Author: Amanda Foody

BOOK REVIEW: All of Our Demise (All of Us Villains #2) by Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman

BOOK REVIEW: All of Our Demise (All of Us Villains #2) by Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn HermanAll of Our Demise (All of Us Villains #2)
by christine lynn herman, Amanda Foody
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


The epic conclusion to Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman’s New York Times bestselling All of Us Villains duology that's The Hunger Games with magic.

“I feel like I should warn you: this is going to be absolutely brutal.”

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.


“Killing is easy,” Alistair murmured. “It’s the afterward that’s harder.”
“But it’s the afterward we’re fighting for.”

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I needed this ARC more than my next breath. I thought about it from the moment I closed book one last year in July and it was in my thoughts no less than every single week (this is a long time to worry and obsess over someone’s fate you’ve come to care so deeply for). And, when I finally finally felt like it was close enough to the release date that I could request it, I waited on bated breath for a reply….and was both ecstatic and surprised and self-assured in equal measure when I was sent a copy for review. All this being said though…I still don’t know what to rate this story.

As it was, he felt as though he lived with some sort of comical in-between, with an Alistair who’d put his shiny new pitchfork in a place of honor by the fireplace, who mumbled about souls and goblins and whatever other nonsense when he thought no one was listening.
The broom cupboard, alas, had extremely thin walls.

Was it bad? No. Not at all. Did I hate it? Not in the slightest. Did I love it, though? No…the sad sad answer is that I did not. I did NOT love the finale to a book I wanted as much as one can want a physical thing. I have agonized over this review since I finished over a week ago, and it’s not because I don’t have the words to say what needs to be said, it’s that I don’t want to say what I feel needs to be said. And what needs to be said, exactly?

Well…if you know me AT. ALL. I am not one to sugarcoat how I feel about ship dumping. And I am not one to really, I don’t know, cherish being led a certain direction only to be thrown out in the cold. I don’t think this is wholly the authors’ faults nor intentions…but that doesn’t mean I do not feel the same cold and detached anger that I felt at a few of my biggest disappointments for series I would have died for, back in the day.

The writing, as always, is superb. I legitimately can’t believe how much I just LOVE immersing in this world, in this amazing writing. And I’ve struggled to pinpoint why I loved book one so much, but it’s become increasingly clear: when reading All of Us Villains it felt not only like I was immersed in a lush portrayal of a harsh, inevitable battle of ruthlessness and cunning, but as if I was watching a movie play out scene by scene, unable to disenchant myself by simply ceasing to read. This movie rolled on far past the credits, and while the story may not be for everyone, it should strike impressive to all that such a macabre story could be so damn enthralling, written in such an addicting way it’s as if I went into a movie theater and I’m left walking out, reeling-Unable to think of anything else for the longest amounts of time, with blowback and feels hitting me seemingly out nowhere when I least expect it. It’s beautiful. It’s raw. It’s absolutely spell-binding-I love Villains so much it hurts. And perhaps this truth strikes deeper simply for that exact fact of surprise of how much I loved enduring that pain and heartache.

And while I felt all of this when reading Demise, it was stunted. Not only by the fact that I was pondering and puzzling why the authors were choosing to take the path they did, but because book one-while not all out action, necessarily-had so much heart and fight and desperation in each and every scene, no matter how subtle. This one was more about research, alliances, what can we do to end this tournament vs fighting those who did not want the tournament’s end. And while I actually truly LOVE the premise of this masterfully laid groundwork, I felt like there was a sacrifice made…and that sacrifice was the STRONGEST pull of book one, in my opinion.

“In a different story, would we still have been enemies?”
“Does it matter?”

It’s not that (view spoiler) wasn’t the most important thing in the world to me, it was the wasted potential of the absolute epic WIN sat right at our feet at the end of book two, and the waste of the build-up (just in my opinion, of course) of that amazing betrayal all throughout book one. I just think….there was SUCH an awesome play on TRUE (view spoiler) here and it was just kind of thrown to the side for the same exact play, but with a different song and dance and grasping onto the little clues from ONE SIDE thrown our way from book one. THAT BEING SAID-I was one hundred percent okay with how it all turned out, because if you truly love a character, you love and support their story. And I do. I did. End of. I just wish it had come about differently.

The Grieves had raised Gavin to die. The Lowes had raised Alistair to kill.
Both of them deserved a better story.

ALL THAT ASIDE….I do believe there was something missing here that was present in book one. I can’t quite say what it is other than I think I just-personally didn’t enjoy the plot as much. Because, in the end, I DID like the feeling, the swirling fall leaves on crisp, cold air. I felt every moment like I was apart of it. And that’s perhaps what I loved most about this duology-these authors know. How. To. Build. An. ATMOSPHERE. I just love their descriptions, always. SO freakin’ beautiful.

