Book Reviews

FOUL HEART HUNTSMAN BY CHLOE GONG // blog tour book talk: say hello to my favourite read of this year and hands down the best conclusion to a showstopping ya historical fiction fantasy series!!!

Hi hello friends! And welcome to my tour stop celebrating the upcoming release of Foul Heart Huntsman. As you can guess, I’m hyperventilating over this just a little bit and I’ll just shut up now so we can cry together,,,,

Big thanks to Colored Pages Book Tours for having me!

Title: Foul Heart Huntsman
Series: Secret Shanghai series book #5
Author: Chloe Gong
Page count: 560
Date published: 26 September 2023
Genre: Young Adult historical fiction fantasy

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Synopsis:

Winter is drawing thick in 1932 Shanghai, as is the ever-nearing threat of a Japanese invasion.

Rosalind Lang has suffered the worst possible fate for a national spy: she’s been exposed. With the media storm camped outside her apartment for the infamous Lady Fortune, she’s barely left her bedroom in weeks, plotting her next course of action after Orion was taken and his memories of Rosalind wiped. Though their marriage might have been a sham, his absence hurts her more than any physical wound. She won’t rest until she gets him back.

But with her identity in the open, the task is near impossible. The only way to leave the city and rescue Orion is under the guise of a national tour. It’s easy to convince her superiors that the countryside needs unity more than ever, and who better than an immortal girl to stir pride and strength into the people?

When the tour goes wrong, however, everything Rosalind once knew is thrown up in the air. Taking refuge outside Shanghai, old ghosts come into the open and adversaries turn to allies. To save Orion, they must find a cure to his mother’s traitorous invention and take this dangerous chemical weapon away from impending foreign invasion—but the clock is ticking, and if Rosalind fails, it’s not only Orion she loses, but her nation itself.

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Big thanks to Colored Pages Tours for having me on the tour and to Simon & Schuster for the eARC via Netgalley! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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STAR RATING: (5 out of 5 stars)

Hello, and you are listening to Ruby, a talk show from your dead host (me) who reads books by Chloe Gong and then mysteriously dies each time *cue nervous laughter*

This time, I died in numerous ways. The first death was acceptance onto this tour. Then receiving this early copy. Then reading the book. And currently, aka right now, trying to form words.

I DIED DEAD AND I DON’T THINK I SHALL EVER RECOVER DANG YOU CHLOE GONG YOU WRITER GENIUS YOU,,,,

Uhhh,,, soooo,,, words,,,,

I loved this book? Like a whole freaking lot? Yep, think that’s the whole review right there.

Ha, you wish because I will never shut up about Chloe Gong but you are now warned this review might just consist of me crying all the time oops.

We thank Chloe for publishing mayhem in 2023 because she’s literally released like 4 books this year. One of them is a prequel short story, but STILL. And I read them ALL this year (except her new series shhhh) and ugh how great has that been! Even though I should have read Foul Lady Fortune last year, I do love that I didn’t have to wait so long.

Anyways, I’m rambling. What I was getting at was that I found the politics going way over my head when I read the first one, but because I was familiar with everything else for book two, I was nowhere near as confused and found it so much easier to understand the world. Not that I didn’t with the last book but I was slightly more familiar. But ugh, it’s all so layered and well-crafted, and I absolutely loved getting to learn about the political system back then through these fictionalised eyes *CHEFS KISS*

And ahhh the world in and of itself was SO COOL. She took all the elements from book one and just amped them up to the max. Went fully sci-fi with book two and it was EVERYTHING. The plot was like bam bam bam whiplash, add a side of plot twist, more bam and did I mention the whiplash? Because my head hurt. But in a good way. In an I-couldn’t-breath kinda way. It was a lot. Did I mention I needed medical care? Because I did. Chloe, btw, if you’re reading this, you still need to pay for those <3<3<3

Have I yelled about literally ALL the characters? Because if not, we need to. I’m… in love with them all. Cannot choose a favourite of my babies. Actually, I can. Hey Orion. Love you more than Roma? Yep.

WAIT NO I TAKE IT BACK I TAKE IT BACK!!!!!!!!

