These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong | Book Review

I am always down for a good re-telling. Now, when we add in 1920s Shanghai, Shakespeare, and madness? I simply cannot resist. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong is an excellent young adult historical fantasy. Personally, I devoured this book and cannot stop recommending it. Also? I wish I had the second book right this instant.

These Violent Delights is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Set in 1920s era Shanghai, this is the story of Juliette Cai and Roma Montagov. Juliette and Roma were once lovers but are now enemies. They come from rival gangs. Juliette’s family runs the Scarlet gang which is comprised of Chinese people. Roma’s family runs the White Flowers which are comprised of Russians. Meanwhile, there’s also the Communist faction as well as the foreign colonizers. The book opens with a person down by the docks who tries to rip their own throat out.

It seems this delusion which makes people want to rip out their throats is spreading, putting Shanghai at risk. So, Juliette and Roma, enemies, must unite to find out what exactly the issue is and put an end to the madness. We get perspective from Juliette, Roma, Juliette’s cousin and more characters. It was cool to see the connection between the side characters and the play which this is based on.

Chloe Gong’s debut is a winner. It is a story that is unique and complex. The pacing is never slow or overlong. Also, there’s a good amount of action to keep you satisfied. Plus, there’s the world building. Reading These Violent Delights made it easy to picture Shanghai of the past and the competing factions. Yet, this book does not shy from topics like colonialism, gender, politics, and more. I also liked how much of a twist it provided on Romeo and Juliet. Finally, it takes the story and making it new again.


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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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