Telegraphic review as I am so behind on everything!
First I have to say that even if my rating is three stars, I am impressed that such book has been written by someone still in college!
What I didn’t like (or wanted more)
Honestly, this is sold like a retelling or Romeo and Juliette and if there is the hate between gangs etc. I expected to feel more love and attraction between the main characters!
We don’t see much of their past story together either and it does not help to feel the love.
I think I would have loved the book better if it had only been a historical book between rival gangs in Shanghai.
I am sure many will love the monster and what it entailed as it added a horror element to the story but it just confused me or rather, distracted me.
Gasp! I usually love the male main character better than the female but that was not the case here. He was a little “meek” if I may say so, yet he did some killing. But for as much as he could beat a man, it was kind of halfhearted. He didn’t believe in what he did.
Now if he only had a huge golden heart and been a softie, I wouldn’t have minded but he was in a weird “in between”. Nor angel, nor vicious gangster. And that left me uncertain on how to feel about him.
I use a question mark here because if not for other reviewers I wouldn’t have even grasped there was a transgender in the story! That means that it’s an unexploited trope in my eyes. Something you add to have “diversity” in your book and be “politically correct”.
If you use it please, go all in!
What I liked
I think Juliette was this book’s saving grace.
I read somewhere that “she could crush me under her heels and I’d be happy”. I don’t recall who used that wording but I do agree with them.
Juliette was passionate about her people, she was courageous, ruthless and she was all in in that gangster business.
And I wanted more of it because it had potential, again not exploited enough but that added a welcome element to the story. In these few moments where we grasp that there is “something” between Benedikt and Noah, I felt more attraction and love than in what should have been our main love story.
Now, I am conscious this can come as harsh and I want to say that many love that book! So I would advise to read other, more enthusiastic reviews to make up your mind about a book whose writing was beautiful but was unfortunately not my cup of tea.