These Violent Delights is a YA fantasy retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai. Honestly one of my most anticipated reads of 2020 and I am so grateful that Hodder & Stoughton sent me a physical ARC to review – all opinions are my own!
Introduction To These Violent Delights
A blood feud between two gangs – Scarlets and White Flowers. Juliette and Roma have a complicated past, they were each other’s first love and first betrayal. With a monster lurking in the depths of Huangpo River, they must put aside their differences to protect their people.
The Plot Of These Violent Delights
I was in a reading slump and recieving this book ignited that spark again! It was a bit difficult to get into due to how dense I felt it was, but after a certain point, my eyes were glued to the page! My annotations were pretty much, omg I’m so intrigued, need to find out more!
The mention of politics and foreigners in 1920s Shanghai was so interesting to read! I felt that I didn’t know much about it beforehand, but I love how Gong introduced that to the book. Whilst I did appreciate that, I did notice that the mention of these politics was quite often and kinda dragged out to me.
This book felt like a Netflix series in my head and I love that so much! The pacing would go slow then fast but I honestly didn’t mind because I enjoyed Chloe Gong’s writing a lot. I was invested in the plot but nearly as I was with the characters- I wanted to know more about them! I will say that towards the end the plot twists had me shook and I cannot wait for the sequel.
I would call Juliette ruthless but vulnerable. She’s witty and fierce but her insecurities are fleshed out well. I related to her, especially as she felt that to gain respect from others, she had to put on a strong exterior. Her need to constantly prove herself and feeling uncertain as to who she identifies as, being American and Chinese kinda put my feelings on to paper, being British South Asian. I love that I was able to see myself in her a little. There were mentions of her using a Western name due to people not knowing how to pronounce her Chinese name. There’s always been a struggle of people pronouncing my name, hence Maddy, and I just felt so seen. Wanting to be in touch with your culture but a modernised society stopping you from doing so.
Roma is a huge softie, I love the contrast between him and Juliette! They both had their own struggles being a heir to a gang and they sought comfort in each other with that. I do feel that I knew more of Juliette’s back story which is probably why I couldn’t fully relate to Roma or like his character as much as I did Juliette. I did like how toxic masculinity played into his personality and how he felt that he could never show weakness in front of others. Complex and morally grey;)
Enemies to lovers is favourite and at times I did feel that there could’ve been some witty banter. But, the yearning and angst especially towards the end had me shipping these two like crazy!
They each had their own close friends, I did want to know more about them. They definitely intrigued me and I’m hoping the sequel will go into depths of their backstory.
I’d highly recommend These Violent Delights! I did have very minor issues and so for that my rating will be a 4.5 star. But Chloe Gong is a phenomenal writer and I can’t wait for what is to come next. With diverse characters from Chinese, Korean and LGBT backgrounds, I’d definitely recommend picking this one up!
Find my last review here!