All of Us Villains is a dark delight you won’t be able to put down

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman. Image courtesy Tor Books
All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman. Image courtesy Tor Books /

If your favorite part of the Hunger Games trilogy was the part where a bunch of teens tried to brutally murder one another for their own gain, then All of Us Villains is the story for you. A collaboration between popular YA authors Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman, the story is a dark tale of darker families, who are willing to sacrifice their own children in the name of holding on to the last bit of powerful magic in their world.

For generations in the city of Ilvernath, seven families have been cursed to offer a child every 20 years to compete in a tournament to the death. Whoever wins secures control of the last reserve of high magick in the world for their family’s exclusive use until the next competition is held. And in the wake of the release of a tell-all book that alerts the rest of the world to this deadly magical event, this year’s tournament stands to be the most closely watched and potentially controversial yet.

All of Us Villains features rotating POV chapters between four major players. Alistair Lowe is the heir of the tournament’s winningest and reputedly most evil family. Isobel Macaslan is the talented spell maker daughter of a family that’s reviled for its distasteful methods of acquiring magic. Gavin Grieve hails from a family that hasn’t won the tournament in generations and whose members are often the first to die. And Briony Thornburn has spent most of her life aching to be a hero, and that’s how her very respected family views competing in this tournament.

Herman and Foody do a strong job of giving the quartet of main characters distinct voices and motivations and dig into each contestant’s family histories and preexisting relationships. Though we don’t get distinct POV chapters for the other three champions in the tournament, they also have strong personalities and stories of their own.

On the whole, All of Us Villains is dark, delightful fun, though there are moments where it feels like the story is still a little afraid to go as dark as one might expect from its tone and premise. Several twists at the end of the story hint that its inevitable sequel could go there – and I truly hope it does – but I feel like the fact that this is ultimately a YA story will be something of a limiting factor in that regard.

That said, there are some shocking moments throughout and each of the story’s main characters go through fairly complex emotional arcs as they are confronted with the reality of actually taking part in a tournament which means that in order to survive they’ll have to literally get blood on their hands.

A fast-paced page-turner, you’ll find this story one that’s hard to let go of until the very last page.

Next. See The Bone Spindle cover and read an excerpt. dark

All of Us Villains is available now. Let us know if you’re planning to check it out!