Today, I’m reviewing one of my most anticipated books of the year: Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong. Thank you so much to Kate Keehan at Hodderscpae for allowing me to read an eARC early in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Publication Date: 16th November
TW: blood, death, violence, murder, massacre, bugs, gore, suicide, torture
Our Violent Ends was a stunning work that completely immersed me back into Gong’s vividly imagined and morally complex world. Simply put, Chloe Gong has broken my heart in two.
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, after falling in love with Roma and Juliette through These Violent Delights. The hype has been real, especially after that cliffhanger. This is an absolutely exquisite continuation that only gets better and better at every turn. My expectations were sky-high after becoming obsessed with These Violent Delights but Gong breezed past them.My faith was proven correct though as Gong only raised the stakes in an emotional, brilliant and dark spectacle that filled my heart with joy and despair at the same time.
While this is a darker, bloodier and even more brutal world, Gong’s writing infuses this beautifully ethereal and transcendent nature to the plot that allows for traces of hope. Essentially, this is a book about love above all costs and therefore makes for an incredible re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet.
I loved how we were immediately thrown back in that gorgeously described world where the danger lurks just beneath the surface. Right from the opening page, there’s hints of colonialism and danger, with a nuanced discussion of these overarching themes running through the pages. I loved how Gong wove in strands of political discussion, as well as a wider narrative about colonialism and how that affects marginalised identities. Of course, I adored the way the patriarchy is dissected and taken down, as well as a thoughtful and romantic exploration of gender and sexuality.
As always, Gong has this magical touch to her characters that means you cannot help but fall in love with them. I loved the character development and the way the relationships unfolded over the course of the duology. No one is quite the same as they started off, irreparably changed by the events of these books and the way their political landscape is shifting. This shift is reflected in the writing, which feels strangely but beautifully ethereal and transcendent. There are moments packed full of heart and traces of hope amongst the bloodshed and slaughter that only seem to make the emotional impact hit much more. This is a brutal, bloody book though, with such suspense and tension all the way through. I just sped through the pages, watching the twists and turns unfold with shocking consequences.
All this culminates in an incredible ending. Without giving anything away, it is so ambiguous and beautiful. It felt just perfect, leaving enough to the imagination of the readers.
Our Violent Ends will rip your heart out. Gong has crafted an emotionally devastating masterpiece that beautifully ties the duology together.