Our Violent Ends

S. & S./McElderry. (These Violent Delights: Bk. 2). Nov. 2021. 512p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534457720.
Gr 8 Up–With the end of These Violent Delights, any peace that might have been found between the White Flowers and the Scarlet Gang has vanished, and Juliette Cai, heir to the Scarlet Gang, is entirely to blame. The year 1926 saw the monster stalking Shanghai killed, but 1927 isn’t any more peaceful. The reignited blood feud between the city’s rival gangs leaves bodies on the street every day. When Juliette’s father gets a mysterious ransom note threatening more monsters if they don’t pay up, they surrender the money. The White Flowers don’t pay and their territory is attacked—except this monster is contained, controlled, and entirely under someone’s command. With their positions as heirs under threat, Juliette and Roma, heir to the White Flowers, are forced to team up and follow their only lead into the French Concession. The nationalists and communists are on the verge of violent revolution, and Shanghai’s gang rule is under threat from both parties, giving this exciting romantic adventure a charged political backdrop. Readers find themselves knowing more than Roma and his friends at the start of the novel, which builds conflict alongside action-packed fight scenes. As what were once subplots in book one begin to take center stage, the story offers increased trans and queer representation. The cast is primarily white and Chinese.
VERDICT Gong neatly braids all her subplots into a tightly paced novel that balances a new mystery, a gang war, and romance, and drives it all to a satisfying conclusion. A first purchase for any collection.

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