Cover Image: These Violent Delights

These Violent Delights

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These Violent Delights was everyrhing I hoped it would be and more. I will be posting a full review soon but I had a fantastic time reading this
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I went into this book with high expectations and this book did not disappoint! A fantasy retelling of Romeo and Juliet, this book ticked a lot of the boxes I look for in fantasy books as well as retelling's. Gong has taken the story of Romeo and Juliet and made it her own with gang wars in Shanghai in the 1920's. Gong has a beautiful writing style that keeps you completely hooked and needing more, with her vivid descriptions, action and mystery this book became impossible to put down. 

I really loved the connection and dynamic between our main characters. I was eager to read how the two worked together and to learn more about their past together. The tension and unresolved drama between the two was one of my favourite things about this book! However, I will have to admit that at times Juliette frustrated me. At times it felt that she was too good at everything, especially fighting and she went into situations not even considering the consequences of her actions. 

Overall, this was a fantastic debut novel which is rich in detail and suspense. I recommend this book to any fantasy lover out there who loves a good re-telling! I cannot wait to read the next book in the series! 

Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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I was attracted by the premise of the book - a Romeo and Juliette scenario set in 1920s Shanghai with warring gangs and monsters.  The story delivered all this and more! The central characters of Juliette Cai and Roma Montagov are complex, ruthless and are heirs to the rival gangs of the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers who have carved the city of Shanghai into gang held zones.
A history of love, betrayal, hate and family loyalties link Roma and Juliette but their desire to keep their people and city safe overrides everything, leading them to join forces when a monstrous infection afflicts the population.
The authors descriptions of old Shanghai evoked the decadence, squalor and smells of the city in that time period.  I loved the strength of the characters and the intriguing twist on the star crossed lovers theme.  My thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the access to the ARC.
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Honestly think the description of it being based on Romeo and Juliet was a stretch. Went in with high expectations but really wasn’t for me!
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I was soooo excited for this one! Shanghai, 1920s! Granted, not a big fan of Romeo and Juliet - not a fan of Shakespeare, to be honest - but the other two lured me in and I wanted to read the book.

Having studied Shakespeare in college for an entire semester, his works are no walk in the park. The author had a pretty good idea of how to re-tell a very famous play, however... I don't know, the main leads were pretty... bland. Juliette was written in a way that came across as 'too much'. That's what was always in my mind, as she was on the page. She so wanted to come across as a badass, but she wasn't. As for Rome... not a memorable character. If Juliette was too much, he was the exact opposite of not enough, if that makes sense. So, while the idea of Romeo and Juliet in the 1920s Shanghai sounded awesome, the execution wasn't all that, in my opinion.

And the monster and madness and sickness... It just... It didn't really go with the gangs and Communists and whatnot, you know? I mean the author clearly wanted to integrate historical facts into her work, but these just didn't mesh, in my opinion.

I liked some side characters but that won't have me reading the sequel. I know everyone else seemed to have liked it, I wanted to like it, too but it just didn't happen.

I voluntarily agreed to read an early copy via Netgalley. Many thanks to the publisher. My rating is 2.5 - 3 stars.
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✨These Violent Delights✨
Thank you to Netgalley, Hodder & Stoughton and Chloe Gong for the E-Arc. 

Summary- a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai with monsters, mystery and two rival gangs in a power struggle. This is a multipov story. 
Roma and Juliette are heirs to rival gangs, once secretly close now separated by betrayals, murders and time. Until a monster starts killing members of both gangs and a madness spreads through the city. Both sides will have to come together to stop it. 
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5 
This was a hard read for me. What initially drew me in was the gorgeous cover, the promise of a historical setting in another country and the rave reviews I had already seen from early reviewers, I was so excited when I was approved! And if i could rate the book on the last 25% it would be a 5star rating however, the book as a whole fell a little flat for me. 

I find myself so frustrated with this book. I struggled and pushed through the first 75% and I’m glad I did because the last 25% was incredible. If the whole book had packed that kind of punch it surely would’ve been a 5⭐️ read. I think for me, there was a lot of unnecessary information and so the book could’ve been shorter but a more impactful read. There was also the struggle of the multi-pov, now usually I enjoy a well written, multi pov book however there was an imbalance for me. I enjoyed Juliette’s part and enjoyed getting insight into Roma however I do think the book would’ve benefited from sticking with them rather than also giving rather odd snippets from other side characters (i.e Benedikt and the circle), there was a lot going on. 

