These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong was doing the rounds on book twitter which made me request to review the book on NetGalley and oh my goodness! This book is something to look out for. Read on find out more.
About The Book
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.
Author: Chloe Gong
Genre: Historical Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Date Of Publication: 17th November 2020
No. of pages: 464
Before going into my review, can we talk about how stunning the cover is? These Violent Delights has one of the prettiest book covers that I have seen in a long time. The dagger with the dragon and roses gives off some really good vibes about the book. This is the kind of book that would make you judge the book by its cover.
Now coming to the book, this is a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920’s Shanghai. The city is roughly divided among the International Settlements, Scarlet Gang, and The White Flower territories with each trying to out-power the other and take on more control. At the same time, a strange monster roams the streets spreading a madness that starts killing the merchants, citizens, and gangsters alike. When the madness seems to be getting out of hand, Scarlet Gang heir Juliette Cai and White Flower heir Roma Montagov defy their families’ blood feud and join together to investigate the monster.
Let me put this out here, I LOVE ROMEO AND JULIET! The story has always been one of my favorites. I have always liked the “star crossed lovers” trope so naturally, when I heard about this book I knew I had to read it. Chloe Gong has done a brilliant job of taking a beloved story and making it her own while keeping a few of the memorable elements from the original. Considering this is her debut work, I cannot wait for more work from her.
These Violent Delights brings out an important topic of colonialism and how it affected the East. It also spoke about racism and the issue faced by migrants in the West. What I found really profound was that these topics are still valid discussions in 2020. This made the book so much better for me.
These Violent Delights is a fast-paced, action-packed, and emotional book. I completely enjoyed it and understand the hype that it got online. My favorite part would be the last few pages that make up the finale of the book. It ended on such a huge note that I did not expect at all. The sequel is slated to come out next year and I cannot wait!
About The Author
Chloe Gong is an undergraduate 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 by chanting “Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s best plays and doesn’t deserve its slander in pop culture” into a mirror three times.
You can find the book on Amazon