**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.**
Title These Violent Delights
Author Chloe Gong
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.
Release Date November 17, 2020
I was super excited to receive an ARC of this book. I planned to read it with my favorite buddy reader @lianne_the_bibliophile and that just made this read so much more enjoyable.
Some Things I Liked
- The setting. I loved 1920s Shanghai as a backdrop for this book. I haven’t read anything set there but I loved it. This story was rich with history and made me want to really dig deep into researching the time period. I loved that about it.
- Peaky Blinders attitude. This book, especially the main characters, had so much of what I love about the TV show Peaky Blinders. They were more than just gangsters, they were key members of society with incredible influence. I also loved that Juliette and Roma were gangsters with consciences. Juliette was the perfect Tommy Shelby character.
- The side characters. I haven’t read a book in a while where I loved the side characters so much. Kathleen, Marshall, and Benedikt were so fun to read about and I’m so invested in their secrets. I need to know more.
- Nods to the inspiration. I loved that this was a Romeo and Juliet retelling but it was self-referencing. It was a close interpretation but had some notable changes that I welcomed. I was never super into the idea of Romeo and Juliet both dying in the end of their story so I was excited to see how Chloe Gong was going to change that.
- Sci-fi vibes. That was a plot element that I wasn’t expecting at all and I really enjoyed it. Honestly, it grossed me out but in the best way. It was an unexpected contrast to the historical setting and it fit the story very well.
I’m super excited to read the next book in this series and see how the rest of the story pans out. These Violent Delights ends on a cliffhanger so I need the next book (which doesn’t even have a title yet) ASAP.
I really enjoyed this book. It was fantastic for a debut and I’d be eager to keep reading whatever Chloe Gong writes. Chloe made me like Romeo and Juliet so much more because now I have Roma and Juliette as references.
Recommendations for Further Reading
- Twin Daggers by MarcyKate Connolly – if you enjoyed the idea of a Romeo and Juliet retelling with a sci-fi twist, try this new release.
- Descendant of the Crane by Joan He – if you liked the idea of enemies to lovers romance, history, and plot twists that you’d never see coming, try this standalone.