Cover Image: All of Us Villains

All of Us Villains

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All Of Us Villains by Christine Herman and Amanda Foody Is the start of a new thrilling young adult series, set to be your next big reading addiction. Billed as a Hunger Games with magic, there is much more to this book than a strap line. A mysterious town under a deadly curse, magic, deadly warring families and a contest to the death, you will find it hard to put this addictive book down. 

We all know that often that the villain of a story has the more complex and multi faceted back story and that’s the case here. The character building is outstanding. Told from the POV of four of the champions from each of the warring families your opinions on these deadly and seductive characters will be challenged throughout the book. I am eager to see where this series goes next. 

A dark and deadly  new addition to the young adult world four out of five
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Thank you to NetGalley, Orion Publishing Group, Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman for my arc of All of Us Villains in exchange for an honest review.

Out now!

I loved this so, so much. I’m not a huge Hunger Games fan so to be honest the comparison put me off but I’m so glad I have it the benefit of the doubt (purely on the basis of loving both author’s previous books). Deliciously dark, full of magic, power, romance and feuds. A centuries old curse, terrible goings on within families, horror and fantasy elements it was amazing!!

Every generation one champion must step forward from each of the seven families to compete to the death in a tournament where the winner takes all; control of the well of high magick. But this year is different, someone wrote a book and leaked the story of the tournament to the world. Now the press and the government are all there to watch the tournament unfold. And they’re not the only ones interfering….

Highly recommended for all lovers of fantasy, horror, adventure and dark, delicious stories with a widow’s peaked antihero at their centre.
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I normally don't like reading dark fantasy but All of Us Villains definitely changed my mind.  I did find the multiple perspectives a bit tricky but it did add to the story. Definitely will read again.
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E-arc gifted by Orion and NetGalley. Ilvernath is home to a tournament that a champion from each of the seven magick families takes party in. I really liked the story of the seven families and the secrets the various townspeople were keeping from one another. I found the world building at the beginning a bit clumsy and because of that it took me some time to get into it, but this is a really interesting premise and I think that this could develop into a really spectacular set of books. This was like the Hunger Games crossed with magic. Will be looking for the sequel!

3 and a half stars.
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Full review on my blog December 9th.

Content Warnings: murder, death, grief, violence, gore, blood, parental abuse (emotional and physical), vomiting.

Aesthetically, ALL OF US VILLAINS is my perfect book. The vibes of this book are just absolutely impeccable. By the halfway point I went out and bought a physical copy of this so I could read it physically because I wanted to read it *even faster.* I've always been an absolute sucker for murderous and villainous characters, and to see a magical battle royale between characters who have trained all their lives to kill each other in this conflict was just everything I've wanted and didn't know I was missing. I really loved the narrative voices in this book. Each of the POV characters was very distinct and individual. The reason for it became much clearer by the end of the book, but initially it was a little confusing that we had these really clear seven main characters but we only had four POVs. I didn't mind so much because seven POVs could be a lot, but I did find that I didn't even know all seven names for a fair while.

The four POV characters are very balanced, we get to see each of them in-depth and get to know each of their motivations and their reasons for becoming champion. Alistair was my favourite by a country mile, but they were all super engaging and he was definitely my favourite because I am obsessed with characters who call themselves monsters and then hold up to that reputation. All four of them are so easy to love. Terrible, terrible people, but *so* easy to love. Their relationships were all so complicated, tentative loyalties being tested by betrayal and treachery from all quarters. I honestly could have read a thousand pages of these characters interacting, the ways they handled messy attractions made messier by actual murder.

I found the world building initially confusing. It took me a little while and a little bit of flipping back to the early chapters to get my head around it, but once I did I really liked it. It's creative, and different from what I'm used to with fantasy novels. I liked the system that had been created where curses and spells are bound to spell rings, powered by raw magick. I found it an interesting way to incorporate magic into the battle royale environment, where the champions had to prepare themselves before the Blood Moon with all the spells they wanted. The visuals of spell-crafting were super cool too, and really leaned into the incredibly sexy aesthetic of blood magic and murder that the whole book had going on. The image of one of the characters kissing a spellboard covered in blood to seal a curse is absolutely impeccable.

