The year is 1927, and Shanghai teeters on the edge of revolution.
The heartstopping follow up to These Violent Delights, an imaginative, alluring retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai.
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 into 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.
A brilliant end to this amazing duology. Chloe Gong has done it again!
We pick up from the events of These Violent Delights with Juliette sacrificing her relationship with Roma to protect him from the fallout of the blood feud between their two families. Juliette knew if she ‘killed’ Marshall that Roma would never forgive her and thus would not pursue a relationship with her. Of course, this then leads to the dangerous conclusion that he may use the blood feud as an excuse to kill her for revenge.
Shanghai is a powderkeg. The monsters we thought that ended with Paul have resurfaced and there are more. Threatening blackmail letters are being sent to both the Cai and Montagov family to extort money in exchange for not releasing the monsters. The White Flowers and Scarlet gang are at each other’s throats and the Nationalists are rallying to take over everything.
I did find it a little slow to read in parts. The book from Netgalley wasn’t formatted in the best way for an easy read but I got through it and the story still shone despite this. This is no usual retelling of Romeo and Juliet. You know the names and the rough story but this is where Chloe turns it on its head.
Rosalind and Kathleen are more prominent in this story and it’s great to see. Rosalind is an interesting character and her naivety can be costly. Juliette I adore, she sacrifices her own heart for the sake of her family but more so for protecting Roma. She would rather him be safe and hate her than live in a world without him. Roma, struggling to be the heir his father wants, now has a boost with his newfound hatred and starts acting accordingly. Benedikt and Marshall are just beautiful, that’s all!
Tyler is another interesting character, a little unlikeable as he is doing all he can to undermine Juliette and take her place as heir and is often thoughtless and one-minded about his actions.
I’m glad that this book focused more on the characters and the turning tide of power within Shanghai. I think it would have been easy to roll with the monsters again and make this more of a horror story but the true horrors here are the people.
Roma and Juliette must be a team to bring Shanghai to heel and save its people from the Nationalists that are coming to take it all away. They both want to save the world and neither of them wants to lose each other.
The ending is perfect. It’s heartbreaking but offers that glimmer of hope and harks back to the classic tale, that if these two lovers from warring families can make amends, get married and sacrifice themselves for love, then why is Shanghai at war? They brought about peace through their actions and that little end scene with Kathleen and Alissa was lovely.
A beautiful end to a wonderful duology. I really look forward to reading more from Chloe in the future. She has a beautiful way of writing that completely immerses you within the story.