Oy! How are we doing on this charming Saturday morning?
I’m currently at a speech tournament as I put the final touches on this post. I have been up for too many hours already, seriously, I’m running on coffee and fumes at this point. Kind of nervous, but also incredibly excited. While it is going to be a long day, that is hardly reason to have an execssively long intro.
With that, lets hop right into the next installment of Rachel @ A Bookworm’s Paradise and I’s current series: Popular Books vs. The Hype-o-Meter. This time, we bring you a dramatic showdown against Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights.
Book: These Violent Delights
Author: Chloe Gong
Published November 17th 2020 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
content warningsBlood, violence, gore, character deaths, explicit description of gouging self (not of their own volition), murder, weapon use, insects, alcohol consumption, parental abuse.
Today will never come again
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.
Holy cow. Asfdghhahfjdgd ASJHFGKGHSK
Ok. words. THIS BOOK!!!!!
Like y’all said it was good and y’all were completely and totally correct. It is atmospheric, violent, and delightful. It is everything.
My head is literally spinning right now, I seriously don’t think my fingers can keep up with the rate of the thoughts right now. Because that ending. That ending. I—I have no words.
Ok. I do actually have words. But keep in mind that for the most part my brain is just a giant bowl of scrambled eggs thoughts. This book had me crying, full body shaking crying, in the middle of the school library. IT HAD NO RIGHT. NO DAMNED RIGHT.
It is crafted so expertly, so painstakingly, with the ability to be so heart wrenching. The set up, the feeling of a carpet being yanked out from under me, everything about it is absolute perfection. Also, sidenote, but thank god I waited until the sequel’s release week to read this one. I literally would have screamed into oblivion if I had to wait.
I’m kind of obsessed with the ties to Romeo and Juliet in this one. I’m always here for a good retelling, and I would definitely say that These Violent Delights delivers on that front. With more obvious nods like Juliette and Roma’s names to things like the plot itself or the presence of the nurse, the way the original story is woven in is simply masterful.
You’d think you’d have a vague sense of what would happen next due to the retelling aspect of it all, but Gong somehow manages to tie in the plot points of Romeo and Juliet while keeping the reader on their toes. It feels familiar and fresh all at once— topped off with ties rooted in history while still exploring the impacts of imperialism and colonialism.
I will admit that I found the writing to be a bit dense at first. Maybe because I first began this book in the heat of the summer months (aka contemporary season), but I just could not make it very far in. However, reacquainting myself with this book, this time in the height of the season of snow and sweaters, was the right choice. Because I became immediately enthralled by the writing, the characters, the setting, that all previous qualms were simpility whisked away.
The characters held so much depth. And not just the main characters, but the side characters really got to shine as well. They were all involved in some way or another and were fully fleshed out and a ton of fun. That being said, I wish that we could have interacted with some of the side characters a bit more. I loved the times where they popped in, and could have done with more of it throughout the entire novel.
I can’t even with the brilliance of this book. I literally could have asked for nothing more. We have the star crossed lovers (yep, with a boatload of angst to go with it), Romeo and Juliet retelling (but with a Juliette who would slit your throat if she had the chance), but above all we have a really good story. These Violent Delights deserves every once, every speck of hype has been given. Seriously. A must-read.
But wait! There’s more! Be sure to check out Rachel’s half of the book for even more thoughts about These Violent Delights! But be warned— her review does include spoilers (with spoiler tabs, so you should be in the clear!) Click this link to check out her full post!
Have you read These Violent Delights? What did you think of it?