I’m literally obsessed with this book. I don’t know what else I can possibly say as an introduction but that this fulfilled all of my favourite tropes: monstrous characters, hate-to-love, betrayal, blood magic, death matches.
Rating: 5 stars!
Thanks to Orion Publishing Book for the eARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.
Content Warnings: murder, death, grief, violence, gore, blood, parental abuse (emotional and physical), vomiting.
About the book:
The Blood Moon rises. The Blood Veil falls. The Tournament begins.
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.
What did I think?
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.
Release Date: 9th November 2021