Cover Image: Immortal Longings

Immortal Longings

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When Chloe Gong first announced Immortal Longings as her debut adult fantasy and a reimagining of Antony and Cleopatra's story, I was super intrigued, especially as a fan of her previous Secret Shanghai series. The only thing I know about Antony and Cleopatra is that the couple's tragic story is what inspired Romeo and Juliet, and since These Violent Delights is also inspired by Romeo and Juliet, I have to say that Immortal Longings reminded me a lot of These Violent Delights as I was reading the ARC. The vibes of both books are essentially the same, just with different settings. Both stories have knife-to-throat, "I can kill you any second" enemies to lovers and twisty, backstabbing betrayals. The main characters in both universes are also quite similar. Calla reminds me of Rosalind and Juliette rolled into one, Anton reminds me of Orion, and August reminds me of Roma. Because of this, I think die-hard fans of the Secret Shanghai books will definitely love Immortal Longings, but at the same time, readers who did not like those books will most likely not enjoy Immortal Longings.

My favorite aspect of this novel is probably the magic system, specifically, the concept of "jumping" in this universe. Seeing Anton and August master their skills of jumping and use it to their advantage while on their respective missions to win the deadly competition hosted by the monarchy in the kingdom of Talin was really thrilling. Additionally, because several characters (no spoilers who) have used this ability to jump from their birth body to a different body, we never really know what their true appearances are like, which I thought was a cool aspect of these characters. Like Calla, I was always second guessing the true host of a character she encountered, and it also led to some pretty neat plot twists, including the one at the very end of the novel. Without spoiling anything, I'm super curious to see where Calla and Anton's relationship lies in the remaining two books in the trilogy (although I will say that their romantic arc did not feel as natural as the romantic arcs of Chloe Gong's previous characters).

Immortal Longings definitely sets readers up for an action-packed epic fantasy trilogy, and I look forward to reading the next two books in the series!

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Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery / Saga Press for this Advanced Copy. All opinions are my own.

Okay... this book probably wasn't for me, but I know a lot of people will go FERAL for it.

Calla is a princess in hiding after murdering the royal family. Anton, a former aristocrat raised in the palace, is jumping from body to body trying to pay his bills. August is the heir apparent looking to speed up his crowning. All three will get involved in the annual games, a fight to the death televised for the masses in this dystopian sci-fi urban universe.

The good: I loved how morally grey the characters were and how they frequently interacted throughout the book. The games had serious Hunger Games vibes that many people will enjoy. Eno was a delight and my favorite. The ending? Big twist, really nice, and made me want to read the next book (despite not really loving this one). The ending alone added an a few points for me when the first part of the book was hovering around a 2 for me.

The bad:
I had four serious issues with this book:
1. Romance. It felt super shoehorned in to me, I didn't catch any natural build-up of feelings or tension and suddenly they'd be all over each other and never think about it again until the end of the book. We're in love! Without any real emotional intimacy or discussion, which felt weird to me.
2. Pacing. This book felt sooooo slow. So many things were happening yet it really dragged. I kept going on my phone and not getting really invested in the story until the last 15% of the book.
3. Lack of worldbuilding. Hear me out, because we do get a lot of world-building, but I also feel like there was very little discussion about this body jumping and its impacts. For something that seems SO violating and chaotic, body jumping isn't really addressed in terms of how a. people deal with their bodies being hijacked regularly, b. how society still functions.
4. Forced plot twists/unexplained motives. Why was Pampi doing all that? Why did Leida really do what she did and where did it come from? Idk, I didn't get it and wanted more.

Overall, I think people will really like this book especially if they like Chloe Gong's style.

You will like this if you like: dystopia, sci-fi, royalty/palace politics, fight-to-the-death tournaments, enemies to lovers (to?), special abilities, Shakespeare retellings, and the Hunger Games.

Instagram post will be made the week of publication and a Storygraph review is being posted shortly. Thank you again for this ARC!

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I don't usually enjoy retellings, but this one was awesome. Placing the tale of Anthony and Cleopatra in a 'Hunger Games'esque environment really brought the tale into a modern era. As a teacher, I feel that retellings like this are very useful for getting students or reluctant readers to really engage with a book. The beginning was a little slow and this would be considered 'too graphic' to fully adapt into curriculumn, but I definitely think it would benefit teachers to show contrast between scenes in this book and Shakespeare's play.

