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Chloe Gong

Author of These Violent Delights

10+ Works 5,269 Members 79 Reviews

About the Author

Includes the name: Chloe Gong


Works by Chloe Gong

These Violent Delights (2020) 2,584 copies
Our Violent Ends (2021) 1,006 copies
Foul Lady Fortune (2022) 695 copies
Immortal Longings (2023) 635 copies
Foul Heart Huntsman (2023) 146 copies
These Violent Delights Duet (2021) 17 copies

Associated Works

The Gathering Dark: An Anthology of Folk Horror (2022) — Contributor — 160 copies


1920s (14) 2020 (8) assassins (12) audiobook (8) BIPOC (12) books-i-own (8) BOTM (17) China (46) ebook (12) Fairyloot (19) fantasy (135) fiction (63) gangs (10) hardcover (15) historical (27) historical fantasy (24) historical fiction (78) Kindle (9) mystery (28) owlcrate (16) own (8) owned (9) read (13) retelling (47) romance (52) Romeo and Juliet (18) science fiction (8) series (20) sff (8) Shanghai (20) signed (26) Sprayed Edges (8) spy (12) These Violent Delights (12) to-read (479) unread (17) William Shakespeare (11) YA (49) young adult (66) young adult fantasy (8)

Common Knowledge



August is the heir to the empire of Talin, but he has plans to depose the current ruler, King Kasa, with some help from Calla Tuoleimi - a princess who killed her own parents and is believed to be dead. She's entered into the games, an annual event in the twin cities of San-Er, allowing the last person alive to gain an enormous amount of money and leave the impoverished populace behind. The plan is for Calla to win, with August's help, and as the victor when she's given access to the King, to kill him. But Anton Makusa, a former friend of August's, may just foil that plan as he enters the games with motives of his own and forges an alliance with Calla.

I'm ambivalent about this book, which has some elements that I very much enjoy, but doesn't quite live up to its promise. It's one of those blended science fiction/fantasy stories that seems to be set in the future, but also has magic elements, in this case the ability of people with really strong qi to "jump" into another body and take over for a period of time (or for good, if the stronger person so decides). The games will sound familiar to anyone who has read [The Hunger Games], though decidedly more violent in this adult book where, to keep the person from jumping, they must be killed quickly, often decapitated. Added to that the nods to [Antony and Cleopatra], which this is inspired by rather than a retelling of, and you just get A Lot thrown into a plot. The romance aspect kind of came out of nowhere, when all of a sudden they were attracted to each other, and was never developed to my satisfaction. And I'm not a huge fan of narratives told in present tense. I never quite got to the point where I could sink in and enjoy the story, but I remained intrigued throughout. That all being said, the idea of what one can do with their qi leaves much to be explored in future volumes of this planned trilogy, and the ending of this one left me curious enough to read the next one.
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bell7 | 6 other reviews | Feb 24, 2024 |
Probably a better read for everyone else than it was for me. My experience was somewhat dull, but I have no doubt this will be a hit with most other readers if they think they would like it!

Recommended: eh
For a glimpse into 1920s Shanghai, for a historical fantasy gangster story (not a common combo I think), for flavors of Romeo & Juliet but ultimately its own standing story

Look, I know. This book has everything. Shanghai in 1920s, one of my favorite place-time combos. A basis in Shakespeare. A fantasy element of monsters. A touch of brutality and gore to darken the story.

So why didn't I love it???

I'm a bit baffled, honestly. I've tried to pinpoint what kept me from falling in love with this book, as I should have by all rights. I think my issue was partly that I wasn't expecting it to be intertwined with magic and I wasn't really in the mood for that -- and obviously that's a personal issue, nothing with the book. But the bigger issue I faced was that I just didn't really care about either of the main characters.

Poor communication is at the crux of both of Juliette and Roma's issues, which is a common trope but still one that immediately turns me off. Their relationship and history together was predictable -- and not just because it's based on Romeo and Juliet. The forbidden longing aspect was weak because of it, so that had no pull on me. The rest of their character - the powerful heir who doesn't want the job - was meh.

Give me more Marshall and Benedikt any day though! I adore them. 

Besides that this story shines in it's world building and portrayal of Shanhai at the time. It was truly a wild place, and not in entirely good ways. The chaos of competing powers between gangs, countries, and even government systems is captured exquisitely within. I could imagine every scene in the city so vividly, and that was what I loved most. The contrasts of the city were perfect.

Now if you're curious how much this really pulls from Romeo and Juliet, the answer is minimally. There are a few key elements to the original story that are reflected in here, but overall it is uniquely its own. To come in expecting a straight retelling is woefully misguided. This is a fresh new story; it just happens to throw some nods to relationships and plot points from the OG R&J.

So if you read the blurb of this book and think "hey I'll probably like that" then you probably will. This book has tons of action blended well with introspection and interpersonal development. My issues are mostly my own, and my "it was okay" rating (as always) reflects my own experience and not the objective quality of the book.
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Jenniferforjoy | 43 other reviews | Jan 29, 2024 |
Great little short stories, deftly written. Felt like there were too many characters to keep track of, but great nonetheless
littlel | Jan 6, 2024 |
Great palate cleanser, fascinating historal story about Shanghai, loved the multiculuralism and 4 languages used in the book
littlel | 12 other reviews | Jan 6, 2024 |



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