Hello bibliophiles! I know I’ve been MIA but I swear I’ve got a good reason – I got into Pitch Wars! If you’re not familiar with the program, it pairs agented and/or published authors with writers, who then help overhaul their submitted manuscript in preparation for an agent showcase. I’m still in complete disbelief but the work is ongoing, and since most of my time is going into revising my manuscript, reading has taken a bit of a backseat. That being said, one of my favorite books of the year is out next week – so here I am with a spoiler-free, early review.
The year is 1927, and Shanghai teeters on the edge of revolution.
After sacrificing her relationship with Roma to protect him from the blood feud, Juliette has been a girl on the warpath. One wrong move, and her cousin will step in to usurp her place as the Scarlet Gang’s heir. The only way to save the boy she loves from the wrath of the Scarlets is to have him want her dead for murdering his best friend in cold blood. If Juliette were actually guilty of the crime Roma believes she committed, his rejection might sting less.
Roma is still reeling from Marshall’s death, and his cousin Benedikt will barely speak to him. Roma knows it’s his fault for letting the ruthless Juliette back into his life, and he’s determined to set things right—even if that means killing the girl he hates and loves with equal measure.
Then a new monstrous danger emerges in the city, and though secrets keep them apart, Juliette must secure Roma’s cooperation if they are to end this threat once and for all. Shanghai is already at a boiling point: The Nationalists are marching in, whispers of civil war brew louder every day, and gangster rule faces complete annihilation. Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to combat monsters and politics, but they aren’t prepared for the biggest threat of all: protecting their hearts from each other.
Overall rating: 5/5
Genre: Historical fantasy
Read if you loved: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Content warnings: Blood, violence, gore, character deaths, murder (including mass murder), war themes, torture, weapon use, insects, alcohol consumption, parental abuse
Words cannot describe how excited I was to receive this ARC. I tried *three* times to get it – and it paid off. If you have read my These Violent Delights review here, then you are aware of my love for Romeo and Juliet and general appreciation for what Gong accomplished with her debut novel. But let me tell you, the sequel is even better.
The thing that stood out to me about Our Violent Ends was the energy. The energy was at 100% during every. single. scene. You can feel Gong’s enthusiasm and love for her work and her characters, and it never lets up. She continues to nail everything I loved about the first book – the characters, the setting, the politics (and this is amped up a notch, too), while improving on the aspects that I found to be lacking aka I was slightly bored at times in the previous book. This time, there was no chance of boredom. If anything, there is almost too much going on, but she weaves parallel storylines together seamlessly without it feeling overwhelming. Her prose is even better this time around. She has a crisp voice that is so refreshing and has me excited about her future work since this really is just the beginning. And of course, we have to talk about the romance. Roma and Juliette had me *swooning* this book. The angst, you guys!!! The tension, the push and pull, the shifting dynamics, the nuanced dialogue…it was truly perfection.
There is very little I did not enjoy. I was a little iffy about the ending at first, but it was one of those things that I grew to appreciate and love over time. Obviously I can’t discuss this without spoiling but I’m so eager to hear what people think about it once the book is out. The other thing I will note is that the characters sometimes felt like caricatures. This wasn’t something I minded because I feel like Gong embraced their extremism, but it is something worth noting.
Overall, PLEASE READ THIS DUOLOGY! I had such a blast with it and will most certainly be re-reading, which is something I can only say about a small number of books. Gong’s upcoming Foul Lady Fortune also sounds beyond fantastic and I’m already counting down the days. Did you read These Violent Delights? If so, Our Violent Ends is out today!