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I was super hopeful about this book, but I ended up thinking it was just average, similar to how I felt about Gong's young adult books. I was expecting something along the lines of "The Stars Undying" by Emery Robin, since it's also based on Antony and Cleopatra. But Immortal Longings just fell a little short for me. I didn't dislike it, necessarily, but I found it difficult to connect with any of the characters.

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Chloe Gong, who is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Secret Shanghai novels, has a new bestseller we are not ready for! “Immortal Longings” is for fans of the Hunger Games series and “The Elite Trials” by Becky Moynihan. This story is inspired by Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and the historic Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong.

Gong’s newest story is the first in the Flesh and False God series. We open with Princess Calla Tuoleimi, who has murdered her own parents and is now in hiding with the intent to commit her next heinous crime, killing her uncle, the reining King. To do so, she must enter the Games. Her cousin August, and rival Anton, all have a role to play, and their own high stakes with their own parts in competing to “win”. Excellent multiple POV’s drew me in with rich character development and strong vivid world building of horrid world conditions. Calla and Anton’s entanglement as lovers served to heighten the already sky-high tension for the exciting climax of the book. I felt frantic and energized as I came to the shocking end. I highly, highly recommend this book to be on every school library shelf. Educators and students will find a fictional historic novel, comparable to Shakespeare’s literature, and relatable characters for today’s culture trends. Five out of five stars.

Much gratitude to Gallery Books/Saga Press via NetGalley for this arc. I voluntarily read and all opinions are my own. Review to be posted as publisher recommended.

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this was amazing.

considering this novel was gong's debut into adult fantasy, this greatly surpassed my expectations. the characters were all brutal and complicated. i could never quite seem to tell if any of the characters were a "good guy" or a "bad guy" which only added to the intrigue of this story.

this book had the perfect combination of futuristic/sci-fi elements as well as some high-fantasy staples. having a polluted high-tech city run by a corrupt magical monarchy was a really cool dynamic. we get lots of different povs, although mostly it switches between calla and anton, who are the two mcs.

the love story was also immensely intriguing. at no point could i predict if the relationship was going stable or if it was about to veer in a deeply toxic direction, which certainly kept me on my toes. this was a great "enemies to hesitant allies to lovers" situation. both parties involved in the romance are deeply damaged characters and considering that they're literally supposed to kill each other, the relationship always seemed a moments notice away from self-imploding.

overall, i loved this. the ending had me on my hands and knees and i cannot wait for book two to come out so i can find out where this series is headed.

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4.5 stars

This was the first Chloe Gong book I’ve ever read. And wow what a doozy. I loved everything about it. The world building is phenomenal and the characters are so well developed. It’s a slow burn but the best kind.

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Chloe Gong is a must read for me and I was so excited when this book was approved for me. Her stories are just so detailed and interesting that I eat them right up. This one did not disappoint. What a ride I can’t wait for the next one in this series! I see Chloe’s name and I must have it!!

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❞𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒕𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖,❞ 𝑪𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒂 𝒔𝒂𝒚𝒔 𝒂𝒍𝒐𝒖𝒅. 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒔𝒆 𝒈𝒂𝒎𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒐𝒘 𝒐𝒏𝒍𝒚 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒗𝒊𝒄𝒕𝒐𝒓. 𝑯𝒊𝒔 𝒅𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒉 𝒊𝒔 𝒇𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒔, 𝒐𝒓 𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒅𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒉 𝒊𝒏 𝒉𝒊𝒔. 𝑪𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒂 𝒅𝒐𝒆𝒔𝒏’𝒕 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝒅𝒊𝒆. 𝑺𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒉𝒂𝒕𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒌𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒘 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒊𝒆𝒓.

