ARC Book Review: ALL OF US VILLAINS by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

I received an eARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in black on red with names in white above and grey leaves in corner
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Yes - first book in duology


Book cover for ALL OF US VILLAINS: title in white on grey with leaves dripping blood

After the publication of a salacious tell-all book, the remote city of Ilvernath is thrust into the spotlight. Tourists, protesters, and reporters alike flock to its spellshops and historic ruins to witness an ancient curse unfold: every generation, seven families name a champion among them to compete in a tournament to the death. The winner awards their family exclusive control over the city’s high magick supply, the most powerful resource in the world.

In the past, the villainous Lowes have won nearly every tournament, and their champion is prepared to continue his family’s reign. But this year, thanks to the influence of their newfound notoriety, each of the champions has a means to win. Or better yet–a chance to rewrite their story.

But this is a story that must be penned in blood.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


ALL OF US VILLAINS is an enjoyable ride through a blood-soaked town, now exposed to the world and the start of its no-longer-secret violent tournament. The snippets of the book were dry sarcastic in a self-deprecating way, which is a form of humour I really like, so those additions at the start of each chapter really worked for me, when a lot of book snippets like that don’t.

I liked the character dynamics, with their secrets and priorities and hurts that meant it was impossible for them to team up and do the things that needed doing to end it. It means that it is a tricky task, and they’re going to be betraying each other – particularly as they don’t all want to end it.

The world was a lot of fun. It’s a secondary world, I think, but it had a very modern vibe. It might be a made up town in an alternate world that has magic, but it’s never confirmed either way. There aren’t phones or internet, I think, but there are glossy magazines and the way they talk and think is very modern.

It’s a mash up of the author’s solo series, and then with a sort of Hunger Games like set up throne in. The technology level of the world is more like Amanda Foody’s Shadow Game series, but a rural American town rather than a big city. That small town vibe with old houses controlling magic (who all have their rivalries and we see POVs from a range of them) is more like Christine Lynn Herman’s Devouring Gray series.

Some of the names made me laugh a bit, particularly Alistair Lowe, who’s the broken edges and hiding hurt under an aura of menace character. Except his name screams middle aged Tory MP to me! Funny how somethings like names don’t translate across the pond so well.

I’m interested to see how this end next year.

Read my reviews of other books by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman:

By Amanda Foody:

The Shadow Game:

By Christine Lynn Herman:

The Devouring Gray:


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