This is a book that will be well loved by many readers, the romance is a sloooow burn, enemies to lovers trope which I absolutely love as well as having LGBTQ representation! It shows the power struggles that can happen in families as well as in the gang with some interesting plot twists tho finish! It’s clear that the author has a very vivid sense and gives in depth descriptions of the atmosphere and environment. So whilst parts of this book fell a little flat, after that dramatic ending I am eagerly awaiting book two.
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I knew this was a Romeo and Juliet retelling, but I have to say at first, each time someone's name was mentioned, I was a little worried it was just going to be the exact same plot set in Shanghai and with monsters. Thankfully I was wrong, and actually this is very, very loosely a retelling. Indeed, considering Romeo & Juliet is thought to be one of the ultimate romance stories (debate that as we all will), there is very little romance at all in These Violent Delights. 

I liked the mash-up themes that were on offer here. The best way I can think to describe it is, it's like what would happen if an alien invasion met with politics, crime and two heavily feuding families. The politics are what kept it truly interesting, and I questioned a lot who the villains of the piece truly were, the people or the monster making people tear at their own throats?!

I did find it really hard to click with Roma, and his story arc. I felt like a lot more time was dedicated to Juliette and her back story, so she was much easier to understand, and I was almost left wishing the entire book was told from her perspective. I did enjoy the dynamics of the various other family members, but always found myself wishing for it to return to Juliette. 

The story is left with a super open ending, setting it up nicely for the next book to pick up. I could definitely appreciate the unique aspects of this book, but I didn't love it as much as I had expected to, and I think that was largely due to some of the character development. A solid 3 stars.
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I have never been so excited for a book as I have for this one! Set in 1920s Shanghai, this story follows the Scarlett and White Flowers gang as they try and defeat a flesh eating monster. This was a glorious take on Romeo and Juliette, following two rival gangs. The setting was stunning - the imagery was beautifully penned. The story was a bit gory which I quite liked to see (nothing too extreme, but really helped set the story). There seemed to be an underlying budding romance ? Which i loved to see. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would recommend this to anyone who wants to experience an exciting and fast paced read. Thank you so much for my early review copy.
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These Violent Delights is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but it’s set in Shanghai in the 1920s and is so much better (sorry, Shakespeare). Chloe Gong makes the most of writing a novel compared to writing or performing a play; the romance between Juliette and Roma is a slow-burn one, she uses all those pages to build tension, frustration, anger, pain and desire between them. They have a past before the story begins, and when we meet them, they’re enemies. Their romance isn’t the only one. We’re given hints of another love story blooming in the periphery, and the ending leads me to think we’ll see more of it in the next novel (and I’m so glad there’s another!). 

The author paints a vivid picture of Shanghai – the gangs, the communists, the foreign occupiers, the poverty and wealth. The two star-crossed lovers find themselves forced into teaming up amidst the chaos of a rumoured monster in town, and a madness running through their city. I loved all the commentary on occupiers, Westernisation and Juliette’s experience of racism in America – the approach was tactful and fitted into the story of monsters.

Gong’s writing was a pleasure to read, and I highlighted plenty of beautiful passages:

‘He had buried Juliette like a corpse beneath the floorboards, content to live with the ghosts that whispered to him in his sleep.’

‘Night always falls on this city with a quiet clomp. When the lights blink on—the buzzing of newly coveted electricity running through the wires that line the streets like black veins—it is easy to forget that the natural state of night is supposed to be darkness. Instead, night in Shanghai is vibrance and neon, gaslight flickering against the triangular flags fluttering in the breeze.’

‘Instinctively his voice grew quiet, as if matters of death and revolution could be discussed at a normal speaking tone but petty gossip required reverence’ 

Going into this knowing it was a Romeo and Juliet retelling should have prepared me; I should have expected the worst at every turn, but somehow Gong still made me hope. The story surprised me. I didn’t know what to expect at all, which I think is the hallmark of a fantastic retelling; it kept me hooked and made me want to keep reading. I’ll be back for more when the next book comes out.
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DNF @ 36%

Siiiiigh. I so wanted to love this book, and I probably could have pushed myself through it, but frankly 2020 has been a rubbish year and life's too short to read books we're not enjoying.

