ARC Review: Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong | A Searing Finale to the Iconic Duology that Illuminated the timeless tale of Romeo and Juliet

Hi friends!

Yes, the day has come. These Violent Delights which I read earlier in January, emerged one of my favourite books for this year so far, and given the hype, Our Violent Ends is one of mine, and literally everyone’s most anticipated sequel of 2021.

So, let’s talk Our Violent Ends.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS NO SPOILERS FOR BOTH BOOKS IN THE DUOLOGY. You can check out my review of book 1: THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS too!

OUR VIOLENT ENDS by Chloe Gong

Genre(s): Historical, Fantasy | Age: Young Adult
Series: These Violent Delights

Published: 16 November 2021 | Read: 16 October 2021
No. of Pages: 494

Trigger Warnings ↴ Blood, violence, gore, character deaths, murder (including mass murder), war themes, torture, weapon use, insects, alcohol consumption, parental abuse.

PLEASE NOTE THE SYNOPSIS BELOW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BOOK ONE: THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS

Shanghai is under siege in this captivating and searingly romantic sequel to These Violent Delights, which New York Times bestselling author Natasha Ngan calls “deliciously dark.”

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.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC, for a sincere review. All quotes are taken from the ARC, and may differ from the final publication.

REVIEW

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS NO SPOILERS FOR BOTH BOOKS IN THE DUOLOGY. You can check out my review of book 1: THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS too!

Without a doubt, Our Violent Ends was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021. I’ve seen people howling over it, giving it five gleaming stars all over Instagram, Goodreads and the blogosphere.

Well, for me, I beg to differ… because it was… complicated.

Our Violent Ends takes off swiftly after the dramatic reveals and events of These Violent Delights, I won’t say much so as not to spoil book 1: These Violent Delights. What I deeply loved about Our Violent Ends was the supersonic, breakneck speed it moved, I felt as if being dragged by my feet, it was so different from the meandering nature of These Violent Delights. Our Violent Ends understood the characters so intimately, it being clear that the events of the book were all so well thought out in further shaping our characters, as well as being plain thrilling.

We return to glittering and gritty 1920s Shanghai, a world of glamour, gore and gut, one dominated by ferocious gangs, trembling and splitting under the weight of Westerners. Chloe Gong also knew the hearts of her loyal readers, and did not hesitate to toy cruelly with our feelings – it was a stressful, passionate whirlwind of a story, Laced with light-hearted humour amidst the stark danger, once it established its footing, it charged towards an ending that was literally explosive.

“Tragic,” [redacted because of spoilers] muttered into the wind. Montagovs were so dramatic.

Another thing I deeply appreciated about Our Violent Ends was the characterisation of course. These Violent Delights gave us layered backgrounds of our two star-crossed lovers Roma Montagov and Juliette Cai, and Our Violent Ends only amplified that complexity, giving readers something akin to a venture into their very soul. I mentioned in my review of These Violent Delights how I loved that the side characters were there to bring forth certain themes as well, but Our Violent Ends topped it with the side characters given more attention and distinct values which brought them on all diverging paths, moulding them into characters as compelling with our main stars.

Burn through vengeance and terror and warfare. Burn through everything that fuels the human heart and sears it red, burn through everything that covers the outside with hard muscle and tough sinew. Cut down deep and grab what beats beneath, and it is love that will survive after everything else has perished.

Through the searing finale that was Our Violent Ends, Chloe Gong cements the very core of this duology, illuminating how regardless of how the stars align, love can prevail. It is a journey with two young people pitted against each other, but allow a ferocious love to blossom. It’s a tale of victims of destiny who wouldn’t conform, who would keep fighting despite the odds. And it was told through such evocative, vivid prose that has clearly matured since its predecessor, the dialogues, narration which were a window to the soul of Our Violent Ends, being a breathtaking and hard-hitting experience you would not want to miss.

In the end, this was all that they were. Two hearts pressed as close as they dared, shadows melting into one by the flickering candlelight.

However, despite Our Violent Ends being a resonant and meaningful conclusion to this iconic duology, something was off.

To be frank, I was bracing myself to be flooded with emotions and a deep sense of cultural connection to this book as with the first, and end it with a triumphant 5 star rating. One of the primary reasons was the romance.

These Violent Delights imbued in me a renewed sense of fervour for the classic enemies to lovers trope with its annoyingly seductive “will they won’t they” whisper that slide around the book, and from hearing reviews, I geared myself up for more tension, more angst and more passion. In Our Violent Ends, the initial dynamic between Roma and Juliette was truly a sight to behold, tenderness and longing raging against viciousness and a deep sense of hurt. However, as it began to spiral, as circumstances started to change, I found myself more and more detached and indifferent to this duo I had once anchored my heart to, and the only word that could adequately describe my current feelings toward their relationship would be meh, which was deeply saddening, and compromised my enjoyment for the rest of the novel.

The Nationalists shunned the imperial monarchy, but when they marched into this city and took it, they acted just as conquering kings and empires did. Different titles, the same idea. Power was only long lasting if it were a reign, and reigns needed heirs.

