Title: These Violent Delights
Author: Chole Gong
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.
If you are looking for a contemporary style mystery/fantasy retelling, then this book is for you. The main reason I picked this book up was due to all the hype surrounding it. And, if you ask me, the praise is well deserved. Something I noticed right off the bat, is that you have to really pay attention while reading it, because it can be a bit confusing. There were a few times when I had to go back and reread a passage.
But, what really makes this book a winner is the compelling plot. It makes you want to keep reading, even when the story is slow moving. It was interesting to see how the rivalry between these two gangs came to be, and that the rivalry and their stubbornness could hurt millions.
One of things that made the book so enchanting were the characters. The author took so much time in giving each character their own distinct personality and backstory. I enjoyed the side characters as much as I did are main protagonists, Roma and Juliette. However, my favorite characters were Kathleen and Benedikt.
“The stars incline us, they do not bind us.”
At first, I found Juliette to be a bit bitchy. But as the story progressed, I understood why she acted a certain way. And, she had some funny moments. As for Roma, he had a very strained relationship with his father that wasn’t talked about much. However, I did think their relationship was much like Zuko and his father, the Fire Lord, in ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’.
Juliette and Roma’s relationship was complicated, to say the least. Not unlike Romeo and Juliette’s love affair. Yet, that is to be expected, since the book is a retelling of the Shakespeare’s classic story. For most of the book, they were trying to deny their feelings for each other. There romance was a slow burn, which isn’t something I generally love in books. But, in this case it worked well. Still, it isn’t my favorite trope.
As for the ending, it was a mix of emotions. The last few chapters were intense, shocking, and sad. It was a crazy ending that was unexpected, but expected at the same time. You don’t see the finale twist coming, but you do suspect the book to end on a major cliffhanger.
This is an incredible book, and I had so many thoughts while reading it. It was also very well written. Let me know in the comments if you think the book is deserving of all the hype. Before you go, share and like this post, and give the blog a follow.
Until The Next Chapter,