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  • Writer's pictureHannah Zunic

A Bloody Good Time: A Review of All Of Us Villains by Amanda Foody & C.L. Herman

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Hello, Book Nerds! Welcome back to Reading Has Ruined My Life or welcome if you are new. As always, my name is Hannah and I am your captain on this journey into my bookcases.

Y’all, I have a new obsession. A new book obsession. It shouldn’t be surprising to me considering this book has magic, enemies to lovers, one bed, lore, an end all be all tournament; it’s got it all.

Stefan SNL.

I’m surprised that I’m surprised I enjoyed today’s book so much. It’s almost like it was written specifically for me and my tastes.

Please welcome my new book obsession: All Of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and C.L. Herman!

Book cover of All Of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and C.L. Herman.

As always, a spoiler alert is in order. This is your one and only warning. If you’ve read any of my other reviews then you already know I love to spoil the majority of the books I read. I also have a quick content and trigger warning for you. All Of Us Villains features blood and gore. It’s not heavy on the gore but physical violence and its ramifications are prevalent to the story. There also may or may not be allusions to a ritualistic human sacrifice…so yeah, be aware of those things. I won’t be talking about those topics in my review, but they’re there. Let’s get to the synopsis now.

Seven families have ruled the tiny city of Ilvernath for generations. They’ve managed to hold onto their wealth and power all thanks to a secret tournament. Every 20-years, these seven families each send a young champion to fight to the death! Whoever is the last one standing gains control of a hidden well of high magick for his, her, or their family.

Those 20-years have passed and a new tournament is on the horizon. All Of Us Villains follows four of the seven champions. Alistair Lowe; the one most likely the win. The Lowe family won the last tournament and it’s expected of Alistair to win in order for the family to keep its power. Isobel Macaslan; the media’s darling. The Macaslan family isn’t considered in high regard, none of these seven families are well liked but the Macalsan family most of all. They get their magick from funerals where they collect the life magick the deceased releases upon being buried. Isobel is a force to be reckoned with though. She’s the strongest Macaslan champion the family has seen in generations. Next up is Gavin Grieve. Now, the Grieve family is treated like shit. While the Macalsans are vile, the Grieves are nothing. Typically the Grieve champion dies first in the tournaments. Gavin is determined to change everyone’s mind. Or at least not be the first to die. Finally we have Briony Thorburn; the perfectionist. She wants to be the Thorburn’s champion. She’s smart, she’s diligent, she’s in it to win it. Each of our main characters wants to win. Everyone wants to live.

But this time, the tournament is going to be very different from all previous ones. This is the first time the world knows about the tournament. Someone, no one knows who, wrote a tell-all book about the seven families and what they’ve done for centuries. Now the media has flocked to this isolated city, hounds the young champions, protesters have made their way to Ilvernath as well, and the government is also involved now in hopes of gaining control of the spring of high magick. But one of our competitors may have found a way to end the tournament. To end the bloodshed and sacrifices. To end each family’s control over the last known spring of high magick. This competitor just needs all the champions to work together before it’s too late.

Ok, where to start. Um, I love this book! Five stars. Ten-out-of-ten. That’s it, end of review.

Bears waving.
See y'all next week, bye!

I jest. As always, we’ll start with the characters. I adore these characters. Our four main characters all live in the gray space that I love so much. For instance, Alistair has been called a villain all his life even though there’s no basis for the reputation other than his family sucks. Sometimes he plays into his reputation while other times he tries to prove otherwise. Then there’s Isobel. Isobel is thrust into the spotlight by her family so she plays the role of Media Darling; thus giving her an air of “better than everyone” despite being broken on the inside and not truly wanting to be a part of the tournament. But, she’s willing and ready to manipulate the other competitors at any given chance to stay alive. Gavin is determined not the die first and it pushes him to do some dark things that no one else would ever consider doing. Finally we gotta talk about Briony. She’s a perfectionist and wants nothing more to be her family’s champion. She wants it so badly that she’ll even harm her sister to be a part of the tournament.

This deadly tournament and these seven families push the children they sacrifice to their breaking points. Physically and mentally, these young teens are pushed to extremes. They don’t necessarily want to harm each other, but they’re forced to play their parts. They’re forced to become those villains the world believes them to be. Some give in and play the role they’ve been cast in while others fight against it till the bitter end. At the end of the day, Alistair, Isobel, Briony, and Gavin are simply trying to survive. They’re literally fighting for their lives, have been broken down by their families and the media, and are willing to do whatever they need to in order to get out alive. It should come as no surprise that no one is fully good or bad. They’re teens pushed into an impossible situation. The only thing they can do is try to survive. I love when characters exist in this gray space and All Of Us Villains does it perfectly.

Standing ovation.
All the applause for this book.

I do have to say though, while it is necessary and I enjoyed reading every chapter of the book, the constant switching point of view drags out the story. Each chapter has a different POV character, and it takes a while to get to the core plot AKA the tournament. The first half details the characters’s preparations for the tournament. While I personally don’t think the first half is slow, I know others may view it that way. I would say the beginning is more character driven considering readers are getting background on the characters and getting to know their personalities, but some may view it as slow if they want to get to the story proper.

I enjoyed the beginning. I realize some may not, but the world building is so needed. It ingrains itself effortlessly. It doesn’t hinder and slow the read down, all the little details come in easy, bite sized pieces spread out perfectly throughout the book. There is no instance of info dumping, readers find things out when the necessary time comes.

I could not put All Of Us Villains down. This read captured my mind and wouldn’t let go. As I’m writing this review, the sequel is currently on its way to me. I will be reading and reviewing it as soon as it comes in. So stay tuned.

Book cover of All Of Our Demise by Amanda Foody and C.L. Herman.
Yeah, review coming soon!

Which brings me to my next paragraph. I will be leaving my guesses as to what happens in the sequel. I don’t typically do this but I want to today. My first prediction is one of the main characters will die. Not sure which one, but one of them will not survive. We need some drama, baby! Not that this book isn’t chock full of drama but I digress. My next prediction is the outside world is going to interfere with the tournament and try to obtain the high magick. Said greedy people will either be the government, since we meet them in All Of Us Villains, or a completely new character. And that’s about all I got for predictions. Kinda wanna have no expectations going into the sequel.

And with that, I must bid you all adieu. I shall see you again next week with another review. Not All of Our Demise, I have an ARC we gotta talk about first.

Until then, stay safe, wash your hands, and read some good books for me.

Bears waving.
See y'all then, bye!


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