This novel has so much potential and I thought I would love it. I love a 1920s setting and I was very excited to read about 1920s Shanghai instead of the typical setting of 1920s New York, and yet I don't know if I would have guessed this novel was set in the 1920s unless it had been mentioned in the blurb. I also loved the concept of a Romeo and Juliet retelling involving rival gangs; this is a very loose retelling, of course, but I didn't mind that at all. It's pretty clear from the blurb that this is a story inspired by Romeo and Juliet rather than a direct retelling. Unfortunately I didn't find either Juliette or Roma particularly interesting to follow - in fact none of the characters ever felt like real people I might bump into in the street - and while I really appreciate that Gong made Juliette the more savage of the two (which makes perfect sense considering it's Juliet in the original play whose monologues are full of violence, while Romeo speaks of love), making their relationship a lovers to enemies to lovers relationship, instead of simply star-crossed lovers, left me feeling cold. I found it hard to imagine these two loving each other at all.

The major reason this story didn't work for me, though, is because this novel does not need to be a fantasy novel. If Gong had written a historical fiction novel about two rival gangs in 1920s Shanghai and a pair of lovers caught in the middle of it all, These Violent Delights would have been a far stronger book. Instead, time that could have been spent creating a sumptuous setting and really involving us in the history of 20th century Shanghai was instead spent on a monster and a weird insect-induced virus that didn't quite fit into this story for me. This is Gong's debut and I think she's an author who's going to get better and better, but I think she tried to include too much in this novel which ultimately meant that none of it quite worked for me.
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The ARC for this book was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley.

When prompted with the synopsis that includes 1920s and Shanghai, I knew this was a book I wanted to read immediately. Some context needs to established to understand why I had such an interest in this book and that was the fact that as a child my family lived in Shanghai for 4 years. Finding a book that is set in a location I am very familiar with always excites me. Especially when it is somewhere that possibly many others are unfamiliar with it. 

Overal, I did thoroughly enjoy this book. It was entertaining and fast-paced. It drew on inspiration from Romeo and Juliette and had a mystery element that left you questioning sides the whole way through. 

Otherwise, the characters and intertwining world of 1920s China we richly developed. Descriptions of traditional Chinese cultures, words and phrasings, and landmark locations were built into the story creating a very accurate depiction of the world at the time. 

However, ultimately there was one element of the story left me very confused. At the heart of the book was a mysterious monster causing madness within Shanghai. Unfortunately, with the book set in our reality, the story limited itself in being able to provide scientific understanding of why these things were happening and thus this element fell slightly short for me.

But all in all, this book is vastly entertaining and brings a wonderful own voice perspective to a country that has suffered great injustice during 2020.
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Nov 23, 2020: 
It's been almost 2 months since I read this and I'm still trying to sift through my feelings about this book. (This is a good thing! It means the TVD world has been living in my head for quite some time!!)

There is a lot of hype centering around this book and for the most part I would say it lives up to it!!

This is a Romeo & Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, featuring a Chinese Juliet (Juliette Cai) and Russian Romeo (Roma Montagov) who happen to be the heirs of rival gangs, who *happen* to also be ex-lovers. (Hence this story plays with the lovers-enemies-lovers trope!!!) Juliette returns to Shanghai after being sent away to New Year for 4 years - into a Shanghai that is even more politically broken than how she left it. Tensions are high as ever as the city is on the cusp of the Chinese Civil War (communists and nationalists are battling it out) and everyone either aligns with The Scarlet Gang (Juliette's gang) or The White Flowers (Roma's gang) in order to survive. In the midst of all this chaos, a monster rears its head in the Huangpu River, causing mysterious deaths in both gangs. Then the inevitable happens: Juliette and Roma have to (secretly) work together to defeat this monster, and you already know what's going to happen next.... *mega angst*

In a way, this book revived my love for YA - after quite a few misses from the genre this year, I was fearing that I might have outgrown the genre, but what I was really missing was this fresh new wave in YA Fantasy that is filled with characters from different ethnicities and backgrounds - backgrounds that pertain to mine for this specific book - as well as exploration of history on this side of the Earth (other wars were being waged while WW2 happened!)

Upon finishing this book, I *had* to gush about it with a friend who read it as well, and I think that's what I love the most about YA - it's a genre that is more accessible than most, and has active fandoms to appreciate the characters and content of the books.