Ha I’m kidding. I can’t choose. But Orion had me ON THE FLOOR. Rosalind is an absolute QUEEN and I really loved her in the first book, but I was fully ready to jump in front of a bus for her in this book. Her character development was E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. I honestly did not think I could relate to her this much but I did and I do not exaggerate when I say I’d jump in front a moving bus. She just,,, I just,,, words. It’s like we were seeing her through rose-tinted glasses and all of a sudden every bit of her was on display and samesies as Orion, me was in love *insert all the heart eyes*

Silas!!!! Guys. He took me on an emotional rollercoaster. Phoebe is who I aspire to be. Olivier and Celia? Babes. Especially my gal Celia who I would hire in an instant to be my personal bodyguard even though she says she’s awful at combat, I just trust her with my life.

But what I loved about this sequel was how I was able to care for literally ALL of these characters but they were all equally well-developed and fleshed out and Chloe wrote them to perfection. The POV would also switch every chapter and I LOVED THAT BC IT REMINDED ME OF CASSIE CLARE. I would simultaneously want to throttle Chloe because how can the chapter end like that but then oh wait this is just as interesting and HELLO EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER

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Have I talked about writing yet? Gasp no, this is blasphemy. I’ll put it simply: if I could pick anyone to write my eulogy, it’d be Chloe Gong. Wherever this magic in her fingers comes from, I need it. I want to be as good at writing as she is. From setting description to character relations to history ITS ALL AMAZING FOREVER BOWING DOWN

I thought the romance in These Violent Delights was perfection and she could never top them. Umm, I was wrong. You all are in for a TREAT. A scrumptious one might I add. Haven’t been this obsessed with a fictional couple in a long time but Rosalind and Orion did that. As the kids say: ate and left no crumbs. Literally sobbing at every line, I am OBSESSED WITH THEM WTF SEND HALP

Also lemme just say I did not know I needed to know Marshall and Orion flirted one time but I was not mad. Not mad at all. Oh and on that note, LOVED the queer rep in this book. Of course, Celia is a trans queen, but ADORED how subtle Orion’s bisexuality was and also the demi rep from Rosalind. I think, unless I picked up on that wrong? Ugh my baby children xoxoxo

Quick moment of silence for the ending which left me utterly speechless and I will need 14 working days to recover. This series is over and I don’t know what to do with myself for the foreseeable future. Send help URGENTLY.

AHHH THIS FRRAKING BOOK WHAT THE HELL IT WAS SO GOOD READ THIS SERIES NOW!!!!!!!

I warned you of the crying and yelling folks,,,,

So. If you’re looking for one of THE BEST new YA historical fantasy series with the bestest of characters, genius political commentary, romance to have you screaming into a pillow and absolutely immaculate worldbuilding and writing PLUS they’re Shakespeare retellings? I think you are now more than covered. Go forth and cry your little hearts out. As I am because I am now UNWELL

And here is a list of moments that had me screening which you are only allowed to read once you have read this book!!! Otherwise jail time for you. I mean it.

Go. NOW. Unless you’ve read, then you may stay ; ) And if you’re staying because you have read this beaut, you need to highlight to read. I’m nothing if not cautious.

  • I mentioned Marshall and Orion already but I’m doing it again because I, like Roma, WAS CACKLING OMFGGGGG
  • When Orion gets his memories back!!!
  • And then finding out about ROSALIND I TOO WAS FREAKING OUT LIKE BABY ORION
  • Screamed a bit when Rosalind drugged Juliette and Roma out of both frustration and relief
  • THE ENDING OMG I WENT ON A ROLLERCOASTER WITH ALL THE SCIENCE BUT IT WAS EXCELLENT!!!!!
  • CELIA AND OLIVER OMG I LOVE THEM TOO

I forgot to highlight my advanced copy so this may fill up as I put more quotes in.

SPOILERS AHEAD

“The sky itself says I love you.”

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“You listen to me,” he said, grabbing Rosalind’s face with both hands. “You are bound to me in matrimony. If you break it and descend into another plane of existence, I will chase after you and snatch you back.”

Chloe Gong is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Secret Shanghai novels, as well as the Flesh and False Gods trilogy. Her books have been published in over twenty countries and have been featured in The New York Times, People, Forbes, and more. She is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she double-majored in English and international relations. Born in Shanghai and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, Chloe is now located in New York City, pretending to be a real adult.

Website // Instagram // TikTok


ARE YOU EXCITED TO READ THIS ONE? HAVE YOU READ ANY CHLOE GONG YET? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF FLF? WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE COUPLE SO FAR? I’D LOVE TO KNOW!

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