Review: Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong

Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong cover shows a crystal decanter with a smoky substance inside surrounded by a vine with pink flowers.

Foul Lady Fortune (Foul Lady Fortune #1)
Chloe Gong
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published September 27, 2022

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Foul Lady Fortune

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 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.

Foul Lady Fortune on Goodreads

My Review

I feel like historical novels are always hit or miss with me. It has to be hard to find the right balance between anchoring the story in a setting of a different time and not letting those setting details intrude into the story too much.

At any rate, I thought Chloe Gong did a great job keeping her novel grounded in 1930s Shanghai. I definitely felt the historical components and how they worked with the story, and I loved getting lost in the politics and intrigue.

The only thing that really confuses me about this book is that it’s not really young adult. Like, at all? I think Rosalind is supposed to be nineteen, and Orion is twenty-two. All but one of the other point-of-view characters seem to be older. And all but one of them are finished with school and working in full-time careers. So I’m guessing the decision to market this as young adult has a lot more to do with capturing the adult audience who gravitate toward young adult books, probably because of the story’s speculative elements.

Anyway. I enjoyed the story a lot. It’s got a fake marriage partnership and a lot of spy/assassin action, which kept me on the edge of my seat. I liked the inclusive cast, and I felt like all the different points of view contributed to the story really nicely.

While this isn’t a sequel to THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS and OUR VIOLENT ENDS, it’s in the same story world, so there are connections between the two duologies. If you haven’t read THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS, then reading FOUL LADY FORTUNE will spoil some of the plot outcomes. I had no trouble following the story without reading the other duology, though.

All in all, I did really enjoy this one. My reviews will probably be posted out of order, so by the time you read this, you can jump straight back to my review of FOUL HEART HUNTER, which I’m really excited about reading.

Foul Lady Fortune on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Major characters are Chinese. Orion has had romantic relationships with boys and girls in the past. Celia is transgender.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used somewhat frequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
A man suggests that he will keep Rosalind’s identity a secret in exchange for sexual favors. Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
Situations of peril. Some scenes show an operative killing a target with poison. Some scenes show experimental drugs given to a person who is strapped down. Scenes show a person injecting an unknown substance into the arms of civilians, causing them to die. Battle scenes include characters exchanging gunfire and at least one explosion.

Drug Content
Rosalind (and another killer) use poisons to kill targets. Some characters drink alcohol.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of FOUL LADY FORTUNE in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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