Book Review: 'Our Violent Ends' by Chloe Gong
What are you willing to do for love? Roma is stunned by Marshall’s death, and he is out for revenge. Juliette will not spill any secrets in order to protect the people she cares about most. A new monster now threatens the city and Roma and Juliette must again team up to try and save Shanghai.
I had really enjoyed Chloe Gong’s retelling of Romeo and Juliet in "These Violent Delights" and was very excited to see how she would continue their story in "Our Violent Ends." This book did not disappoint. I actually enjoyed it more than the first because the characters were well-established and we could jump right into the drama and action. I didn’t pick this up immediately after finishing its predecessor, but as I reflected on both, I found "Our Violent Ends" to have more adventure throughout. This was a fast-paced book that kept me turning the pages. There was a lot to follow, and I did have to re-read some parts to take mental notes of everything going on ensuring I didn’t get lost in the story.
I went into "Our Violent Ends" reminding myself that I think this duology is more sci-fi than fantasy. Knowing that made it more enjoyable. Even with monsters and traitors, I was more invested in Roma and Juliette and how they would end up saving Shanghai. The sci-fi elements added suspense and a common enemy, but it wasn’t my main focus for this book. While Roma and Juliette are still fiercely independent characters, we finally get to have some romance! I was wondering how their relationship would develop since this was such a unique and creative retelling. I was pleasantly surprised with their relationship development and felt there was enough tension and build-up to make their love story satisfactory.
Like with "Our Violent Delights," I was very impressed with this book. As an extension of a retelling, I had no expectations for where the story would go. I loved how Gong remained true to the Romeo and Juliet plot while making the characters more complex and relatable. Overall, this was a fantastic end to a thrilling story. It offered representation in classical literature that I hadn’t had before and showed how with a little imagination, characters could have many more layers of depth to them than previously written.