Helloooo everyone and happy Tuesday! I hope you’ve all been having a great August so far. Today, I am coming back on here to talk to all of you about Our Violent Ends, the sequel to These Violent Delights. I was recently granted an e-arc by the lovely people over at Simon & Schuster and I just finished it a couple of days ago actually. It surpassed all of my expectations and I am SO EXCITED to talk to all of you about it (no spoilers of course). For all of you anxiously awaiting this book after that insane ending in These Violent Delights, I will straight up tell you that you will be in *emotional pain* after reading this book. In that good, “I can’t believe Chloe Gong could ever hurt me like that” way.
So, let’s get started on my review of Our Violent Ends!
This was really really really good. Expectations? Gone. I read These Violent Delights last year and gave it a four star, so I already had some expectations going into Our Violent Ends. But, I just did not expect to like this book that much! I was not emotionally prepared for this book. In fact, I’m going to need some compensation for how bad that ending destroyed me. Chloe Gong truly did us dirty in the best possible way. Where was the permission in this?? I will not shut up about it, and I am still in shock over how much I liked this book. It’s definitely secured itself as one of my top three books of the year so far.
Our Violent Ends starts off a bit after These Violent Delights ended and begins to discuss the consequences of the HUGE cliffhanger/twist (last few chapters, you know what I’m talking about if you’ve read it) we had in the prior book. We get to see how Roma and Juliette’s relationship has progressed from when we last saw them, and how their lives have been going so far. There is an insane amount of angst and sexual tension and honestly, give me all of it. I don’t know if things have been turned up a lot or if my crippling memory loss hasn’t served me well over the past year, but I did not remember things being this intense in the prior book. It’s like if you take the midway point in a hate-to-love relationship where they say they hate each other, but we all know there’s a part of them that secretly loves the other and just magnify it. AKA even more of the best part. Now imagine that same sexual tension with Roma and Juliette pointing knives at each other and not being able to kill the other. I think that reading these fantasy books are really messing with my views on romance because the mix of enemies to lovers with just a touch of *i want to kill you, but i can’t* is my new thing.
It was so attractive
We also get to see changes in each of the characters’ personalities with the cliffhanger. We see a sharp change in Roma’s personality, acting colder, less emotional, and more vindictive. Similarly, we see Benedikt falling into a shell of who he once was, emotionless like Roma, but in a more hollow way. We see Juliette struggling with her feelings for Roma after everything that has happened, trying her best to balance her role as the Scarlet Gang heir with her empathy for others outside of the group. Finally, we see Marshall, surprisingly okay, doing his best to protect Benedikt no matter the risks. I liked that the cliffhanger/twist from the past book didn’t immediately resolve itself and that it had significant repercussions for almost all of the characters in the sequel. It’s really interesting to see how each of the characters deals with it in their own way, and I thought that it made them feel more real. It carries on throughout a decent chunk of the story and it is revealed naturally.
We also get a lot of character development within Kathleen. Without spoiling anything, she learns to embrace who she is, rather than pretending to be who she isn’t to please those around her. She becomes stronger as a person, and hearing a few chapters from her perspective really emphasized her growth as a character. I also enjoyed reading about Rosalind’s character a lot more. Honestly, I feel like Our Violent Ends deepened their purposes in the context of the duology, and I really loved getting into their heads about their thoughts and motives in the corresponding POV chapters. It made me care more about them as characters and made them more relevant and impactful.
Going back to our main couple of Juliette and Roma, it is just really fun to see their relationship grow and develop throughout the story. Their backstory and divisions within gangs all contribute to such a satisfying forbidden lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romance. They make rash decisions in the process, but it surprisingly works to their characters in the type of impulsive love they have for each other, which kind of mimics Romeo and Juliet in a much better way. They would literally destroy the world for each other, and it’s totally dramatic, but I’m here for it. All it did was secure my need for a Roma to call me “dorogaya” in my life, so I’d say it’s one of my favorite parts of the story.
Going more into the plot, we continue to see how the monsters/parasites/whatever you call them still impact the city today, despite the efforts of the previous book. It carries on in an alternate way that connects the two books well. It still has the same investigative, “who did it?” and “where are the monsters coming from” vibes that the first book had, which was pretty interesting. There are a few big mysteries in there that lead into some plot twists. I will say that I am a really bad predictor when it comes to these things, so I was surprised! It made for a nice “whoa, really?” and I really liked reading about these unexpected reveals.
We also have the same political conflict of the first book between the White Flowers, Scarlet Gang, Communists, and Nationalists all fighting for power. It defines the whole story and continues to be there despite the many other plot points. I am always a big fan of political intrigue, and I really liked its continuous impact on the relationships, alliances, and events of the story. It just adds another layer to the story that complicates things beyond the surface level.
As for the pacing, it is a lot better than the first book. I think that it took so much time to set up everything and really explain the world, that the first book felt boring at times. However, things pick up instantly in the second book and when you think it can’t get more intense, it gets more intense. The last 20% of the book had so much action in it from all of the plot points finally peaking at once, and it made for a stunning conclusion. It was so wild. Where I may have skimmed through a few chapters of the first book, I felt so much more immersed in the second and it gave me the perfect mix of fast-paced plot, developing relationships, and politics.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, yes, yes, yes, please go out and read this series so I can have more people to talk to about it! The series is perfect for lovers of forbidden starcrossed lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romance, a gorgeous 1920s Shanghai setting, political intrigue, and a fast-paced plot. Even if you’re a bit unsure of the first book, I’d highly recommend picking up this conclusion because of how much it amped up in excitement and enjoyment for me. It’s one of my favorite series endings I’ve read in a while, and I am not afraid to shove it in your faces.
Anyways, I’m going to head off until I get word of Chloe Gong’s new spin-off series (held in the same world with some of the same characters!), so I will see you all then.
Thank you for all reading through my review! I hope that you enjoyed it, and I really hope that you all considering giving the series a try. I’ve been in a bit of a book slump lately, but this book genuinely made me want to pick up my Kindle and read.
I’m going to try to finish either Mistborn or an ARC of Defy the Night (I am truly blessed with all of these amazing advanced copies) in two weeks for my next blog post! Hopefully I’ll be able to share some more positive thoughts about either of these. 🙂
Hope you all have an amazing Tuesday and happy reading!