Cover Image: Immortal Longings

Immortal Longings

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A high-octane adventure that will appeal both to Chloe Gong's dieheard YA fans and new fans finding her for the first time in adult!

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Chloe gong has done an amazing job with her adult fantasy debut! What an interesting, intriguing, story that had me gripped the ENTIRE time.

Chloe Gong never disappoints!

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I haven't read Chloe Gong's previous duology so I went into Immortal Longings with very little in the way of expectations except that I knew so many had enjoyed her earlier work. Immortal Longings is an immersive, in-depth fantasy loosely structured as Antony and Cleopatra + The Hunger Games. There is a lot of world building here, which is sure to please fans of intricately plotted fantasies such as The Priory of the Orange Tree but some may find it a bit bogged down. I found the political elements of this story to be well developed but perhaps the character building could have used a more curated approach, I never really felt that I got to know the characters in any depth. Altogether an engaging story sure to please many fans of new adult fantasy.

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Welcome to San-Er, where deadly games are played, blood is spilled, and no one is safe—least of all in their own body.

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Anton & Cleopatra and Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, IMMORTAL LONGINGS takes readers on a wild ride as we follow a full cast of characters: Calla, August, and Anton especially.

Gong’s adult novel debut took a little while to grow on me, but the last half had me completely engrossed for a good portion of my 15+ hour flight 😌

Things I loved:

🖊️ the writing style — Gong’s writing is wonderfully winding and builds a vivid image of the festering city that is home to the IMMORTAL LONGINGS story.

🌬️ the concept of “jumping” — connecting it to the qi that each individual has (their life force essentially) was very intriguing, and I loved when the characters would jump haha (I would definitely hate it if this happened in real life though 😵‍💫) .

Things that grew on me eventually:

📃 the pacing — There were some times when I found myself skimming because of the amount of detail and my brain craved the faster-paced parts (of course, the pacing of adult fantasy novels are different from that of YA).

✨ the characters — Anton grew on me first, and then Calla, and then maybe August. Sometimes it felt like there was a bit too much jumping (ha) around character-wise. However, when the story and the central characters were further established, the small bits from the secondary ones became more seamlessly integrated into the overarching storyline.

Overall, I had a great time diving into the world of San-Er, especially with the faster-paced and higher-stakes of the second half. The halfway reveal and the cliffhanger ending were also well-worth waiting for 👌 I’m curious about where this trilogy will go, so I will be reading them!

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Thank you to for the free audiobook, @gallerybooks for the ebook, and @simonandschuster @BookClubFavorites #BookClubFavoritesInsiders for the free physical book.

Now let's talk about Immortal Longings. I will admit that when I first started the book, I was a little overwhelmed. Honestly, this tends to happen with adult fantasy books though because there's so much world building to get the setting, characters, and magical elements set up. There were some paragraphs that felt like info-dumps and I had to take notes in my phone to keep track of characters, groups, or powers that I didn't quite understand yet. Once I got through those introduction chapters, the story started to move along quicker. Of the three main characters, I felt most interested in Calla. Maybe because she is the female MC or just because I liked reading about a woman who can wield a sword better than most men, I just really liked her story. Anton intrigued me and August, I kept going back and forth about him. Together, these characters all seem to bring a different perspective and keep some mystery going where you just don't quite know where this is going to end up. I didn't know anything about the story before I started reading it. I hadn't seen any promo videos on TikTok and I'm not familiar with the Antony & Cleopatra story to have any basis there either. Basically, I went in blind and I highly recommend that. This book has already gotten lots of thorough reviews and I think it's best to read those later because the details of this story are what keeps the mystery of the plot going. The romance wasn't intertwined as much as I expected. I could understand why they were emotionally attracted to each other, but the relationship building wasn't always clearly evident. The plot twists though...I literally yelled and rewinded at one part. I was driving and couldn't believe what I just heard. And the other big one...oof, did not see that coming!
I'm not sure if this is a CW, but if you're sensitive to bloody killings, read with caution. In my opinion, the violence is pretty gory and it happens quite often.
I really enjoyed this book and it seemed like the further into the book that I got, the more anticipation I had to see how the story would pan out. I will say that Immortal Longings reads like a first book in a series. It got everything set up for the story to get really crazy in the next books. I'm looking forward to book 2 whenever that comes out.

