Book Review: Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong

The Cai house in Shanghai has been abandoned. The Scarlet gang is gone and it’s feud with the White Flowers is just a lingering wound in the memory of Rosalind Lange.

Four years ago, Rosalind was brought back from the brink of death by a scientific serum. Now, she’s the most dangerous weapon in the Nationalist’s arsenal. As the Japanese are moving into Shanghai and a murderer is stalking the city, she’s been paired with a partner. Posing as a married couple, Rosalind and Orion are planted at Seagreen Publishing. But in the lives of spies, double agents, and triple agents, you never know who you can trust—and Rosalind finds her new “husband” both maddening and enticing.

Foul Lady Fortune is a new duology from Chloe Gong. It picks up after the events of These Violent Ends and it’s difficult to read and review it without some comparison to These Violent Delights, the series in which we first met some of the characters. Especially since I loved the first series.

I’m Foul Lady Fortune, there’s a much slower build from the opening until the action and stakes increase and also in the interaction between Rosalind and Orion.

For me, I’m addition to in being a much slower build, Rosalind and Orion lack the heat and intensity that drew me so deeply into Juliette and Roman’s relationship. Rosalind and Orion grate on each other’s nerves at first. They fall into a comfortable partnership with a slow build romance that blossoms throughout. Even though I liked them both I found myself wishing for more between them.

Alisa makes an appearance as do others from Gong’s previous series. It’s always enjoyable when familiar characters come into a new situation and make an impact.

The first time I really felt my heart race was in a scene with Rosalind in a bathroom with someone who she’d let her carefully crafted persona slip. I wish there’d been more glimpses of Rosalind as Lady Fortune before that. I love her as that spy/assassin. That was the premise that really interested me in this book and I’d hoped for more of that. The spy aspect was a little more subdued and quiet than I’d imagined.

The whole novel had a slow progression and lacked the feeling of danger I experienced on every page of These Violent Delights.

Chloe Gong can definitely craft a world and invoke all the emotions that go with it. Although Foul Lady Fortune didn’t hit all the high notes I’d expected it to, it was still a good read, an interesting book, and identifiable characters.

*I received a copy of Foul Lady Fortune from Simon and Schuster Children’s Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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