These Violent Delights (November 2020)
Author – Chloe Gong
Genre – Historical Fantasy
Page Count – 464 pages
These Violent Delights was the perfect wrap-up to my November reads. I was even more excited to read it after finding out that it is a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai.
The book follows Juliette Cai, heir to the Scarlet Gang and Roma Montagov of the White Flowers. When a bigger threat than gang rivalry looms over Shanghai, Juliette and Roma must decide if they are willing to put aside their past and differences to fight a monster.
These Violent Delights is a perfect historical fantasy read and if you have any doubt about it, here’s seven reasons it should find a place on your TBR.
1. Its not just a Romeo and Juliet retelling
The characters might be named Juliette and Roma which is a nod to the OG lovers, there’s a lot more going on in the book than expected on reading the summary.
The Montagovs and Cais collectively run the entire Shanghai, but the story is less about their rivalry and more about joining hands to fight against a bigger threat.
2. There’s monsters and epidemics
The main plot of the book is an epidemic which makes the victims rip out their own throats. The story is so well crafted that I couldn’t really figure out the nature of the monster or how it came around to be until it became really obvious.
Its thrilling and mysterious and there’s no holes in the story which made the experience incredible. If you like your classics retelling with supernatural elements, These Violent Delights will be perfect for you.
3. Juliette Cai and her cousins are perfect heroines.
Juliette might be the female protagonist of the book but it would be unfair to say that Kathleen and Rosalind Lang were anything less than her.
The Langs are part of the inner circle of the Scarlet Gang and play a major role in retrieving information and carrying out things which Juliette ‘doesn’t have time for’
Those three could make a formidable gang of their own.
4. Roma Montagov has more heart than you’d expect
One of the things which I really loved about These Violent Delights is that none of the younger characters are as heartless as their parents. And leading them all in empathy is Roma.
He’s acutely aware of the things which he and his family have done wrong and constantly worries about his sister, Alisa and his friends, Marshal and Benedikt. Its a welcome surprise from the gun-toting Sonny like gangsters.
5. Marshall and Benedikt are almost perfect
The book ends on a cliffhanger and I couldn’t possibly be more excited about the sequel and the characters I wish to see the most of are Marshall and Benedikt.
There is no doubt that there is more between them than meets the eye and this side plot was so flawlessly introduced into the book, I felt like it was always there.
6. LGBTQ+ representation
It might not be the focus of the group but I liked that the author put a trans character in the middle of a major gang. I’m looking forward to seeing her development in the next book since a lot of bread crumbs were left in this one.
And then there’s Marshall and Benedikt and I’m rooting for them hard.
7. Brutally honest about discrimination against immigrants overseas
Juliette often talks about an identity crisis kind of feeling in the book. She’s the only one in the book who’s Chinese name is never used and after spending years in the US, she often feels like she’s neither here nor there.
And because of this, she thinks about her time in the States and the segregation and outright hostility that she experienced during her time.
These Violet Delights is truly gripping from start to finish and if you are hoping to get one fun and thrilling historical fantasy done before the end of 2020, it should be the one.
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