I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology; it was unique. 13 BookTubers offering challengers to well-known YA authors is definitely not something I would have ever thought of and it was immensely entertaining reading the authors take on the villain inspired challenges thrown at them by the BookTubers.
The one thing I did wish was done differently was the layout, I wish the BookTuber’s challenge to the authors was at the beginning of each story and not the end. I ended up actually flicking to the challenge before reading the story so I knew what I was about to read.
With every anthology, there are stories you love, some you like and some not so much and this book had them all. It did take me a little longer than I anticipated to get through the anthology due to the difference in writing styles but I loved the majority of the stories and commentary by BookTubers. Below is a breakdown of the stories and my thoughts;
Story One; THE BLOOD OF IMURIV by Renee Ahdieh & THE EVIL VACCINE; KEEP THE DARKNESS AT BAY by Christine Riccio (PolandbananasBOOKS) 2.5/5 STARS; I usually love anything Renee comes up with but I just could not connect to the story/challenge at all and neither will the commentary. It was an intriguing challenge but it just didn’t click with me.
Story Two; JACK by Ameriie & GIANTS AND TYRANTS by Tina Burke (The Lushables) 4/5 STARS; I really enjoyed this story and the giant being the main protagonist, I really didn’t feel like she was evil in the end. The commentary by Tina sat really well with the story.
Story Three; GWEN AND ART AND LANCELOT by Soman Chainani & THE BAD GIRL HALL OF FAME by Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes) 4.5/5 STARS; I loved this modern short story of King Arthur and featuring aspects of Persephone and Hades. It has me laughing at the teenage acts of Gwen but in a good way. It wasn’t too “teenage” – thank goodness! I enjoyed the commentary by Samantha.
Story Four; SHIRLEY & JIM by Susan Dennard & DEAR SASHA, THE 411 FOR VILLIANS by Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia) 2.5-3/5 STARS; Okay first up, I was immediately turned off this story by a 14 year old kissing an 18 year old , just no – NO. I didn’t like the main protagonist, she was quite annoying. I did enjoy the letter format style of writing and the commentary was interesting.
Story Five; THE BLESSING OF LITTLE WANTS by Sarah Enni & WILL THE REAL VILLIAN PLEASE STAND UP? By Sophia Lee (thebookbasement) 5/5 STARS; Okay, I think I found a new favourite author because this story was AMAZING! It was intriguing and I could picture myself making the decisions the main protagonist made. The twist at the end had me sitting there with my jaw open! I’m conflicted – is she really a villain?... Commentary by Sophia was perfect!
Story Six; THE SEA WITCH by Marissa Meyer & VILLAIN OR HERO? YOU DECIDE! By Zoe Herdt (readby zoe) 4.5/5 STARS; Little Mermaid inspired but with a dark twist (this is more Hans Christian Anderson style not Disney!). All actions have consequences was a theme and I loved it!
Story Seven; BEAUTIFUL VENOM by Cindy Pon & WITHOUT THE EVIL IN THE WORLD, HOW DO WE SEE THE GOOD? By Benjamin Anderson (Benjaminoftomes) 4/5 STARS; I enjoyed the cultural aspect of this sotry – it wasn’t your standard Greek Medusa inspired story. The main protagonist wasn’t a villain, she was just perceived as one and it was a different take on the villainous theme. Even though I know the story of Medusa and how she came to be the Medusa we all know (Snakes everywhere!) I was still quite ataken aback by the event that occurred in the novel, it was confronting. Benjamin’s comments helped me approach the content of the story different and it was really spot on to today’s perception of certain things.
Story Eight; DEATH KNELL by Victoria Schwab & DEAR DEATH by Jesse George (Jessethereader) 4.5/5 STARS; Only Schwab can pull off Hades and Death itself. I thoroughly enjoyed this intriguing short story and the writing style. Fearing death is something we all feel during our lifetime and it was interesting to see it put into words and the consequences of trying to beat death. Death comes for us all eventually, whether we are ready for it or not.
Story Nine; MARIGOLD by Samantha Shannon & EVIL REVEALED by Regan Perusse (PeruseProject) 5/5 STARS; This was the first time I have read anutjing by Samantha Shannon and I LOVED IT! I feel an immense need to pick up her book that has been sitting in my tbr for a year (my bad). I love anything fair folk so I was extremely excited to read this one. I loved the setting, the twists and turns. Sometimes the villains aren’t always who we immediately think of.
Story Ten; YOU, YOU, IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU by Adam Silvera & BEHIND THE VILLAIN’S MASK by Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl) 5/5 STARS; My first Adam Silvera story and it was fantastic! I loved the main protagonist ‘Slate’ – to me she was a complete narcissistic villain and just everything about the way she carried herself, the way she spoke was perfect! The mask she wore was grotesque but it fitted very well with her god like mannerisms. Catriona’s commentary was spot on!
Story Eleven; JULIAN BREAKS EVERY RULE by Andrew Smith & JULIAN POWELL; TEEN PSYCHO EXTRAODINAIRE by Raeleen Lemay (padfootprings07) 5/5 STARS – I really loved this story. To me, psychopaths are fascinating and they have this ability to draw you in – which is probably not a good thing haha. Raeleen’s commentary was spot on and really got me thinking even more deeply about Julian’s thought process. Absolutely fascinating!
Story Twelve; INDIGO AND SHADE by April Genevieve Tucholke & GLAMORIZED RECOVERY; EXPECTATIONS VS. REALITY by Whitney Atkinson (Whittynovels) 4.5/5 STARS – I really enjoyed this story, it lost a point because the main character was an absolute tosser for 98% of the time and it killed me. However I really loved this story, to me it was oddly romantic, but also quite tragic. I loved the commentary; sometimes no matter how hard you try, you’ll always be the villain, the bad guy, the unhappy one.
Story Thirteen; SERA by Nicola Yoon & THE BAD GIRLS’ GUIDE TO VILLAINY by Steph Sinclair and Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery) - 3.5/5 STARS – This story was quite intriguing, the God of War gender reversed. But it was also quite disturbing to me. After I read the commentary I wasn’t really sure what to think, the commentary was great but the story just didn’t express all of that to me. I felt immensely sorry for Sera and I'm not sure how I feel knowing I feel that way.
I received a copy of this novel from Bloomsbury Publishing in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.