Cover Image: Immortal Longings

Immortal Longings

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When I first read the Blurb for Immortal Longings I was so excited to read it, it sounded like something that I could really sink my teeth into and really enjoy but the reality if it was very different.

The storyline should have been fantastic but it just fell flat , the writing for me didn't flow and was somewhat Chaotic. In all honesty this book I found hard to get through and very nearly became my first DNF I guess I was just bored, but I'm glad I did carry on because the ending was my favourite part, even if I did guess what was going to happen.

As with everything some will love it and others not so much, will I read the next? I'm not sure yet ,but the ending has left me intrigued about what will happen next.

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Decided to put this one now for now. I loved her YA books but this one has a lot of info dumps and the pacing is throwing me off.

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Set in the twin cities of San-Er, Immortal Longings is Chloe Gong’s debut adult novel.

The premise is very exciting. I love a good re-telling. The setting was great, very Sci-Fi, almost steampunk. The pacing was a little fast for me, I feel that there was a lot of info-dumping happening that was hard to make sense of at first. The first 20-30ish percent took a while for me to get through, but I flew through the rest of the book. The ending was well written. I will be continuing the series for sure. 4 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and Saga Press for access to this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

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I wasn't ready to like this book--in fact, having tried to get through the YA duolog I expected to DNF it. I was not ready to get invested in a new series.

Fellow reader, I did not DNF. Instead, I tore my way through this fantastic fantasy inspired by the tv show Rome, and Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra. If you know anything about Augustus' rise to power, you know he had some "friends" turned foes along the way. Anthony and Cleopatra were two of the biggest.

Is the overall plot a mashup of The Hunger Games and Suetonius' The Twelve Caesars? Yep. But it works. Oh, does it work! And the world Gong builds around this plot is very fleshed-out, creating a very atmospheric read.

If you like historical aus, especially Roman ones, you'll love this! I will definitely be reading the next book in this series.

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Thank you @sagapressbooks for my early and finished copies of Immortal Longings by @thechloegong. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. 🤍

Every year, thousands in the kingdom of Talin will flock to its capital twin cities, San-Er, where the palace hosts a set of games. For those confident enough in their ability to jump between bodies, competitors across San-Er fight to the death to win unimaginable riches. Immortal Longings is Chloe Gong’s adult debut novel – an Antony and Cleopatra-inspired novel starring Princess Calla, a player in the games who five years ago killed her parents and left the palace, but she didn’t finish her job as she has failed to kill King Kasa then; and Anton Makusa, another player in the games and an exiled aristocrat whose childhood love has lain in a coma and is in deep debt trying to keep her alive. Along with Prince August, Calla and Anton form an alliance, though each of them has different goals in mind.

🛑Read on with caution; review may contain spoilers🛑

Though this novel is easy enough to follow and understand, the world-building seems a bit chaotic – bits and pieces of information are scattered (some repeatedly) throughout the novel; it seems like Gong built this fantasy world just as she was writing the story. The storyline feels like the Hunger Games, though the stakes for each character/player seemed underwhelming. Set in an impoverished city, the prize of riches for winning the game is underwhelming for me, but with Calla wanting a better environment for the people, she wishes to kill King Kasa, and have Prince August take his place on the throne. While her goal is very altruistic, I find August’s character suspicious and dark. For someone who’s described in the novel as smart and sharp, I think Calla has misjudged the prince’s intentions for the crown. Anton on the other hand had good intentions, to save his love and pay off his debt. With his alliance with Calla, I found it interesting as they begin to fall for each other – what happens to his goal then for Otta? Anton’s chemistry with Calla seemed forced, with Calla’s being utterly cautious and suspicious of her surroundings all the time, which included Anton, then suddenly she lets her guard down and they were both all over each other – I felt that the chemistry didn’t make sense, but I kind of expected they would end up together. Additionally, although established that bodies are only accessories, discardable, and can be used based on need, I found some morally disturbing aspects here, namely killing civilians not involved in the games and with the ability for a qi/person to jump from one body to another, and then have sexual intercourse with someone else to name a few.

On a positive note, the action in this novel was absolutely thrilling and incredible. I found myself enjoying the fights that Anton and Calla encounter in the city.

Overall, Immortal Longings is an interesting read and I applaud Gong’s adult debut novel. I hope we get to see a more in-depth exploration/world-building in the next book, particularly the concept of jumping from one body to another, which I think doesn’t seem to be established well enough in this first book of the series (?).

Rating this ⭐⭐⭐ /5. Released last July 18th, 2023. Available to purchase from book retailers.

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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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