The hardest question anyone can ask me is – what’s your favorite book? I’ve always hesitated and I still do. Yet, Chloe Gong’s ‘These Violent Delights’ and its sequel ‘Our Violent Ends’ are now easily in my top 5 best reads of all time. The 23-year-old became a New York Times Bestseller with her debut series.
Gangsters? Check. Former lovers-turned-enemies-turned ‘we have to work together to save our city’ trope? Double check. Secondary characters who steal the spotlight and are simply the absolute best? Triple check! A mind blowing story line with historical references, fantasy elements and a classic reimagined? Don’t tell me you’re not sold on it yet.
This isn’t just a book review; this is me convincing you all to read this series right now. So, enjoy this spoiler free review!
A Romeo and Juliette historical fantasy retelling set in 1926 Shanghai, where the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers are sworn enemies ruling the city. As a mysterious monster of madness emerges sticking fear among the people, the gang’s heirs, Juliette Cai and Roma Montagov, must set aside their past romance turned betrayal and work together to find a solution. Add to that the rising political tensions and whispers of revolution. Forget Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette, I want what Chloe Gong’s Roma and Juliette have! And semi-spoiler, watch out for another couple that also has me melting. *wink* *wink*
With every passing paragraph, the plot thickens, every detail is significant, and you fall deeper into a world beautifully built by the author. Throughout the story, you meet the immensely diverse characters that are the heart of these books; each and every one of them is important and trust me when I say – you’ll fall in love and feel a connection with every one of them. We get to see different points of view, not just those of the two main characters.
The story line is immaculate and well thought out –I’m not lying when I say: I screamed into my pillow multiple times, had my jaw drop at the plot twists, smiled, laughed, ‘aww’ed until my cheeks hurt, gasped when something is revealed, and sobbed at some scenes. That’s how engrossed the writer gets you. I felt as though I was right there with them: running through the streets of Shanghai, and dodging bullets.
Which brings me to my next point: Chloe Gong is the most brilliant author I have ever had the pleasure of coming across. She might just be my new favorite writer. Her way with words and sentences is so beautiful and flawless. Her majoring in International Relations and English majors, in addition to her natural talent, really elevated the books’ scale/ the bar for books. While waiting for the second book to come out, I went through a reading slump; I couldn’t read anything else after the first one.
In all seriousness, I give this duology a 5 star rating. It had me feeling all types of emotions. Love, betrayal, family, loyalty, selflessness, realization, trust and self-discovery are some of the key elements that the book dives deep into. It has all the components for an amazing reading experience, I would re-read it in a heartbeat. It had been some time since ink on paper had me thinking about what I read long after finishing it, and I’ve gotten too attached to these characters. Yes, I’m that type of person.
Well, that was me fangirling - I mean - reviewing ‘These Violent Delights’ and ‘Our Violent Ends’. I certainly hope some of you will read the series and appreciate it as much as I obviously did. Happy reading!