Review: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Book Review

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
(These Violent Delights #1)
Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical, Retelling

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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 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.

What I thought
This book really has it all. There is a mystery at its core, romance (enemies to lovers, second chance romance, and forbidden romance), a betrayal, a potential uprising, a blood feud and so much more.  Then there is the writing, if I hadn’t known that this was a debut novel I never would have believed it and she wasn’t even out of college yet!!  To be honest, I went into this book with average expectations due to me being on the fence about it being a Romeo and Juliet retelling.  But let’s be honest, this book is so much more than that. 

This story was so engrossing, there are two rival gangs, the Scarlet Gang and the White Flower, vying for control of Shanghai, and if that isn’t enough tension these gangs have a blood feud that has them constantly at each other’s throats. If that isn’t enough to keep you hooked, there is an epidemic that is causing people to tear out their own throats, and no one knows what is causing it.  It is up to Roma and Juliet to put aside their rivalry and work together, or there won’t be a Shanghai left to control. 

You have a core group of characters from both gangs that are featured in this book, and I can not remember a book that had all the characters balanced so well.  For each character, there seemed to be a character on the other side that was their balance.  I really enjoyed that none of the characters seemed to completely overpower the others.  It really made for a more enjoyable reading experience.

This book does end in a cliffhanger, and we all know that I am not a fan of them, but there was just something about the way she ended it that has me waiting for the next one, and I am not mad about it. 

Below is a content warning from the author.

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.

My Rating: /5

Have you read this book? If so what did you think? Tell me in the comments below.

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