New York Times bestselling author Chloe Gong has released the sequel in her These Violent Delights duology, Our Violent Ends. These Violent Delights has captured the bookish world by storm, charting Gong on the bestsellers list for over 24 straight weeks.
What began as a retelling of Romeo and Juliet in a modern sense, taking place in 1920s Shanghai, is quickly coming to an end. This month, fans of the series will have to pay both the Scarlets and the White Flowers as well as Juliette and Roma, a bittersweet goodbye.
In terms of material compared to its predecessor, it’s of nearly equal length, many stories interwoven throughout the ink splotches on every page. While the series is coming to an end, I can promise that this ending will leave most readers satisfied.
Warning: Mild spoilers below for These Violent Delights but none for Our Violent Ends.
Our Violent Ends has consistently been one of my most anticipated reads of the year for a multitude of reasons. The main reason being I, like everyone else, have been dying to know what happens after the way the first book ended. As a full supporter of Gong, even though she fully ripped my heart into pieces, she was able to give satisfying endings (and beginnings!) to all of her characters.
Our Violent Ends may take place four months after the events of These Violent Delights, but Gong has no issues setting the scene for us once again. Readers are pulled right back into the bustling streets of Shanghai, the walls and alleyways the gangsters inhabit, the burlesque club Juliette, Kathleen, and Rosalind frequent.
Juliette had sacrificed her repaired relationship with Roma to protect him from the blood feud but especially her cousin, Tyler. Roma largely blames himself for believing Juliette was the girl he once knew, and not the “changed” version she’s sprouted into. Roma is determined to get justice for Marshall and set the White Flowers back on course, by any means necessary. The two must set their differences aside and join forces to put a stop to the politicking, civil war, and the monsters. Their biggest threat? Protecting their hearts from one another.
Our Violent Ends is shrouded in heavy-hitting themes of the reeling effects of imperialism and waging a war that can only end in one way: mass bloodshed. The plot heavily focuses on the Shanghai Purge of April 12, 1927. These Violent Delights focused on a monster largely symbolic of colonialism and how colonizers believe they can force their Western ideals onto other cultures to Americanize them. In the year 2021, not much has changed, unfortunately, and that’s the most heartbreaking part. Our Violent Ends continues down this unapologetic path, reminding us that the real monsters are the people that are drunk for power. But the heartbeat of Shanghai has always been its people.
In These Violent Delights, it’s well documented how Roma and Juliette find themselves going from childhood friends to enemies to lovers before it finally takes a turn in what seemed doomed. Despite the blood feud, Roma had felt double-crossed by Juliette; she committed the ultimate act of betrayal. Now, of course, I’m not going to go into detail about how this plays out in Our Violent Ends (I want you all to read the book!). However, the relationship between Roma and Juliette is frostier and more rigid than ever. Before, the two danced around each other. Times are changing and let’s just say they aren’t as hesitant to strike. Metaphorically and not.
One of the benefits of this being a sequel is that we’ve already been introduced to all the key players of the series, so a lot more time is fleshed out on fan-favorite characters and further developing their storylines. If you weren’t in love with the “side” characters before … get ready to fall hard and fast. And if you were already. attached? Buckle up.
Once again, much like These Violent Delights, Our Violent Ends isn’t a strict romance novel. So if you’re going into it thinking that it will be, you will be sourly mistaken. However, there is just enough of it to leave readers yearning for more.
Gong expertly picks up the pieces of These Violent Delights to deliver a fantastic conclusion to the duology. Our Violent Ends is a tragically beautiful masterpiece that will leave bruises on the hearts of all who read it.
I’ll be completely honest, I didn’t know what to expect going into Our Violent Ends. I’m not a huge classic literature reader to begin with and the knowledge that I have on Romeo and Juliet is from the book (save for that campy 1996 film. You know the one). And yet, I was completely enthralled the entire time. Sure, I had my suspicions, but the limited expectations I did have going in, Gong delivered on completely. Her confidence and experience as a writer in the sequel shined through immensely. Although it’s officially described as a Romeo and Juliet retelling, Gong is able to achieve something so special in just two books that holds just as much weight as its source material.
Gong has previously announced that a sequel duology is on its way that already has a title: Foul Lady Fortune. The series will focus on a character that we have indeed crossed paths with and by the end, the question as to who is answered. So if you’re not ready to say goodbye just yet, be sure to keep up with Gong on Twitter, Instagram, and her website for details on the upcoming release.
Our Violent Ends is available now!