ALL OF OUR DEMISE is one of those rare occasions where the sequel is actually better than the first book, and that’s definitely not just my little gay shipping heart speaking. I adore this book and highly recommend this excellent duology.
Thanks to Orion for the eARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.
About the book:
For the first time in this ancient, bloodstained story, the tournament is breaking. The boundaries between the city of Ilvernath and the arena have fallen. Reporters swarm the historic battlegrounds. A dead boy now lives again. And a new champion has entered the fray, one who seeks to break the curse for good… no matter how many lives are sacrificed in the process.
As the curse teeters closer and closer to collapse, the surviving champions each face a choice: dismantle the tournament piece by piece, or fight to the death as this story was always intended.
Long-held alliances will be severed. Hearts will break. Lives will end. Because a tale as wicked as this one was never destined for happily ever after.
What did I think?
This was a strong follow up to ALL OF US VILLAINS. I absolutely loved the first book and I liked ALL OF OUR DEMISE even more. That is rare because usually sequels struggle to live up to a fantastic first installment. The characters are the driving force behind this whole series and their arcs continue in an incredibly satisfying and well-developed way. Somehow characters I hated in the first book became my absolute favourites (fucking GAVIN) and I really enjoyed seeing more of their motivations and personalities.
And oh my god, the relationships. I know that I’m always a sucker for a queer relationship but watching Gavin and Alistair flirt back and forwards through their will-they-won’t-they crises of loyalty and betrayal was making me completely feral. I put so many tabs in this book because Gavin or Alistair would say something and I’d start gnawing on my own ribcage waiting to find out if it was going to turn into something more.
It wasn’t just the romantic relationships that had me going wild. The loyalty and trust between the champions was beautiful. They all had so much to lose and were fighting against a lifetime of mistrust and ingrained hatred for each other. The way they came together as a team felt so authentic and real and I absolutely adored it.
ALL OF OUR DEMISE is slower paced than the first book, more focused on their mission and their relationships instead of the cut-throat pace of the first book. They had trials to tackle, specific tasks to achieve to try and bring down the tournament once and for all. It was fascinating, and I really enjoyed the way the trials pulled together the family history that we got to see hints of in the first book.
VILLAINS was mostly champion-focused but in this one we also got to see the town and people outside of the tournament reacting not only to the champions but to the tournament itself. It added so much depth to the story when we got to see the tournament falling apart and long traditions failing the families.
The audiobook is a fantastic performance that I highly recommend, and I recommend this duology in general for anyone who’s looking for a darker fantasy with incredible character relationships.
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Release Date: 1st September 2022