These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong – Romeo + Juliet in 1920’s Shanghai (ARC Review)

These Violent Delights Review

Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review! All thoughts & opinions are my own.

Overall: 5/5 Stars
Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot and Themes: 5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
Review in a Nutshell: I had some pretty high expectations for this book, but I never thought it would fly above all of them as much as it did.

// Content Warning: Violence, Death, Assault, Gun Violence, Torture, Suicide, (Drug) Addiction (Mention), Child Abuse, Murder, Gore//

Release Date: 11/17/2020
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Page Count: 464
Premise:

These Violent Delights is a refreshing take on Romeo and Juliet, taking place in Shanghai, in 1926. It follows Roma Montagov and Juliette Cai, the heirs to two rival gangs, locked in a blood feud. But when their city is overrun by madness, they must work together to stop it.

Writing & Setting

The first thing that amazed me about this book was the writing style (this was only the first of many things). The writing in this book is beautiful, and includes so much depth in every line, without feeling extremely dense and too-flowery. It sets the tone for the book, creating a dark atmosphere with a bite.

Speaking of the atmosphere- the setting is absolutely astounding. I can’t imagine the amount of research that went into creating such a vibrant and grounded world. While there are some fantasy aspects, they are so well developed that it only made the world feel more real.

Plot

I will admit, it took me a minute to get fully into the book (maybe 50 pages or so), but once I was invested, I was obsessed. You would think an almost-500 page book might take some time to read, but I couldn’t put it down. There was always something interesting happening, and those last 100 pages??? Yeah, there was no chance I was stepping away from that.

One thing I really enjoyed about the plot of this book was all of the unique twists on the classic Romeo & Juliet plot. I loved how all of the original characters were adapted, and I especially loved how These Violent Delights differed from the original while still having great references to it.

Characters

Hello, yes, I would like to form a Marshall Seo fan club.

Okay, but can we talk about some of these characters for a moment? Forget Roma and Juliette (we’ll get to them later)- but Marshall, Benedict, Kathleen, and Rosalind??? 1) I loved seeing all of the representations in this book 2) They’re just so well-developed and I love them all. Even when I may not like a character, their beliefs and motivations are incredibly realistic and interesting, so I love them anyway. … but also I do really like most of them.

Now, let’s talk about Roma and Juliette. Roma is our Romeo, he seems cold and cunning but secretly cares so deeply about those he loves. Then there’s Juliette. She’s ruthless and violent and dedicated to her people. They are great protagonists, and I adore them so much.

But also let’s talk about them as a couple, because this is a Romeo and Juliet retelling so that’s kinda important.
One worry I get with Romeo and Juliet retellings is that it’ll rely on insta-love. But this book most certainly does not. Not only is the main relationship enemies-to-lovers, but childhood sweethearts-to-enemies-to-lovers, so we get a whole extra level of angst. If that isn’t enough to make you want to read it, I don’t know what is. I absolutely love them together and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book!

Conclusion

Pros- Amazing characters, beautiful writing, fascinating world, seriously everything about this book is amazing
Cons- Can take a second to get into
Overall- 5/5 stars.
These Violent Delights is a book you cannot miss. This novel is astounding in every way and I can’t recommend it enough.

If You Liked These Violent Delights, I’d Recommend:

What’s your favorite play by Shakespeare?

I’m personally a big fan of King Lear, but now These Violent Delights has given me a newfound appreciation for Romeo & Juliet.

- cait









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