Immortal Longings was one of my most anticipated reads of this year and it certainly lived up to all of my expectations. I honestly couldn’t believe it when I got an ARC but I have never been more excited than I was when I got the email. This book is the start of a trilogy and and so we had a lot of introductions to wade through and motivations to understand. This world is extremely interesting and complex. The main characters include an exiled royal, an adopted crown prince, and a murderer princess long thought dead. The twin cities San-Er are ruled by King Kasa, his reign has left the people desperate, sick, and ruined and he does nothing in his power to help. Then come the games, a chance for the best Jumpers, those who have mastered the ability to jump into other bodies, to get out of debt and poverty. But to Anton, August, and Calla the games mean something else. Calla is set on completing the mission she started 5 years ago and with the help of her cousin, Prince August, it’s only a matter of time. Anton just needs the money to help keep his former beloved alive from a sickness that keeps her in a coma-like state. The games make allies out of Anton and Calla but only one victor comes out alive and their growing feelings are only a distraction. If there is one thing I love about Chloe Gong is that she knows how to write exquisite banter. From the moment Anton and Calla meet each other to the very end of the game you feel captivated. Every action and reaction draws your attention and it becomes harder and harder to look away. For me I could barely let this book go from the moment I started it. This story is like a visceral cut that leaves you bleeding and wounded and only the next book can heal me! There is so much mystery, intrigue, betrayal, romance, and more. To trust or not to trust? Who is the enemy? What is real and what is a lie? There are so many questions left unanswered in this book and the ending only left me more curious and now I must wait anxiously until we hear more news.

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Thank you NetGalley and Gallery Books for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own. The official pub date of this novel, Immortal Longings, by Chloe Gong is on July 25, 2023.

Over the raucous sounds of vendors hawking their wares on the streets and the stench of the Rubi Waterway separating San and Er, Calla and Anton, both unbeknownst to the other, live in exile. Believed to be dead, Princess Calla Tuoleimi has spent the last five years biding her time to finally complete her goal of destroying the monarchy by killing her uncle, the current ruler of Talin, King Kasa. Anton Makusa, former best friend of the adopted heir to the throne, August, has been looking for a lucrative opportunity to pay off mounting bills. Luckily for Calla and Anton, they have both been selected to participate in the annual games held within the twin cities of San-Er.

Reminiscent of The Hunger Games, eighty-eight of Talin’s citizens are selected to participate, brutally fighting until the death, with the remaining victor rewarded with wealth and a personal congratulatory meeting with King Kasa. In a nation filled with discontent, food shortages, and poverty, it is no surprise that many long for a chance to receive a wristband and participate in the games no matter the risk. For those citizens lucky enough to be born with the genetic ability to transfer their qi and “body-jump”, their chances of success are far greater. With cameras on every corner ready to capture every kill, the citizens of Talin can cheer for their favored participants from the safety of television screens.

Immortal Longings is an action-packed story with grisly fight scenes, political unrest, betrayal, and desire. Gong fuses together a fantasy world that is both rural and modern with some technological advancements. Readers should expect some urban fantasy elements, such as cyber cafes, electricity, and beepers. For readers that prefer a more historical setting, the existence of technology may be off-putting. Additionally, the romance is more of a subplot, so readers should be forewarned that it will take some time for the two love interests’ paths to cross, but it is worth the wait. With all of that said, I flew through this plot-driven story, giving it a final rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Gong’s writing and character development was fantastic. The way she described every spatter of blood and the creaking sound of pipes in the walls was immersive. Her characters were well-flushed out and intriguing. The qi-focused body-jumping was creative, and Gong clearly put a lot of thought into this magic system and its limitations. Immortal Longings was the first novel I read by Chloe Gong, but she has succeeded in ensnaring my attention and left me impatiently awaiting the sequel.

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Immortal longings is chloe gong's debut into the new adult fantasy genre, and while the main female character threatens to remind us of every other main female character in chloe's previous works, this debut aims to stun.

The story is wrapped in neatly hidden and unexpected twists that no one can see coming. All the characters shine, but the villain of the story,shines the brightest. He is the stand out character and i couldn't believe how much i cared about him until that cliff hanger ending 🤯

Objectively, Immortal longings is one of the best works of Chloe gong.

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I wanted to love this so much, but I didn’t. The first 50% was VERY slow and almost impossible to get though, but I pushed through anyways. The second half was better, but only at 20% did this book really pick up and get interesting. I also didn’t really get a solid grip on the setting and the game until later in the story.

I really liked the characters of Anton and Calla, while the other side characters were more confusing and I still don’t fully understand who they are and their roles. But I almost feel like the romance aspect was lacking a little. It was very sudden, they went from reluctant allies to lovers with very little build up or warning. Their relationship was somewhat obsessive, but I think that’s the point.

In addition, a lot of things were made unclear. How much time passed within the book? How often does this game occur? Mostly just minor world building details that I can survive without but would prefer to have.