After the initial *I can't think about anything else except how I love all the characters in TVD* phase, I started thinking below the surface - about how I saw a lot my younger self in Juliette - she spent 4 formative years in New York, so it's inevitable for her Chinese heritage to clash with her now Western-influenced identity. At times in the book, Juliette subconsciously prefers to do things the Western way instead of the Chinese way (I mean, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, amirite?), sometimes even *subtly* looking down at the way her own people dresses/thinks. (She gets her fair share of people hinting at her that she's *changed* a lot, don't worry)

Although I've never step foot in New York nor Shanghai, on this plane of the planet, specifically Asia (and even more specifically Malaysia), Western media is extremely pervasive - so in a way my childhood was quite Western-influenced - and when that is all you see growing up, you end up unintentionally internalising dislike towards the very culture running in your own veins - I preferred to do things the Western way, speak like them, *only* speaking English, refusing to be serious in learning my own mother tongue, just because I was (pretty much) brainwashed into thinking the Western ideal is *the* superior ideal, through all that heavy consumption of Western media. (Don't worry, eventually I came to my senses)  

What I'm trying to say is - Chloe Gong wrote this as a diaspora story, specifically for kids who were raised in Western countries that they are not native to - and based on that, I find it fascinating that the countries don't need to match for people to relate to Juliette. Even more fascinating is that I was raised in Asia and yet feel the effects of Western hegemony from so far away, and related to Juliette in that aspect. There is so much to unpack in this character thread and I can't wait for more of it in book 2.

Fav characters
-OOF. Marshall Seo probably? (he and Juliette are fighting for space in my head as we speak - oh wait now they're shaking hands) he is a precious cinnamon roll that must be protected.
-I would have preferred to see more from Roma's POV though! We know quite a lot about him but also *don't* know quite a lot about him, you get me?

Also if you've read the original Romeo and Juliet play (present day me is thanking May 2020 me for deciding to pick it up on a whim - it came to good use after all lol), it's extra fun to pick out the parallels and !also! since you know who dies who doesn't, it adds an extra layer to your reading experience + you'll have a lot of fun theorizing how Chloe will change things up in her own work.

5 stars!! One of my faves of 2020 :D
Can't wait for my physical copy to arrive so I can delve deeper into it this time!
(*will probably come back and write a more coherent review after my 2nd read!)
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This book was one of my most anticipated release of 2020 and it's now one of my favourite reads of the year as well.

These Violent Delights is a Romeo and Juliet retelling taking place in Shanghai in the 1920s. Two rival gangs are faced with a curious madness killing everyone in their ranks. Where does it come from? How do they stop it? That’s what the heirs of each gang are trying to find out. But will they be able to put aside the blood feud and their own history to work together against this common enemy?
This book basically has all my favourite tropes. It’s fast paced, there’s action and suspense, the characters are witty and wonderful, and so are the relationships whether they’re familial, friendly, or romantic.

Juliette and Roma are such interesting and complex protagonists. They'd do anything for their family and their gang, they're both smart, strong-willed, determined, and so lovable. I instantly fell in love with Juliette, I love ruthless and powerful women. Even more when their confidence hides a lot of self doubt. And I loved the contrast with Roma. Where Juliette is hot-headed and violent, Roma is more calm and will try to get his way without shedding blood. 

I also adored the secondary characters, Kathleen and Marshall own my heart. Gong really took time to develop all of her characters, and you get attached to all of them so easily. 

It's absolutely amazing that this is Chloe Gong's debut novel. It's so well-written, so enticing. I absolutely cannot wait for the second book, and for Gong's future books.
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It’s more than a retelling, more than a doomed love story …

Saying that I enjoyed Those Violent Delights would be an understatement. It was an fabulous ride, leaded by a fantastic writing. Chloe Gong mastered the construction of her story and her characters in a unique way and it’s even more impressive that is her first published novel. 

Besides the fact that we already got a lot of Romeo & Juliet retelling in YA, this one felt unique. I’m not a huge fan of the original play by William Shakespeare for multiple reasons I won’t explain here, but I felt understood by Chloe Gong in the way that she put EVERYTHING I love in a book in hers. I absolutely loved the political, economic and social stakes about the war gangs, colonialism and the rise of communism in China. All those elements fit into each other perfectly and it felt right for a dramatic story such as Romeo & Juliet to have so many decisive and oppressive elements around them. Because that’s what this story is truly about: all the unstoppable forces which prevent two people to fall in love. Roma and Juliet are trapped in their social, economical and political situation and it takes more than just a flirt to destroy the system. 

Moreover the situation in Shanghai in the 1920’s you get a monster scaring the city? Oh that’s brilliant. The "malediction" or "disease" that spread in the streets during the novel gave an extra tension to the story that I really enjoyed. I’m not sure if I appreciate the ending about that but I’m extra curious for what will happen next. 