“I think maybe people need stories to survive, but they can also use them to hurt each other. Or themselves,” Gavin said. “If you’ve found a way for your family’s stories to feed you without feeding on you . . . that seems worth holding on to.”

Which, finally, I guess leads me to why I really didn’t just fall head over heels-I guess that, in the previous installment, I cared for almost every single character barring one. Well…I won’t go into that ‘one’ character, but aside from him/her, I didn’t mind anyone. In this story I just…only cared about Alistair, if I’m being honest. And, inevitably, *insert eyeroll here* the one character I didn’t HATE but didn’t LIKE from book one. So that left many. Many. MANY characters that I was morose about and bored to tears with their narratives. And-okay-let’s be frank. They angered me. It just was not the direction I wanted and I know I can’t control that, but it made me upset all the same. The twisted mind games (not what you think, I LOVE twisted mind games, believe me) that really just didn’t add much to the story and the way that-all of a FREAKING sudden-someone suddenly had so much animosity towards another certain someone seemingly out of nowhere. What even and when did that even happen? I don’t buy it, and-again-that sets my anger-dar off.

After everything he’d gone through, one thing remained unchanged: He’d always want what he’d never have.

I digress. My point in all this is-I feel that I should have grown to like these people MORE, not less, and it really threw me for a loop that I all of a sudden only wanted two POVS out of however many (and okay, yes, I did like two main POVs in the last book, but I didn’t HATE having to switch to the others, at all). Plus, I’m going to say it-this book was, in no way, brutal. *shrug* I guess I just really pictured all out THG style stuff, but I definitely felt it wasn’t as crazy as I’d have liked. Yes, I’m bloodthirsty. Yes I’m unhinged. And NO I am not sorry.

It was a story that could only end in death. Trying not to make that death his own shouldn’t feel shameful. Just necessary.

All that being said, I can see this shooting up in popularity for MANY people because of ~reasons~, but I can also see people being a lot like me, plot wise. I DO understand it and I also DO realize I’d be probably at a four star minimum if I hadn’t felt flummoxed at the turn of events, because I think this was a realistic way to end this duology, as far as a full book plot wise, but that doesn’t change that I wish it could have been different, more bloodthirsty, more lusty, and, frankly, more, even if that is simply only my personal taste, and I realize that. But-again-no one understands how much all this breaks my heart, so there is that.


okay but why do I feel like I’m going to throw up :/

Never have I been more nervous to read a conclusion to a favorite series [or at least not in this gruesome way and not in a long time].

I would LITERALLY sell my soul to have this book in my hands right now.

BOOK REVIEW: All of Us Villains (All of Us Villains #1) by Amanda Foody

BOOK REVIEW: All of Us Villains (All of Us Villains #1) by Amanda FoodyAll of Us Villains (All of Us Villains)
by Amanda Foody
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


The blockbuster co-writing debut of Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman, All of Us Villains begins a dark tale of ambition and magick...

You Fell In Love With The Victors of The Hunger Games.
Now Prepare To Meet The Villains of The Blood Veil.

After the publication of a salacious tell-all book, the remote city of Ilvernath is thrust into worldwide spotlight. Tourists, protesters, and reporters flock to its spellshops and ruins to witness an ancient curse unfold: every generation, seven families name a champion among them to compete in a tournament to the death. The winner awards their family exclusive control over the city’s high magick supply, the most powerful resource in the world.

In the past, the villainous Lowes have won nearly every tournament, and their champion is prepared to continue his family’s reign. But this year, thanks to the influence of their newfound notoriety, each of the champions has a means to win. Or better yet--a chance to rewrite their story.

But this is a story that must be penned in blood.


**I’m being extremely honest here when I say that grammar took a SERIOUS hit in the name of purging my emotions- ALSO- ARC PROVIDED BY TORTEEN IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW**

Grins like goblins.
Pale as plague and silent as spirits.
They’ll tear your throat and drink your soul.

That feeling of dread slowly inching up your spine is not the emotion nor the feeling I had imagined I’d experience when I started this novel. The vague sensation of helplessness that comes with the realization that you are not in control of this novel, this novel will not bend to your will, and you WILL be in pain as you see yourself slowly maddening at the fact that you WILL have to wait more than a year to see these characters through to their gory end. The utter calm [and a bit unhinged] madness that inhabits you when you realize- You don’t like that you have to wait for a very long time to see what happens…but you do love this brutal love song written just for you and all the evil things your now favorite character is doing to write said song. You don’t just like it-you love it.

