Goodreads: Our Violent Ends (These Violent Delights #2)
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published: 16 November 2021
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
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 a mission. 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.
TL;DR: This was a thrilling and tension-filled conclusion to the duology and although it ended up being quite different to what I expected, I still found myself really enjoying it. It was so much fun to buddy read with Leslie and Julie—we were throwing out a lot of wild theories and swooned over the same moments. I’m trying to make this review as spoiler-free as possible for the first book in the series too, so most of it will lean toward general thoughts I had about OVE.
“These violent delights have violent ends, you have always known this.”
I gushed about how much I loved Gong’s descriptive writing and the way she makes Shanghai come to life in TVD and it’s no different in OVE. Shanghai really comes alive through the pages and it wasn’t difficult to picture all the people and cultures mixing together in this bubbling melting pot of a city. Thanks to the increased tensions resulting from the events in book one, the underlying current of raw violence that persists in the city streets are so much closer to the surface and it created a heightened sense of foreboding and anticipation. It was such an atmospheric read! I felt so on edge for a good chunk of OVE because I could feel that shit was gonna get wild (and it did)! 😂
“All that is good is gone, or perhaps it never existed. The blood feud kept us apart, forced us onto different sides. I will not allow death to do the same.”
What I didn’t expect when I started OVE was how different it would be from TVD in terms of the plot. Although Roma and Juliette follow the same track of ‘solving the monster mystery’, this does focus more heavily on the geopolitical aspects of 1920s Shanghai; specifically, the brewing civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists and the effect the revolution has on the Scarlets and White Flowers and their decades-long feud. The monster aspect definitely took a back seat in this story, which I didn’t mind because fewer bugs=yay for me but honestly, if you’re not a fan of stories that are heavy on politics then you might not enjoy this as much.
“I will fight this war to love you, Juliette Cai. I will fight this feud to have you, because it was this feud that gave you to me, twisted as it is, and now I will take you away from it.”
Another thing I really loved about this book was that we continue to get the perspectives of the secondary characters and we learn more about their motivations outside of their connection to Roma and Juliette. I loved Benedikt and Marshall 💜 but I’m also happy that we also got to see more of Kathleen/Celia because I absolutely loved her character and how she also developed from TVD. OVE focused a lot more on Juliette and her development, even compared to Roma, but I didn’t mind because she was such a fantastic character and I felt for her on so many levels. When it came to their romance, let me just say that it was rife with angst and OML, I loved and hated it! I wanted them to get together already but also, the pining, the heartache, THE ANGST!!! And this coming from someone who generally can’t take romantic angst but it was so so good. It’s definitely a bit of a slow burn again but oh, the swooning that I did when they finally got together. 😍 I loved their love so much!
“To have and to hold, where even death cannot part us,’ Juliette whispered.
‘In this life and the next,’ Roma returned, ‘for however long our souls remain, mine will always find yours.”
That said, the ending came about very quickly. The main plot and strings were tied up well but I felt that more time could’ve been spent wrapping things up rather than building up to it because it was rushed in comparison to the rest of it. Also, while the end was fitting, at the same time, I felt it was a bit anticlimactic because of how rapidly everything seemed to happen. To be fair though, this could just be me wanting more time with all the characters but it felt abrupt to me. Still, this was a great conclusion to a thrilling series and I’m really looking forward to reading more books set in this historical period and setting!
Have you read Our Violent Ends or is it on your TBR?