All of Us Villains

All of Us Villains

by Amanda Foody & Christine Herman

4 out of 5

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.

Ilvernath becomes the focus for the world, when the Slaughter Seven will fight to the death; in a battle to claim high magick for their family for the next twenty years.

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

For centuries, seven great families have ruled over Ilvernath, and controlled the rare high magick.
For some, it is tradition; others are spurred on by duty and honour to their family. But it is always the same, seven teenagers go into the curse, and only one 'victor' comes out.

This dark story is narrated by four characters central to the plot.
Alistair Lowe's family has been in power for the last twenty years; and they will go to any lengths to make sure they stay in power. Including training Alistair up to accept that he is the monster in the story.

Isobel Macaslan is the perfect champion. She is powerful, and beautiful, and after the release of a tell-all book (from an anonymous writer), she is a media darling.

Gavin Grieves' family is always the underdog and has never won. Desperate to prove his worth and not die; he will do anything to win this competition.

Briony Thorburn used to be a lot of things - she used to be Isobel's best friend; she used to go out with the Finlay champion; and she used to be the clear choice for Thorburn champion. But her little sister gets selected instead. Driven mainly by her wounded pride, Briony's actions raises questions about the curse.

I think this is set in an alternate version of Scotland (or uses a lot of Scottish influences); where magick is real. Common magick can be used by everyone, woven into spell rings, and can do everything from remove pimples, to read minds etc.
High magick is very rare, and the great families of Ilvernath have kept theirs secreted away, so officials don't steal it.
I really liked the modern world with a magical spin.

This book is dark. Not super-dark, but still pretty dark, with lots of blood and violence.
I liked how the narrative followed our main characters, and as you get to know them more, you get to see how the villains aren't always villainous; and the ones you peg as heroes, aren't shining bright. Everyone is a murky shade of grey, and the have to work out what they are willing to do.
Despite many families seeing this as a great adventure, and a way to prove their valour; the curse is really just a fight to the death.
In fact, I thought the families were the darkest part of this story. Talk about troubled relationships.

The not-so-good.
This book is written by two authors, and I'm guessing they took two characters each. And you can kinda tell. There were little stumbles between chapters where the narrative lost its flow, and bearing to the overall arc, with some little areas of repetition (mainly once the curse starts, and all 7 champions are stuck together).

I also felt that towards the end, some of the characters flip-flopped on their decisions, and made some choices that didn't make any friggin' sense. It felt like it was being added for the sake of the shock-factor, and leave unfinished business for the rest of the series; rather than staying true to the characters they have created.

Overall, I really enjoyed this, and I'm looking forward to what happens next.


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