“Do you hear that?” The older one, Hendry Lowe, stood up, brushed the forest floor off his gray T-shirt, cracked each of his knuckles, one by one. “That’s the sound of rules breaking.”
“Do you hear that?” Alistair echoed, smirking as he rose to his feet. “That’s the sound of bones breaking.”

This story wasn’t what I expected. And, that being said, I don’t know what I expected. Did I think it would be akin to my favorite series of all time, THG? No. I didn’t. Did I really think it would be about actual villains? No. And did I think it would hold up to any of my macabre fantasies when I imagined reading it? Heck no. But…It was BETTER. It was MORE. No matter what my mind could have dreamed up, it wasn’t this-never this. And that’s just…it’s a breath of fresh air. Look, I like predictability a lotthere are certain formulas you just cannot beat, no matter what you do, in my opinion. That’s me. But the fact remains that when I go into a book with no idea what to expect and it delivers with such ferocity-I hardly know how to contain myself. And that is this. I am in shock. I am in awe. I am so grateful for TorTeen for thinking of me, for sending me what is now a prized possession in my treasure trove of my absolute favorite stories. Even though I can’t even quite pinpoint what clicked for me-it just did.

Monsters couldn’t harm you if you were a monster, too.

I think it goes without saying that characters are key, especially in a book with such a dark theme-Yeah…villains. Okay. But why. WHY are they villains? The answer is simple-they really aren’t. And herein lies my largest conundrum: Why I am so defensive of my precious book? Because people are so judgmental. I thought each and every character had something dark about them (even if it wasn’t on the surface, but lurking far beneath)-but most of these klds-which they are just kids, in the end-were just pawns in their family’s lineage to grasp high magick for them to horde until the next tournament…And the family that possesses the high magick runs the town.

Like I said-I’m here for it. These characters-to me-were, in fact, villains. Maybe not the twirling your mustache kind, but they all had deeply disturbing ideologies and would do anything and everything to reach what they deemed necessary in their own mind’s eye: to either make a name for themselves, to gain glory, to earn a spot in the tournament (ie, beat out the other contenders in the family), to prove their worth, or to avenge-I won’t expand on that. Avenge is plenty good. My point remains valid-villains are what we make them, not always by what they actually do. And that is this tournament – seven families putting forth someone in their name, the town always viewing these families as evil, corrupt souls (well…maybe mostly just one family), or bottom-dwellers, attention seekers, or soul-suckers. Fact is, heavy is the head that wears the crown-and everyone wants a piece of it.

The Lowes did not tell their children monster stories so that they could slay them.
The Lowes told them so their children would become monsters themselves.

Of the four point of views, there are two that always always made me happy, sigh in relief, and really immerse: Isobel and Alistair. And then there was just ONE that made my heart beat faster, my mouth dry up, and my insides clench in dread, anticipation, and hope…and anyone that knows me at all knows that would be Alistair Lowe. Predictable, anyone? I. Don’t. Care.

Alistair’s fear wasn’t for his life, but for his mind. Even the most villainous Lowe victors left the tournament changed, broken. But Alistair refused to accept such a fate. No matter how brutal, how terrible he’d need to be, he couldn’t let himself care. Not about the other champions. Not about his soul.
He needed to become the most villainous of them all.

Look, Alistair is the clear favored champion-the one everyone knows has the best chance of winning and the favorite of the tournament…but really that makes him enemy number one and everyone also hates him and wants to gang together and make him dead and cease to exist and wants to steal his family’s smarmy glory. But the fact is, though he is among the wickedest of the contenders, he is also cool, calculated, and able to see reason-which many of the champions fail to do because they trust only what they know and what they’ve been taught, they can’t read between the lines and dig deeper within themselves to see a bigger picture, a deeper picture. And what does Alistair have to lose? NOTHING. Which makes him DANGEROUS. Makes it easy for him to lean back, relax, and fight the predictable and inevitable tide of people allying against him-except one.

“Hello, rival,” he whispered.

Isobel was not only my other favorite because she was closely connected with Alistair (And I will admit I was like the Pavlov dog becoming immediately butterfly-induced by simple association, shut up), but because her chapters fit. They just fit with my mindset like Alistair’s did. Was this intentional? Were we meant to favor them? I’m sure. I wouldn’t call Al the most relatable, but he was someone you rooted for simply because others didn’t like him and obviously he was the misunderstood bad boy-obviously. But Isobel didn’t care to be a champion, she only did it to keep others out of the fray and because she is the best at magick-her cool demeanor pre-tournament and haughty confidence was enough to snare me even without the help of a certain dark, brooding bad boy. I have a type, and these two were it. I’m predictable, but in this, I’m also sane.

