Narrator: Billie Fulford-Brown, Raphael Corkhill
Series: All of Us Villains #1
Published by Macmillan Audio on 2021-11-09
Length: 12 hours and 51 minutes
Reviewing Audiobook from TN R.E.A.D.S.
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2022, 2022 Audiobook Challenge, 2022 Beat the Backlist, COYER 2022
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.
The Blood Moon rises. The Blood Veil falls. The Tournament begins.
Every generation, at the coming of the Blood Moon, seven families in the remote city of Ilvernath each name a champion to compete in a tournament to the death.
The prize? Exclusive control over a secret wellspring of high magick, the most powerful resource in the world - one thought long depleted.
This year, thanks to a salacious tell-all book, the seven champions are thrust into worldwide spotlight, granting each of them new information, new means to win, and most importantly, a choice: Accept their fate or rewrite their story.
But this is a story that must be penned in blood.
All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody, Christine Lynn Herman is the first book in a cutthroat fantasy about a cursed town and the magical tournament. If The Hunger Games and Harry Potter had a baby, this book would be it. Every twenty years, the blood veil falls and seven families name a champion to compete to the death in a tournament for high magic. This generation however features reluctant champions, champions who want to survive at any cost, and champions who were never meant to be champions. With conspiracies that the curse can be broken, unlikely alliances form and turn the tournament on its head. Told from the POV of four of these champions, All of Us Villains will leave the reader wondering which side they’d fall on: the one where all the champions can live or the one where only the strongest survives.
This is one of those books that will stick with me for a while. It’s dark and violent, gruesome in nature, and character-driven as much as plot-driven. This story opens just a few weeks before the next tournament. Most of the champions have been chosen, and now they wait for the blood veil to fall. What is different this year is the presence of reporters and paparazzi and even protesters to the tournament. A tell-all novel written anonymously about the history of the tournament, the town of Ilvernath, and the seven families has caused the entire country to take notice. Should one family control all the high magic? Is there a way to stop the tournament and needless killing?
What makes this book standout from others similar to it is the narration. Told from the perspective of four champions, we get a glimpse of their life, fears, and, in some cases, determination to win. Alistair comes from the family who has won the tournament the most; he is expected to win this year as well. His family is cruel and callous, and yet Alistair full of monster stories is reluctant to be the killer the tournament requires him to be. Isobel is the girl who didn’t want to be champion. She hates the spotlight, but her family thrives on fame. Beautiful Isobel brings fame and attention to her family, but what lengths will she go to to survive? Briony, Isobel’s former best friend, has trained her whole life to be champion, however her younger sister is chosen instead. Her family is known for doing what is right even when right isn’t popular. Briony knows she is supposed to be champion, she can stop the tournaments for good, but how does she swap with her sister? Gavin is the least likely to be a champion and the most likely to die first. He hates his family, hates they’ve sentenced him to die, and hates that he will fight anyway. There’s a lot of anger with the Grieve.
Overall, I enjoyed All of Us Villains. The authors really make you think about your own morals as these teens, not quite adults, enter a death tournament for magic. I found the magic system unique, and despite the sheer number of characters to keep up with, I was intrigued by each and every one. The urgency to end the tournament or win drives the plot, and while it isn’t as fast-paced as I’m used to reading, the slow build to climax adds to the tension and mystery surrounding the town and champions. If you are a fan of dark fantasy and magical realism, I highly recommend it.