Our Violent Ends
Monsters once again roam the streets of Shanghai, but this time Roma and Juliette have been brought together by unexpected forces to eradicate them - their fathers. With civil war looming and forces beyond the gangsters' control at play, will a frosty (and temporary) ceasefire be enough to prevent the city from becoming a bloodbath? Or will these warring star-crossed lovers set Shanghai on fire themselves?
There are plenty of twists readers won't see coming (no mean feat in a retelling) as well as some great nods to the original play. Our Violent Ends bubbles with tension - not just within the plot, where stability in Shanghai balances on a knife-edge, but between Roma and Juliette themselves. The blood feud is more dangerous than ever. The original Romeo and Juliet have it easy by comparison; the warring Capulets and Montagues have nothing on the Scarlet and White Flower blood feud.
While the premise will definitely draw people into this series (it's a masterclass in how to pitch a novel in one sentence!) it's very much not the only selling point. Both books are exquisitely written. Gong's use of language has ranked her firmly among my favourite writers and I will automatically buy whatever she writes next. Every character from book one is developed further, with their own goals and character-arcs.
I'm writing this review carefully as I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say it has a perfect ending to an amazing sequel.
I wasn't really sure what to expect from Our Violent Ends - These Violent Delights was SO good and one of my favourite novels last year, and I was worried the sequel wouldn't be able to live up to my expectations. Instead, it surpassed them. I can't wait to see (and buy) whatever Chloe Gong writes next.
I was provided with an advanced copy of Our Violent Ends via NetGalley for review.