These Violent Delights Blog Tour Review + Handlettered Quote Art

Hey friends! Today’s post is one that I’ve been super super looking forward to! These Violent Delights was one of my most anticipated books of the year and let me tell you it did not disappoint! Huge thanks to Shealea, Caffeine Tours, and Simon & Schuster, for sending me an ARC for participating in this tour! Be sure to check out details and the rest of the tour hosts at Caffeine Tours’s website here!

unnamed

In addition to my review, I also hand lettered some quote art! This book is full of amazing quotes, so here are a few! (Also moment of silence for my silver pen which died while I was lettering these… another casualty of the blood feud rip). Note all quotes are from the ARC and may differ slightly in the finished version. 

asset 3

50892212. sy475

Title // These Violent Delights

Author // Chloe Gong

Publisher // Margaret K. McElderry Books 

Publication Date // November 17, 2020

Age Group/Genres // Young Adult, Historical

Synopsis // The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

Amazon // B&N // Book Depository // IndieBound // Goodreads

asset 1

My Rating:  

IMG_9524

asset 3

Okay, so I have a confession that might get my bookworm card revoked: I don’t like Romeo and Juliet. Despite this, when I read the description for These Violent Delights my interest was piqued, and when I saw the glowing reviews start to roll in, I got hyped! And now it has surpassed my sky high expectations! The short: this book was absolutely mind blowingly phenomenal and I highly highly recommend it to everyone! 

These Violent Delights really takes all the best parts of the play (feuding families, forbidden romance, star crossed lovers, dramatic deaths) and expands upon them, fleshing them out in an incredible immersive story, while getting rid of the bad parts (ridiculous miscommunication, instalove, Juliet being only 13…). It was a fairly loose retelling, and you can definitely enjoy it without reading the play, but the subtle nods to the original (the balcony scene!! also I’m a dumb dumb so I didn’t realize who Tybalt was until I was sobbing…) are really fun to catch. Honestly if you love Romeo & Juliet you’re already ready, but I’m here to tell you that even if you hate Shakespeare and the original play, you’re going to LOVE this book!!

asset 1

IMG_9517

Right off the bat, I was so drawn in with the immersive writing and prose. Everything was described so well and in such enchanting ways that I could absolutely picture it in my mind, close my eyes and find myself there. The story was told in third person omniscient, which felt like the perfect way to tell this atmospheric tale, seamlessly weaving so many characters together into one sweeping plot.

I especially loved the descriptions of what was happening in 1920s Shanghai. I feel like I learned so much Chinese history from this book lol, but I in the absolute best way. I was completely engrossed in the conflict and political tensions between Nationalists, Communists, and gangs. It was never boring and can we petition to have Chloe Gong write my history textbooks now because I would actually read them lol.

asset 1

In addition to being Delightfully ViolentTM, this book was also so Delightfully Chinese! I loved the descriptions of Chinese foods (yes for street market food!), the mid autumn festival, and beautiful qipaos. There was a lot of Mandarin Chinese in pinyin woven into the language that made the book feel authentic.

IMG_9535

While I’m here, it goes without saying that this book is Delightfully Diverse. Characters speak Mandarin, Shanghainese, Russian, French, and English, and it was really cool to see them all together. It’s set in the diverse city of Shanghai, the major characters are Chinese, Russian, and Korean, and there’s also a m/m romance and a trans character!

The book also focused on Juliette’s Chinese/American identities. Juliette was educated in America and has just returned to Shanghai. She prefers flapper dresses to qipaos, has a Chinese name nobody uses (mood), and forgets to read right to left. Roma, who is Russian, has spent more time in China than Juliette, so they wonder whose home the city really is. I really related to Juliette’s struggle to find her identity and question where she belongs, and think many diaspora people can find themselves in her.

asset 1

There are also so many themes woven seamlessly in. There’s the obvious talk of the blood feud, and how grudges and hate can destroy, particularly given how so many characters didn’t really care about why they were feuding, they just killed on principle of being from the opposite gang. The blood feud really rips apart and tests Roma and Juliette’s relationship, forcing them to do horrible things.

There are so many other important themes too. The book talks about the negative effects of imperialism and colonialism, such as the absurdity of a place for “no Chinese” literally in China.

