Title: These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights #1)
Author: Chloe Gong
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: November 17, 2020
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.
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.
1926: Two rival gangs rule Shanghai: the Scarlet Gang and the White Flowers. Juliette Cai is the heiress to the Scarlet Gang. She has just returned from America to resume her role in her father’s empire. Roma Montagov is the heir of the White Flowers. When members of both gangs are found with their throats torn out on the pier, Juliette and Roma have to put their past behind them and join together to investigate what is infecting the city.
Romeo and Juliet is my favourite Shakespeare play. I’ve read it many times, since my class performed it in elementary school. This story is a loose retelling. It doesn’t follow the story exactly, and there were some changes to the original story. Juliette’s and Roma’s families are rivals but they have to work together to figure out who is targeting their gangs, rather than just randomly falling in love and running away from their families.
I liked the little references to people and places from the original play. There was a character named Paul who liked Juliette. At one point, she refers to him as Paris, who was Juliet’s suitor in the play. Roma and Juliette go to a bar called Mantua, which is where Romeo was exiled to in the play. These references to the original play made me smile.
Some parts of this story were intense. The victims were literally tearing out their throats. There were creepy bugs and people being mysteriously infected with a condition that made them kill themselves. These were some disturbing scenes, but they also made the story intense and suspenseful.
This is a great fantasy adaptation of Romeo and Juliet! I can’t wait to read the next book.
Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Have you read These Violent Delights? What did you think of it?