All of Us Villains

Tor Teen. Nov. 2021. 400p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250789259. POP.
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.

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