Book Briefs: All of Us Villains


Amanda Foody and C. L. Herman

All of Us Villains, a YA novel co-written by Amanda Foody and C.L. Herman, provides a fascinating an unique plot for readers. The storyline can be associated with the popular book series The Hunger Games: Competition. All of Us Villains narrates a story about a tournament that falls over the far-off city each generation at the Blood Moon.

Christina Huang, Guest Contributor

All of Us Villains, a YA novel co-written by Amanda Foody and C.L. Herman, takes a different approach to the trope readers most commonly associate with the popular book series turned movie adaptation The Hunger Games: Competition

The book narrates a story about a tournament, a curse on seven families to give the tournament a champion when the sky turns red—something called the Blood Veil—that falls over the far-off city each generation at the Blood Moon. The Blood Veil demands a sacrifice, the sky only lightening once blood is shed. In the end, similar to the series it’s compared to, one champion remains, and control of high magic is given to their families. 

For two of the main characters, their lives are centered around the competition. All their lives, being trained to enter. To win. It’s a death sentence otherwise. For others, it’s a curse. 

With each chapter beginning with an ‘excerpt’ from the book within the story, readers are able to connect to the story itself, especially as the book goes on. 

Until around 40 percent of the book, the competition doesn’t start, but connections are already made. An instant rivalry, desperate deals, the shock of a decision that completely upsets a plan set in stone for years, and an instigator who appears too often for some readers to dismiss as coincidence. For many, potential red herrings keep them in cautious trust. 

When the tournament begins, for the very first time in the history of Ilvernath, the city, the champions have an audience from all over the world. The media, reporters, and everyone watching their every move. All are attracted to the city by a book that reveals all the secrets of the bloody tournament, the historical patterns and strategies the families use, and the further humiliation it brings to the family that wrote it. 

For characters purposefully written to be morally grey, the emotions they feel as they face their challenges may have readers quickly sympathizing and growing fond of some. This, however, only makes it harder when faced with the reality that the end promises only a single champion. For all of them, their values, their expectations, and the things they believe in, were shattered by the tournament. 

Once the tournament begins, the book picks up the pace with circumspect allies and emotional and physical struggles. For a competition meant to be full of bloodshed, readers may be surprised to see a few chapters before it happens, as the emotional struggle of alliances comes into play more prominently during the beginning. 

Towards the end of the book, readers are able to truly see the characters in what they were always supposed to be, what they became, and who they turned into, all at once. Alliances shift, mysteries come undone, and readers are left with a cliffhanger. 

For readers looking for things to look out for, some readers found the characters lacking the villainy the very title hints at. The writing is descriptive yet direct, and the story moves along seamlessly, making the fact that it was co-written hard to believe. 

All of Us Villains delivered a story filled with magic, the cruelty of both a situation and the ones that are forced to partake in it, with many readers having their opinions on certain characters constantly switching as the story unfolds, unsure of who to trust. It isn’t a long read, with almost 400, though the second half—the tournament itself—progresses fairly quickly. Though it fell short of expectations for some, for others, this was a story to remember that far surpassed even high expectations with characters to root for and a world to eagerly pursue through the second book of the series.