Book Review: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

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These Violent Delights is the debut novel from Pennsylvania University undergraduate Chloe Gong. Set in Shanghai in the 1920s These Violent Delights is a clever retelling of the Shakespeare classic Romeo and Juliet. The book will be released November 17th and trust me when I say you want to get your hands on a copy. 

I was very kindly sent an ARC of These Violent Delights through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Chloe Gong and Hodder & Stoughton.  

As mentioned above These Violent Delights is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Taking place in 1920’s Shanghai, a madness is sweeping the city which leads to many dead victims. Juliette and Roma, heirs to rival gangs The Scarlets and The White Flowers, reluctantly team up to solve the mystery before there is no city left to fight over. 

First things first I was shocked when I found out that this was a debut novel. Like wow. You would think that Chloe had a whole plethora of novels under her belt before writing These Violent Delights. From the get-go, the story is intense and exciting, mysterious deaths, a suspected monster and all of the drama that the original Romeo and Juliet holds.  

The first character you are introduced to is Juliette Cai, the heir to one of Shanghai’s leading gangs The Scarlets. Now do not be fooled into thinking that she will be anything like Shakespeare’s Juliet, Juliette Cai is cutthroat and bold and just happens to be the ex-girlfriend of Roma Montagov, heir to the rival gang The White Flowers. 

As the title suggests this is quite a violent book. Obviously, if you are not comfortable reading that type of thing then fair enough this book probably isn’t for you. However, if you don’t violence and gore then you will definitely enjoy These Violent Delights. The violence, although harsh, can be quite poetic at times and really makes this an intense read. 

This is the type of book which you cannot put down. The suspense is carried throughout the entire book, something which can be quite difficult to do in YA. This does not mean that it is all doom and gloom and the read is not enjoyable. You will find that even though the story is dark you are enjoying it as it is so immersive and the plot twists are so shocking you will constantly be on the edge of your seat. 

Chloe Gong has an incredible worldbuilding ability that made 1920s Shanghai come to life before my eyes. Worldbuilding for me is one of the most important parts of a story. We read to lose ourselves in a story and if you cannot imagine that you are actually there then what is the point?  

Juilette and Roma are characters that you really come to love. Extremely well fleshed out and well-written backstories make you feel like you really know them. Although on opposing sides, their stories entwined beautifully and add a new spin on the classic love story. 

If you are a fan of Romeo and Juliet, like myself, then you will love These Violent Delights. The age-old blood feud is in full swing and you can feel the tension of Juliette and Roma’s forbidden love. 

These Violent Delights is available from all good book retailers from November 17th.

Will you be picking up a copy of These Violent Delights? Let me know in the comments!

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