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Book Review: These Violent Delights

Genre: Historical Fantasy, YA Fantasy Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

After hearing a lot of hype about These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, I finally decided to read it myself. While the book was good, it did not really live up to my expectations.

Essentially the novel is a Romeo and Juliet retelling that takes place in 1926 Shanghai. Juliette Cai and Roma Montagov are the heirs to rival gangs with a bloody history filled with betrayal, but when a mysterious madness starts spreading throughout the city, they may need to put past events behind them to save their city.

Although I enjoyed the premise of the novel, the majority of the book felt very slow and uneventful. Out of almost 450 pages, I truly enjoyed only the last 150 or so. For the most part I feel as though the main reason why I didn’t find the book entertaining was more because of a personal preference more than anything else.

Despite the fact that the pace of the novel lowered my overall experience of it, I found Juliette’s character extremely likeable. Additionally, the supporting characters in the novel are absolutely endearing. Rosalind, Kathleen, Marshall, and Benedikt are all surprisingly well-developed, and really contribute to the overall plot of the novel.

All in all, I will likely be reading the sequel, as I do feel attached to some of the characters. However, I will not buy Our Violent Ends, unless I fall in love with it after reading a copy from the library. Chloe Gong is clearly a talented author, but her first book simply didn’t fall in line with my personal preferences, and didn’t live up to the hype in my opinion.

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