*Spoiler free, but spoilers for These Violent Delights*
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.
I loved These Violent Delights, and after the way it ended, I was incredibly eager to read the sequel. I knew this book was going to be absolutely heartbreaking, and I knew that characters were going to go through a lot of pain, considering the chaos they were left with at the end of the previous book, but I was still very eager to read it. Trigger warnings: grief, blood, violence, torture, gore
This book was just as good as These Violent Delights. Just, wow.
The way that Chloe breathes new life into the story of Romeo And Juliet is incredible. She takes the original and makes it something completely her own. She is just a downright incredible author, who writes downright incredible books.
I’m starting off with characters, because I want to cry every time I think about them because I love them show much. This book, like These Violent Delights is incredibly character driven. Every single one, even the side characters, have their own fleshed out personalities, wants, desires, dreams, and lives. Juliette and Roma with their knives and pistols and simmering hatred to hide the love underneath. Benedikt and Marshall, are just, so wonderful, and I love them both so, so much. Seriously, I could sit here and write out “so” fifty or more times to encompass my love for them. And Kathleen and Rosalind and Alisa, I just love them all so much.
And the relationships these characters form. GOSH, Chloe knows how to write angst. Like seriously, she needs to win some type of award because the way she brings about pain through this story and these characters is truly top notch. She takes the best tropes and then spins them into something even more incredible. She takes love and friendship and family and spins it into something incredible. I loved seeing these relationships progress, through the pain and the love and everything else. There’s knives to throats and love and shenanigans, and just, everything you would expect from a Chloe Gong book.
Also, the writing in this book, wow, it was so good. There were so many lines that were just breathtaking. And there were so many lines were the words were assembled in just the correct order and the impact they had was just so strong. Chloe is an incredible, incredible writer.
The way this story is crafted is also top notch. The angst, the yearning, the pain, the love, and everything else that was woven together to make a downright amazing book.
Another thing I loved was how the teens acted and felt like teens. They’re emotional, and they know that some of the situations they are in are way bigger than what they can handle. They focused on what they could change, and handled what the world threw at them from the other side.
There are also a lot of politics at play in this book. I am not the best person to speak on them, simply because I do not think I am informed or educated enough on them. But, I did want to mention that they are there.
Alright, I wanted to talk about the ending. We know how Romeo And Juliet ends. We know this is a Romeo And Juliet retelling. This book does, and does not, end like that. Yes, I know that is vague. But, I will say that this ending was one that was fitting. I don’t have words to describe just how amazing it was, but I will say that it was one of the best endings I’ve ever read. It was one that I felt like fit so, so well with the rest of the story. It was one that I wanted out of this book. It was one that left me in tears. It was one that felt like a hug over a bruise, the smell of a flower after a bee sting.
This book was an amazing conclusion to this duology. It gave me everything I wanted out of a sequel and as the last book in this series. I was shaking as I finished it, because it was just that good. I have so much love for it.