Those Violent Delights is also … a love story. But not entirely. I really like slow burn in my reading but this one was a snail. But it didn’t bother at all, on the contrary. It kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering when they’ll finally admit that they are in love with each other. Love is not the "heart" (sorry for that one) of the book, but it’s definitely the silent snake swimming beneath the surface (see what I did there ?). I love that everyone in this book is driven by love for their country, family, a significant other, dynasty, etc. It pushed the character to give their best or their worst and it was so interesting to see their evolution through the prism of love. 

This book has the all package. It’s clever, captivating, thrilling and well-written. It’s definitely one of the best release of 2020. By far.
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Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with an E-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

When I saw this book being advertised on BookTok (the bookish side of TikTok) through Chloe Gong's account, I was sold. Juts by the cover. Then when I did further research and found out it was a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, I knew I would love this book. It's an enemies to lovers romance which is one of the biggest tropes in Young Adult literature.

This modern re-telling has kept some of the most iconic scenes from the original play. The modern twist keeps the book entertaining and keeps you on the edge of your seat. I already know the These Violent Delights is going to be the next huge YA hit, and Chloe Gong will become a well known name in the young adult literature world.

"These violent delight have violent ends."

There are many content warnings for this book including: gun violence, gang violence, knife violence, murder, transphobia, consumption of alcohol, suicide, suicidal thoughts, illness
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Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a copy of These Violent Delights to review via Netgalley.

DNF at 25%

Unfortunately, this book just didn't live up to the hype that had been built up around it. With that gorgeous cover and the premise of a 1920s alternate Shanghai Romeo and Juliet retelling, I had hoped I might find something really special here - but this wasn't it.

The one thing that did really stick out to me was the detail with which Chloe Gong has imagined this world. The descriptions of the streets of this Shanghai are vivid and detailed.

At a quarter of the way through, I didn't feel as though the plot had advanced at all from where we started, and although a number of characters had been introduced, I didn't feel a connection with any of them. I'm sad to DNF a book that I had such high hopes for, but the slow pace and the detached narrative voice just weren't enough to keep me reading.

This review will not be appearing on my blog at this time, but will be cross-posted to Goodreads.
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Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy of These Violent Delights in exchange for an honest review. 

In Shanghai, in 1926, a blood feud that has been ongoing for years continues.

Tensions between the Scarlet and White Flower gangs is constant causing casualties on both sides.

4 years earlier heir to the Scarlet gang, Juliette Cai and the White Flower heir Roma Montagov saw past the blood feud and fell in love. That is, until he betrayed her.

After some time away, Juliette has returned to Shanghai.

Soon people from both sides of the feud start going mad and tearing out their own throats in what seems to be the beginning of a contagion. Juliette and Roma must work past there grudges and discover the cause of the contagion before both gangs are wiped out.

What I liked about this book

This is a really interesting take on Romeo and Juliette. It has an original and enjoyable premise.

The character line up is really diverse. I particularly liked Kathleen. Her loyalty and kindness are admirable.

Action packed scenes keep the story moving forward at a fast pace

What I didn't like 

Due to the fact that this is a Romeo and Juliette retelling, I expected a lot more from the romance.

The perpetrator is quite obvious from the first few chapters.

These Violent Delights ends on a cliffhanger leading me to believe that there will be a second book. I didn't get what I was expecting from this book, though I did enjoy it.

3.75 stars
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Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars! 

These Violent Delights is definitely one of the most beautiful and refreshing re-telling that I have read in recent years. Based on Romeo and Juliet but set in 1920's Shanghai, this book has such a vibrant and atmospheric setting. I loved how Shanghai has been described, I loved the mix of culture and food that were presented in the book and I loved how the author presented and discussed colonialism and its effects in the story. 

In addition, the plot had just the right amount of mystery, family intrigue, power struggle and action. Admittedly, I think that the story started out a little slow but once, I reached the 30% mark, I was fully invested in the plot and flew thew the rest of the book in a day or so. The characters too were well written, especially, the MCs Juliette and Roma, I really liked their personal struggles and loved how they developed through out the story, However, my one qualm was that I didn't feel attached to the characters very much, especially the side characters, there were quite a few of them and I loved the representations they added to the story, but I really wished some of their back stories was explored a little more. I do hope that is something which gets explored in the next book. 

