I read All of Us Villains last year and there is and was just something about this series that has genuinely edged into my dreams over the past year. It’s dark, it’s nasty, and underneath it all, it’s human too.
Title: All of Our Demise
Series: All of Us Villains #2
Authors: Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman
Publisher: Orion, Gollancz
Publication Date: 1st September 2022
Rating 4.5 stars
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.
I have absolutely loved this series of anti-heroes scrabbling to be more than they’ve been painted. I would honestly say, though, that this second book wasn’t quite as a good as the first for me. I think the shock of the Hunger Games style tournament that the participants actually wanted to win, as well as the magic construction elements and the characters themselves really won me over for All of Us Villains. By the time book two came along, I’d already been exposed to all of that, so I was much more interested in where it would go instead.
It felt like there was a lot more waiting for things to happen in this book – the tournament was breaking, the risks and dangers were even higher, but no one quite knew what to do until the end, which resulted in a lot of flailing and treading water until anyone could work out what to do next.
We saw the strained relationships between the competitors grow and develop further, although I found the need to ultimately pair off by the end a little pointless – I get that we want satisfyingly wrapped up endings, but it fell into that YA ‘let’s kiss whilst we’re in danger and covered in blood and filthy from being on the run for months’ trap that I can never approve of.
However, there were still plenty of satisfying (and satisfyingly upsetting – what does that say about me??) moments. And the authors did a great job of exploring the three magic systems further – common, life and high magic – with the additional double-cross and betrayal moments that you come to expect from this series.
I didn’t find this quite as gripping as the first book in this duology, which had left me thinking about it all year, but that’s the curse of having to follow up a wickedly good first book. The story dragged in a few places whilst everyone sat around talking about things, but it was still a satisfying ending. And it didn’t stop me devouring it all.
I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review.