If you know anything about the events of China during the 20th Century, then your ears would be hypersensitive to the year 1927, for it was the start of the Chinese Civil War (1927-1949) fought between the Communists led by Mao Zedong and the Nationalists led by Chiang Kai Shek, with the Nationalists standing strong initially but the Communists ultimately emerging the final victor, with the Nationalists retreating to China. As much as I’m passionate about 20th Century Chinese history, I won’t go on a full on ramble here haha, I’ll save that for my review on The Poppy War trilogy, one that has strong parallels to that turbulent time (yes I could not resist the chance to mention my favourite series <3).

“They call this place the Venice of the East.”

Juliette scowled, “Just as they call Shanghai the Paris of the East,” she said. “When are we going to stop letting the colonizers pick the comparisons? Why don’t we ever call Paris the Shanghai of the West?”

Anyway, back to Our Violent Ends after that bit of context, naturally the politics and fighting between the two sides were prevalent throughout Our Violent Ends, but I’m rather disappointed by the lack of depth. These Violent Delights meant the world to be because of the inspection of imperialism, and though it was a good parallel to clan fighting, the role that the civil war played was rather surface level despite the book’s deep entrenchment in its affairs. It was more of an impetus to cause chaos and tension, rather than being ingrained in the very core of the story used to bring about the political and ideological climate of China in the late 1920s, this character trait of a good historical fantasy, something that Our Violent Ends missed the mark in. Hence, this time the world building lacked ardour, and I feel almost a sense of injustice at this great missed opportunity for expansion.

“These violent delights have violent ends,” Juliette whispered to herself… “you have always known this.”

Overall, I’m deeply conflicted by Our Violent Ends. I adored the path the story took, our favourite characters fleshed out in remarkable detail, as well as Chloe Gong’s enrapturing prose which truly brought out the core theme of this duology. However, I’m on the other hand, truly disappointed by the romance as well as the lack of historical weight especially during such a nation-defining period. As a whole though, if you loved These Violent Delights, I’m sure that Our Violent Ends will inevitably capture, as well as irrevocably change your heart, as the searing finale to the truly iconic retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Anyway, a note of warning: prepare for danger.

rating // ★★★

Check out my review of These Violent Delights // Other Our Violent Ends content you should check out: Saima’s review | Georgia’s review | Kashvi’s review | Prutha’s review

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What are some of your most anticipated releases for this year? Have you read These Violent Delights? Tell me how scared you are for Our Violent Ends, and I’ll smile knowingly!

23 thoughts on “ARC Review: Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong | A Searing Finale to the Iconic Duology that Illuminated the timeless tale of Romeo and Juliet

  1. lovely review cherelle!! hmm now that you’ve pointed it out i can definitely see the lack of depth in the politics and fighting between two sides in the 1920s shanghai portrayed in this book.

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  2. I’m scaaaaaaaared haha. I’m gonna actually wait for the release date on this one (I honestly don’t know when that will be just that it’ll be at the end of the year sometime. So, within the next two months?) but ack.ackackack. (okay I just went back and checked and you had the release date on your review haha. Sooner than I expected!) Ouch sorry to hear that the romance lacked for you…honestly, romance isn’t too big of an importance for me in books, so hopefully that won’t annoy me as much. But everything else!!! Ack!!!

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  3. Love this review❤❤ And I guess now I’m prepared to read Our Violent Ends but…. I’m still frightened about it due to it’s ending🥺🥺
    No worries! I’ll gather up my courage❤

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  4. ahh, i’m sorry you didn’t like it 😦 but i’m going to be reading both the books on a spree once i get my hands on the second one (yes i’m very scared for the first one’s cliffhanger?) i hope to understand some parts of this review better since i kinda skimmed because i was wary for spoilers! it was a great review together 🙂

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  5. this was such a well thought out review, cherelle! I totally agree with your point about Juliette and Roma, they did feel off and I wasn’t as interested in their romance as I was in TVD. I also see your point about the politics – it didn’t delve into it as much as it could have. It’s the reason why I liked Kathleen’s storyline so much, since it was mostly her storyline that involved politics via the communist party, but there definitely could have been more depth about the political climate overall. thank you for sharing your thoughts ❤

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  6. Ahh I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this as much as you hoped to! I really enjoyed tvd, and I’m crossing my fingers that I will enjoy this book when I get my hands on this!
    I really love the way you write reviews 💕 hope you have a great november!

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  7. THIS REVIEW IS EVERYTHING. I think you’re my favourite book reviewer on here. 🥺💕 I’m so sorry this didn’t entirely live up to your expectations even if you still found yourself hooked by the story and its characters. I am *still* reading TVD and I’m hoping to make a dent into the book. I also burst out laughing when you mentioned The Poppy War; and having studied modern Chinese history, I cannot wait to see these elements in the story! 🥰

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  8. i love this detailed review Cherelle!! i very much agree with your points, especially about roma and juliette and the political depth of the story, something i had problems with myself ❤❤

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  9. Loved reading your in-depth review Cherelle! I understand what you mean when a sequel just doesn’t feel like the previous book or when certain elements are expanded as you had hoped. Either way, wonderful review and I do hope to read these soon! 🥺💞

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  10. This sounds great. I don’t know much about Chinese history but story revolving in that era and theme and yet touching it only on surface level is a little disappointing. Sad it didn’t turn out as good as you anticipated.

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  11. congratualtions on this arc💫 i have heard so many good things about the duology i really need to start it soon!! always a lovely review and i can’t wait to see more of your posts soon💓

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