Book Review: Chloe Gong’s Secret Shanghai

By Megan Vanscoyoc

Chloe Gong is a 24-year-old author from New Zealand and the youngest NYT Bestselling Author. Her current series, Secret Shanghai, includes 4 released books with one releasing in late September 2023. She draws inspiration from Shakespeare, with the first duology of the series being a Romeo and Juliet retelling, and the second being a retelling of As You Like It.

Although they are retellings of the plays, her captivating work of These Violent Delights and Our Violent Ends drops you right into late 1920s Shanghai, with a monster on the loose, murdering people from the Scarlet Gang, the White Flowers, and even innocent citizens.

When the murders become more frequent, and both gangs start to lose their ability to keep everyone calm, Juliette, the heir of the Scarlet Gang, must team up with her first love, and sworn enemy, Roma, the heir of the White Flowers. This duology is fast paced, breaks your heart and puts it back together again as you follow the main characters in solving the mystery of the monster and the murders.

Another book in the series, Foul Lady Fortune takes place in 1931 Shanghai, following Juliette’s cousin, Rosalind, a newly acclaimed spy that gets teamed up with another to investigate new types of murders happening, with the Japanese being the first suspect, right after the city had started to become less worried of monsters and murders.

There is not much that I can say about this one without spoiling the first duology, but the ending had me shocked and itching for the next book to come out, which would have been a year from when I actually read it. Now it’s only 6 months!

Last Violent Call, Gong’s newest release, is to be read after Foul Lady Fortune, but before Foul Heart Huntsman. However, it is two novellas that take place sometime after Our Violent Ends. Although it follows Juliette and Roma again, it is said to spoil some things that happen in the next duology.

I personally love everything that Chloe Gong has written, but I feel that maybe Last Violent Call wasn’t super necessary, I think the story could have ended how it did without these novellas, but I enjoyed them regardless.

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