Book Review: Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong

About the Book:

Title: Foul Lady Fortune

Author: Chloe Gong

Series: Foul Lady Fortune

Page Length: 528

Publication Date: Sept. 27, 2022

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Synopsis: It’s 1931 in Shanghai, and the stage is set for a new decade of intrigue.

Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also stopped her from sleeping and aging—and allows her to heal from any wound. In short, Rosalind cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption from her traitorous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.

Code name: Fortune.

But when the Japanese Imperial Army begins its invasion march, Rosalind’s mission pivots. A series of murders is causing unrest in Shanghai, and the Japanese are under suspicion. Rosalind’s new orders are to infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot before more of her people are killed.

To reduce suspicion, however, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong, and though Rosalind finds Orion’s cavalier attitude and playboy demeanor infuriating, she is willing to work with him for the greater good. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets that she wants to keep buried. As they both attempt to unravel the conspiracy, the two spies soon find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined.

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

I was so excited to read Foul Lady Fortune after reading the These Violent Delights duology not so long ago. It was a unique and engrossing story, as is this new book. The story weaves history, fantasy, and Shakespeare in such clever and seamless ways, the world-building is rich and immersive and vivid, and the symbols, imagery, and foreshadowing add so much to the story.

Stylistically, it’s like These Violent Delights in its carefully woven plot and powerful, thought-provoking words and scenes. I love Gong’s way of telling a story, slowly unraveling and exposing the characters and taking the story to unexpected places. I also appreciate the little nods to Shakespeare and his plays, particularly As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet. Added to that, the dark, ominous tone and a plot filled with suspense, murder, assassins, spies, lies, manipulation, romance, and brewing war make for an exciting read.

Initially, I thought the story was a little slow. It kind of reminds me of House of Earth and Blood in that way. The beginning didn’t immediately suck me in, but the story as a whole was amazing. Political intrigue abounds as Gong presents a 1930s Shanghai setting and two undercover agents posing as a married couple to uncover a serial killer. The story begins several years after the conclusion of Our Violent Ends, and it was exciting and a bit bittersweet to come back to this world. I adored many of the characters in TVD and was so happy to see they had roles in this book.

The cast of characters, some from TVD series and many new ones, are fantastic. Layered and complex, they all have such intriguing stories. Rosalind shows so much growth as she faces her immortality and seeks redemption for her past actions. I have to admit, I didn’t really like Rosalind in the other books, but she was fantastic in this one. Snarky, grumpy, and alone, Rosalind is also a survivor and one who fights to redeem herself throughout the story. I like that her story delves into her past, her mistakes, and what led to her detrimental decisions. It presents a well-rounded view of a complex woman.

I like Orion too, and how his playboy attitude and reputation contrast with the person we get to know. He is the sunshine to Rosalind’s grump, and their chemistry is fabulous. The way they bicker and banter is angst-filled and as complicated as the characters. I also like that though they are opposites in many ways, they actually share many similarities and connect on a deep level because of it.

Celia, Oliver (LOVE them!!!), Phoebe, Silas, Alisa, and so many more also have compelling stories, and it’s easy to become invested in each of them. I can’t wait to read the next book to find out what happens to them. Their relationships, connections, and romances (LOVE them all!!!) are sure to change after some of the shocking revelations and events that unfolded.

I would definitely recommend the book to readers who enjoy YA fantasy, especially if they read and loved the These Violent Delights duology. The suspenseful plot, the amazing characters, the fantasy elements woven together with history, the Shakespearean elements, the writing, THE LOVE STORIES!! There’s a lot going on and a lot to enjoy in this addition to the TVD world. And that ending!! Oh, my word, that ending! So good!

Thanks to Margaret K. McElderry Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.



Favorite Parts:

  • The mystery.
  • The romance.
  • The character development.
  • The writing.

Favorite Lines:

The damn city itself was telling her to move on, to find the next thing that would occupy her time, but all she wanted to do was burrow into the past, into the anger she was familiar with, into the comfort of resolving the wrongdoings that had stacked up here. It is better this way, she always told herself. Better to fix the past, because she would always be trapped in it.

No matter how lightly he wanted to take the world, the world came at him at breakneck speed every second day.

What was worse, being the cog or the blade of a killing machine? Didn’t they both perform the very same function if they were one part of a whole?

We are more powerful than that. We don’t need to pick up a torch when we can manipulate the war’s fire before it starts.

“All the world’s a stage,” Jiemin said plainly. “And all the people merely players. While I admire how others choose to perform their piece, I have a different exit and entrance.

What is family for if not to love us and then break our hearts?


I would definitely recommend checking out the content warnings before starting Foul Lady Fortune. There are some elements that could trigger readers.

17 thoughts on “Book Review: Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong

  1. I wonder how Gong dealt with the history of that period because oh my goodness, there is a lot going on! The Japanese invasion, the Chinese Civil War, the issues with the nationalist government…

    Though, it seems that the focus was more on the Shakespeare retelling and the fantasy than the history?

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