“You want to know something funny?” he asked. “In a choice between staying here or going home, I’d still choose here. With you.”

The other contenders were easy to read about, as well-Briony being my likely third favorite due to her positive outlook and loyalty to her optimistic cause….then there was Gavin. I see him being a fan favorite (for those who are not like me and did not fall easily for the widow-peeked, pale, genius prodigy) but I couldn’t get on board with his motives or the way he processed things. I like an underdog, which also, coincidentally, likely makes him a bad boy or tortured hero as well, but deep down he had a bit more rot, perhaps more decay, and that was harder for me to acceptThese characters are layered far more than I gave them credit for, so that makes this hard to say, but in the end I couldn’t root for him, no matter his life nor his choices. That being said, I didn’t hate his chapters nor did I skim them as I do in books where I don’t entirely cherish a character as I do my favorites-that has to be noted for these authors to understand how deeply they reached me. I am a flawed reader, but I can be won over.

Innes had called the tournament a pattern. Patterns could be disrupted.
Reid had called it a machine. Machines could be broken.
Briony had only ever thought of it as a fairy tale. But even the grandest stories eventually found their ending.

And now that I’ve rambled on for literal AGES I’ll get to the actual story-I just. For many moments in this book, I just couldn’t breathe. The heartache, the yearn, the fear, the not-knowing. And then there were so many moments, something I’m not accustomed to, where I frowned or furrowed my brow at the page, where I wondered just what I was reading and why it was assaulting my senses in such a manner. A certain blood bath, an inevitable, heinous act, the deaths, the…well…moment that may or may not have ripped my beating heart from my chest and incinerated it (and, for once, I wasn’t sure I liked it). Oh, who am I kidding-I LOVED IT, and the end, naturally. My smile-my smile couldn’t have been larger, my heart couldn’t have beat any faster, and my stomach couldn’t have been in more of a butterfly tornado. This story, it hurt me in all the best ways possible, which makes me wonder just what’s wrong with me that these are my favorite types of stories and I seek these horrendous plots out.

If he was truly a monster, then why was he so afraid?

I always say I want bad things to happen and my name even boasts peril-but I found that-when it comes down to it-I don’t actually like when terrible things happen to people. And I guess that’s not the same as ‘perilous situations’, because those rarely can always be so dire, but the actual gore of it…it gets to me. In fact, for the first time ever, my blood trigger appeared seemingly out of nowhere (this never happens when I read) and my hands went numb and I physically couldn’t hold my book and had to lay it down for a moment. I really and truly wish for the madness, then when the madness comes slowly crawling to me, I back away and cringe-I’d make a horrendous villain. Truly.

After they’d slain all the other champions-her ex-best friend among them-it would only be the two of them left. Maybe that would be months from now. Maybe it would be days. But that was what this alliance led up to. Not a kiss stolen in the dark, or a priceless gift given without being asked.
A duel.

I must say one last thing before I depart-if you’re even still here with me, reading my nonsensical rambling- I am so big on character driven books, which I think I’ve mentioned no less than five times in one way or another as I type out this review, and this is a perfect example- I don’t think this was the most action packed book, but I think where it lacked (and I say lacked for loss of a better word) in lots of action, it gained in connecting with the characters so when something happened or was mentioned, we felt instead of riding along beside it. I think this is the biggest execution flaw in some of these popular series that gain so much momentum-they win us in book one and two, then throw in so much action in book three that I personally lose interest and forget the whole series even existed when, before, my world centered around said series. So I think subtlety is key-every bad moment, every sacrifice, any betrayal, any shortcoming, they mean so much more when staring down the barrel of these characters’ wants, needs, plans, desires. We care so much MORE when the battle comes because we had time to immerse ourselves, and I think that is so important here, and perhaps why I am just so elated I had the opportunity to read this novel and go in blind before others start to talk about it (but also, what a curse).

I went on and on and on and for that I’m sorry, but these emotions have been brewing inside of me for over 24 hours and I needed to purge everything epic that is this book. These authors ensnared me with simple words and a brooding, tortured boy, but they kept me because of the choices they made, the way they shocked and surprised me at each and every turn, if only because they didn’t do the typical (and sometimes they did, further confusing me more), and the way they captured my heart and soul. That’s truly not an easy thing to do-I may bluster and boast that I love giving out 5 stars to books that make me happy, but a true five star is one that can capture my heart and wind it’s way into my daily routine, invading my thoughts even when I don’t want them to-that’s this book, and I’m so happy to be ordering a copy to support these authors as soon as I’m able-with a certain special personalization, of course ;).

*This is an uncorrected proof, so quotes are subject to change*

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