Centuries ago, seven families battled one another for control over Ilvernath city’s secret wellspring of rare and “frighteningly powerful” high magick. The conflict ended in compromise: a curse stipulating that every two decades, under a blood-red sky, a teen from each clan must participate in a tournament to the death using only common magick; the victor’s bloodline secures exclusive access to Ilvernath’s high magick for the next 20 years. What was once a clandestine competition is now famous thanks to a recently published anonymous tell-all, increasing the already unbearable pressure on this year’s participants. But while most are focused on winning, one is determined to break the curse and save them all—provided she can survive long enough to figure out how. A shifting perspective follows contenders Alistair Lowe, Isobel Macaslan, Briony Thorburn, and Gavin Grieve (all white, one queer) in this high-stakes duology opener from Foody (the Shadow Game trilogy) and Herman (the Devouring Gray duology), which endorses self-determination over destiny. Nuanced, exceptionally well-drawn characters and a carefully considered mythology add dimension to the sturdy Hunger Games–meets–Harry Potter premise, while unexpected attractions and shifting alliances add drama. Ages 13–up. Agents: (for Foody) Whitney Ross, Irene Goodman Literary; (for Herman) Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary. (Nov.)
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
An Indie Bestseller!
An Indie Next Pick!
One of Indigo's Best Teen Books of 2021
“Magical, clever and cutthroat, All of Us Villains sets out to make it impossible to know who to root for.... A fun, twisty ride through a world full of spells and family secrets.” —Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series
“Nuanced, exceptionally well-drawn characters and a carefully considered mythology.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“So bespelling that the cliffhanger ending will feel like a painful curse.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“Positively wicked in all the right ways. This series is my new obsession, and I cannot wait to devour the next one. With its innovative magic system, a twisted cast of characters you somehow can’t help but love, and a plot that will leave you on the edge of your seat, All of Us Villains is addicting from start to finish. I’m obsessed.” —Adalyn Grace, New York Times bestselling author of All the Stars and Teeth
“Foody and Herman’s collaboration offers a fun yet brutal tale of sacrifice, betrayal, and ever-shifting loyalties. From twists that’ll make you gasp to believably flawed characters you can’t help but cheer for and curse in the same breath, this one will keep readers on the edge of their seats.” —Tara Sim, author of Scavenge the Stars
“Foody and Herman team up in this duology starter to deliver a fast-paced, morally gray story of ambition and survival. A strong choice for all YA collections.” —School Library Journal
“A blood-soaked modern fairytale brimming with magic, spectacle, and unforgettable characters.” —Katy Rose Pool, author of There Will Come A Darkness
“Foody and Herman enchant with vicious battles, a fun magic system and intricate, tenacious characters with deadly charm.” —Shelf Awareness
“Dark, luscious, and brutally smart, All of Us Villains is a fresh but unforgiving look at the legacy of abusive families and community-sanctioned violence. Foody and Herman have created a thrilling story that is impossible to put down; I stayed up all night to finish this book.” —Victoria Lee, author of A Lesson in Vengeance and The Fever King
“Both glittering with magic and drenched in blood, All of Us Villains kept me up at night with its heart-pounding pace and layered mysteries. I'll be waiting for Book Two with bated breath and bitten nails.” —Sara Holland, New York Times bestselling author of Everless
Gr 9 Up—Every 20 years, in the small city of Ilvernath, the Blood Veil descends, marking the start of a new tournament among Ilvernath's founding families. During the course of the tournament, six champions will be killed, leaving the lone victor to win control of the region's high magick—a coveted resource worldwide—until the next tournament. In previous generations, no one knew about the tournament except the seven families and the spellmakers who supply the champions with their arsenals. This time things are different thanks to an anonymous publication that shares all of Ilvernath's dirty secrets about the tournament and its participating families. Now, the town is filled with paparazzi and spellchasers eager to witness the carnage. All of the champions will face more than they bargained for as the tournament begins to change around them, leaving the fate of the champions—and high magick—in question. An intricate, well-developed magic system anchors this modern world where common magick exists alongside modern technology, allowing people to buy spells for anything from flashlight alternatives to beauty boosts. The book alternates close third-person point of view among self-declared villain Alistair Lowe, reluctant favorite Isobel Macaslan, underdog Gavin Grieve, and Briony Thorburn, whose self-declared chosen one status is threatened by the tournament. While the characters have diverse sexual identities, most characters (including all POV characters) are white. VERDICT Foody and Herman team up in this duology starter to deliver a fast-paced, morally gray story of ambition and survival. A strong choice for all YA collections.—Emma Carbone, Brooklyn P.L.
A bloody tournament will determine whose family controls the only high magick in the world.
Until someone spilled the city of Ilvernath’s dark secret in the anonymously authored book A Tradition of Tragedy, the world thought that the high magick was gone. Instead, seven families are locked into a curse tournament, providing a child every 20 years to fight for exclusive control over it. Rotating third-person narration follows monstrous favorite Alistair (of the sinister and most winningest Lowe family), paparazzi darling and talented spellmaker Isobel (of the Macaslan family, who are viewed as distasteful vultures), brains-and-brawn underdog Gavin (of the Grieve family, a lost cause that’s never produced a winner), and born-for-heroism Briony (of the respected Thorburn family). Prior to the tournament’s starting, exquisite worldbuilding shines as the characters navigate family stories and outsiders trying to influence the tournament and deal with the spellmakers and cursemakers who equip the champions. One cursemaker in particular puts ideas in the aspiring champions’ heads about whether the tournament’s curse can be changed—or broken. The competitors teeter wildly between heroism and villainy, especially once the tournament starts and their preconceived ideas of themselves and each other are challenged in lethal combat. Of the seven champions, Finley has dark skin and curly black hair, while the rest are pale; among background characters there’s ethnic diversity and casual queer inclusion.
So bespelling that the cliffhanger ending will feel like a painful curse. (Fantasy. 13-adult)