Hello friends, I think I’ve been destroyed just a little by Chloe Gong after reading These Violent Delights. Just a little. (But seriously, who do I need to sell my soul to for the second book?)
Welcome to my stop on the #DelightfullyViolentTour, hosted by Caffeine Book Tours. I’m here to shove Chloe Gong’s debut novel on as many TBRs as possible. 😌
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase using that link, a small commission is made from the sale. There are no additional costs to you. Thank you for your support!These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
These Violent Delights #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on November 17, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Retellings, Young Adult
Format: ARC, Physical
Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.
The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.
A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.
But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.
The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.
Trigger Warnings: mentions and descriptions of blood, violence, gore, character deaths, explicit description of gouging self (not of their own volition), murder, weapon use, insects, alcohol consumption, parental abuse
These Violent Delights is a gorgeous and beautiful reimagining of Romeo and Juliet set in 1926 Shanghai.
Chloe Gong transported me to the city above the sea with vivid descriptions of the setting and a thrilling storyline that grabbed me from the prologue and refused to let go beyond the end. This was intense, perfectly fitting of a novel with blood feuds between two gangs spanning for generations. At least, until a monster and madness prowls the streets, causing members from both sides to suddenly claw their throats. Various foreign powers — the Americans, British, French — all want Shanghai, slowly occupying the city over the years and searching for a moment of weakness, and seeking for the moment the Scarlet Gang and White Flowers can no longer resist them.
I am in love with the cast of characters and the relationships involved.
Both Juliette and Roma Montagov are heirs of the two rival gangs, The Scarlet Flowers and the White Flowers, a rivalry that spans for generations and sheds blood between the streets when they cross paths. They both have a history when they fell in love years ago only for Roma to betray Juliette. Now, years later, they’ve both grown, and when no one in the leadership takes the madness seriously, they put aside their grudges so they can seek out the cause.
There’s a lot of yearning, but there is also common ground between them. Both Juliette and Roma are seeking to prove themselves as the heirs, with someone else who would more than happily take their spots if they can’t show they are up for the challenge. We see this throughout parts of These Violent Delights, and while sometimes there are people who would prefer another to be the heirs, they also have their own people who support them as well. I especially loved Juliette’s relationship with Kathleen and Roma’s relationship with Benedikt and Marshall. I did wish for them to be more fleshed out though and with more screen time, but this didn’t ruin my overall enjoyment of the book.
I loved every moment of reading These Violent Delights, and I highly encourage anyone seeking a dark, suspenseful retelling of Romeo and Juliet to pick up Chloe Gong’s debut novel.
About Chloe Gong
Chloe Gong is a student at the University of Pennsylvania, studying English and international relations. During her breaks, she’s either at home in New Zealand or visiting her many relatives in Shanghai. Chloe has been known to mysteriously appear when “Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s best plays and doesn’t deserve its slander in pop culture” is chanted into a mirror three times.