This book is so much more than just the romance, which actually felt pretty minimal compared to the fact that hello everyone there is A Literal Monster!!! The core conflict of this book is a monster and a madness spreading throughout the city, and I was absolutely stressed and on my toes the whole time trying to figure out what was going to happen! Particularly towards the back half of the book it started to feel like a mystery as the characters raced against time to learn about and stop the monster.

asset 1

Of course, I still have to talk about the stars, Roma and Juliette. Juliette was such a badass, a strong and ruthless leader, committing crimes with ease. I also didn’t anticipate loving Roma so much but I just!! He has a ruthless reputation and facade, but I swear he’s just a cinnamon roll underneath and I want to hug and protect him. (Juliette doesn’t need protecting she would kill me if I tried).

IMG_9518Both of the characters are so fleshed out, and I loved seeing them independently and together. They used to be lovers four years ago until a horrible betrayal, which we don’t know about in the beginning, but is revealed over the course of the book, as they are drawn back to each other. They’re just!! Enemies to lovers to enemies too… ??? The whole I want to kill you or do I want to kiss you maybe I’ll do both?? all the stabby yearning feels oh no i’m becoming incoherent aren’t I I held it together for so long. but I just!! adsfkljdasf!! I want them to be okay and not have their love ripped apart by the ruthless blood feud is that too much to ask???

The other characters are incredible and fleshed out too! I loved Juliette’s squad of Rosalind and Kathleen, and Roma’s squad of Benedikt and Marshall. I loved the banter they had, and the loyalty, which was especially questioned a bit when the enemies consider working together and are like…??? blood feud guys remember??

asset 1

Anyways, I could go on about this book forever but is it time to talk about the heart stopping ending?? Because it truly is heart stopping. I had to reread the last few chapters a few times because I was just… (1) too stupid to understand what was happening and/or (2) in DENIAL. In fact, the entire last hundred pages or so were just incredible, with so many twists and such a heightened sense of stress and anxiety over not knowing what was going to happen but knowing the stakes were so high and there were so many twists and I–

*deep breaths kay*

aNYWAYS. I highly highly recommend. Read this book. You will not regret it. In fact, it’s already been out for one (1) day if you’re reading this post today so I assume you’ve already read it by now because if you haven’t what are you doing?????

asset 3

About the Author

Option 2Chloe Gong is a student at the University of Pennsylvania, studying English and international relations. During her breaks, she’s either at home in New Zealand or visiting her many relatives in Shanghai. Chloe has been known to mysteriously appear when “Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s best plays and doesn’t deserve its slander in pop culture” is chanted into a mirror three times.

Author website // Goodreads // Instagram // Twitterasset 3

Giveaway!

Caffeine Tours is giving away five (5) hardcover edition of These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong! This giveaway is open to international (INTL), and ends on 25 November 2020 (Philippine time). Enter the Rafflecopter by clicking this link!

asset 3

Let’s Chat

Do you absolutely love this book, too? Or are you excited to read it now? Are you a Scarlet Gang member or a White Flower? I’d love to chat in the comments below ❤

bluename

19 thoughts on “These Violent Delights Blog Tour Review + Handlettered Quote Art

  1. Ahh yes Kay your review is amazing and I wholeheartedly agree (agasjkgasga not realising who Tybalt is I can’t that would’ve been quite something I feel, and yes the R&J references were incredible) something that was unexpected to me was all the discussion around Juliette’s identity but it was so well-written and relatable ahh (oof here I am yet another person whose Chinese name is never used). Also the hand-lettering is so pretty!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. slfjsdlkfjdslfds I’m dumb okay and this book sent my brain into overdrive so I couldn’t think right that’s my excuse haha. yes I totally agree it was pretty unexpected to me especially since the book is set in china not like America but it was such a nice surprise!! haha solidarity. thanks ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this review! I am super excited to get my hands on These Violent Delights as it sounds beyond amazing! Your artwork is super pretty 😍💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loving how immersive it sounds, and love your lettering too! Rly like how you Incorporated the daggers. Great review. As to your questions I may be one of those Scarlets that communes w the Flowers from time to time 🤭

    Liked by 1 person

  4. loved reading this review!! these violent delights has been on my tbr for way too long, and i NEED a copy!! hopefully, i get one soon!! i also loved your handlettered quote art!! its absolutely gorgeous!! loved how you incorporated all the knives as well!! 💗💗

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s