cover image All of Us Villains (All of Us Villains #1)

All of Us Villains (All of Us Villains #1)

Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman. Tor Teen, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-250-78925-9

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.)