Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights takes place in 1926 gang-driven Shanghai, amidst all the chaos and hierarchy, a new monster is encompassed into the story. This YA reimagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet gives us the familiar love tale with a twist.
“And he mourned for her. He didn’t wish to, but he did—he ached with the knowledge that the softness of their youth was gone forever, that the Juliette he remembered was long dead. He ached even more to think that though he was the one who had dealt the killing blow,”
― Chloe Gong, These Violent Delights
If you’re reading this blog, it means you have access to internet. If so, you’ve seen a mention or two of These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, one of the most anticipated releases of 2020. It’s been quite a year, and an enemies-to-lovers retelling of a tale everyone is familiar with is just what I needed to get me through. These Violent Delights follows Juliette Cai, the heiress of one of two powerful rival gangs in 1926 Shanghai, the Scarlet Gang. After spending the last four years in America, Juliette is eager to prove to everyone that she is not the same 14 year old lovestruck teenager, but a rose equipped with many thorns. Her other half is none other than heir to the White Flowers, Roma Montagov who is also stuck proving his ruthlessness. The book follows through the turmoils of being successors to the rival gangs of Shanghai, as well as the mysterious illness that plaques the city.
OVERALL : ☆☆☆☆☆
The character’s were so very interesting in this book, and I found myself so invested in Juliette’s cause. She has been written so well and I especially loved the yearning/I want to kill Roma thoughts that go through her head. She is just the badass girl who straps as many weapons to herself as she can (including garrotte wire as a //necklace//) while still rocking heels and a shimmery dress. In my mind, she is always wearing a deep red lipstick, dangly earrings (loved by a certain someone) and her hair in little curls.
Roma Montagov is not your average MC. He might be the heir to a big gang, however we discover how his father is really a good for nothing man, who values others over his son following the event 4 years ago. I got such soft vibes from this man, but don’t get me wrong he is still as lethal as Juliette. I absolutely adored the banter and quite clear tension between him and Juliette.
The side characters in this story were also quite interesting, in particular Roma’s cousin; Benedikt Montagov and friend Marshal Seo. Benedikit is the blond brooding character described to have two brains and two hearts; always feeling too much and thinking twice as fast. This might be me reading too much into the characters, but I found hints at him having obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Benedikt is often found head bent and Korean coming out of his mouth in response to Marshal Seo. Marshal is written to be such a witty character, and I believe there is something going on with both him and Benedikt, however that is to be explored in the sequel! Dark haired and described as a raging two-ton explosive, he alongside Benedikt are the two White Flowers publicly showing allegiance to Roma. Kathleen Lai is Juliette’s cousin, and I absolutely loved every scene she was in, and can’t wait to see more about her story, as its obvious there is something there.