Author: Chloe Gong
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.
[These Violent Delights (#1) Review]
Our Violent Ends is the follow-up in the These Violent Delights duology. I honestly was not expecting to read this one as quickly as I did and thought it would be read over multiple days. As it turns out, I ended up reading this in a single sitting, as I wanted to see how it would conclude. The series as a whole is very engaging and a fantastic retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet without using a copy and paste method from the source material. There are pieces of the play in this series, but it feels like an original tale. As I read the duology back to back, it was very easy to follow along and stay in the mindset of the story. If I read them further apart, I could see the beginning being a little slower for some readers; however, the story is incredibly worth continuing, as it is very captivating.
The story returns the reader to 1920s Shanghai with our two main characters, Roma Montagov and Juliette Cai, along with a group of secondary characters a couple of months after the first installment ended. It starts where the last installment ended with Roma dealing with his conflicting feelings for Juliette. She knows the truth about Marshall while Roma is seeking revenge for him. Additionally, the monsters from the first novel still pose a threat in this installment. This brings Juliette and Roma back together to try to work together.
In addition to Roma and Juliette, Benedikt, Rosalind, Marshall, and Kathleen continue to be excellent additions to the story. Each character is complex and it is difficult to choose favorites as they all bring something different to the story. As the main relationship, Roma and Juliette’s, of course, stands out; but I liked that it did not completely overshadow everything else going on in the plot and with the other characters. Their inner conflicts were very well done as each is torn between duty and romance. As Roma believes Juliette is responsible for the death of his best friend, there is a lot of tension between them. Gong did an excellent job at balancing this portion of the story with the multitude of other events going on. There were many plotlines and characters to track in this story, but they were all easy enough to understand and compelling enough to want to learn more.
Everything in this duology is well thought out from the characters to the events. I also like that this story was set up as a duology as it did not feel too cramped nor did it feel too stretched out. There are nods to the Shakespeare material, as this is a retelling, and to history, the Chinese Civil War, which began in the 1920s. It is not a straightforward retelling nor is it completely a historical novel, but there are inspirations from each. The ending of this story was excellent and fit the series well. Overall, this is a fantastic duology that is well worth the time it takes to read. It has definitely made me a fan of Gong’s writing and I cannot wait to read her next novel!
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, Margaret K. McElderry Books, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**