ARC Review: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Posted November 23, 2020 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 9 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review:  These Violent Delights by Chloe GongThese Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Series: These Violent Delights #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on November 17, 2020
Genres: YA Historical Fiction, YA Retelling
Pages: 464
Source: the publisher
Format: ARC
My Rating: four-half-stars
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Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.

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.

My Review:

So this was a really intriguing and original book. It was touted as a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. And it definitely has those tones to it. But it is so much more than that. It is a monster story, and a historical fiction, and a family story as well. It has so many different aspects to it. The author used very vivid descriptions, it was as if I was in the actual places that the story was taking place. Because of this however, it was a long book, and not the easiest read, which is why on my blog it is getting a 4.5. Even with it being a little difficult, it was still a read that when I picked it up I was sucked in and didn’t want to put it down even when I had to go back to work or sleep or whatever. It is because of this though that I didn’t finish it when planned. I had set aside about 4 days to read it, but it took longer to work my way through it, but that was because I didn’t want to miss anything by skimming at all.

I will put it out there that it is not a finished book. While all of the problems seem to be solved, there is a bit at the very end, along with the line: To Be Continued, so there will be more. I will definitely be up to see what happens, because I want more. But I think it is important to know that when you go into this book, because it is a big book, and like I said, a bit of an intense and deep read.

Still, I loved the setting, Shanghai in the 1920s, and it was so interesting to look at all the things that were really going on there historically and see them fit into the world the author has created. A beautiful story, one I can’t wait to continue.

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9 responses to “ARC Review: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

  1. John Smith

    “To be continued”: so frustrating! But it does sound like this could making a sweeping cinematic epic directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Gong Li!

    • Lisa Mandina

      It left off in a way that doesn’t need it to be continued though, so it isn’t frustrating really. But I’m excited there is another one to add to the story.

  2. Danielle Hammelef

    I have an unread ARC sitting here on my TBR. I’ve been hesitant to pick it up because I don’t like lots of violence, so maybe you can help me with this issue–in your opinion, how graphic is this book? I don’t want to miss out on a great book though and value your opinion.

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