This young adult take on Romeo and Juliet includes forbidden love, feuding families, and a plague on everyone's houses.
Good to know
Based on a classic
Why I love it
I’ve always been the kind of person who roots for the underdog, which is one reason why I love young adult fantasy books so much. The stories and the worlds can vary widely—from The Lord of the Rings-style epics to dragons fighting in the sky—but each time, without fail, you’ll find a classic tale of a young, untested hero fighting forces of evil and maybe finding love along the way.
When I first picked up this book I thought, this is wild, and then I couldn’t put it down for 3 days. This buzzy YA novel set in 1920s-era Shanghai is actually about two heroes. There’s Juliette, returned from abroad to reclaim her place as eventual leader of the Scarlet Gang (a criminal enterprise run by her family). Then there’s Roma, son of the rival gang, the White Flowers. Though their families have warred for decades, Juliette and Roma were lovers until a painful rift tore them apart years ago. But when a mysterious and deathly pandemic takes Shanghai by surprise, they choose to set aside their differences in order to save their beloved city.
If this story sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Author Chloe Gong based the story on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Her take is an entertaining and thought-provoking update that features a meticulously-crafted setting and a lovable and diverse cast of characters. Full of history, action, and romance, These Violent Delights is four hundred and fifty pages of fun with a lot of very eerie parallels to the world we are living in right now.
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.