All of Us Villains (All of Us Villains #1) by Amanda Foody and Lynn Herman

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Took its time, but then…


All of Us Villains turned into a book that I really enjoyed.  It did take me a little while to become invested but slowly but surely it worked it’s magic.

For me, and yes, I can see where all the Hunger Games comparisons come into play, this is a strange meshing of a few concepts that actually succeeds in standing on it’s own two feet.  Similar to Hunger Games this book contains a tournament to the death, similar to Red Rising the participants form allegiances and teams but, uniquely, rather than the contenders rushing for supplies and weapons they instead fight over magical landmarks and relics.

This is a book set in a world of magic – think low and high magic.  Most people can perform low magic which is pretty basic and non threatening.  High magic, conversely is much sought after and for centuries seven ruling magical families have fought tooth and claw for the privilege of wielding it.  The tournament is a curse, once it starts seven champions will fight to the death, the last person standing will gain the right for their family to wield high magic for the next twenty years.  It’s almost like throwing seven students straight out of Hogwarts into the mix and see how they fare chucking unforgivable curses at each other.

The setting is a remote place called Ilvernath.  For centuries the tournament has remained hidden from the rest of the civilised world, until an anonymous author wrote about the tournament and turned the place into a media circus.  Most people are shocked by the brutality of the contest, although little can be done to divert the course of the curse, and there are certain government agencies who are definitely interested in what takes place in this small village every twenty years.  You may ask why every twenty years – it’s certainly a long time to wield such power after all, I think that aspect is more about logistics, after all you have to wait for each of the seven families to have had sufficient heirs to be able to choose a viable contender.

There are a number or povs to get on board with but I think the authors do a really great job of bringing each character to life with their own personalities and traits.

Central to the plot is Alistair Lowe (whose family wins the tournament two out of every three times).  The Lowes are disliked intensely.  They have created a dark and menacing aura around themselves and raised their champions ruthlessly to think of themselves as the monsters of the story.

Isobel Macaslan was surprisingly named champion for her family over a year before the contest was due to start.  This was an unexpected development that occurred at the same time as the release of the anonymous book leading many to point the accusatory finger in the Macaslan direction.  Isobel, however, has risen to the challenge well,  Beautiful and accomplished in terms of magical ability she uses the media attention to her advantage.

Briony Thorburn used to be best friends with Isobel but the two no longer speak – I don’t suppose entering a tournament to the death engenders such friendly connections (difficult to curse to death your bff after all).

I won’t highlight the other contenders.  Suffice to say that some of them are more favoured than others and these different expectations drive the story here as each strives to even the odds.

In terms of criticisms. I think the story takes a little time to establish itself so be patient.  There is a feeling of depth to the place and the history behind the contest, plus all the vying for position which takes a little while to set in place.  I think I was a bit keen to get to the tournament to be honest but you can’t rush these things.  Also, the title, ‘All of Us Villains’ – for me, I think All of Us Victims might be more appropriate.  I mean, at the end of the day everyone treats the champions as though they’re blood thirsty maniacs but each of them knows they are entering a contest to the death – there is no two ways around it.  Fight, or be killed.  If it was me – I’d be failing all the magical lessons just to ensure I wasn’t champion – imagine growing up knowing that come your late teens you could enter a contest that there is no walking away from.  So, villains or victims?

Anyway, all in all, slowish start notwithstanding, I enjoyed this.  It’s a great concept and given the ending I think it has the capacity to develop in very interesting ways and I look forward to reading more.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 of 5 stars


12 Responses to “All of Us Villains (All of Us Villains #1) by Amanda Foody and Lynn Herman”

  1. Tammy

    I’m trying to fit this in soon, we’ll see. But it sounds like my kind of book, so I’m really going to try! Awesome review, Lynn😁

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks, this did take a little while to get started which I know annoys some people (not me so much) but I did find myself becoming quite involved and I’m definitely keen to see what happens next.
      Lynn 😀

  2. evelynreads1

    Great review! I definitely want to check this one out!

  3. pagesandtea

    Glad you ended up enjoying this one. Sounds like one I might enjoy, but my TBR list is already massive 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      I know that feeling – you can’t read them all – realistically, you just can’t (as much as we’d want to).
      Lynn 😀

  4. Susy's Cozy World

    I hope to read this one, sooner or later, and your review was quite useful! Thanks for sharing!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Cool – hope you get a chance to pick it up and look forward to reading your thoughts.
      Lynn 😀

  5. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Very intriguing! It promises some good character study, which makes it a “must read” for the future! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I enjoyed it even though it took me a little while to get into. It has a YA feel to it but also a decent quality of depth and character exploration.
      Lynn 😀

  6. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Hmm, I am intrigued! I have the audiobook for review, must try to get to it this month!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Considering I don’t really pick up much YA these days I enjoyed this one (even with the slow start).
      Lynn 😀

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