I do wish that this book had a more satisfying ending. It very much ends on a cliffhanger ready for book 2, and I do think that it built up the suspense really well. Still, I was pretty devastated when I turned the page and hit the acknowledgements because it felt like the end of the book came out of absolutely nowhere. There was a lot going on in this book and by the end of the novel there was so much happening that it does feel like there's a huge amount left unresolved for the next book. I do think that the authors have balanced all the different plotlines really well, but it does feel like this book is designed to head straight into the next one without hesitation.
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What a ride: gripping, twisty, and dark. I had a lot of fun in reading the start of a new series and, even if you can compare it to other famous series, it's totally original and well written.
A complex world building, interesting and fleshed out characters.
I turned pages as fast as I could and thoroughly enjoyed what I read.
Can't wait to read the next installment.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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I really enjoyed this. There is something Dark academia meets the hunger games about it that just really made it so easy enjoy. It's just so easy to binge read as the writing has such great flow and pacing that you just forget to put the book down. 

I loved the idea of the magic system. This is where it really got its dark academia vibes from. The use of spell boards, ingredients to craft spell laden jewellery seems darkly delicious but also that it is common place in this world also just felt really natural. I loved the town, besieged by paparazzi, and the glimpses we got into all the old families. The fact that it is told from four perspectives all with complex and detailed backstories not only personally but also their family history in the tournament just made this story so absorbing. They are all despicable in the best possible way, yet I still loved them. I found myself caring so much for these characters so easily even through they are all trash fires! The story is so character driven that you can't help but sympathise with them. 

The plot itself is really engaging. I love the build but to the tournament how we meet and learn about the four perspectives and then how they are thrown into the thick of it. It is jam packed with twists and turns that your would be hard pressed to predict. There are so many angles to play and elements up in the air that its so hard to guess what is going to happen next so it really makes you feel like you are right there with the characters.  

My only qualm is that the book heavily Cliff-hangers. There is no resolution to the story in any way so if you are not a fan of having to hold on to find out what happens this isn't the book for you. Its one of the most brazen cliff hangers I have read in a long time and it made the book fall flat. I wanted a huge crescendo but instead a got a fizzle which is just a little dull.
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This gave me major hunger games/ Tri-wizard tournament vibes and i loved every second of it!

The writing was so addictive. I loved the world and the whole magic system kept me wanting to read more. It was very hard to put this book down once i had started it.

Dark Violent and intense whats not to love?
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I loved magical fantasy books, so loved escaping into this one. There's a Blood Veil 'battlefest' to hook your teeth into; it's fueled by darkness, bitterness and villainy. 
Herman and Foody as several twisty layers to keep hooking you in and for the most part they work well to drive the narrative on. It's multi point-of-view, which I don't mind, so it can jump around a bit but works to mix perspectives. 
If you like magical fantasy, give it a try!
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Really fun and unique magic system with interesting characters and multifaceted dynamics. Bloody and dark, and traumatized characters who play off each other in fascinating and well written fashion. Only flaw: the pacing was dodgy for me in spots, but this is nothing that cannot be overlooked in favour of the better characters.
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This is being marketed as a darker Hunger Games, and it's not far off. Every twenty years the Blood Veil falls on Ilvernath and the children of seven families duke it out on the battleground outside of town (with magic and curses) to gain control of high magick for their family for the next generation.

The only difference is, each family's champion can be chosen, honed and trained for death (either their own, or someone else's) their entire life. And that is going to create some messed up children. Especially when some families seem to be more successful than others. Each competitor is desperate to prove themselves - to their families, to those who who doubt them, and to prove that they are the monster here.

The tournament has been Ilvernath's best kept secret, but this year's competition will be a little different. The press are here and they want to interview the competitors. Someone has published a book spilling the horrible lengths that these children will go to for their families. And the government would rather have access to the high magick themselves.

This is a twisted, nasty, unhappy story in some of the best possible ways. It's grim and violent and you desperately hope that these problem children will sort themselves out so that they can just stop killing each other off (!)

I found the pacing a little slow at the beginning - it took until about the 40-50% mark for me to get properly hooked. But once I was - phwoar.

