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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 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. 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.


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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 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. 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.

30 review for These Violent Delights

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chloe Gong

    I wanted to begin this note with a quip about giving the book 5 stars, but the truth is, if I hadn’t poured all my heart and blood into it, then I wouldn’t have put it forward for publication. And since I have put it forward, then that means I believe in this book with everything I have, and I’m honored to be able to share These Violent Delights with you all. Goodreads is a space for readers, not authors, so I’m only here to drop this note and then skedaddle. If you’d like me to share or read yo I wanted to begin this note with a quip about giving the book 5 stars, but the truth is, if I hadn’t poured all my heart and blood into it, then I wouldn’t have put it forward for publication. And since I have put it forward, then that means I believe in this book with everything I have, and I’m honored to be able to share These Violent Delights with you all. Goodreads is a space for readers, not authors, so I’m only here to drop this note and then skedaddle. If you’d like me to share or read your review, you can tag me on Twitter or Instagram, but otherwise, I won’t be interacting! If you have any questions, you’ll have better luck reaching me on my website, or Twitter. CONTENT WARNINGS: This book contains mentions and descriptions of blood, violence, gore, character deaths, explicit description of gouging self (not of their own volition), murder, weapon use, insects, alcohol consumption, parental abuse. Please note that I’ve included above the more major content warnings, but if there is anything you think should be included that isn’t, do feel free to reach out. The safety of readers is my top priority! I’ll bow out on my final parting words. These Violent Delights is my love letter to Shanghai, to Shakespeare, and to my younger self, who so desperately wanted to find an adventure on the shelves starring someone with a face like hers. This book is also my mission as an English major to take a classic that we so dearly love and revamp it: in a new culture, with queer rep, and as a brutal takedown of colonialism—without losing its core themes about love, and hate, and loyalty. I hope you enjoy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    chai ♡

    me: now that I am done with finals, I just want to relax and nestle into the soothing embrace of a good book also me: *picks up this Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s gangster-run Shanghai about star-crossed exes putting aside the blood feud between them to prevent a monster from terrorizing their city that everyone tells me it's guaranteed to break my heart* me: now that I am done with finals, I just want to relax and nestle into the soothing embrace of a good book also me: *picks up this Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s gangster-run Shanghai about star-crossed exes putting aside the blood feud between them to prevent a monster from terrorizing their city that everyone tells me it's guaranteed to break my heart*

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    OwlCrate's December 2020 Box : My Rep Code: MEL10 ❤️ Fairyloot's November 2020 Box: My Rep Code: MELANIE5 ❤️ ✨ Reviews you should check out: Xiran's, Lili's, CW's  "Anyone can be the master to a monster should their heart be wicked enough." These Violent Delights is an ownvoices story starring a Chinese heiress who recently moved back to Shanghai and is willing to do anything to prove to her father that she is ready to rule the Scarlet Gang. But in 1920s Shanghai, OwlCrate's December 2020 Box : My Rep Code: MEL10 ❤️ Fairyloot's November 2020 Box: My Rep Code: MELANIE5 ❤️ ✨ Reviews you should check out: Xiran's, Lili's, CW's  "Anyone can be the master to a monster should their heart be wicked enough." These Violent Delights is an ownvoices story starring a Chinese heiress who recently moved back to Shanghai and is willing to do anything to prove to her father that she is ready to rule the Scarlet Gang. But in 1920s Shanghai, the city has many foreign occupiers from the British, to the French, to Americans, to Russians, etc (more about colonization later in the review). And the rival gang in the city is the White Flowers who are ruled by the Russians, and as of now the gangs ruthlessly kill each other while trying to assert dominance in their territories, but they might have to work together when a monster comes from the sea and attacks and kills anyone regardless of their hierarchies and districts. Oh, and it’s also a loose Romeo and Juliet retelling. Remarkably interesting set up, true? I was so very intrigued, and I was not disappointed. I loved all the overarching important themes in this book and how this author unapologetically wrote about them. The monster might be a made up thing for this story, but the real monsters are the people who take land and culture while also trying to control every aspect of the people they are stealing from's lives. And those are very much real and still thriving in 2020, and scarier than the scariest of book monsters. "You destroy me and then you kiss me. You give me reason to hate you and then you give me reason to love you. Is this a lie or the truth? Is this a ploy or your heart reaching for me?" I really loved Juliet and I was always compelled to learn more and more about her and her family. The Romeo in the story is named Roma and he is also the heir to the White Flower throne, hopefully. Both of their fathers are not completely sold on their leadership, which is why they are both trying to prove so much. It is also why they have this common ground (and a common, but bloody, past) with each other. I think most of you will enjoy their dynamic, especially being rival heirs who once were maybe more. And I really enjoyed them dancing around each other, discovering clues, and just having to work together again before the city is completely destroyed. "This place rumbles on Western idealism and Eastern labor…" This book also very much talks about communism and how white people like to still romanticize the political theory. Meanwhile, so many countries have been completely torn apart by it. This book really shows how people will use communism to help them take over PoC’s land and cities in the name of equality when they are just stealing. The monster (and a contagious disease that people need a cure for) in the book very much plays a part in this. I will say too that this book was very unexpectedly gory. If you are a bit squeamish, you might want to take a bit of caution with this one, because the author does not pull back with incredibly detailed descriptions. "They believed themselves the rulers of the world—on stolen land in America, on stolen land in Shanghai. Everywhere they went—entitlement." Okay, let’s talk about colonization. Seeing Juliet feel like a foreigner in her own country? Her feeling like she must be more Americanized for people to hear her and listen to her? Being sent away to America, “forced” to get an education in American, using the name Juliet, dressing more American, speaking English and with a minimal accent at that? Heartbreak, truly heartbreaking. But this is a reality that so many Asians are forced to live even in 2020 (even my biracial white passing self). The world has always tried to tell us that Westernized voices are the ones that get heard, and if you want people to listen to you then you have to at least appear to be a “model minority” from the East. But I don’t even have words for how extra heartbreaking that is in your own country. This book also has some really good queer representation, with a brewing m/m romances between side characters that I think will be very much developed in the next book, but also with a trans girl side character who completely won me over. Obviously, it is ownvoices for the Chinese representation, and one half of the m/m relationship is Korean! "Juliette Cai feared disapproval more than she feared grim on her soul." Overall (and again), I loved the themes of this book and I truly did love Juliet. I just felt like I didn’t love the plot with the actual monster in this book. I also felt like a lot plot points built up and just went nowhere, even though I’m sure they will be talked about in future books. I also didn’t love the romance, because I just didn’t love Roma. I think this book did a lot of talking, and not showing us, things about the characters. And the ending of this book really left me wanting so much more, but not necessarily in a good way. I still recommend this completely for the themes alone, and I think it is a very impressive debut. You can also tell that this story means a lot to the author, and her family and culture, and it is a tale that deserves to be read (and a history you shouldn’t let your Westernized education ignore). This is truly the highest of three stars from me, and I can’t wait to see what comes next! Trigger and Content Warnings: lots of blood depiction, lots of gore, violence, death, murder, loss of a loved one, general plot around a disease that is contagious, talk of drug use and addiction, self-harm and suicide because of the “monster” in the book, colonization, racism (and lots of microaggressions), lots of talk of communism, brief mention of human trafficking and kidnapping, brief mention of loss of a pet, brief transphobia microaggression in the past (regarding choosing a name/identity), and just in general I think this book could be a tough read for you if you experience entomophobia (a fear of insects) so please use caution! Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication. Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joel Rochester

