Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong
Title: Our Violent Ends
Author: Chloe Gong
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Published Date: November 16th 2021
Length: 494 pages
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retellings, Young Adult, etc.
Shanghai is under siege in this captivating and searingly romantic sequel to These Violent Delights, which New York Times bestselling author Natasha Ngan calls “deliciously dark.”
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.
After reading and loving These Violent Delights last year, I had to request this one once it was available on NetGalley and I am so happy that I got approved for it. I am also very glad that I read These Violent Delights again before diving into the sequel because I realised that I had forgotten some key points in the story that could have led me to be either confused or super lost. I loved the fact that from gang violence and an almost explosive plot, this one dived deeper into the political aspects of things too. I know some people might not appreciate it but I truly did. I will say that the pace could have been better in setting things into play.
Also, there might be spoilers about. So if you haven’t read the first book, please, don’t read this review.
Let’s talk about characters. We left off with a great divide between Roma and Juliette and this book went deeper into exploring that divide and how it shaped them. I loved that Chloe Gong never sacrificed the core of any of the characters and we also got to see characters other than Roma and Juliette and their story. I will say that I am still not quite sure about Rosalind and what was going through her mind but everything else worked out so well. They were more fleshed out and I loved the glimpses we get into their dreams and desires. Roma was so well written, his upbringing making it absolutely necessary for him to be okay with violence but him never really wanting to hurt, never wanting to shoot first made this whole story more heartbreaking than it needed to be. Of course, this particular trait was a hindrance to him too which was also shown. Juliette and her need to be the one on top, to not seem weak in front of the Scarlet gang was so real at times but also I wanted to smack her too? It was great.
The good thing that Gong managed to do was escalate the stakes and introduce different players to the game. It heightened the tension and made things messier and I also got to read about the historical aspect of it. I googled some stuff because I was interested in how it all played out in real life and that made this book meatier, if that makes sense? More points of views meant that the scale of the plot got bigger and it made things more devastating in the best way possible. I will say that the pacing struggled a bit here and there but overall, I think this was a solidly paced book.
Now, we all know how Romeo and Juliet ended and how painful that could have been. So, yes, be prepared for the ending. I might have shed a tear or two near the end but nobody saw it so it didn’t happen. The ending is pretty realistic despite being so dramatic. Also, the last pov was heartbreaking to read and that’s all I will say on the matter.
Overall, I really loved the duology and can’t recommend it enough to people who have a fondness for Romeo and Juliet and who are interested in being told the same story through very different lenses. It was great to see the growth of the author as I read these two books. The plot expanded and became more explosive in the second book and the characters also got more space to breathe and to be seen. So, yes, this was a damn good read.