The Perfect Retelling for Fans of Shakespeare: Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights Duology, A Spoiler Free Review


These Violent Delights Duology. (Photo/Amy Tran)

The Perfect Retelling for Fans of Shakespeare: Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights Duology, A Spolier Free Review

If you’re a fan of YA fantasy books, there’s no doubt you’ve heard the buzz surrounding Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights duology. Since their release in 2020 and 2021, the two books have received a tremendous amount of recognition and praise for Chloe Gong’s beautiful writing and character development. The duology is perfect for fans of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet or members of the Booktok, Bookstagram, and Booktube community because whether it’s enemies to lovers, forbidden love, or two rivals being forced to work together, These Violent Delights (the duology) has it all!


It’s 1926, and Shanghai is on the brink of destruction. Foreign powers threaten to take over the country and blood feuds paint the streets red. On one side you have the Scarlet Gang–a powerful network of criminals who pay no mind to the law–and on the other, you have the White Flowers–the Scarlet’s only rival in power for generations now. At the heart of it all are two teenagers: Juliette Cai, the fierce heir of the Scarlet Gang, and Roma Montagov, the kind-hearted heir of the White Flowers and Juliette’s first love, only to betray her years later. 

The two gangs are sworn enemies. But when a monster awakens in Shnaghai and a madness making people claw out their own throats begins to spread, Juliette and Roma are forced to put aside their prejudices and work together to save their people, no matter how strong their hate might be for one another. If they don’t, neither side is making it out alive. 

Personal Thoughts:

This book series is definitely on my list of Top Five Favorite Books At All Times, especially the second book in the duology. There’s something about Chloe Gong’s writing that just bring the book to life. Her descriptive and atmospheric prose transports you into the world of These Violent Delights and through it, you follow Roma and Juliette on a journey of love, sacrifice, betrayal, and forgiveness. Personally, I think it’s so refreshing to see a concept (Romeo and Juliet) that has been around for centuries be taken into a new light. It offers a sense of familiarity but not enough so that it’s predictable. 

One of my favorite things about these books were the characters. Whether it was Roma and Juliette or their cousins, Tyler and Benedict, each character was portrayed so realistically. They have flaws and they overcome them. When describing books I love, I tend to use the word “see” instead of “read” because I’m so invested in the story that I imagine it playing out right in front of me like a movie. To see a character go through two, four-hundred page books of character development is something that evokes a tremendous amount of emotions out of me. I watched them grow, face hardships, overcome their fears. I laughed with them and cried with them. I cannot stress enough how much I love these characters. 

If you’ve been on the fence about reading this series, I hope this review has encouraged you to try it out! Keep an eye out for Foul Lady Fortune, a These Violent Delights spinoff duology inspired by Shakespeare’s As You Like It that stars Juliette’s dear friend Rosalind Lang.