    THAT ENDING THOUGH!!!! One of the best YA books of this year. Completely amazing, I love it sm.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    ↠ 5 stars You had me at Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920's Shanghai. In this wondrous debut from author Chloe Gong, Shakespeare meets a new decade, one with rivaling gangs and a river monster tormenting the citizens. The blood feud between the White Flowers and the Scarlet Gang is one that has transformed the city. Alliances have been drawn and no one can stand the middle ground. Enter the once-lovers, Juliette and Roma, separated by their families and a long ago betrayal. They must set asi ↠ 5 stars You had me at Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920's Shanghai. In this wondrous debut from author Chloe Gong, Shakespeare meets a new decade, one with rivaling gangs and a river monster tormenting the citizens. The blood feud between the White Flowers and the Scarlet Gang is one that has transformed the city. Alliances have been drawn and no one can stand the middle ground. Enter the once-lovers, Juliette and Roma, separated by their families and a long ago betrayal. They must set aside their differences when a mysterious illness begins to inflict itself upon both sides. This book is fantastic. Enough said. From the beginning, Chloe Gong entraps you with her vivid descriptions and fast paced plot. The first line could be seen as the start of my love affair with this incredible story. I mean: "In glittering Shanghai, a monster awakens" *screams into the void. I don't know. There's something about a mysterious creature and two unlikely allies drawn together in order to figure it all out that just sits right with me. Besides that, the world seems thoroughly explored and all of its characters brought forth into the roles created for them. As this is the first book in the series there is a lot left desired, not in lack of substance, but a want of more. An understatement would be that I devoured this book, because I finished it all in a few hours and then sat there staring at the wall contemplating my own existence. Perhaps my favorite thing about this was the tension bordering on yearning between Juliette and Roma. I have a soft spot for couples that blur the line between love and hate, even when it's not hate at all. That being said, the side characters really stole the show in this debut. I currently have my thoughts outgoing to Kathleen and Marshall. Protect them please. While there are other books to read, I'm probably going to be talking of nothing but this for quite some time. Trigger warnings: blood, violence, gore, murder, transphobia, gouging, alcohol consumption, parental abuse.

  6. 5 out of 5

    may ➹

    — find this review and others on my blog! Backdropped by 1926 Shanghai humming with life and debauchery, These Violent Delights follows Juliette Cai, heir to the Scarlet Gang, who watches angrily as her city falls further into the clutches of white foreigners. Equally as worrying as the threat of colonialism is the sudden appearance of a monster that causes people to tear out their own throats. The only way Juliette can defeat the monster and save her people is to work with Roma Montagov, heir to — find this review and others on my blog! Backdropped by 1926 Shanghai humming with life and debauchery, These Violent Delights follows Juliette Cai, heir to the Scarlet Gang, who watches angrily as her city falls further into the clutches of white foreigners. Equally as worrying as the threat of colonialism is the sudden appearance of a monster that causes people to tear out their own throats. The only way Juliette can defeat the monster and save her people is to work with Roma Montagov, heir to the rival Russian White Flowers and the boy she once loved—before he betrayed her. This book was one of my most anticipated releases for 2020, and it’s safe to say it did not disappoint. I can already tell that it’s going to end up on a lot of people’s “best of 2020” list, and it’s clear why. With an arresting exploration of colonialism and compelling characters to obsess over, this debut historical fantasy marks Chloe Gong as an author to look out for in the coming years. This was a city shrouded in blood. It was foolish to try changing it. Gong’s writing brings 1920s Shanghai to life in all its glittering glory. Her beautiful prose is full of details that make you feel as if you yourself are walking down the crowded streets of the city or sitting in the back of a lively nightclub, but in a way that doesn’t bog down the story. I have difficulty reading books that are descriptive because they tend to be overly flowery and slow me down, but Gong’s writing flowed easily and allowed for an immersive reading experience. Before settling in to read this book, I’d predicted that I would fall in love with Juliette Cai—and I was right. She is cunning and ruthless, unafraid to do what she has to protect her people, and wholeheartedly invited to step on me. Juliette was also sent to live and grow up in the US for a large part of her life, and I loved the portrayal of how she struggles with feeling out of place in Shanghai, from her style of dressing to her name to the way she speaks her language, even though she is far more Chinese than the white foreigners around her. Roma Montagov, on the other hand, wholly surprised me. Forgive me for liking a white boy, but he’s someone who is much less rough than he appears to be and doesn’t like violence even though he’s the heir of a gang, and… I love the types of characters who put on masks like that. He’s surprisingly tender and caring for the people he loves in a way that isn’t quite as fierce as Juliette’s. “You destroy me and then you kiss me. You give me reason to hate you and then you give me reason to love you. Is this a lie or the truth? Is this a ploy or your heart reaching for me?” Of course, in a Romeo and Juliet retelling, you expect an angsty romance bound to tug at your heartstrings, and that’s exactly what you get. The lovers to enemies to lovers trope was executed fantastically, and their tension and history paired with yearning and longing that couldn’t be suppressed made a painfully exquisite combination. It felt like Gong was tantalizing me with this romance, each scene between Juliette and Roma a breath held in fear of what might move in to the space between them that wasn’t hatred for each other. There were also several side characters who I fell in love with: Juliette’s cousins, Kathleen and Rosalind, and Roma’s two righthand men, Benedikt and Marshall. They get a few of their own POV chapters, and though Marshall and Kathleen were my favorites, I loved each and every one of them! They all have such distinct personalities, from a perfectionistic artist to a dance performer to a witty flirt, and I can’t wait to see more of them in the sequel. (Kathleen is a trans girl, Marshall is Korean, and I think a romantic relationship is definitely developing between Benedikt and Marshall!) Maybe there was no truth. Maybe nothing was as easy as one truth. What I truly loved about this book, though, was the way it thoughtfully portrayed and commented on Western imperialism. It is as much of a threat to the people of Shanghai as the monster preying on them (and you might even argue that it’s more horrifying, in a more subtle way), and it’s heartbreaking to see Juliette and other Chinese people feel so helpless about the foreigners making a home in a city that is not theirs to carve a place into. There’s a particular layer revealed that shows even more how insidious and deeply embedded the West is in this city and many other non-Western places, and it genuinely gave me chills when I was reading. Gong also wove the theme of loyalty into the threads of this story—loyalty to your people, your gang, your family—and how it is challenged when you dare to love your enemy. Something I found particularly interesting was how loyalty came into play with family in the gang, as family is one of the most important things you can value in Asian culture. This and other things truly showed how originally white stories can be enriched when taken and retold by authors of color with their own twists and bringing in their own background. I personally was not entirely into the monster antagonist, as I was more interested in the idea of the foreigners as the villains, but the other areas of the story, most notably the characters, more than made up for it, a testament to how well-written the book was overall. I also had some problems getting into the book at first; it took me about until halfway to feel fully invested in the book (though I do blame part of that on the fact that I was in a reading slump), but once the book had me hooked, it did not let me go. They are criminals—criminals at the top of an empire of thieves and drug lords and pimps, preparing to inherit a broken, terrible, defeated thing that looks upon them in sadness. While the story as a whole is thrilling, the ending in particular is full of action and excitement, tinged with heartbreak and the shattering of dreams. When I turned the last page, I lay on my couch in silence with a feeling in my chest akin to the release of a held breath, a sense of awe washing over me as the full weight of the book and everything in it sunk in. Gong lets the novel finish on a cruel cliffhanger, and the wait for the sequel will be long and painful, but completely worth it. I adored Juliette and Roma and lost my mind over their romance, and I was in awe of the way this book expertly tackled colonialism and Western influence. These Violent Delights is a beautifully written, haunting tale of how the West seeps into every place, even when people are determined to shut it out, paired with the tragic story of two lovers who seem destined to have everything around them fall apart. I can’t wait for others to fall in love with it just as I did. —★— :: representation :: Chinese MC, several Chinese characters, Chinese trans character, Korean mlm character, mlm character :: content warnings :: murder, gore, violence, death, depictions of blood, loss of loved ones, disease/sickness, self-harm & suicide (not of own volition), transphobia, racism, colonialism, explosion, body horror-ish type of things with insects Thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a spot on this blog tour! This did not affect my opinions in any way. All quotes are from an advance copy and may differ in final publication. // buddy read with maha <3

