A monster causing madness, gangs, 19-year-old Romeo & Juliet, Shanghai in the 1920s, did I mention an ACTUAL monster?!
The book in question is Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong. The second book in a duology, the first being These Violent Delights.
In book one, Juliette and Roma are star crossed lovers of rival gangs in 1920s Shanghai. They are thrown into each other’s orbit again when a monster starts ravaging their city. Get caught up on book one here.
In book two, Juliet Cai has rid Shanghai of the monsters…or so she thinks, while also feeding the blood feud between her family and the White Flowers by killing her one true love (Roma Montagov’s) best friend…or so he thinks.
DEEEEEP breathe because that’s a lot.
Juliette and Roma are thrown back together by their fathers to investigate why there are more monsters and why both of their families are being blackmailed to keep the monsters at bay.
There is also a building civil war with the Nationalists and a Communist revolution. Not to mention the French and British invaders.
I enjoyed both books. I gave Violent Delights a 4 stars on Goodreads but would really give it a 4.5. I think I enjoyed it better than Violent Ends. To me, Ends gets bogged down with who was fighting who, who was wanting power, who was in control. I couldn’t keep up with who Roma and Juliet were fighting with at any given time. Although it probably is a good representation for how people in Shanghai felt at the time, it took me out of the story while I was reading it. Also, do not read this if you’re wanting a swooning love story. There is some but don’t go into the books only wanting that.
Ready to feel old? Cho was a senior at The University of Pennsylvania when her first book was published; 22 when this second was published. She’s really big on “BookTok” and got her inspiration from the stories her parents told about Shanghai. A spin-off from this series is already coming out this fall. I give the woman props!
I give Our Violent Ends four stars.
And yes, I imagined Romeo + Juliet’s Leo for the character of Roma throughout both books. I am a millennial.
My name is Laura. I am a librarian and will be reviewing books on The Alabama Take. You can follow me at bamareads on Instagram where I also talk about books. I like talking about books. 🤷🏻♀️ It’s nice to be here. 🙂