Friday, May 12, 2023

Book Review: "Last Violent Call" by Chloe Gong

Title: Last Violent Call 
Author: Chloe Gong
Series: "Secret Shanghai" #3.5
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Page Length: 240 pages
Publication Date: February 28, 2023
Rating: 5 // 5 stars

*Will contain spoilers for These Violent Delights/Our Violent Ends

Last Violent Call is a collection of two novellas set just after Foul Lady Fortune, which is the first in the sequel series to the These Violent Delights duology. Basically, here's a quick little guide on how to read them and where these novellas sit: These Violent Delights -> Our Violent Ends -> Foul Lady Fortune -> Last Violent Call -> Foul Heart Huntsman (which comes out later in 2023). Anyway, LVC consists of A Foul Thing, which follows Roma and Juliette, and This Foul Murder, which follows Benedikt and Marshall. If there's one thing I love most in this world, it's these four characters. 

Let's start with A Foul Thing. Roma and Juliette have settled down into quiet lives in a small village as leaders of an underground arms ring. They live a life of domestic bliss without too much excitement. But one day they're pulled into another mystery, one that ends up impacting them more than expected.

I loved being reunited with Roma and Juliette. I always sort of refused to accept that they had died at the end of Our Violent Ends and when it was announced that they were a part of these novellas I was so excited. Words can't even describe the feelings I had when it was announced. Even though it was only a small novella, getting to be reunited with them was so much fun. The domestic bliss moments...flawless. The love they have for each other...swoonworthy. And with the way this novella has ended, I am pretty confident in saying that they'll be in Foul Heart Huntsman, which makes me so excited to know the gang's getting back together. 

This Foul Murder is all about a murder-mystery set on a train. Benedikt and Marshall are on a seven-day train ride and someone is murdered one cabin over. But if they stop for the police to investigate, their tight schedule will be ruined. Thus ensues hilarity when they convince the conductor that they're investigators and they start looking into the murder. 

I absolutely loved getting a spotlight on these two. As much as I loved them in the TVD duology, they didn't get a whole lot of page time just on the two of them. Getting over 100 pages of just the two of them on an adventure was...amazing. They're so cute together and I loved seeing them in a bit of domestic bliss together since we didn't get much of it in the original duology. I just...I love them so much. 

The two novellas do tie together and should be read in order. The events of A Foul Thing directly cause and impact This Foul Murder, so you'll be spoiled if you read the second one first. I'd say that these novellas were 70% domestic bliss/fluff and 30% plot, which is exactly what I wanted. The plot in these were pretty low-stakes for the characters, but it is an important overarching plot that will play a big role in Foul Heart Huntsman when it finally releases later this year. Chloe Gong is a mastermind. I could dive into why and could take paragraphs and paragraphs to explain but I'll keep it simple and just say she's a mastermind with how she's created these stories. 

Overall, I'm absolutely obsessed with these novellas. I loved getting slice-of-life, domestic bliss stories even if there was still plenty of mystery and murder and stabbing. The plot threads that were left at the end of these novellas leave so much potential for Foul Heart Huntsman, which just has me even more excited for it. It's definitely going to be interesting to see how Chloe wraps up both the duology and this entire world in this final book. I know it'll also be a bittersweet moment, knowing that I won't get anything more from these characters but also finally knowing how it all ends. Anyway, if you are reading the entire Secret Shanghai world, these novellas are a necessity and honestly just so much fun!

Thanks for reading!

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