THAT ENDING THOUGH. It had me skimming the last few chapters so that I could see what happened faster. The way she ends this book is just so perfect. She gave the reader enough information to not be totally confused and keep them interested, but not enough for them to have a sense of resolution. I will be reading the next book! I love Chloe Gong and don’t know what I’ll do with myself for the next year until the sequel releases.

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thank you so much netgalley for sending me an early copy of this book!!

i think my favorite part about this book was by far the world building. i love that it was inspired by the walled city in hong kong, and i feel that chloe gong did such a good job of putting it on the page. i felt completely immersed in this world, and i loved every second of it. the tension, the shady places, the feeling of being kept on your toes, were all really well done. my only complaint is that it was a little info-dumpy a times, and i also wish there was a map lol.

some character motivations i was a bit unsure about. like anton, for example, i was confused on why he still cares for otta so much, especially if it puts him in so much debt that he has to enter the games. he’s probably the weakest character in my opinion, but calla and august both had very strong motives, and i actually really enjoyed august as a character. also calla and anton are so hot oh my god. i actually love them so much. even if they were a little bit insta-lovey and remind a little too much of roma and juliette, i still love them to death.

all in all, the book has definitely solidified chloe gong as one of my favorite authors (even though she already was), and i’m super intrigued to see where the rest of the series goes. also that cliffhanger!!!??? classic chloe gong fashion.

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the jumping through bodies aspect was weird and felt like too many plotholes. I enjoyed the overall vibe of this book a lot, I liked the relationships between characters and the ending was amazing, but I feel like the actual plot itself could use a ton of work logistics wise.

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This book sounded interesting, but I found it nearly impossible to hold my attention. I kept trying, but couldn't get interested... and then I saw it was from the author of these violent delights, which I dnfed 70% through. So I decided this one wasn't for me.

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Immortal Longings was bloody brilliant. An engaging and unique novel, Chloe Gong knocks it out of the park, keeping you on edge until the very last paragraph. I am very excited to follow Gong along on the journey hidden within the world she built with Immortal Longings -- I just know it's going to be a doozy.

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Immortal Longings was my very first book by Chloe Gong and therefore, I didn't really know what to expect from this author. But I was so pleasantly surprised!
There wasn't anything about the book that I didn't love. From the plot and characters which were irresistible to me, to the author's writing style which transported me in the amazing world that Chloe Gong created. Also, the setting was so detailed, I could see it all and that's definitely my favorite thing.
I do not have much else to say for now but I highly recommend this book and I really want to read more of her books now. It was a solid read with power plays, a complex world-building, morally grey characters and so much more, don't miss out and mark the date (July 25)!

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If you could swap bodies with other people – would you want to?

I would love to live a day in a body that isn’t constantly tired or sore! Can we say I’m getting older and crazy busy – ha!

Every year thousands flock to San-Er for a set of “games”. These games showcase those who can jump between bodies, and the prize, if they survive death, is unimaginable riches.

Princess Calla is hiding because a few years ago she massacred her entire family. She is now destined to take down the monarchy that rules San-Er by participating in the games.

Anton is an exiled aristocrat who excels at jumping. He teams up with Princess Calla to help her win the games.

Will Princess Calla and Anton, and an unlikely friend, be able to win the games and take down the monarchy once and for all?

What a delightful high fantasy dystopian type novel. I was immediately immersed in the story and rooting for Princess Calla. All the characters caught and held my attention. I loved the world building in this one. It was close enough, yet quite different, than the world we currently live in – and that worked well for me. The romance that was present was not forced and flowed beautifully. Just be careful with the ending!

This was my first book by this author, and her first adult fantasy – I expect great things to come!

Grab your copy July 25th!

Thank you so much to Gallery Books, @gallerybooks, and Netgalley, @Netgalley for this e-arc in exchange for this honest review.

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Immortal Longings is one of those books that builds a whole new world around you, without you leaving the couch. The sci-fi esque aspects and the city of San-Er create a complicated backdrop for the equally complicated characters. Watching Calla and Anton navigate their complex feelings for each other and the city in which they call home, will intrigue any reader. Chloe Gong wields her words like a freshly sharpened sword, holding all readers captive and desperate to know what will happen.

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Immortal Longings is one of my highly anticipated reads and Chloe Gong does not disappoint!! This is such a rich world with lovable characters.

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