Overall, a good story and a great debut! I will look forward to what the author does next especially with that brilliant ending!!
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The only thing I knew about this book while going into it was that this was a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in Shanghai in 1920s. Although, I think this line describes the book in a very basic manner. It is so much more than just a Romeo and Juliet retelling.

We follow Juliette Cai, the heir of the Scarlet gang and Roma Montagov, the heir of White Flower gang. These two gangs control the entire city of Shanghai and are bitter rivals. Just like in Romeo and Juliet, Roma and Juliette meet when they are 15, and fall in love. But due to gang wars, they fall apart. Juliette is shipped off to America for safety reasons.

Our main story starts 4 years after this. Juliette is 19, hardened by the world around her, and back in Shanghai. But things have changed while she was away.
 Shanghai is plagued with more and more White foreigners trying to  colonize Chinese land. Juliette sees signs on shops and places saying "No Chinese allowed inside" on Chinese land. In her own family, people are favouring her first cousin Tyler to take over gang duties, just because he is male.

In the White Flowers territory, Roma has been disfavoured by his father due to certain events that happened 4 years ago during the fallout with the Scarlet gang. He is delegated to do the lowest and most unwanted tasks in the gang.

Both Roma and Juliette are struggling to regain their place in their respective gangs.

And in the midst of all this, there is a spread of a new kind of sickness in the city. People are dying by self inflicted wounds; they are literally ripping out their own throat. Some people say that this is a madness. But there are rumours about sightings of a monster, a monster so terrible that one look at it incites this madness in people. But monster or no, the sickness is spreading and claiming lives of both Scarlets and White Flowers and anyone and everyone in between. The general public is losing faith their gangs to provide protection and turning away from them as the sickness becomes contagious and uncontrollable; leading to the rise of a new threat to the gangs - the Communists. People are joining the communist propaganda in the wake on the threat of sickness.

Juliette and Roma and scrambling to find the source of this sickness and to save their people.

I absolutely absolutely loved this premise of a new 'sickness'. The author has very cleverly woven the fiction of this madness with what I assume to be the actual political situation in Shanghai during that time. I loved how the author has highlighted the rise of communist agenda and the fall of the drug gangs while showing the cause of this to be the madness and the subsequent death of common folk due to it. I am very interested to know if something similar happened during that time in Shanghai.

Also, I absolutely loved Juliette as a protagonist. She is so fiercely protective about her people, not just the members of the Scarlet gang, but even the common people of the city. She does not bend down in front of the countless people who are trying to devalue her just because of her sex. She knows how to command respect and even fear! 

I also loved the side characters of the story, which were Juliette's cousins Kathleen and Rosalind, especially Kathleen! She was such an unexpected surprise, I want more of her. I also loved Roma's two sidekicks, Benedictk and Marshall. In comparison to all of them, Roma felt very average to me. He did not do much for me to be honest and his contribution to the plot was also very average. Roma is not a bad character. But he is not excellent either. He just felt average to me. Juliette came out to be super strong, This tipped the balance between the main pair for me and affected my enjoyment of the book a little bit.

Another thing that took away my enjoyment of this book, was the lack of chemistry between Roma and Juliette. I could not connect to the love between the protagonists. Yes, there were feelings of young love lost, but that for me did not translate too well to the angst or rekindling of love between these two.

I solidly loved the main plot of the story and the way it was executed. The author has very impactfully highlighted the blatant racism and culture shaming done by the whites towards Asians. I loved the brutal honesty used to convey this. There is a part where Juliette talks about Americans teasing her about her chinese name, and that resonated so much with me. I am dead sure this still happens in the world. Juliette also talks about foreigners disallowing Chinese to inhibit their own land. Again, I related to it so strongly! As an Indian, my history lessons were filled with atrocities done to my countrymen by colonizers. I was used to see pictures saying "Dogs and Indians not allowed" in my textbooks. I loved the fact that the author has taken so much pains to raise such an important topic. Its about time someone brings this topic to focus in mainstream western YA literature.

I loved the way in which the author has perfectly portrayed the political tensions at that time. I absolutely loved the execution of the story. The pace falls slow somewhere in the middle of the book. I felt that the author was giving us the same information dressed in different ways. But pacing picked up again towards the end. Infact the entire climax at the end was so perfectly executed! There's a cliffhanger at the end, and I am not usually a fan of cliffhangers, but this one was so well done, I cannot wait for the next book!
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I screamed for full 5 minutes whenI got this arc. I loved the idea of Romeo and Juliet of 1920s. 
This book is so beutifully writen. This really was a good read.

For 4 for me.
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