There are secrets within secrets here, some delicious twists before the end and a whole bucket full of misery (which definitely won't suit everyone). This is also some proper English village casting-curses-in-the-pub magical fantasy and that's a lot of fun too.

And that ending - I can't wait for the next book!

4.5 stars overall
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*4.25 Stars*

In Ilvernath, seven families fight every twenty years to own the supply of high magick. Well, the families don't fight but each one provides a teenager who will fight the others to the death.
But this year, someone published a book revealing the town's secrets and therefore, it is filled with tourists and journalists. The chosen seven are being put front and center and cannot avoid their fate.
There is four points of view in this book, four kids from four different families, two girls and two guys.

I liked this book. I found the plot and the characters compelling. But I was still a little disappointed because I was expecting more ruthlessness, less conscience, and more queerness. I did have a good time overall and the fact that the characters had more of a conscience than I thought allowed to fall for some of them more easily.
The funny thing is though, that the characters I thought I would love when I started the book was the ones I ended up liking less and less the more the book went on, and so they really all just went full circle to me.
The plot will truly keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat the entire time.
I really just want the second book right now.
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This book almost broke me, but in the best of ways. I have followed Herman for a while, so when she and Amanda Foody teamed up I was so excited! Despite seeing them both talked about this novel for so long, when I reached that final page and realised this was in fact NOT a standalone... I may have screamed out loud. 
This book has such a compelling cast of villains, and I would protect every single one of them. The deadly competition the children are forced into sets the scene of a bloodbath, of course you cannot get away from that. Calling it just Hunger Games with magic as I've seen many do is such an understatement. The world created here by Herman and Foody is AMAZING, and despite its dark history I think I'd visit this witchy town in a heartbeat. 
The children, despite their murderous intentions, are such vibrant characters, and I was entirely hooked in the growing romances. 
I will most certainly be pre-ordering the sequel the moment it is available!
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Thank you so much to Netgalley for sharing a copy of All of Us Villains for me to post my honest review of this novel.

I had heard that it was a "dark Hunger Games" series and I feel like that this does the novel a disservice as it is so much more than that. I would be more inclined to align it with The Atlas Six, a more dark academia vibe of a novel.

We follow our "villains" in the Blood Veil as they are forced to kill each other in order to secure the Magick for their families. Think nepotism babies but make it violent. Gossip Girl meets Battle Royale.

While the premise of "kids being forced to kill each other to satisfy the rich" seems similar to The Hunger Games, the young people in the novel have been prepping since birth for this "honour". It is a twisted and sick tradition that this year they are desperate to end.

Although I think this book is beautifully written and will definitely be an instant hit, it wasn't personally for me. I found the jumping from one character to the next very confusing. I really don't like multiple POV books, again that is a personal preference. 

I did love the moral quandaries these characters had to face, but I wish I got to know them just a bit better. There were so many characters and what felt like just too little time.
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I was so excited to read All of Us Villains coz it was marketed as "Hunger Games with magic" with morally gray characters. Sadly, it fell short. The first half was uneventful: no action, just backstories. The characters did not help at all. Their voices aren't distinct and this became a problem since it's multi-POV and it's hard to make a distinction between who's who. To be fair, the characters are well-written but they seem to toe the line in being morally gray. Where's the murder, the backstabbing? Nada 🤷‍♀️ They're all softie.

The action started in the second half of the book (thank God). The plot is similar to Hunger Games then adds magic which did not make it unique. The magic system is pretty good and consistent tho. It's something they buy rather than make. The world-building is okay, a bit similar to HP. There are paparazzi, cameras, and photographs and I can't somehow pin how this fits in the setting.

Overall,  I was promised dark Hunger Games and it did not deliver. At least the characters in Hunger Games have the spine to make difficult choices. This is not the book for me.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
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““What are we?”
It was only a kinder way of saying enemies.”

“The Hunger Games” is one of my favorite series. Even after all these years, I constantly find myself amazed by those deep-layered characters and how, at its core, it’s a book that brings into question our own definition of right and wrong. And let me tell you— if you are as obsessed with those ingredients as I am, you’ll surely love “All of us Villains”.

