These Violent Delights, a buddy review by Allyson and Cat

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These Violent Delights
Chloe Gong
Young Adult Fantasy
464 pages
Published November 17th, 2020
Margaret K. McElderry Books

Find on Goodreads.

These Violent Delights is a retelling of Romeo and Juliette set in 1926 Shanghai. There is a blood feud between the Scarlet Gang and the White Flowers, splitting Shanghai into two distinct territories. Juliette Cai, the heiress of the Scarlett Gang, has just returned from New York where she spent the last 4 years trying to get over her first love and heir to the White Flowers, Roma Montagov. Suddenly a madness begins to spread through Shanghai causing members of both factions to start clawing their own necks out. Roma and Juliette must set aside their differences and join together before the madness spreads and there are no people left to rule.


Allyson’s Review

The writing style of this book is just so good. I loved how the sentences flowed and the lyrical/whimsical way Chloe Chang wrote. The plot was intriguing although I did find it a bit slow in the beginning. The introduction of the fantasy elements to the classic Romeo and Juliette storyline worked well and was one of the most enjoyable parts of reading this. I was really struggling with whether to give it 3 or 4 stars, but the main thing holding me back was the lack of character development. Also I had it in my head that there would be more romance elements to the novel but they were few and far between. It would have been great to know more about both Roma and Juliette and their past but we only got a small glimpse into their lives.

Cat’s Review

We’ve all seen our fair share of Romeo and Juliet retellings. With that in mind, I have to say that These Violent Delights is arguably the most dynamic and creative retelling I’ve seen to date. Chloe Gong infuses the story with many of her own twists, from a change in location to altering the backstories and motivations. All while adding some horror/fantasy elements on top. It made it impossible to predict what was going to happen next, which takes talent given the nature of the origin.


There was a lot of creative word and character play that I found myself really enjoying. It’s what raised this retelling from an average story to something a little bit more, at least in my mind.

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