review of one for my enemy

Review of One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

📖 GenreFantasy, Romance, Retelling
📃 Number of Pages427 pages
ðŸŠī Average Goodreads Rating3.82 ⭐
ðŸŒŧ My Rating2.5 ⭐

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really, truly wanted to love One for My Enemy. I ordered the prettiest edition on Waterstones as soon as it came out (it’s even illustrated). I wanted it to be my next favorite fantasy romance, the book I’ll hug and reread and proudly display on my bookshelf. But alas, it was not meant to be.

Pretty early on, it became clear that I won’t like it but I kept going. And here’s why: I have a history of adoring Olivie Blake.

Review of One for My Enemy: illustrated end papers

Olivie Blake’s Fanfic Background

In case you didn’t know, she writes fanfiction too, under the same (pen) name. It’s mostly in the Dramione fandom, though there are other pairings and she’s something like royalty in that world. Her fanfics are extremely popular and extremely well-loved. If you want recommendations, I suggest reading How to Win Friends and Influence People (this one is amazing!) and Divination for Skeptics (wonderful fic).

So, all of this meant I would love her published novels, right? Well, not quite.

You see, I tried reading The Atlas Six, but I felt just meh about it. Then I tried this and barely hung on until the end. I’m scared to try more.

If you read her fanfics, you’ll know that they’re incredibly funny, and unpretentious but still amazingly written, with snappy banter and romance that won’t make you want to barf even if you’re not a fan of the genre.

Her published works, however, are the total opposite. The writing is pretentious and trying too hard. The dialogue is unrealistic. The characters are flat. And no one is more gutted than me to have to say this.

My Thoughts on One For My Enemy

Review of One for My Enemy: illustrated end papers

One For My Enemy follows a family of witch mafia ladies (so cool, right?) and a family of mafia men. There are many sisters on one side and three brothers on the other. They trade in magical drugs and are mortal enemies.

However, since this is also a Romeo and Juliet retelling, two daughters from one side fall in love with two brothers from the other.

So, to recap: we have drug dealer witches, mafia men, and a double serving of Romeo and Juliet. What could go wrong?

A lot, it turns out.

Plot & Romance

Review of One for My Enemy: Illustrated scenes and characters (special edition)

The novel starts with one of the witches, Marya, almost killing one of the mafia brothers, Dimitri. But, plot twist, they were in love once. At the same time, her youngest sister Sasha is falling in love with Dimitri’s youngest brother, Lev (without knowing who he is).

Marya and Dima are so dramatic. Too dramatic. They repeat each other’s names and talk in a way no sane person would talk. This is set in modern times, by the way, but feels as if it should be set in the 1940’s maybe.

Sasha and Lev are equally dramatic and text and talk in ways that are not in sync with their age. Their romance also progresses very quickly, and it feels very much like insta love (which makes sense for a Romeo and Juliet retelling, don’t get me wrong, but it was just too quick).

People die, people get revived, and it all amounts to a bunch of nothing if I’m honest.

Review of One for My Enemy: Illustrated scenes and characters (special edition)

The World

The world-building is barely there. Which, if you read How to Win Friends and Influence People (the fanfic), you would know how amazing Olivie is at creating a magnificent world. Sure, she had a solid foundation in the Harry Potter-verse, but she expanded it and made it so alive, so huge, that it was just sad seeing how one-dimensional the world of One For My Enemy was.

There’s no denying Olivie Blake is a talented writer. She has a way with words and comes up with stunning concepts. I will (naturally) read whatever she publishes next, in hopes of finding that fanfic charm I fell in love with (is it bad of me to expect that?), but for now, I’m in no rush.

If you want to see which books actually were my favorites of the year, check out my 2023 reading recap.

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