“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.”
When I read the synopsis, I assumed that I would be getting a ‘Hunger Games’ type of story. And, while there are similarities to ‘The Hunger Games’, the books differ dramatically when it comes to the main storyline. This book is all about magic and there was a lot of focus on world building. The authors went in-depth to explain the magic system, but I was still confused by the magic aspect.
In this book, we follow 4 characters: Briony, Alastair, Isobel, and Gavin. The characters are the chosen ones amongst their families to participate in this magical fight to the death. Honestly, I think the battle must be done because of some sort of curse. However, I don’t think the whole history behind this competition was explained well enough.
The main four are from different classes in society, and each have their reasons to win the battle. Obviously, they don’t want to die, but they also want to make their families proud. But I found their families to be rather cold and heartless. Alastair’s family is very well known in the magic world, and he has a lot of pressure to live up to his families reputation. He was my favorite character of all, and I found myself sympathizing with him.
Isobel was forced into the battle. You could tell that her family only cared if she won, despite knowing that she might end up dying. She was the typical ‘pretty girl’, which I didn’t care for. I could tell that she and Alastair were going to be romantically linked, but I found their relationship boring, and it didn’t add anything to the story. It would have been more interesting if they developed a brother/sister type of bond instead.
“What is happily ever after to the child is a nightmare to the monster.”
Briony’s character was strong and smart. I could compare her to Katniss in some ways. She was, to me, the most likeable of the characters. She did make some bad decisions, but was honored to be a part of the competition. You get to see her grow throughout the book, and a lot of her opinions changed. I think that she got a bad rap from the other characters, because of her past actions.
As for Gavin, I wanted to like him, but he was very whiny. He blamed Alastair for all his problems. He was cold and ruthless, which is what he accused other of being. I didn’t find his chapters to be all that interesting. Each of the characters made decisions that had dire consequences, and there was a lot of manipulation going on.
There weren’t many side characters, since the authors wanted to focus on those core four. I think there is a lot of things happening in the story, and because of that, they chose not to have any more characters that were developed in depth. Especially since the plot was heavily character driven.
One of the things the book lacked was action. We spent a good 60% of the book waiting for the competition to start. It left me bored and struggling to get through it. When the main plot is the magical battle, I want it not to take most of the book for it to start. I do, however, understand that we needed to get each character’s backstory in order to establish some sort of connection with them.
The ending mainly left me confused. I am completely unsure of what actually unfolded. Even going back and rereading the last chapter didn’t clear things up for me. Maybe this book went over my head, or there were just too many elements at play. For me, young adult fantasy is always a hit or miss type of genre.
Overall, this book isn’t something that I would read again. And, maybe should have DNF’ed it at the halfway mark. This is a duology, but I am unsure if I will be picking up the second book. In the comments, leave me your YA fantasy book recommendations. Don’t forget to follow my blog for more of my book reviews!
Until The Next Chapter,