This book was slower than I was expecting. But it was a rollercoaster kind of read. It starts with a bang and goes from there. This book was a little gory compared to what I am used to reading, but I knew what I was kind of expecting with gangsters being the core of the novel.
The main character Juliette Cai is a Chinese heiress trying to prove her father and his inner circle that she can run the Scarlet Gang. Her competition for that title is her cousin Tyler Cai. Juliette has returned from a four-year leave in America. Because of this, she often feels like a foreigner in her own country. This is sad, and I believe it also helps her character arc. The author wrote her journey through this book well. What a reader can consider a flaw is Juliette feeling like in order to gain respect, she has to be Americanized. Juliette was a well written and round character. I enjoyed reading her and her two cousins Kathleen and Rosalind and how she takes care of them, knowing if she did not, they would not be protected.
The next main character is Roma Montagov Russian heir to the White Flower Gang. He is too trying to prove to his father he is worthy to run the gang. I think Roma is an okay character. I personally liked Marshall and Benedikt. The author wrote his journey well. He is a caring guy. Roma loves his sister and will do anything to protect her. He is a well-rounded and written well; he is just not for me. Like Juliette, he has his flaws too. Roma takes care of Marshall and Benedikt, much like Juliette does for her cousins.
The other characters in this book, I love! I want to see more of them. They played their roles well, and like the two main characters, the author wrote them extremely well. They were rounded and had flaws of their own. At some points in the novel, I wanted the story to stay with either Marshall and Benedikt or Kathleen and Rosalind. They were just as important in the story as they helped the main characters push forward. The monster was a bit odd. I do not know if I fully understand how that came about. Maybe it will be explained better in the second book.
This story takes place in the 1920s during the age of gangsters. Instead of America, this takes place in Shanghai, China. During this time, China is being overrun by foreigners, the ones mentioned were the French, Russians, and British and Communism was planting itself as well. The western migration was taking over. The burlesque bars and flapper dresses were becoming popular.
I enjoyed this book. It was a rollercoaster and a bit slow but written well and kept my interest. I would recommend this if you are interested in the 1920s, gangster settings, China, and gore. This book is bloody.
*I received an ARC, and this is my honest opinion.
I give this book a 4/5
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