Friends, this book reminded me how much I love to read. No hyperbole. All of Us Villains hooked me from the start, kept me on the edge of my seat until the last page, and has left me starving for more (why doesn’t book 2 come out nooooowwwww?!). All of Us Villains is a must-read if you like your characters are morally gray as they come, each with their own complicated history and motives doing whey they think is right. With amazing worldbuilding and an intricate magic system, this book just checks all of my boxes!
About All of Us Villains
Publisher: Tor Teen • Release Date: November 9, 2021 • Pages: 400
Age Range: Young Adult • Genre: Fantasy • Format: eBook • Source: Netgalley
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.
🖤 A cast of villains
🗡️ Enemies to lovers & lovers to enemies
🪄 Intricate & interesting magic system
🛏️ There’s only one bed
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✨ You can read an excerpt from All of Us Villains here!
bisexual character, casually queer world
blood, gore, emotional and physical abuse, gaslighting, murder, mention of suicide
My Review of All of Us Villains
After suffering one of the worst reading slumps in recent history, All of Us Villains reignited my love of reading. It is as if this book were written for me as it is a smorgasbord of all my favorite dark tropes: morally gray characters, ruthless families, enemies to lovers (and lovers to enemies), a corruption arc, and a goth cursemaker wearing too much eyeliner who I am
probably much too obsessed with.
All of Us Villains is told in the third person perspective of four main characters: all of whom from one of the seven notorious families of Ilvernath who send one champion into a magical tournament to the death to control high magick for the next twenty years. High magick that the world thought was long depleted until a tell-all book on the families, the tournament, and the curse that keeps it running was published the year before.
“Most associate high magick with other distant brutalities of the past: pillaging, plague, and lawlessness. But in Ilvernath a piece of that history lingers, every bit as threatening as it once was.”
I love when books quote from an in-universe history book to enhance the worldbuilding, and the fact that “A Tradition of Tragedy: The True Story of the Town that Sends Its Children to Die” plays an integral role in this generation’s tournament adds an extra touch that tickles my fancy. The book brought the dirty secrets and traditions to light, changed how the main characters are viewed by their friends and townspeople, and catapulted their town into stardom with tourists and paparazzi.
✨ Alistair Lowe is the typical dark and broody bad boy who was raised to be the villain by his family; said to be ruthless and favored to win.
✨ Isobel Macaslan was the first champion announced – like 9 months early – and catapulted into stardom that she didn’t really want.
✨ Gavin Grieve just wants someone to believe in him; his family has never won the tournament and his family stopped trying.
✨ Briony Thorburn is a high achiever who has always wanted to be a champion, believing in her destiny as a hero.
But our characters are not what the book and their families’ histories would make them seem. They each have their own complicated history and relationship with the role they were born into, as well as history with one another that adds to the tension. Everyone is basically doing their best for survival and honestly they are written so well that the reader can’t help but root for all of them.
“Survival can make villains of any of us.”
The growth and development of the characters so far is amazing for one book with the four POVs. Seriously: this book is a prime example of multiple POVs done right. The narrative is tightly woven and each perspective shift enhances our understanding of the world and the characters. How their preconceived notions are challenged and how they grapple with that new information. How they each struggle to survive and who that leads them to become. We have both a redemption arc and a corruption arc, and let me tell you that they are delicious.
The worldbuilding is amazing and vast. I love how it is introduced slowly and unveiled in a way that expands the reader’s understanding without ever becoming boring to trudge through. The magic system is intricate but explained well and has clear rules and limitations.
Betrayals and shifting alliances in an already high stakes tournament environment kept me glued to the book, unwilling to put it down. The number of times that I screamed ‘no’ are plenty as this book tugged on my heartstrings like I were the authors’ marionette. And here I am begging for more because I need book two in my hands immediately. I highly recommend this book to fans of dark fantasy and morally gray casts of characters.
Highly recommended to fans of dark and morally gray fantasy. Lots of thought went into the development of this world, its history, and the magic system so fans of immersive worldbuilding will be intensely satisfied. While not quite a cliffhanger ending, it definitely leaves you wanting the next book immediately.
Recommended if you enjoyed…
If you live in the United States or Canada, be sure to pre-order a copy of All of Us Villains and submit your receipt prior to November 9, 2021 to receive this enamel pin.
No two readers experience a book in the same way; this was mine, but what about you?
💬 Have you read All of Us Villains yet? If so, what are your thoughts?
💬 Did I convince you to add this book to your TBR?
💬 What are your favorite magical tournament books? What should I add to my TBR?