Author: Chloe Gong
Know More: GoodReads
Genre: YA Fantasy
So, I just finished reading my most awaited sequel of the entire effing year and all I know right now is that I need to stop crying and after I do, I am gonna hack the internet for Chloe’s address and ship her my therapy bills. Just kidding, but this book was worth every second of the wait.
“Needs and desires change as fast as the breeze.”
1920’s Shanghai, revolution weaving its way through the country, monsters hiding amongst the people, where betrayal and loyalty seem the same, hatred a blissful distraction, and amidst all of it grows a forceful ray of light and hope borne out of one of the most tragic stories in the history of literature. I knew this book was a Romeo and Juliet retelling, and yet I could only flip the page, anticipation building with each turn, and watch my favorite characters hurtle themselves into the heart of fire, gamble their lives away for love, for a better place to be in. If this isn’t enough to convince you to read the book, I don’t know what is.
“Everyone in this room…they all want to feel something, make something, be something – be real, real and not just another cog driving the money and mania of this city.”
I was quite stunned at the amount of research Chloe must have done for this book. I adored how she crafted this story from just being a romantic YA fantasy retelling to an iconic story portraying harsh realities of the Shanghai Massacre which was a true event in 1927. This book, this fictional story felt so real and captured the essence of the civil war so aptly that it truly felt like a real event that got lost amongst the pages of history because people scoffed at the idea of a tragic love story.
“We do not hate senselessly.”
The pacing was indeed a bit slow in the beginning, and there were just so many new developments with not just the characters that we follow, but the entire setting that I was quite confused but that could be because the story picks up three months after the events of These Violent Delights. But somewhere around page 115, the pacing picks up, and oh, when it does, I kid you not, the book doesn’t let you breathe.
This book had literally everything that I found lacking in the first book. While the first book was more based on the plot and romance, this book was more character-driven. There wasn’t a lot of focus on the plot, because there was just so much going on with every single person that it felt bigger than just the plot if that makes sense.
“I do have somewhere to go now,” Marshall muttered. “But it was better when you were there with me.”
Chloe Gong actually succeeded in making the retelling a sub-plot and bringing in so many characters, pouring so much meaning to this story than letting it be just a fancy blood feud that honestly I am so proud of her. It’s like a slap on the face for Shakespeare because this was not just a love story: it was the history of a city and the story of a bunch of kids caught up in an inevitable war, striving to make a life with the whole world against them.
I feel so emotional writing this, but let me just tell you, this book was everything. yeah, maybe *grudgingly admits* it was a tad bit predictable but we are just going to ignore that because hey, this is a retelling – what do you expect?
“Can you have a girl without a heart?”
Anyways, as you might have noticed – I haven’t talked a lot about the characters because if I do I will start bawling in the literal sense and this will be the last review I write. But one thing I know is that she certainly knows how to push her characters because at times I was like – “Please, just let them be!” There were characters I wished I could be like, and then there are some I am gonna think about for days to come, some I could relate with, and some I would love to meet – and I don’t know if there is higher praise than this when it comes to characters because somehow she made me care about even that one character who probably had less than five stupid lines.
“I think you do yourself a disservice by refusing to hope.”
You know how some books just make you wonder how on earth the author managed to do it? And then you just want to sit down and work on that writing project that you have had saved in a secret folder on your laptop? Well, this is that book for me and although it did break my heart, I am going to treasure it. It made me laugh and cry and scream and I cherished every second of it.
“The consequences of love in a city ruled by hate.”
And damn, those withered roses on the cover. If you know you know, but damn it.
Release Date: 16 Nov’ 21
Publisher: Simon Pulse
hello there! is this book on your tbr? what are your thoughts on this? also, can we please have a moment of silence to celebrate the death of the atrocious WordPress formatting? it has finally been fixed!