  7. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    if i could sum up the story of roma and juliette, it would be this quote by toni morrison: ‘we mistook violence for passion… and thought recklessness was freedom.’ the ruthless gangs, the rekindling of a first love after betrayal, the haunting of a monster and madness, and the dramatic ploys of various nationalities trying to gain control of shanghai, this story delivers on so many fronts. i could most definitely see how this follows the tale of romeo and juliet, but at the same time, it feel if i could sum up the story of roma and juliette, it would be this quote by toni morrison: ‘we mistook violence for passion… and thought recklessness was freedom.’ the ruthless gangs, the rekindling of a first love after betrayal, the haunting of a monster and madness, and the dramatic ploys of various nationalities trying to gain control of shanghai, this story delivers on so many fronts. i could most definitely see how this follows the tale of romeo and juliet, but at the same time, it feels soooo different. its the perfect kind of retelling, with the right balance of new and original. my only critique would be the length and pacing. its a bit slow and drawn out (mainly because there are a lot of POVs). i was hoping for something a littler faster paced, but i can understand how the depth of scene setting and history is useful to the story. also, i refuse to believe this a debut because the writing is phenomenal. i am so excited to see how it develops as the series continues! ↠ 4 stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marzuqa

    Here it is, my love of 2020! I wasn’t just immersed in this book, I was drowned in it. It’s the kind of book you wish you could read for the first time, again and again. This was such a captivating mix of fantasy, romance, horror and mystery (basically all the things I love) packaged into this neat story that I just could not put down. The characters were all so admirable and I loved how the story played out. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to call this work flawless. Waiting for the sequel is go Here it is, my love of 2020! I wasn’t just immersed in this book, I was drowned in it. It’s the kind of book you wish you could read for the first time, again and again. This was such a captivating mix of fantasy, romance, horror and mystery (basically all the things I love) packaged into this neat story that I just could not put down. The characters were all so admirable and I loved how the story played out. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to call this work flawless. Waiting for the sequel is gonna be a torture, really! Loved, loved, loved this!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Just posted my Dec 2020 OwCrate Unboxing and Review Video !! YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads Just posted my Dec 2020 OwCrate Unboxing and Review Video !! YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads

  10. 4 out of 5

    She-who-must-not-be-named

    A Romeo and Juliet retelling coupled with a historical screenplay of Shanghai torn by two rival Gangs (Scarlet gang and the White Flower gang) the Communists, and other foreigners fighting for power, These Violent Delights is, without an ounce of doubt, a debut of immense talent. The crux of the story Scarlet Gang is in charge of Shanghai and is the most powerful of all gangs in Shanghai. Juliette Cai , heiress of the Scarlet Gang ruled by the ruthless Lord Cai, has returned from America and i A Romeo and Juliet retelling coupled with a historical screenplay of Shanghai torn by two rival Gangs (Scarlet gang and the White Flower gang) the Communists, and other foreigners fighting for power, These Violent Delights is, without an ounce of doubt, a debut of immense talent. The crux of the story Scarlet Gang is in charge of Shanghai and is the most powerful of all gangs in Shanghai. Juliette Cai , heiress of the Scarlet Gang ruled by the ruthless Lord Cai, has returned from America and is charged with a huge responsibility: to keep the Scarlet Gang in charge of Shanghai. Trying to overthrow the Scarlet Gang is the White Flower Gang - sworn enemies to the Scarlet Gang, whose heir is Roma Montagov, son of the very merciless- Lord Montagov. When people of Shanghai begin ripping out their own throats as a result of a mysterious contagious disease, talk runs around that a monster in the Huangpu river may be the source of all the catastrophes. Unless it is one of the many means and a weapon to take control of Shanghai. Roma and Juliette have no choice but to form a dalliance with each other, just like old times. Only, their past and their family's blood feud don't allow them to trust each other. These Violent Delights is wonderfully imaginative and is rich in provocative social, physical, and emotional commentary, exploring the themes of loyalty, monarchy of sorts, morality, oppression, rebellion, sacrifice *insert the sound of my heart breaking* and most importantly, survival amidst the turmoil of contagion. Each character is quirky and unique in his or her own way and is on a road toward self-discovery. The fact that it is a Romeo-Juliet retelling is only one of this book's many strengths . These Violent Delights offers a vanquishing formula by petrifying, startling, and enticing the readers- ALL AT ONCE. It is packed with violence and action, and characters that are fleshed out to be believable teens toppling in a Shanghai that is filled with uncertainty and doom. Plans go terribly awry and the leads only have an unforgiving Huangpu river, no people to trust but only fellow gangsters, and a huge responsibility on their shoulders, when their parents couldn't care less. One would expect from the descriptions that the book is a story of love, loss, and self-belief. But These Violent Delights , although it may embody Romeo & Juliet has very little or almost nothing to do with romance as it is plot-heavy. It is also most definitely not a tragedy of sorts *HEY, I'M NOT MAKING ANY PROMISES THAT YOU WON'T FEEL SICK TO YOUR STOMACH AT THE END OF IT, MIND YOU* (view spoiler)[ because there's no death towards the end of the story, whew. (hide spoiler)] . Despite all the violence that lays stagnant and heavy in the atmosphere, this is a zestful book that starts at a high velocity but slackens in the middle. At times, it may be difficult to catch up to its pace which makes readers fall behind a tad bit. At times the pace is so slow, readers are one step ahead of the discovery that the characters make in the story. However, there is so much emotion brimming in every chapter which spills such poignancy and pathos that I had no choice but to pay attention to every small detail and ram up even the smallest of moments. My mind was a ship sailing between dread and sorrow, and I was so fidgety throughout as if I was in the tale, feeling the weight of rivals' eyes filled with disdain on me and the sense of having to be just as careful as the characters. Great job there, Chloe Gong I entered this book with an open mind, with zero expectations and a subzero knowledge about Shanghai in the 1920s. But the narration was so beautifully done that I wasn't even remotely cognitively exhausted. There was a lot of context about colonialism in Shanghai and heavy colonizing influence of the West like the Opium Wars, British concession and the French concession, supremacist battle between the British and French, rise of communism, and so on. Source- History of Shanghai I won't elaborate about the characters because I don't want to make my review super long and taxing to read and also because the book is so plot-intensive that you see very less of the characters to form opinions on them. But Marshall Seo was definitely my favourite character ❤ If explicit descriptions of violence, gore, bloodshed, self-mutilation, weapons, and parental abuse trigger you, you should probably refrain from reading this book At the outset, this book is perfect for the lovers of dark and foreboding mystery. 4.25 ⭐

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lia Carstairs

    Eternally grateful to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!! <3 What. Was. That?!?! Seriously. What the hell was that cliffhanger?!?!😰 All that work and then that happens??? omgomgomg😓 Chloe Gong really knows how to deliver an ending. I just love how she ends the book in the middle of a climax?!?! (She even added the "To be continued" at the end as if knowing that her readers would be begging for more aghhhh and I unknowingly fell into the trap) I co Eternally grateful to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!! <3 What. Was. That?!?! Seriously. What the hell was that cliffhanger?!?!😰 All that work and then that happens??? omgomgomg😓 Chloe Gong really knows how to deliver an ending. I just love how she ends the book in the middle of a climax?!?! (She even added the "To be continued" at the end as if knowing that her readers would be begging for more aghhhh and I unknowingly fell into the trap) I could honestly just feel the beginning of despair swallow up the characters and horror dawn on them as they realized that this was not over—but only the beginning of everything. Now you probably have no idea with what I'm talking about unless you've already read the book, and I probably sound like a rambling lunatic, but trust me or maybe don't, once you read this for yourselves......you'll see what I mean.😈 (I shan't be the only one suffering muahahahaa) Set in 1920's Shanghai, eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai has finally returned home after 4 years of residing in America. She's back and ready to reclaim her rightful place as the heir of the Scarlet Gang, but unfortunately, with being gone for 4 years, there will have been many changes within both the gang and city. The French, British, Americans, and Communists have all slowly worked their way up and gained more power in Shanghai in the time that's passed. And to add on to that, a strange madness is spreading in the city like wildfire with the victims clawing at their throats and whispering of sightings of a monster lurking around. Oh yeah, and somehow creepy and disgusting insects are appearing *shudder* it truly is a nightmare come to life. Let's not forget the most important of all—the White Flowers, sworn enemies of the Scarlet Gang. Between the two groups lies centuries of deep hatred and to this day, they remain as is with their territories and killing of one another. But when both gangs deal with losses of their own because of the madness and monster......they may be forced to set aside their grudges and work together. *gasp* (ik, the horror.)😨 Hey, hey, hey, but that's not all Juliette's problems. There's also having to face Roma Montagova heir of the White Flowers—the man who once knew her better than anyone and.......her lover. After a heartbreaking betrayal though, all Juliette feels for him is a deep burning hatred . However, when an incident forces Juliette and Roma to band together to figure out the cause of the sickness, hatred is no longer what lies in her mind. Or maybe, that feeling never left at all........😏 Juliette was such an amazing female protagonist and I just loved her.🥰 Her strength and bloodthirstiness.......ahhhhh what's not to love about it? (uh oh, I'm starting to see a trend in what type of characters I'm loving) Even though she didn't enjoy hurting people, she still would, knowing when it was necessary for information or if said victim would be a hindrance left alive. xD and unlike our soft boy here, Juliette would think of shooting as her first option rather than incapacitating them. (not....that that's a good thing of course hehe) It's pretty cool seeing the female MC as the cold and unforgiving one and the male being the opposite (in most cases). "O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" Yes, the famous line we all know of. Except what's funny is that I actually never read Romeo and Juliet before. I've heard about it and everything, but my English teacher told us that he hated the play and it's stupidity, so he wouldn't make us read it (instead it was "Much Ado About Nothing", which I loved). But I digress. Roma Montagova here is, thankfully, nothing like the Romeo in Shakespeare. Although he is the heir of the White Flowers and must of course get his hands dirty (I mean, he is in a gang), Roma does not have the same ruthlessness as Juliette and actually tries to avoid killing others haha. But it makes sense the two turned out the way they are now, considering the betrayal—and you'll have to read this to find out what that betrayal was hehe.😉 Also, when Roma would call Juliette 'dorogaya' (means 'sweetheart').......it was just so sweet.🥺 There are also some side characters that I just loved so much, like Benedikt, Marshall, and Kathleen.💕 And then ones that I absolutely despised.......but I won't go into any names. In due time, you shall see who I am talking about. Chloe Gong said that she wrote "These Violent Delights" as a love letter to Shanghai and I can truly see that. I could almost imagine being in Shanghai myself when she'd describe the beauty of parts of the city and hear her love for it. The culture, the people, the languages spoken......just everything in the book was beautiful to learn about.💞 Now you're probably wondering, "If I loved this book so much, why 4 stars?". Well, the downside of this book was that some parts were just a slow at times, so I'd kind of have to push myself to get through it. Also, with the people in the city speaking so many different languages (Chinese, Russian, French, etc), sometimes there wouldn't be a translation of it afterwards in English, so how was I supposed to know what it meant?!?! I mean, based off of what came after, I could guess what the person had said, but I kinda want to know exactly what they're saying (I just went to google translate at that point haha). Some of the sentences were translated later in English by the characters, but then sometimes not....? Maybe, just maybe, I should've paid more attention in French class. whoops Other than that, this book was beautifully written and AFTER THAT 'TO BE CONTINUED' ENDING I NEED BOOK 2 ASAP.😤😨 I will be over here hoping that I get an ARC of the 2nd book.🥺 Please, please, please....... P.S. My loyalty will forever lie with the Scarlet Gang🌹

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly (Deity of Books)

    As someone who is not a fan of the original Romeo and Juliet (sorry), I really enjoyed this. This book is one of the best books I’ve read in 2020. It definitely could be one of the best books I’ve read in my entire life. We are introduced to Juliette Cai, one of the main characters. She is the heiress of the Scarlet Gang and has just come back from New York City after finishing her education. She and most characters in this book are polyglots. She can speak Mandarin (and its other dialects), Russ As someone who is not a fan of the original Romeo and Juliet (sorry), I really enjoyed this. This book is one of the best books I’ve read in 2020. It definitely could be one of the best books I’ve read in my entire life. We are introduced to Juliette Cai, one of the main characters. She is the heiress of the Scarlet Gang and has just come back from New York City after finishing her education. She and most characters in this book are polyglots. She can speak Mandarin (and its other dialects), Russian, French, English, Dutch, and probably others. During the time that she's been away, her cousin, Tyler, has tried to prove himself worthy to be the heir of the Scarlet Gang. She is not like the Juliet from the original Romeo and Juliet (or so I remember). She is dependent, determined, ambitious, strong, and doesn’t care what others think about her. I love that she isn't afraid to speak her mind. Our other main character is Roma Montagov. He is the heir of The White Flowers, a rival Russian gang, and Juliette’s first love and betrayal. Roma is the type of guy that seems tough on the outside but on the inside, he’s a softie. He has family issues; Roma’s father isn’t entirely trusting of him and someone wants to take his spot as heir. When a monster starts to terrorize the city of Shanghai, Roma and Juliette have to work together to solve this mystery and save their people. From the moment I read this synopsis, I knew this was going to be a five-star read. 1920’s Shanghai. This setting is genius and it’s what I love the most about this book. I like how the author tried to keep this as historically accurate as possible. You must be wondering: Is it historically accurate? Umm...I’m not the right person to answer this question. From my knowledge and (terrible) memory, it seems historically accurate. I absolutely love the political atmosphere. In this book, there is foreign political influence and turmoil, but there is also domestic political turmoil and I love how both of these play a role in the plot. This book also discusses and deals with imperialism, white supremacy, racism, and other things of that sort. Romance―there wasn’t as much as I was expecting, but I really enjoyed it. Roma and Juliette are perfect for each other. There’s a lot of angst and tension between them. There is LGBTQ+ rep in this book and I hope that more romances and relationships can develop in the next book. The writing is amazing. It flows wonderfully. I loved all the flashbacks and seeing why Roma and Juliette’s relationship turned sour. The pacing is pretty slow, but it fits well with this book because there’s so much to learn about the past and the current atmosphere of Shanghai. I do have a couple of issues with this book but is there any book that’s perfect? I felt that the ending was rushed. This is a problem that I have with a lot of books. All the plot twists didn’t feel that well-executed. When I was reading, I felt like they just popped up and there was nothing leading up to them. These Violent Delights was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020 and it definitely didn’t disappoint. This is a must-read book! If you’ve made it to the bottom of the review, congrats, and thanks for sticking around! There’s something that I wanted to share. Throughout the book, you might have noticed that Shanghai is often referred to as “the city above the sea”. For those of you that don’t know Mandarin, you might find this to be a bit strange. The reason why Shanghai (上海) is referred to as this is because it directly translates into above (the) sea. Thank you to the publisher, Margaret K. McElderry Books, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC. All opinions are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    emma

    so this author is a junior in college...this is blatantly against one of my major life policies (pretending that anyone younger than me is not cooler than me) but this book sounds so good i might have to break the rules 😎

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Got the same book in our December Owlcrate. I love the FairyLoot edition more but I do love the art under dust jacket and the embossing on cover. Click link under pic to see the goodies. FYI: We are getting the same books from both again in January and it’s a book I want! GOODIES LINK: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot.... November FairyLoot Unboxing. The book cover and the bookmarks are stunning! Click on link under pick to see the Goodies! GOODIES LINK: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot... Got the same book in our December Owlcrate. I love the FairyLoot edition more but I do love the art under dust jacket and the embossing on cover. Click link under pic to see the goodies. FYI: We are getting the same books from both again in January and it’s a book I want! GOODIES LINK: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot.... November FairyLoot Unboxing. The book cover and the bookmarks are stunning! Click on link under pick to see the Goodies! GOODIES LINK: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot.... Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  15. 5 out of 5

    Angelica

    This author is still an undergrad in college... what have I been doing with my life??????

  16. 5 out of 5

    Umairah | Sereadipity

    BREAKING NEWS! Recently, sobs of anguish have been issuing from Shakespeare's grave at random hours of the day. There is much speculation over the cause but I'll let you in on a secret: Shakespeare's ghost is weeping on the other side because finally, after all these years, he's been outdone. Who by? Chloe Gong and her painfully beautiful debut, These Violent Delights. Content Warnings: Blood, violence, gore, character deaths, explicit description of gouging self (not of their own volition), murd BREAKING NEWS! Recently, sobs of anguish have been issuing from Shakespeare's grave at random hours of the day. There is much speculation over the cause but I'll let you in on a secret: Shakespeare's ghost is weeping on the other side because finally, after all these years, he's been outdone. Who by? Chloe Gong and her painfully beautiful debut, These Violent Delights. Content Warnings: Blood, violence, gore, character deaths, explicit description of gouging self (not of their own volition), murder, weapon use, insects, alcohol consumption, parental abuse Plot: 5/5 Characters: 5/5 Writing: 5/5 Did my heart love till now? I think not. This book has become one of my favourite reads of all time because simply put, it is perfect in every way. It is a young adult historical novel with elements of science fiction/ fantasy that retells Romeo and Juliet in 1920s Shanghai with rival gangs, a monster and a mysterious contagion for extra spice. I've read Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and while I appreciate that it's extremely well written, I very much dislike it because I just find the plot illogical (if you disagree don't come at me these things are subjective). Luckily, These Violent Delights took everything I dislike about the original play and made it into something that I adore with all my heart- that in itself is a miracle as far as I'm concerned. I did however enjoy being able to pick up on the many small Romeo and Juliet references scattered throughout. The author included tiny details that showed how much thought and care had gone into the retelling. A non-spoilery example would be how in the novel Juliette often says things that have double meanings to hide her true intentions which is exactly what Juliet does in Shakespeare's play. Even better than the references were the clever ways Gong tweaked the plot to keep the reader guessing whether they were familiar with Romeo and Juliet or not. Because it's a retelling, I thought I knew exactly how the plot would go but it completely inverted my expectations and left me reeling in shock. The prose was so beautiful that I was captivated from the first sentence. It was intense and lyrical, Gong skilfully crafted vibrant, authentic atmospheres with just a few words. I adored the third person omniscient narration because it gave the story a sense of scope and grandeur. We get glimpses into the minds of so many characters and I loved that each one had their own distinct voice. It was definitely the most beautiful and experimental writing I've seen in a debut and Gong really pulled it off! Juliette Cai was the heiress to the Scarlet Gang who had spent the past four years in America and come back different in many ways- only to find out Shanghai had done the same. She was smart, brave and reckless with nerves of steel and deadpan humour- it was hard to not love her. Juliette Cai had so much more agency and power than Juliet Capulet and I loved to see it! She truly was a force to behold and I was cheering her on throughout. Her rage at the injustices of her world- the racism, misogyny, greed, xenophobia, lack of empathy- was palpable and it was so interesting seeing Shanghai through her eyes. I think Juliette's diaspora story is one that will resonate with many people. She found herself in a position where in America she was too Eastern to be accepted and when she returned to Shanghai, she was too Western to be accepted. That sense of not knowing who she was or where she truly belonged permeated her story arc. Roma Montagov was the heir to the White Flowers. His inner conflict was so interesting because deep down inside he was soft, sensitive and dreamy hated being the heir to a gang. He wished he could just disappear with his loved ones and live a quiet life but at the same time, he was scared to relinquish the protection and privilege his position of power gave him. I loved his relationship with his younger sister, Alisa, it was so sweet. The main storyline of the book wasn't focused on Juliette and Roma's relationship but that didn't make it any less memorable. Gong turned the original play on its head so that when they met at the start of the novel it wasn't their first encounter because they were already exes with a complicated history full of lies and betrayal. I loved this twist for two reasons. Firstly, because it took out the 'insta love' aspect that I didn't like in Romeo and Juliet. Secondly, because it made their relationship so much more intense and dynamic. They had to get to know each other all over again, these harder and colder versions of themselves. They had to grapple with conflicting feelings of love and hate that have been festering for so many years. They weren't children anymore and their love wasn't romantic and innocent because the environment they were in would never allow it. Sometimes, the only way they could show their love was through painful, cruel choices. It was messy, angsty and the levels of yearning were through the roof. And the saddest part was it was through no fault of their own but as a result of the hatred and tension between the two gangs. Their relationship was charged, unpredictable and quite honestly tragic (which is quite fitting considering the novel is a retelling of a tragedy). The side characters were all amazing and shone in their own rights. Gong's take on Benvolio and Mercutio with Benedikt and Marshall was spot on and their relationship was so precious. Especially with Marshall, she really captured Mercutio's dramatic, sarcastic nature perfectly. All of their scenes made me smile. I was so glad that Juliette got some wing women too! Kathleen (who was trans!) was so kind and soft, I felt bad for her because she always took too much on and felt too much then ended up neglecting herself. I also found passionate, headstrong Rosalind to be an interesting character. Instead of taking too much on, she kept too much bottled up inside. She was so similar to Juliette it was uncanny, the only difference was that one was the heir and the other wasn't. I loved how even though their personalities clashed they were there for each other always. And if you found fiery Tybalt to be infuriating in Romeo and Juliet... wait until you meet Tyler. Gong really hit the nail on the head with him, capturing the same volatile nature that makes Tybalt so detestable. His arrogant nature was a façade for his weaknesses but obviously he got away with it because he was a man. While Juliette, the extremely competent heir, had to work twice as hard to prove her worth. The world-building was immersive and detailed, it felt like a glimpse of the past. I liked how both the Scarlet Gang and the White Flowers were both so distinct in their general aesthetics and in their core values and principles. 1920s Shanghai was a brilliant backdrop for the story. It was a setting full of contrasts and divisions mirroring the divisions and conflicts between the characters. Gong also seamlessly wove in a commentary on the destructive effects of imperialism and colonialism, racism and xenophobia into the narrative and setting making the story all the more relevant and hard-hitting. I also loved the subtleties of language that the author portrayed: the characters switched between different dialects, different languages were used in different settings, words were more meaningful in one language as opposed to another. As someone who sometimes merges at least four different languages into one sentence, I appreciated it very much and it made the world feel more real and alive. I thought the addition of the contagion and the monster was genius. It expanded on a tiny detail in the play and gave the story more urgency by increasing the stakes. It also served as a plot device exposing the ugliness, greed and apathy lying beneath Shanghai's vibrant exterior. The monster was like a metaphor for the monstrosities of imperialism and colonialism that were ravaging Shanghai. The protagonists were given the challenge of defeating a monster without becoming one themselves. I found it chillingly similar to real life how those in power couldn't see how dangerous the disease was and didn't see the need to address it. For example, both Roma and Juliette's parents were too proud and accustomed to power to think anything could unseat it. Leaving the younger generation to pick up the pieces and find a solution. These Violent Delights is a brilliant read that captures all the drama, humour, action and emotion of the play it retells whilst also making it more relevant and exciting for modern day readers. This is a book I would recommend to everyone (as long as you can handle the more gory aspects) that will entertain and provoke thought. The twists were truly incredible and the ending was the most exquisite form of agony. I don't know how I will survive until the sequel comes out. I obviously won't spoil what happens but suffice to say: these violent delights really do have violent ends. Have you read These Violent Delights? What were your thoughts? Are there any Shakespeare retellings that you would recommend? Thank you to Simon Pulse for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Phuong ✯

    – 2.5 stars First of all I want to say that I think it's unfair that this book is in the GCA Semifinals in Young Adult Fantasy when it hasn't even released yet. GR messing up these awards every year is nothing new, but it still bugs me. A book that has been released for months now, should be able to have that spot. I would have said this regardless if I liked These Violent Delights or not, I just think other books that have already been released may deserve the exposure more. Edit: Not surprise th – 2.5 stars First of all I want to say that I think it's unfair that this book is in the GCA Semifinals in Young Adult Fantasy when it hasn't even released yet. GR messing up these awards every year is nothing new, but it still bugs me. A book that has been released for months now, should be able to have that spot. I would have said this regardless if I liked These Violent Delights or not, I just think other books that have already been released may deserve the exposure more. Edit: Not surprise that it didn't make it into the final round, cause how? No one has read it. This book should have been included in the awards for next year like The Queen of Nothing is this year, but it's GR so it will never make sense 🤷🏽‍♀️ *** R E V I E W Take this review with a grain of salt, because lately I can't seem to enjoy any book. My concentration span in quarentine is around 10 minutes max. If my attention is not catch by that time, it's lost. That being said I'm someone who under normal circumstances gets easily bored. 🙈 So far there are way more positive reviews for These Violent Delights , so I'm pretty sure that I'm the odd one here and have an unpopular opinion. I haven't been lucky with the YA fantasy releases this year so far. “You destroy me and then you kiss me. You give me reason to hate you and then you give me reason to love you. Is this a lie or the truth? Is this a ploy or your heart reaching for me?” ↳ PLOT These Violent Delights is set in 1926 Shanghai. The city is unofficially divided into two territorties. One belongs to the Scarlet Gang and the other belongs to the White Flowers. These two rival gangs have been ruling Shanghai with an iron fist since forever. Now a madness is spreading throughout the city with members of both gangs dying by clawing out there throats. The story is all about finding the monster who is spreading this madness around the city. Therefore Juliette Cai, heir of the Scarlet Gang, and Roma Montagov, heir of the White Flowers, have to work together to find a cure. ↳ WHAT WAS MEH : I'm partly to blame, because I'm putting too much hope into the romance aspect of these young adult fantasy books when it's not the focus of the story. I've only read this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling"  and knew I had to read this book.. Romeo and Juliet?? Sign me up! A love like theirs was never going to survive in a city divided by hatred. Juliette and Roma are in rival gangs – forbidden aspect? check. They have a past together, but then they betrayed each other – angst? check. Reunited to work together to solve a mystery – yearning and longing? check. On paper everything looks great, but the excecution was lacking and I know that it's partly on me and expecting to much of a romance in a book where it's not the main focus. The romance is a very small subplot. For a good amount of the times Juliette and Roma don't have scenes with each other, but are with their respective gang. The romance aspect didn't really start until maybe the last third of the book. The longing and yearning I was hoping fore was almost non-existent. Every time they had a scene together, I felt exactly nothing.. where was the angst? One would think there would be so much tension leading to the explanation of the betrayal, but it wasn't. The Romeo and Juliet retelling was disappointing, not even the names that were almost the same could help. “Just leave me here,” he said with a groan. “How are you this bad?” Juliette asked in disbelief. “I thought you were Russian.” “I am Russian, not an alcoholic,” Roma muttered. The romance can not be great, if half of ship is totally BLAND. I see this trend in YA books where the heroine is this kickass and powerful characters and then there is the Hero who just breathes and does nothing ordinary. That's Roma for you. As the heir of the White Flower he has to act tough, but he's acutally such a softie which is fine, but why couldn't he be more exciting???!!! Only for a little. I don't know if it's inteded or not, but Juliette character arc was pretty fleshed out. We got all her thoughts on colonialism, backstory on how she was send to the US for educational purposes, her dynamics with her cousins and parents and her place in the gang. Compared to Juliette Roma was background noice. There was not much on his background and if this is something that is more explored in the next book, then I apologize in advance for critisizing this. “So you,” Roma went on fiercely, “cannot fool me any longer. You are the same indomitable girl I would have laid my life down to save. I made my choice to believe in you—now you make yours. Will you keep fighting, or will you crumble?” Speaking of characters, this book had quite a few, but the most important one next to Roma and Juliette were their cousins. Roma closest relationships are with Benedikt and Marshall, while Juliette is pretty close with her cousins Kathleen and Rosalind. While I love reading about different family dynamics/relationships I didn't care enough about any of them. For that reason it was boring to read the chapters where Kathleen/Rosalind/Benedikt/Marshall were wandering around Shanghai trying to help. And then there is the plot, I wasn't very fond of. The whole "running around Shanghai finding the monster who spreads the madness" plot was not going anywhere. There were a couple subplots that started, but got lost somewhere. It's annoying how in most YA fantasy books for 80% of the book nothing really happens. The characters run around in circle and accomplish next to zero and in the last few chapters everything happens at once. Twist left and right and then the book ends when it is at its peak! 😬 “I am more concerned with why people were tearing their throats out in this house in the first place—”“It’s the madness,” Juliette interrupted. “It’s here, and it could be a viral contagion. We need to ask the other maids who were in contact with the victims to remain in their rooms for a few days.” To read about these things during this year. Not that great. It's not the author's fault tbh, cause I doubt she knew what was coming when she wrote this book. ↳ WHAT WORKED WELL : “My name was too Chinese for the West,” Juliette continued, a wry smile on her lips. She didn’t know why her face had morphed itself into amusement. She was anything but amused. “You know how it is—or maybe you don’t. A temporary thing for a temporary place, but now the temporary thing is burrowed in so deep it cannot be removed.” Colonialism plays a huge part and Chloe Gong did a great job of portraying this. Foreigner like the British, French, Russians etc. were all over Shanghai to a point were the main character Juliette felt like a stranger in her own country. She came back to Shanghai after her parents send her abroad to study in the US. Now that she's back, Juliette's trying to navigate life. Other themes like racism and sexism were explored in this book too. The Chinese had built the pit, gathered the wood, and lit the match, but it was the foreigners who had come in and poured gasoline upon every surface, letting Shanghai rage into an untamable forest fire of debauchery. Juliette shading white people and hating on white supremacy throughout the entire book? LOVED THAT. Just things I love to read about and one of the biggest reasons I could push through this book. It was the entitlement that drove these men forward. Entitlement that encouraged their wives to place a delicate handkerchief to their nose and sniff, wholeheartedly believing the tirade was deserved. They believed themselves the rulers of the world—on stolen land in America, on stolen land in Shanghai. Everywhere they went—entitlement. Juliette was a very relatable character for me. Even though, Juliette is the heir to the Scarlet Gang, she had to work extremely hard to get where she is now. Juliette is tough and dangerous to prove to her parents and all the other gang members that she can get the job done. Tyler, one of her counsins, is trying to get Juliette's position, therefore Juliette has to work harder not to make any mistakes and prove that she's the right heir to the Scarlet Gang. As an asian kid, I think, a lot of people will be able to relate to her character to a degree. Having to work harder to prove your parents that you're getting shit done. Otherwise they still treat you like a kid even though you can be 30 or 55. Books that end with a cliffhanger are always the worse. I didn't expect anything less from this book, but unfortunately I'm not interested enough in any of these characters or plot to continue with this series. *ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cait (Caitsbooks)

    Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review! Check out this review (and more) over on my blog! Quick Stats: 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 expected it to fly above all of them. // Content Warning: Violence, Death, Assault, Gun Violence, Torture, Suicide, (Drug) Addiction (Mention), Child Abuse, Murder, Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review! Check out this review (and more) over on my blog! Quick Stats: 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 expected it to fly above all of them. // 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. Follow Me Here: Blog ||Tumblr || Bookstagram || Twitter|| Reviews

  19. 5 out of 5

    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨

    Full review now on my book blog, The Quiet Pond. - oh................... OH SHIT if this isn't the next big YA, then i WILL riot. this book was PHENOMENAL. i was provided an ARC by the author. this does not affect my opinion in any way. Full review now on my book blog, The Quiet Pond. - oh................... OH SHIT if this isn't the next big YA, then i WILL riot. this book was PHENOMENAL. i was provided an ARC by the author. this does not affect my opinion in any way.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Althea | themoonwholistens ☾

    (I put it back on my PTBR because seeing 4 books on my currently reading actually stressed me out so I will continue this after I have sobbed over The Dragon Republic and I can devote my attention to it) shhhhh.... it's happening... i'm finally reading my most anticipated book of the year 🥺 i'm reading 3 other books right now but who cares --------------- 12/07/20: Two days ago we were only 5 people in line (I’m 3rd) for this book in my library and now there are 17 people waiting, that’s so wild... (I put it back on my PTBR because seeing 4 books on my currently reading actually stressed me out so I will continue this after I have sobbed over The Dragon Republic and I can devote my attention to it) shhhhh.... it's happening... i'm finally reading my most anticipated book of the year 🥺 i'm reading 3 other books right now but who cares --------------- 12/07/20: Two days ago we were only 5 people in line (I’m 3rd) for this book in my library and now there are 17 people waiting, that’s so wild... we love to see it. --------------- HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO THIS LOVELY 💕 I’m so excited to read you. "if you love: sharp girls with knives dangerous boys who cry cities that feel alive and old stories told anew" YES. YES. YES. AND YESSSSS. --------------- UPDATE 7: Chloe Gong said that she took inspiration from The Diviners by Libba Bray... one of my favorite series of all time... and if it’s not obvious how hyped I already am, it just sky rocketed even more 😌 --------------- UPDATE 6: I'm being so impatient but I NEED my copy NOW T_T all I do is cry about this every day I swear --------------- UPDATE 5: OHMYGOD IT'S ON MY LIBBY T_T and I'm 4th in line :3 THANK YOU LIBRARIAN GODS <3 --------------- UPDATE 4: I can't explain if it's the romeo and juliet + gangs retelling with the fantastical elements or the historical setting that's getting me hyped up but I just need this in my life already PLSSSS I don't think I've ever been more hyped up for a single book pre-publication --------------- UPDATE 3: Every day that goes by increases the hype that I have built for this for myself --------------- UPDATE 2: I literally keep thinking about this book... someone needs to help me because it's not even published yet --------------- UPDATE 1: "star crossed exes in 1920s shanghai with family feuds and a ~dash~ of magic" "fans of the last magician" i happily welcome you to my tbr

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    These Violent Delights is the perfect title for this book, it is very violent at times, but what a delight it is to read! Shakespeare re-tellings have, in my experience, gone one of two ways and i'm always wary when i start a new one. I needn't have worried with TVD as it feels vibrant and charmingly modern despite being set in the 1920s. 1920's Shanghai is not a time period I had read about before but I was completely enamored with the setting. It felt incredibly glamorous and dangerous in equa These Violent Delights is the perfect title for this book, it is very violent at times, but what a delight it is to read! Shakespeare re-tellings have, in my experience, gone one of two ways and i'm always wary when i start a new one. I needn't have worried with TVD as it feels vibrant and charmingly modern despite being set in the 1920s. 1920's Shanghai is not a time period I had read about before but I was completely enamored with the setting. It felt incredibly glamorous and dangerous in equal measure The plot is well established, the writing fantastic and the characters well developed. I believe this is Chloe Gong's debut novel which is seriously impressive too. "These Violent Delights" deserves a huge amount of hype and i really hope it gets it!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Fadwa (Word Wonders)

    i refuse to form a single coherent thought about this book in present moment. Please respect my privacy in my time of healing.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Full review HERE This book is a very solid debut novel and I'm so glad I got the chance to read it! It's a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in Shanghai in the 1920s and guys believe me when I say it was everything and more. The story is a fantasy infused with politics. It is set in the world of gangsters where constant fear, backstabbing, and retaliation are a daily occurrence. Nobody is safe and peop The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Full review HERE This book is a very solid debut novel and I'm so glad I got the chance to read it! It's a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in Shanghai in the 1920s and guys believe me when I say it was everything and more. The story is a fantasy infused with politics. It is set in the world of gangsters where constant fear, backstabbing, and retaliation are a daily occurrence. Nobody is safe and people always have to look over their shoulders. In the midst of this all two families rule over Shanghai underworld, the Cais with their Scarlet Gang and the Montagovs with the White Flowers. And it's from these two families that the main characters come from, Roma who is the heir to the Montagov's White Flowers and Juliette, the princess to the Scarlet empire. But can these two young people prove themselves to be the heirs everyone needs? And how much are they willing to sacrifice? After all, all is fair in love and war. I believe the usual themes of the original play were used in a unique and smart way and I also think that we will see more of them in the next book. Personally, I really appreciated the fantasy elements that this novel deals with. It's not over the top or too complicated, but it's interesting enough to keep the plot going and my attention during the reading experience. There's a madness spreading and it's causing people to kill themselves by clawing their own throats out. Everyone is more scared than ever and the two gangs need to come together in order to find a solution. But will they manage to put aside their differences and succeed? I truly enjoyed this story and I cannot wait to read the next novel in this series.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Xiran Zhao

    Personal Rating: Juliette Cai could backhand me right into the Huangpu River, and I’d thank her Reasons to Read: The richly realized world of 1920s Shanghai, the poetry-like prose, the tense mystery, the meticulously developed characters, the delicious and scathing discourse against colonialism, the doomed LOOOONGING between Roma and Juliette So this is one of those books that makes me angry. Angry because I cannot BELIEVE I never knew the extent of how interesting the situation in 1920s Shanghai Personal Rating: Juliette Cai could backhand me right into the Huangpu River, and I’d thank her Reasons to Read: The richly realized world of 1920s Shanghai, the poetry-like prose, the tense mystery, the meticulously developed characters, the delicious and scathing discourse against colonialism, the doomed LOOOONGING between Roma and Juliette So this is one of those books that makes me angry. Angry because I cannot BELIEVE I never knew the extent of how interesting the situation in 1920s Shanghai was. I mean, I knew it was a world class city on par with Paris and New York, but the complexity of its political and societal dynamics wasn’t something taught to me, despite me being Chinese. Growing up, the 1920s Shanghai c-dramas I’ve watched were mostly about undercover Communists struggling against the Kuomingtang (so, very thinly veiled propaganda). This book presents a much more complicated and nuanced view of the city then. It has the best of what I love so much about historical fiction. It instantly comes with gripping tension and fascinating dynamics because of that element of Realness to its background, and everything is much cooler knowing you’re learning about a real setting. Nothing gets more intense than real life. In the story, Shanghai is a city controlled by Western colonizers and two gangs, the Scarlet Gang and the White Flowers. Juliette Cai and Roma Montagov are its respective heirs, but both face a multitude of pressures from inside and outside their gangs. Being heir to a gang is as precarious as being heir to a throne. They are doomed to command respect by continuing the blood feud between them, or they’d lose their positions and their ability to protect themselves and all that they love. The most interesting part of this retelling is that the expected forbidden romance actually happened four years before the start of the story, and it did not end well. So the tension between Juliette and Roma are that of jilted exes. It makes for a lot of hilarious, bickering dialogue and understandable angst as they’re forced to work together to save their city from a mysterious epidemic of madness (I can’t believe Chloe Gong invented 2020). Juliette Cai is by far my favorite character, because she is the epitome of That B*tch. This ho speaks, like, 6 different languages and dialects (Mandarin, Shanghainese, English, French, Russian, Dutch). Before you call BS–no, this is indeed realistic for someone born into an elite family at the time. One endlessly entertaining part of the book was her and Roma switching between different languages depending on their surroundings, and the general exploration of language. She’s a breath of fresh air in that she’s an elite who fully embraces her elitism. There is nothing humble or awkward about her. She is better than you and KNOWS it, and you better know it as well. Part of her ruthlessness was honed by a massive, bloody betrayal by Roma that ended their young romance four years ago. It’s pretty clear early on that Roma’s hand was forced, though. He spends most of the book being Very Tired of all the BS around him, yet there’s an undeniable fire in him that drives him to fight to keep his position as heir, because he’d probably die the moment he lost it for good. There are no cinnamon rolls here. Once you find out the truth of what he did, it’s understandable, but you’re not sure he should be forgiven either, which makes for great tension in how this would all resolve. Full review, more cosplay shots, and memes on my blog Find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

    I want to make out with this cover. Also, this sounds AMAZING.