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This was my first Chloe Gong and if this was her weakest book (according to some), I am VERY eager to read her others.

Overall, this was good, not great.. I liked the characters and the plot had potential. I love a deadly competition, especially one where a woman kicks ass. I also really enjoyed the romance and loved seeing their relationship grow.

However, the negatives definitely brought it down for me. The world-building was just too much and the info-dumping made my ADD brain hurt. A lot happened, but it also felt like nothing happened? It was sooooo slow and I think I would have struggled if I hadn't been listening to it. As others have said, the lack of consent in this society and the overall disregard for the citizens of this kingdom gave me the ick.

Read If You Like:
-Enemies to Lovers
-Hidden Identity
-Badass FMC
-Deadly Competitions

Audiobook Review: I loved it. Jeena Yi beautifully narrates this story and every day I was eager to press play on this book. That said, there is A LOT of world-building and info-dumping. I absolutely know I missed some things that I likely would have picked up on if I was reading a physical copy.

That said, I do recommend as long as you go in knowing all of the above. I'm also very eager to read the second one, because that ending was a cliffhanger!!

Thank you to Gallery and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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DNF at 65%. I took a break from it for awhile and tried to get back into it, but this just isn't for me. I really enjoyed Chloe Gong's other books and this did not live up to them. There was too much infodumping and the romance fell flat, which is especially disappointing when I know she can write romance better than this.

Also, with the whole body jumping thing, you would think there would be a point made about consent but, as far as I read, there wasn't. People just invade each other's bodies and there's no real discussion of how that feels for the person being invaded other than how nobility have taboos about it because their bodies are more important than everyone else's.

I hope Chloe's next novel is more on par with her previous ones.

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Princess Calla has been in hiding since a massacre killed her parents five years ago. And she was the one who led it. While her goal was to take down the monarchy, her uncle, King Kasa assumed the crown. The King is reclusive, but he always greets the victor of the brutal games. Calla has to win the games so that she can meet her uncle again and finally take down the monarchy. But will true love stand in the way?
I really enjoyed the concept of jumping between bodies. I like how every body has a soul or chi, and the jumpers can push it out and take power of a body. I did have a hard time connecting with some of the characters, but overall the story is enjoyable.
Thank you to Gallery Press for this digital ARC.

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This book had everything I love -- fantasy, political intrigue, and a romantic subplot, all within the framework of a competition for money and fame. I struggled to get into this one, as the beginning moved a bit slow for my taste, and the magic system is inherently confusing. I liked the premise after awhile, but there were some aspects of it that felt a little deus-ex-machina-y and a few holes in the logistics of it that I never felt got fully resolved. However, I really enjoyed the Calla's backstory and politics of the empire that I look forward to reading about in book two!

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I didn't love or hate this book, and while I felt the magic system was really interesting, the world building felt a lot like information dumping which isn't a great way to learn more about the world we're in. Overall I felt like the book didn't necessarily meet expectations... That doesn't mean I won't read the next books though!

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Absolutely amazing. This book is a lot to take in at first, but so worth the world building for the fantastic characters. There better be a sequel, that's all I have to say.

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This was a very engaging story with characters that were easy to get attached to. It felt new and fresh even though it is a fantasy take on Anthony and Cleopatra.

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I foubd this to be a decent story. I tried to get into this story, but it just didn't hold my attention. The world is interesting, but I didn't feel connected to the characters

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DNF @ 50%

This had SO much potential! There was just so much info dumping that I forgot what the plot was. And there was absolutely no chemistry between the main characters. Maybe a 1st person POV would’ve worked better?

I will say the action was written really well, but other than that, I was not having a good time.

