A Complete Guide to Chloe Gong 


When Chloe Gong released her debut novel These Violent Delights in 2020, she immediately cemented herself as a staple author in young adult literature. She has currently published five books and a few novellas across both YA and adult fantasy genres. This guide will help you navigate the world of the Secret Shanghai novels!

These Violent Delights is the first of the Secret Shanghai novels. Set in Shanghai in 1926, this spin on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet follows the heirs to two rival gangs. Juliette Cai is the heir to the Scarlet Gang, while Roma Montagov is heir to the White Flowers. Once, they were in love—before betrayal ended their budding relationship. Now, a contagious madness is sweeping through Shanghai, causing members of both gangs to claw out their own throats. Roma and Juliette have to put aside their differences to stop the madness before all of Shanghai falls prey to it. 

Gong’s debut novel was one of my favorite reads of 2021. It’s the perfect blend of historical fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi, and you truly feel immersed in the setting while reading it. Roma and Juliette are a true enemies-to-lovers romance as well, with so many great moments together. The story had everything I was hoping it would: in-depth historical context, a great romance, an intense mystery to solve, and a beautiful aesthetic. 

Our Violent Ends is the second Secret Shanghai novel and the final book in the These Violent Delights duology. It’s now 1927, and, after the events of the first book, Roma and Juliette are once again at odds with each other. Juliette’s place as heir of the Scarlet gang is under threat from her cousin, forcing her to keep Roma away. But another monstrous threat is brewing on top of the threat of civil war as the Nationalists take over. Juliette needs Roma’s help if they’re going to save their gangs—and their city. 

Every once and a while, you come across a book that has you glued to your seat and losing track of time as you stay up way too late to finish it. Our Violent Ends is one of those books. Nothing could tear me away from this book while I was reading it. I was overwhelmingly invested in every character’s arc, and they all intersected beautifully. In this novel, the historical context of Shanghai in 1927 played a vital role in the plot, and Chloe Gong perfectly weaved together true historical events with fictional scenarios. While These Violent Delights was great, Our Violent Ends was amazing. 

Foul Lady Fortune is the first book in the second Secret Shanghai duology, set four years after Our Violent Ends. It’s now 1931 in Shanghai, and the Japanese Imperial Army has begun its invasion. Rosalind Lang is immortal, and she’s been working as an assassin for her country. With the looming threat of the Japanese Army, Rosalind has a new task: become a spy and infiltrate foreign society. However, she has to pose as a married couple with Orion Hong, and they both have secrets that they don’t want the other to know. 

Foul Lady Fortune contains major spoilers for Our Violent Ends, so make sure to read the other books mentioned first! For this book, Gong chose to retell Shakespeare’s As You Like It, and I loved this book just as much as I loved the first duology. She has chosen to incorporate more and more true historical content as the series has gone on, which I’ve really enjoyed. You can tell the amount of research put into it. I loved the new character Orion; his storyline had me hooked from the start. There were a lot more sci-fi and fantasy elements as well, providing such an interesting contrast to the setting. 

Last Violent Call is a set of two novellas following characters from the These Violent Delights duology. It takes place after the events of Foul Lady Fortune, and, because of this, it contains major spoilers for big events in all three books. To avoid spoilers, I cannot give a proper description for the two novellas. However, I absolutely adored both of them, and they were a great way to set up the introduction of these familiar characters to this new duology. They are also essential to understanding the series, so make sure you don’t start the final book until you’ve read these!

Foul Heart Huntsman is the conclusion to the Foul Lady Fortune duology and the Secret Shanghai series. After the events of Foul Lady Fortune, Rosalind’s identity is exposed and Orion is gone. Now that everyone knows the truth about her, she is struggling to leave the city to search for him. When she convinces her superiors to send her on a national tour, everything goes wrong. She finds herself stuck outside of Shanghai, working with old friends to save Orion and stop a Japanese invasion and a chemical weapon that could destroy her country. 

This is the only book that I have yet to read, but I know I’m going to love it. The last book ended on such a cliffhanger, and everything has been building up to this moment. I have a feeling that both the fictional and historically accurate storylines are going to come full circle as all of the characters reunite for one final fight. 

Sam Yanis, Pine Reads Review Writer


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