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.
*Thank you so much to Hodder & Stoughton for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Our Violent Ends is an epic conclusion to this immersive, gut wrenching duology which Chloe Gong has penned. I felt the full range of emotions reading this book but an overarching one was how bittersweet it felt, I would happily read about these characters and more stories set in this world forevermore and I was just sad it was coming to an end.
Our Violent Ends picks up a few months after the end of the previous novel, with the rift between Roma and Juliette growing stronger despite their clear yearning for it to end as well as their respective gangs and their war getting more ferocious by the day. On top of that we have the threat of the monster and a virus which seems to be spreading like wildfire – add in some political unrest and the stage is set for a truly action packed narrative.
While I definitely feel like the book has a few pacing issues with the thick of the plot where it gets really interesting being concentrated in the latter half of the novel and feeling a tad uneven as a result due to a slower start. One thing is for sure though – there is a bit of something for everyone – a politically charged narrative, a fantasy / horror like twist with the monster element and of course a heady dose of romance. Speaking of romance, there’s so many layers to the yearning and angst in this series and I loved every single moment of it. I loved where Gong took Roma and Juliettes relationship and it really served to strengthen what we loved in These Violent Delights with further dimensions and complexity.
I also loved where Gong takes the characters in this final instalment – I feel like each of the characters gets a chance to really come into their own and somehow she manages to make them even more endearing – don’t get me wrong these characters can and do a lot of questionable things in the pursuit of their goals, and are capable of being ruthless when it comes down to it but you can’t help but love them anyway. The friendships between all the characters, notably between Juliette and Marshall was everything.
I think one of the main questions on readers lips before reading this book would be how Gong would approach the ending of this novel, given how we all know how the original tale concludes. I’m not sure how other readers will feel about how all the many threads in the novel wrap up but I for one, really enjoyed it. It felt true to the tone of the original with it’s sense of deep tragedy but also diverts from this with a sense of possibility too. That’s all I’ll say but if like me you’ve read it already and want someone to scream with about it all then feel free to leave a comment!
Overall, Our Violent Ends was a truly brilliant conclusion that I relished, while I’m definitely sad that Roma and Juliette’s story has come to an end – I’m looking forward to reading what Chloe Gong writes in the future. If this duology is anything to go by then she is definitely a writer to watch out for.
Until next time,