With an extensive cast of morally-gray characters, this book pushes you in from the very beginning. The writing is beautiful, the rhythm frenetic… I wanted to curl on the sofa and devour this in one sitting!

My main complaint is that even though the authors didn’t forget to include some very good plot twists, I was expecting more gruesome deaths and life-or-death battles. And to be honest, the characters are not as villainous as the title might want to suggest. 

Secondly, it made me sad that the relationship of two of my favorites characters was mostly developed off-page. My romantic side is CRUSHED by this. 

That being said, that ending was a total cliffhanger! I can’t wait to read the sequel and discover the fate of our champions. Who will die? Who will survive this deadly tournament?
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I requested this book back in July and got approved for it in the end of October. Honestly I wasn't in the mood anymore to read such a story and the first 15% didn't change that feeling. I dnfed it. I'm sorry I never do that but I didn't want to read something I didn't want to and that will make me end up in a reading slump. 
The first 15% were so confusing, it was too long and really not that exciting.
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I was expecting so much more....

This book follows a town called Ilvernath, where a group of families send their chosen champion in a fight to the death, in order to wield high magick for their own houses. I was excited to pick this up since it sounded like a darker Hunger Games setting, but sadly, I was left disappointed.

There are multiple POVs and honestly there was no clear distinction between them- they all sounded the same! In terms of characters, I enjoyed reading about Gavin and Allistair, but that's all. The action doesn't start until the HALFWAY mark! Before that, it's just backstories, and it got boring quickly. It was a struggle trying to finish this one, despite the gorgeous cover, and I didn't understand why half of this book had to be so slow, while the last 40 percent felt rushed through!

Thanks to NetGalley and publishers for an e-arc!
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Having previously read, and really enjoyed, The Devouring Grey duology by Christine Herman I was really excited to see she had written All Of Us Villains along with Amanda Foody. Described as being like a more villainous version of The Hunger Games, but with magic, I was drawn in before I’d even opened the first page. The only problem I have with this book is now I have to wait for its sequel!

All Of Us Villains focused on the small city of Ilvernath, where 7 families compete to have control over the powerful high magick. Every generation 7 champions, one from each family, are chosen to compete to the death for control. Until now the trial had been completed in secret but with the publication of a salacious tell all book, suddenly Ilvernath is under the spotlight. Which of the champions will win, who will be the one to write their own story, one that has to be written in blood. 

The world building and magick in this book is brilliant. You really get a sense of Ilvernath as a place and how unique it is. Without giving anything away I especially liked the descriptions and use of the landmarks during the tournament. The use of magick, and the distinction between high and common magick and spells and curses is simply brilliant. I loved the way these were used throughout the book, and used in place of traditional weapons during the tournament. The names of these spells and curses, and their properties were so original.

The characters were all well drawn and had great depth and detail to them. I liked that there was more to each of them that met the eye. You are really left to consider who the real villains of this story are.

The chapters are short and are written from the perspective of four of the seven champions, alternating each time. I’ll admit it took me a little while to get into the rhythm of the chapters being like this but it worked so well and created great suspense throughout.

Overall this is a fantastic YA book, I really enjoyed reading it, and it was very hard to put down! I’m just gutted I need to wait for the sequel now! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

With thanks to Netgally & Gollancz for the advanced copy in return for my honest review.
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I know, I simply know, that if Squid Game had became a phenomenon before the marketing campaign for this title had began, it would be that TV series on the blurb and not Hunger Games.
Still, I haven’t watch that tv series, but I read this book and liked it.
At first, I wasn’t very sure of what the development of the premise of the plot would be, but then it was very original and unique.
If you are looking for a story with characters that are not morally ‘grey’ but completely ‘pitch black’, this is the novel for you! The best part is that they are not all ‘villains’ just because they have to, but each of them has an intricate and well-developed psychology. This also leads to have a cast of very different characters: as it happens with all the multi-pov books, there was that one pov I was more looking forward to, but the great (and surprising) thing was that all the povs were able to hold my interest! Maybe, the only think I liked a bit less about the povs was that I would have liked even more povs, from all the champions.
However, this was a very unique and interesting book and I’m looking forward to read the sequel!
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