Our Violent Ends (These Violent Delights)

Written by Chloe Gong
Review by Melissa Warren

Our Violent Ends is Chloe Gong’s sequel to her bestselling novel These Violent Delights. Her works are a reimagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in two parts. This sequel is set in 1927 as Shanghai is torn to pieces by Nationalists, Communists, and Imperialists. As these forces work to destroy one another and the people of Shanghai, the heirs of two feuding gangs fight to save their city.

Gong builds an unspeakably violent world to house the deepest friendships, sweetest romances, and strongest family bonds. It is a tale rooted in family, kindness, and a love much bigger than two people. Gong’s characters are complex and introspective. No action is without consequence in this romance because true love can only end in tragedy.

As the characters transcend gender roles, family expectations, and a city soaked in blood, each connects with something so much bigger than themselves. While Gong stays true to Shakespeare’s original themes, she brings to life a host of rich characters in a vibrant world. It is a world far beyond the grasp of a white, male, English playwright. Love is not only powerful in this story. It is equal. The moments that took my breath away were not between Juliette and her star-crossed love but the LGBTQ+ characters, who face much greater obstacles than feuding families.

This band of intrepid young gangsters must forge their own paths as they desperately fight to escape the sins of their fathers. As the streets of Shanghai run red with blood, Roma and Juliette fight for so much more than true love. Readers will clutch the final chapters of this reimagined classic with white knuckles and racing hearts. Highly recommended for ages 14 and up.