REVIEW: Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong

**I received an ARC from the the author as a friend (thank you, Chloe!!!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

(All quotes are taken from an ARC and should be checked against a finalized version of the book.)

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Book: Foul Lady Fortune (Foul Lady Fortune #1) by Chloe Gong

Release Date: September 27, 2022

My Rating: 5 stars

Rep: demisexual Chinese protagonist, bisexual Chinese protagonist, bisexual Chinese main character, Chinese trans woman main character, aromantic asexual side character; (Chinese-Kiwi author)

CW: violence, blood, mentions of human experimentation

Summary: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights and Our Violent Ends comes the first book in a captivating new duology following an ill-matched pair of spies posing as a married couple to investigate a series of brutal murders in 1930s Shanghai.

It’s 1931 in Shanghai, and the stage is set for a new decade of intrigue.

Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also stopped her from sleeping and aging—and allows her to heal from any wound. In short, Rosalind cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption for her traitorous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.

Code name: Fortune.

But when the Japanese Imperial Army begins its invasion march, Rosalind’s mission pivots. A series of murders is causing unrest in Shanghai, and the Japanese are under suspicion. Rosalind’s new orders are to infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot before more of her people are killed.

To reduce suspicion, however, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong, and though Rosalind finds Orion’s cavalier attitude and playboy demeanor infuriating, she is willing to work with him for the greater good. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets that she wants to keep buried. As they both attempt to unravel the conspiracy, the two spies soon find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined.

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LIST: if you like these violent delights

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As you well know, These Violent Delights is one of my favorite duologies of all time, and I’m still crying over Our Violent Ends. And next week, everyone gets to experience the pain that is book two! In preparation of Our Violent Ends‘s release date, I thought I’d celebrate by giving some book recommendations, especially as it’s been more than a full year since I’ve done an “if you like” book rec post. So, if you’ve already read Our Violent Ends or are still waiting for it, here are some book recommendations that I think you’ll like if you love These Violent Delights!

I’m doing something a little different in this post; there are still quizzes for you to take to narrow down your choices, but the recs and quizzes are split between the six main characters of the series. The books are all fairly similar to These Violent Delights in terms of vibes / character dynamics if not plot.

And if you like this post, please share it and/or give me a follow to see more like it! I’d love to know if you like these recs!

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REVIEW: Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

our violent ends cover

Book: Our Violent Ends (These Violent Delights #2) by Chloe Gong

Release Date: November 16, 2021

My Rating: 5 stars

Rep: ownvoices Chinese protagonist, main character, and side characters; gay main character; gay Korean main character; Chinese trans girl main character

CW: torture, gore, violence, murder (including mass murder), parental abuse, war themes

Summary: 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.

** I’m in the acknowledgements of this book! Check it out here. **

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DISCUSSION: a playlist for these violent delights

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These Violent Delights has been one of my favorite books this year, and I’ve been waiting to share this playlist for months! Now it’s finally out in the world, so I can spread my love for this book through song.

This playlist is a mix of some songs that I associate with Juliette or Roma or both of them and then some songs that are just vibes for the book overall. And yes, a lot of this IS from Halsey’s hopeless fountain kingdom album (which, for those who don’t know, is heavily influenced by Romeo and Juliet) and from the soundtrack for The Great Gatsby (2013) (which, for those who don’t know, is an amazing soundtrack).

I don’t necessarily think any of these songs are spoiler-y, considering you already know from the summary that Juliette and Roma are exes. I’ll reference some of their characterizations, but that’s not really plot-spoiler-y so. I did try to be as vague as possible in my explanations for choosing these songs so as not to spoil anything big.

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REVIEW: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

**I received an eARC from the publisher (thank you, Simon Teen!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

(All quotes are taken from an ARC and should be checked against a finalized version of the book.)

these violent delights cover

Book: These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights #1) by Chloe Gong

Release Date: November 17, 2020

My Rating: 5 stars

Rep: ownvoices Chinese protagonist and characters, Chinese trans girl main character, gay main character, Korean main character

CW: blood, violence, gore, character deaths, explicit description of gouging self (not of their own volition), murder, weapon use, insects, alcohol consumption, parental abuse

Summary: Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

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So I’ve been desperately awaiting These Violent Delights since it was announced, and I was lucky enough to receive an ARC (thank you again, Simon Teen!). Please know that this book broke me, and I’m still thinking about it four months later :’). My review will be up in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime, read on for my interview with Chloe Gong, the author, for her inspirations for writing this retelling and her characters’ favorite TV show!

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