a mixed deal. I haven't read the book, but from what I've seen and heard, the booktubers contribution was a bit.....silly? Like, maybe just leave it to the authors to do their thing and the whole book would've been better for it.

    Anyhow, I do love villains and retellings, so I'm still excited to read this!
    Hope your next read is more enjoyable :)

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    1. You said it right, it was very silly in some cases and in contrast with the mood of the stories.

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  6. Despite the fact that I'm a.) not a villain girl (love my heroes ;D) and b.) I don't make a habit of reading anthologies, I AM curious about this one. Largely because it's be a slew of popular authors and I do follow some of these booktubers. I didn't know there was so much drama surrounding it, but I don't mind that these booktubers/bloggers were able to be a part of this project. They've been working at this FOR YEARS, and nothing happened overnight. As you said, "But as a book blogger, I also know the amount of time we put into our work." << And YES, we do. We take this "work" seriously and try to improve all the time.

    Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland!

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    1. I think that most people found their contribution silly, like myself. I don`t mind that they were included in the anthology, but I wish their parts were more relevant.

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