So I was a really big fan of These Violent delights. And while I definitely enjoyed Our Violent Ends, I wouldn’t say it quite lived up to the first book. Still 1000% better than Shakespeare though.
Roma and Juliette return while facing an even bigger threat. Not only are monsters lurking in the city, but someone is using them to blackmail both the Scarlets and White Flowers. Roma is still furious with Juliette over his cousin’s death, making it unlikely that the pair will be able to work together. But with the city unraveling at every corner, the two must collaborate to figure out who is a threat—and what their ultimate goal is.
To start, I was confused for about half of it. Now this might just be a me problem, because I’ve noticed that whenever books deal with politics, I have no clue what’s going on. The same thing happened to me in Game of Thrones (fantasy politics, but still). Keeping the two gangs and the nationalists and the communists (and the workers?) and all of their various alliances separate was really, really hard for me. So when characters would talk about the various parties I kind of zoned out. Again—this is probably my fault, but it did make for some long and boring parts.
I wasn’t sure about the overarching plot-in a lot of ways it was the same as the first one. There’s a return of the madness. Roma and Juliette are on opposing sides. Tyler and Dimitri are insufferable. But at the same time, there were characters that deviated in ways that didn’t make sense to me.
Although it took a while to get to the action in this book, it did retain a lot of positive elements from the first one. Juliette was just as determined to stand up to colonialism and the foreign powers threatening to overtake Shanghai. There was lots of tension between her and Roma that made for great drama. And of course, we got to return to see the best characters of the series, Benedikt and Marshall. One of this duology’s big strengths is the witty banter we get from the teens, which definitely continued in this book.
Overall I would say this is worth a read if you enjoyed the first one, although it takes a little bit for the story to truly pick up!
Pacing: slow beginning, fast end
Intended audience: YA
Content warnings: violence, blood, murder