Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Fantasy, young adult
Representation: Bisexual main character, a secondary character is a person of colour
Content warnings: Murder, death, grief, extreme violence, blood/gore, parental abuse (emotional and physical), generational trauma, emetophobia
Release date: November 9th, 2021
Summary: The blockbuster co-writing debut of Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman, All of Us Villains begins a dark tale of ambition and magick…
You Fell In Love With The Victors of The Hunger Games.
Now Prepare To Meet The Villains of The Blood Veil.
After the publication of a salacious tell-all book, the remote city of Ilvernath is thrust into worldwide spotlight. Tourists, protesters, and reporters flock to its spellshops and ruins to witness an ancient curse unfold: every generation, seven families name a champion among them to compete in a tournament to the death. The winner awards their family exclusive control over the city’s high magick supply, the most powerful resource in the world.
In the past, the villainous Lowes have won nearly every tournament, and their champion is prepared to continue his family’s reign. But this year, thanks to the influence of their newfound notoriety, each of the champions has a means to win. Or better yet — a chance to rewrite their story.
But this is a story that must be penned in blood.
Add it on Goodreads.
This book was genuinely interesting. I believe that its strongest asset was the magic (or rather, magick) system, so it’s not a coincidence that it is what the plot revolves around. The authors took their time setting up the world and introducing us to the characters, which in my opinion is what makes this novel work. It’s evident that they developed this world, its rules, and its people with care, paying attention to all details.
We follow four different voices — Alistair, Isobel, Gavin, Briony — each with their own POV chapters, which allows us to learn more about them as individuals as well as their family history, something extremely important in the context of this story. As a character-driven reader, it was fantastic to witness how, despite all of them having been brought up to compete in this tournament, they all had different approaches to it (some willing to do anything to win, and others wholly resenting it).
The story is full of twist and turns that had me at the end of my seat — at one point a plot twist shocked me so much that for more than two days I had to wait and process it before I could pick the book back up. However, my only gripe was that the pacing felt somewhat inconsistent. After having spent almost half the book setting up the scene, when the action finally happens, it does so extremely fast and rather confusedly. It is also worth saying that the writing is quite accessible — almost plain at times, but that’s obviously up to personal preference. Despite that, it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of it much, but it is something to keep in mind.
All in all, All of Us Villains was highly entertaining and a solid first installment to the series. It does a fantastic job of acquainting the reader with this world and providing insight for each of the main characters, that, hopefully, we’ll get to explore even further in the next volume.
Do you plan on picking this up? Let me know what other books you’re looking forward to!