Title: Our Violent Ends
Series: These Violent Delights #2
Author: Chloe Gong
Genre: YA, Fantast
Published: November 16th, 2021 (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
Synopsis: 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 a mission. 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.
Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
After the events at the hospital, though Juliette managed to cover up the truth of what had been going on between her and Roma, her position as heir is very much at risk, as one false move will mean Tyler taking over. Having Roma hate her for supposedly killing Marshall is an acceptable cost to keep him safe. Roma is determined to kill Juliette to avenge Marshall, but there is another danger emerging in the city. The threat of the monster still lingers even as the situation in the city grows more tense by the day. Between the gangsters, Communists and Nationalists, Shanghai is about to descend into revolution, and in the midst of it all, Roma and Juliette must join hands once more, putting aside their differences to protect their city and people.
“A rose is a rose, even by another name. But we choose whether we will offer beauty to the world, or if we will use our thorns to sting.”
It was such a relief to have this book at hand to read immediately, especially with the tense note upon which These Violent Delights ended. While this started out a bit slowly at first, it was very easy to return to the world of Shanghai, blood feuds and politics as the story unfolded into an intricate and riveting plot. I absolutely loved the writing style and the descriptive narration makes the story come alive. It was also really impressive that despite the amount of chaos of other events going on, this was still recognizably a Romeo and Juliet retelling and a beautifully crafted version at that.
Juliet definitely took center stage in terms of character development in this book, and while both her’s and Roma’s arcs were good, Roma’s arc didn’t really have as much substance to it as in the previous book. In my review of the first book, I remarked upon how interesting the secondary characters had been and they turned out to be even more central to the plot this time around. Rosalind, Kathleen, Benedict and Marshall’s arcs were amazing and their perspectives provided a much more rounded view of the whole situation as Shanghai descended into chaos. As for the romance, I think this has to be the first Romeo and Juliet retelling where I’ve truly enjoyed the romance, angst included. It really was perfectly done and I have no complaints whatsoever.
The pacing was initially a bit slow and I felt that much of the earlier chapters could have been condensed. There was a lot more focus on the politics this time, and while historically relevant, it was just a little too much. I usually enjoy political intrigue, but in this case, I felt like there was far too much else going on to properly focus on the plot line and those chapters ended up feeling more like a distraction I had to get through before returning to the main story. Also, the plot of the monster and the vaccines mostly became a side plot to the rest of the story, which was a pity because I was really enjoying that arc.
I don’t know how to talk about the ending without spoilers, but suffice to say, it was evil. Finales shouldn’t be allowed to end on such an ambiguous note! This was quite the ride, a fitting finale to this duology and I can’t wait to see what this author writes next! This book was just as dramatic and thrilling a read as I expected, and I would highly recommend this for fans of retellings. If you enjoyed the first book, this sequel is one not to be missed!
Our Violent Ends releases on November 16th, 2021.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
All quotes in this review were taken from an advance reader’s edition and may differ from the final version of the book.
Other reviews in this series: