My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Title: These Violent Delights
Author: Chloe Gong
Format: eBook (NetGalley)
Publication Date: 11/17/20
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Categories: Romeo and Juliet Retelling, Romance, Gangs, Shanghai, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Family
Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**
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.
Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.
Let’s break it down:
My Attention: I was along for the wild ride!
World Building: retelling of Romeo & Juliet, Shanghai, 1926 – turf wars between two gangs and a communist faction coming into play
Writing Style: fast paced
Bringing the Heat: 🔥
Crazy in Love: star-crossed lovers, it’s Romeo & Juliet – it was always going to be complicated
Creativity: I loved everything about how this is a Romeo & Juliet retelling, but with gangs in Shanghai.
Mood: Excited for sequel
Triggers: violence, gore, bugs, death
My Takeaway: “These violent delights have violent ends” – Shakespeare
- Where do I start? Aesthetics: from the title to the cover…the darkness, the monster…ALL of it. It is perfection and matches the story to a T. Whoever did the cover design…BRAVO.
- All the historical content about Shanghai in the 1920’s with foreign powers trying to take a piece of the city was well done. I learned a lot! We also get Juliette’s perspective of being a Chinese young woman being raised in America and the racism she experienced there.
- Romeo & Juliet always made a good gangster story, two houses that hate each other. The same vibe in the original is alive in this version except for maybe the romance part. Roma and Juliette have a bloody, heartbreaking past – but their lifestyles don’t allow them to dwell on feelings like that. So in that sense it wasn’t as close to the original but I loved it.
- Speaking of romance…there isn’t much of it. The two lovers have basically been torn apart and are given a second chance at love but wow…there is so much keeping Roma and Juliette apart. There is a lot of heartbreak between them, when they do finally acknowledge the past though, it’s further into the story.
- The monster or virus that is infecting Shanghai makes this story darker and brings some gore to it. And I enjoyed it a lot. There is a mystery and the two gangs have to find out where this “virus” is coming from and who are the major players.
- All the characters are great – but Juliette shines like a diamond that can cut glass. And she wouldn’t be afraid to cut anybody! She is hard edges, she is going to rule the Scarlet Gang one day, she can fight, she can kill and she’s smart.
- This is not a full retelling of Romeo & Juliet because it’s going to be a series, so I really want to know more about Juliette’s cousins Kathleen and Rosalind! It almost felt like the story was going to wrap up like the original and then there is a twist…and made an opening for a sequel!
- Pacing wise – for me it dragged a little in the middle but it picked up speed right after.
This is how I like my Romeo & Juliet – dark and violent! This had action, mystery, a race against the clock to stop a virus killing people (quite violently) in the city of Shanghai. It has politics, gangster drama and so much heart break. It touches on identity, family bonds and betrayal. This is an amazing retelling of a classic and I cannot wait to read the sequel.
🖤❤️ ~ Yolanda