these violent delights – chloe gong | arc review + blog tour + giveaway

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong


Series: These Violent Delights #1
Published November 17th 2020 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Age: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction, Retelling, Romance
Rep: POC (chinese, korean), lgbtqia+ (trans, gays, m/m side romance)

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Synopsis:

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.

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | IndieBound | Goodreads

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Thank you Caffeine Book Tours for choosing me as one of the participants in the tour. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. If you’re interested in the other tour stops, check out the schedule

trigger and content warnings:
  • violence, deaths, description of involuntary self-gouging, murder, parental abuse, transphobia, colonialism

☾☾☾☾☾☾☾☾

ASTRA INCLINANT, SED NON OBLIGANT

In the 1920s, Shanghai is vibrant, lively city. Brimming with bloody gang fights between the Scarlet Gang and the White Flowers, political conflicts invited into the city by foreigners, and a monster prowling the streets and plaguing the citizens. Chloe Gong’s writing is extremely immersive and addictive. I couldn’t stop reading about the vivid description of the 1920s fashion, the mixing of cultures, and the troubles the characters got into.

“You destroy me and then you kiss me. You give me reason to hate you and then you give me reason to love you. Is this a lie or the truth? Is this a ploy or your heart reaching for me?”

The focal couple of These Violent Delights is Juliette and Roma, star-crossed lovers and heirs to rival gangs. The angst between them was unbearable. Their exchanges often cut like knives but their actions don’t match their hearts. But what can they do when they are sworn enemies? I lived for the moments they worked together, and how perfect that pairing looked like. While Juliette has bloodthirsty tendencies, Roma prefers to work things out with minimal blood loss.

Due to her fearsome reputation and as the heir to one of the most notorious gangs, Juliette Cai is at the top of the chain. I adored Juliette’s confidence and how aware she is about everything. She knew when to pull back and when’s the time to release her wrath. As ruthless as she is, Juliette has a nice personality. She truly cares for the Scarlet Gang and Shanghai. Incredibly versatile with language, Juliette showed how skilled she is in disguising herself to get out of sticky situations. A language goddess!

As compared to Juliette, Roma Montagov, heir to the White Flowers, is less murderous and not as terrifying. He takes things in calmly. Roma would do anything to protect his loved ones. When I first heard of Roma, I thought he would a vicious character. It turns out that Roma has a tender and softer personality than one would expect from a gang heir. Nonetheless, I still adored him.

“Don’t you forget who I am.”

With open arms, I welcomed the perspectives of secondary characters from both Roma and Juliette’s sides. For Roma’s friends, Benedikt’s quiet demeanor is counterbalanced by Marshall’s loud personality. Juliette has her twin cousins, Rosalind who is more vivacious and easy-going than Kathleen. Not only do their point-of-views further the overarching plot, it explored each character’s background story.

The theme of colonisation and Western influence on Shanghai is always on the backdrop. Often characters mused about the changes brought about by foreigners. Furthermore, both rival gangs have some involvement in Shanghai’s politics so it was fascinating to read about how each gang influenced the overall political setting, and how that is slowly shifting.

“Then this city mutilated itself with a wide, wide grin. It dragged a knife down its cheek and took the blade to its chest and now it worries not for finding suitors, but merely for running wild, drunk on the invulnerability of inherited power, well suited only for profit and feasting, dancing and whoring. Now it may be ugly, but it is glorious.” 

I loved reading about the Chinese culture, languages and people in These Violent Delights. The main thing that caught my attention was that Chloe Gong included hanyu pinyin, pronunciation of Chinese words, every time the characters spoke in Mandarin. More often than not, I wished books would do this so that I know which inclination of tone I should read the words in. I appreciated that Chloe Gong made this wonderful choice. Just a small side note, I adored moments when the Chinese characters cursed “tā mā de” instead of “fuck”. Made me grin regardless of the situation.

This was her life, this was her city, these were her people, and because she loved them, she had sworn to herself a long time ago that she would do a damn good job of being who she was because she could be no one else.

Figuring out about the cause of the mysterious sickness that started to create havoc in Shanghai was fun. Finally meeting both Juliette and Roma was a delightful pleasure. Feeling as if I was walking down 1920s Shanghai was euphoric. I delved into the book with high expectations and came out of it having gained more. Chloe Gong masterfully captured my attention with this pair of star-crossed lovers.

Now, be ready to be left on the edge of the cliff until book two arrives. I’ll be there.

THE STARS INCLINE US, THEY DO NOT BIND US.

☾☾☾☾☾☾☾☾

author information

Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

☾☾☾☾☾☾☾☾

giveaway

Prize: Five (5) hardcover edition of These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

  • Open to international (INTL)
  • Ends on 25 November 2020 (Philippine time)

Click here for the giveaway.

7 thoughts on “these violent delights – chloe gong | arc review + blog tour + giveaway”

  1. Great review! These Violent Delights definitely caught my eye because of the Chinese culture in it… The characters sound so intriguing, and I’m looking forward to the angst you mentioned between the two contrasting MCs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i NEED this book in my life!! i’ve been seeing it everywhere, and i’ve been sold ever since i heard “romeo and juliet re-telling with bad-ass female characters”!! i loved reading your review, and i can’t wait to read these violent delights *hopefully soon*!! ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

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