  26. 4 out of 5

    • Adela •

    woah, that was mind-blowing. i came in with high expectations and i was not disappointed. why did i like this so much? well, chloe gong was able to craft a story with an amazing plot, villains, romance, great side-characters, and awesome protagonists. that's a lot of work for one book. if you're planning on reading this, then read it! it's so worth it. - characters - juliette - she was a great protagonist but her coldness got on my nerves a bit. she was rude in situations where it wouldn't cost h woah, that was mind-blowing. i came in with high expectations and i was not disappointed. why did i like this so much? well, chloe gong was able to craft a story with an amazing plot, villains, romance, great side-characters, and awesome protagonists. that's a lot of work for one book. if you're planning on reading this, then read it! it's so worth it. - characters - juliette - she was a great protagonist but her coldness got on my nerves a bit. she was rude in situations where it wouldn't cost her anything to be kind. roma - he's probably my favorite character (other than benedikt, of course). he was polite and kind but cold when it was necessary. marshall - this boy is a cinnamon roll. he's hilarious and gives off all the gay energy. benedikt - the start of the gay energy in this book. we stan. he's also pretty relatable :) kathleen - she was definitely an interesting character that i enjoyed but not too much. rosalind - this girl got on my nerves a lot. she needs to take a chill pill. chloe gong really knows how to do a cliff hanger. i'm shook. i can't wait for the next book!

  27. 5 out of 5

    lily ☁️

    This book was sitting in my mailbox for almost two months, before I finally read it … I was still not ready to have my feelings end up this way—lying dead in a ditch somewhere in Shanghai, having clawed their throats out with their bare hands after a softly whispered tǎ mǎ dé, carried away into nothingness. (No one talk to me about being named in the acknowledgments, unless you want to make me sob.) Blog | Bloglovin’ | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter This book was sitting in my mailbox for almost two months, before I finally read it … I was still not ready to have my feelings end up this way—lying dead in a ditch somewhere in Shanghai, having clawed their throats out with their bare hands after a softly whispered tǎ mǎ dé, carried away into nothingness. (No one talk to me about being named in the acknowledgments, unless you want to make me sob.) Blog | Bloglovin’ | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ellie (faerieontheshelf)

    Roaring 20s but forget New York and make it Shanghai 👀 I see what’s going on here and I approve

  29. 4 out of 5

    Miranda

    I preordered this book simply because people seemed to be enjoying. I really did not know too much about it other than the fact it is a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai with rival gangs. That is really all I needed to know. Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights follows two rival gangs - the Scarlet Gang and the White Flowers - in 1926 Shanghai as they are forced to navigate their blood feud amid an outbreak of “madness” or a contagion as well as rumors of a monster. The story center I preordered this book simply because people seemed to be enjoying. I really did not know too much about it other than the fact it is a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai with rival gangs. That is really all I needed to know. Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights follows two rival gangs - the Scarlet Gang and the White Flowers - in 1926 Shanghai as they are forced to navigate their blood feud amid an outbreak of “madness” or a contagion as well as rumors of a monster. The story centers around Juliette Cai of the Scarlet Gang and Roma Montagov of the Russian White Flowers. Despite their history, the two must put aside their differences to work together to save themselves and their community. Stakes are even higher for Roma who is trying to save his little sister. However, working together turns out to be even harder to fathom for the two because Roma was Juliette’s first love who also betrayed her. I honestly loved the cast of characters that Chloe Gong creates in her story. While Juliette and Roma are the main focus, they both have their own friends and family that stand out. Starting with the Scarlet Gang, I love Juliette’s attitude and how fierce she is. I really appreciated how Gong incorporates how being sent away before impacts who she is and how she thinks about her home. Juliette is willing to do whatever it takes to protect the Scarlet Gang. I really enjoyed seeing her interactions with her family. Kathleen and Rosalind Lang were interesting characters. I hope their trials and motivations are explored a bit more in the second book too. However, I think we can all agree that Tyler Cai sucks. The White Flowers were no exception to the wonderfully written characters. Roma struggles with being heir to the White Flowers, but ultimately, like Juliette, he does what he has to. It was interesting to see how he thought about violence and fighting compared to Juliette. She may be more aggressive and impulsive compared to him, but Roma has no other choice when it comes to saving his sister. I also enjoyed seeing how Roma and Juliette kept each other in check or balanced each other. Just like I wanted more with the side characters from the rival gang, I cannot wait to read more about Marshall Seo and Benedikt Montagov. I am excited to see where their relationship goes. This cast of characters is even more important because they are very inclusive. Gong does a lot for representation here by including characters who are Chinese, Korean, Russian, queer, etc. Kathleen is also transgender. I hope the next book also expands on this more and addresses her possibly transphobic father. Juliette and Roma’s relationship was one of my favorite parts of this book. I trusted everyone else’s opinion and did not even read the full synopsis, so I did not even know that the two had a very complicated past. I was genuinely so surprised when it was revealed that their relationship was lovers to enemies. There are so many more layers to that though. It was more like friends to lovers to enemies to lovers to enemies. I was overall really impressed with the author’s writing. It was very engaging and atmospheric. I was really taken by surprise, especially since I did not love Romeo and Juliet. My only minor critique is that the pacing felt off at times, which could be why some people have commented on it being boring. I think in the second half of the book the story really picks up and is worth it in the end. This book becomes even more unique since there is a monster lurking and causing havoc. I do not understand how Gong makes all these layers work, but they really do. She makes this retelling her own unique story, but in a way that also includes more representation and comments on other important topics like colonialism and gender. I like that she addresses foreign and Western colonialism as a threat to everything Juliette knows and fights for. I do highly recommend These Violent Delights. There are some minor things keeping it from being a five star read, but I expect book two will make up for it. The characters, plot, writing, and atmosphere are all unique, rich, and engaging. Chloe Gong is incredibly talented, and I cannot wait to read more of her future works. *Content warnings: Blood, violence, gore, character deaths, explicit description of gouging self (not of their own volition), murder, weapon use, insects, alcohol consumption, parental abuse, transphobia*

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty Hendry

    Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy of These Violent Delights in exchange for an honest review. In Shanghai, in 1926, a blood feud that has been ongoing for years continues. Tensions between the Scarlet and White Flower gangs is constant, causing casualties on both sides. 4 years earlier heir to the Scarlet gang, Juliette Cai and the White Flower heir Roma Montagov saw past the blood feud and fell in love. That is, until he betrayed her. After some time away, Juliette has returned to S Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy of These Violent Delights in exchange for an honest review. In Shanghai, in 1926, a blood feud that has been ongoing for years continues. Tensions between the Scarlet and White Flower gangs is constant, causing casualties on both sides. 4 years earlier heir to the Scarlet gang, Juliette Cai and the White Flower heir Roma Montagov saw past the blood feud and fell in love. That is, until he betrayed her. After some time away, Juliette has returned to Shanghai. Soon people from both sides of the feud start going mad and tearing out their own throats in what seems to be the beginning of a contagion. Juliette and Roma must work past there grudges and discover the cause of the contagion before both gangs are wiped out. What I liked about this book This is a really interesting take on Romeo and Juliette. It has an original and enjoyable premise. The character line up is really diverse. I particularly liked Kathleen. Her loyalty and kindness are admirable. Action packed scenes keep the story moving forward at a fast pace What I didn't like Due to the fact that this is a Romeo and Juliette retelling, I expected a lot more from the romance. The perpetrator is quite obvious from the first few chapters. These Violent Delights ends on a cliffhanger leading me to believe that there will be a second book. I didn't get what I was expecting from this book, though I did enjoy it. 3.75 stars ✮✮✮✭ Find this review and others on my blog

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