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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This was such a good adult debut for Chloe! I absolutely need to sit down and read her YA books. Taking a well known Shakespearean play and turning it into a Sci-Fi novel was brilliant. I am so glad I got invited to read this early and definitely will be rereading soon!

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I am now convinced that Chloe Gong has the ability to write enemies to lovers that I will eat up every, single. Time.

In the twin cities of San-Er, the annual games are about to commence. Games where one of eighty eight players will be awarded, victory, fame, and riches to change their lives. Calla Tuolemei, lost princess of Er, enters with the intent to take her revenge on a brutal ruler. Anton only seeks to gain the funds needed to save the girl he loves. The two make an unlikely pairing knowing that in the end, only one can survive.

Ahhh the tension in this was SO. GOOD. Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes, and Chloe Gong can write characters that hate each other like nobody else. The witty banter? Stunning. The angst? FLAWLESS. That alone was enough to keep me turning pages.

Which is good, because a lot of the other elements fell a bit flat. This was definitely like an adult version of The Hunger Games, with the added twist that certain citizens of San-Er have the ability to transfer their qi, and therefore consciousness, into other people’s bodies. Now the premise of this was SO FREAKING COOL, I genuinely don’t think I’ve read another book with that kind of magic system. But, and this is a big but, it was really underdeveloped. There were lots of arbitrary rules, like that kids couldn’t jump (and yet they did), or that one family bloodline was immune to being taken over, or that taking over another body permanently causes madness (also with exceptions). New rules cropped up all the time, often with little to no explanation to why they existed in the first place.

The games themselves felt like kind of a side note, a stage for the other themes to play out on rather than a central point of the book (unlike in the Hunger Games). But the thing that got me most about he game aspect, was there were SO MANY other ways it could have played out in the end, which I cannot go into because spoilers, but trust me. There definitely could have been a much more Peeta and Katniss kind of ending than there was. Easily.

Along with the enemies to lovers aspect, I did really like the characters. Calla was so easy to root for (and she had QUITE the commentary on gender, let me tell you. Minor identity crisis moment). Anton gave me puppy dog vibes for literally no discernible reason. And yet…if there weren’t that one spicy scene, I totally would have categorized this as YA. Which isn’t bad, I love YA. It was just a different tone than I was expecting. The turmoil and self-discovery angles felt a lot like tropes we see frequently in YA, and the characters themselves acted a lot like teens. None of this deserves a downgrade in rating, just a good thing to keep in mind before you pick it up.

In short, this was a solid first book with amazing enemies to lovers and an interesting, if underdeveloped, magic system. I’m hopeful that book two will resolve some of my questions and firm up the world-building.

Rating: 3.5/5
Pacing: slow-medium
Intended audience: Adult
Content warnings: murder, violence, gore,

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Not my fav book by her but def interested in reading more! 4/5 stars! I'll probs pick up the next book.

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DNF at 33%. The premise of this one is really interesting, but the execution just isn't working for me. I love the whole concept of a Hunger Games style competition coupled with body swapping (much like The Host), but the story is a lot more telling versus actually seeing the action play out.

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- IMMORTAL LONGINGS is a retelling of Antony and Cleopatra, set in a world of poverty and despair where no one can be trusted because people can swap bodies at will.
- This book is very much an adult Hunger Games. The body-jumping element was a bit confusing at first, but Gong is quite detailed about the mechanics of it, so you're soon enough blazing through San-Er with the protagonists as they slash and burn their way to the top.
- I thought it got a little repetitive in the middle (there were a LOT of people to murder), but there are a couple of twists in the second half that literally made me gasp out loud. I'll definitely be reading the next installment.

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I had the absolute pleasure of reading Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong this week and I cannot believe that it’s the first book of hers I’ve read!

Usually science fiction fantasy isn’t really what I gravitate towards in terms of books but this one kept me enthralled right through the end!

A rogue princess, a man on the run, a prince trying to get rid of the corrupt king to take the throne.. and this is me just loosely summarizing because this book is so SO much more. I absolutely cannot wait till the next book in this series that I’m sure will captivate me just as much as this one did.

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