In the year 1926, two rival gangs ran the streets of Shanghai. One gang’s heir is a former flapper that was raised in the Americas and the other gang is run by a son who doesn’t want anything to do with this awful power. When a devastating madness overtakes their city, they grudgingly decide to work together in order to save their people.
From the very minute I read the synopsis of this book, I was so in! I mean how could gangsters in 1920s Shanghai ever go wrong. The idea of this book is just so so so different from anything I’ve read lately and it sounded so good!
However, I was very worried because as I was reading, I discovered that this amazing idea also included a retelling of the classic play by William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet. So I have a love and hate relationship with this play for so many reasons. First of all, IT IS SO OVERDONE! Ugh I just can’t tell you how many I’ve read. Also, the play is not that great, the side characters are much more interesting in the play and the love story is just straight up ridiculous.
BUT……. this retelling WAS AMAZING! It was so so so unique and very well done. It got the essence of the play, but it was almost nostalgic rather than a retelling in my opinion. I recognized the main ideas of the play, but I wasn’t rolling my eyes or groaning like I usually would! All characters were obviously members of the original play, but it was the best version of themselves so there was no groaning there either.
The gangster element of this book moved the plot along in a great way and it pumped it completely full of action. The leaders of the gangs were both equally scary and giving me the best Godfather vibes and I was so here for it! Their characters were so interesting and even when the perspectives were on side characters, I was devouring the pages like the chocolate cake in Matilda. Juliette is the best Juliet retelling I’ve read because she was everything I wish Juliet had been in the play. (I know she was like 13 in the play, but I expected more.) She was a badass bitch, but her heart was pure gold. I just loved her and found her story so captivating.
Roma was a definite delicious book boyfriend. First of all, he was Russian. I have such a special place for Russian bad boy gangsters and he was everything I wanted and more. The love/hate relationship between Roma and Juliette was hilarious and fun to read and just what any enemies to lovers girl would want; however, they are not my favorite couple in the book, but I don’t want to say anything about that because I would give things away.
This book was also full of twists and turns that I did not expect. The madness completely threw me and it made the book such a fun and unique read. The book also ends on such a cliffhanger that broke my heart into tiny pieces so I need the next book ASAP!
Overall, this book was a delightful and fascinating read with a cliffhanger that will blow your mind. READ IT NOW!
My Book Rating
5/5 Book World
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Published on November 17, 2020 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Copy Read: Hardcover (BOTM)