Title: These Violent Delights
Author: Chloe Gong
Series: These Violent Delights #1
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Narrator: Cindy Kay
Length: 14 hours (449 pages)
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderberry Books; Tantor Audio
Release Date: November 17, 2020
Recommended for fans of: The Last Magician, Six of Crows
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.
This is such a cool Romeo & Juliet retelling in 1920s Shanghai. The city had a diverse racial and political makeup that made the perfect backdrop for this tale of rival gangs and mysterious madness. I would call this light fantasy. There is a monster, but the extensive research the author clearly put into this book grounds this gritty story in what feels like reality.
The contagion storyline was especially alarming considering the current pandemic. The bugs were SO creepy and disturbing. The family drama and enemies to lovers vibes were so well executed (or should I say enemies-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-reluctant-allies-to lovers-to-enemies…assuming I’m keeping up). That being said, this definitely needed more romance.
I sometimes struggled to keep up with who all the characters were, but I think that’s a side effect of the audiobook rather than the storytelling. The ending was wild and ends on a mind blowing cliffhanger. I am desperate for the next book and I have high hopes for more romance!