This book was one of those books I was super excited about. I’m not a fan of Romeo and Juliet, but a retelling set in Shanghai in the 1920s? PLUS a supernatural mystery? I was extremely here for this book. This story did start out strong, however I felt that the book dragged on in the end and could have ended a 100 pages sooner, much of the plot repeated again and again. I fell in love with the characters. Juliette is a character that you instantly love because she’s strong and doesn’t care about being nice. You realize there’s a lot behind this, a lot of trauma that made her become cold and ruthless. Roma on the other hand I didn’t care for that much. He fell flat. He was technically the same as Juliette, but with a softer tone to him. He was a gangster unwilling to kill. There were times I liked him, I liked what he stood for, but by the end he felt like he got in the way more than anything. I loved the representation in this book, Kathleen being a transwoman and Marshall a gay man. The author wrote them both well, not letting those things rule their characters and be their sole trait. Did it play a big part in both of them? Kathleen at least, yes. Marshall, not so much. Being part of both the gay and trans community, I did love seeing this inclusion in a book set in the 1920s, when people like to pretend that no one was gay back then. As for the plot, it did suck me in at first. Two rival gangs, a madness spreading through their city, members of the gang dropping quickly. That the two ex lovers now must work together to solve it. I do love a good enemies to lovers. And this book took it a step further, from enemies, to lovers, to enemies, to dealing with each other, and finally lovers again only for it to sour once more. Personally I would have preferred if the romance had held out a little longer. It just didn’t fit with the fact the two of them. It felt a little forced.
So my final thoughts. It’s an enjoyable story, though it didn’t fully live up to the hype I had for it. It fell flat in a few places, but I am interested to see what book two gives us.