Book Review: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Publication Date: November 17th 2020 

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.

My thoughts and feelings:

What I was expecting from this book: to love it.

What I was not expecting from this book: for it to make me feel so itchy!!

These Violent Delights has been everywhere you turn in the bookish community since it’s release and finally, after having to wait and wait until I had time to read, I read it and absolutely loved it!

This Romeo & Juliet inspired story is set in 1920’s Shanghai and takes a unique spin on the classic story by making the two characters, Juliet & Roma, be not only from waring families, but waring mafia families with a literal blood fued.

I really loved the setting. I know very little about the 1920’s in general, and when I do think of that time period I think speak-easys and flapper dresses so I found the political backdrop of what was happening in Shanghai at the time to be as interesting as the main plot.

I have read Shakespeare’s version once … in Spanish … for a class I didn’t particularly like, but I got the general gist of what was going on (I also watched the movie so that helped) and what I really liked about this was how you could clearly see where the inspiration came from, but at the same time it was it’s own thing entirely. The author didn’t copy the entire plot just set in a different time and place.

One of the things that makes this story so unique is the supernatural/paranormal element which I was not expecting whatsoever. I don’t want to spoil too much but there’s some sort of unnatural madness sweeping the city, causing people to literally claw their own throats out. It’s gruesome in the best way. I will say though, it made me itchy. If you’ve read this then you know.

And don’t get me started on the tropes!! Top tier. Not only do we have the mafia, which is always fun to read about, but we also have: an enemies to friends to lovers to enemies to lovers forbidden romance!! From the get-go Roma & Juliett had a lot of chemistry and I’m really excited to see where they go in the second book.

Overall I couldn’t find fault with this book. Also I find it ironic that I have purposefully saved this book for months, waiting for summer when I’m free, and of course I start reading it during a super busy week. All I wanted to do was read but I had so many other plans instead. It was torture which is even more evidence to how much I enjoyed this book. I will now be counting down the days for the sequel.

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