Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. Did it live up to the hype? Read on to find out!
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights and Our Violent Ends comes the first book in a captivating new duology following an ill-matched pair of spies posing as a married couple to investigate a series of brutal murders in 1930s Shanghai.
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 for 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.
This was the first book by Chloe Gong I’ve read, and now I totally get the hype. This was a thrilling spy story set amidst the backdrop of 1930’s Shanghai. It had everything I could have wanted: intrigue, action, and plot twists galore. Every time I thought I had everything figured out, I was blown away by a new revelation. I loved all of the characters and found them to be well-developed and relatable. Rosalind was trying to atone for her past mistakes and remained guarded after giving her heart to someone only to have it broken and used. Orion and his siblings were dealing with some pretty juicy family drama after his brother defected to the Communists and their father was accused of working for the imperialist Japanese. When Orion and Rosalind were first thrown together, it was like putting oil and water together and expecting them to work well. As the story unfolded, their relationship deepened into a true working partnership with trust, as well as a tense slow-burn romance. So, if you enjoy enemies/rivals to lovers with plenty of forced proximity, you’ll probably love this book. Their dynamic was a lot of fun to read, and the banter had me chuckling quite a bit as their different personalities clashed. I’d be remiss not to mention the commentary on imperialism and nationalism that this book provided. The story illustrated a fascinating cross-section of the political conflicts of China in the 1930’s, specifically between the communist, nationalist, and imperialist Japanese factions. The characters also provided a window into the personal effects that Western imperialism had on the education, quality of life, and culture of the Chinese. All of these different layers came together to create a compelling story that I’m still trying to wrap my head around. There’s so much more to say, but I don’t want to spoil any of the numerous surprises. Overall, this story was a fun ride with three-dimensional characters, lots of twists, multi-layered conspiracies, and a tense enemies to lovers romance with great banter. I definitely recommend it and rate the book 5 out of 5 stars.