Blurb from Goodreads
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.
These Violent Delights is described as a retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story but set in 1920s Shanghai with warring criminal gangs and a side of creepy monster. I thought that blurb sounded really great and when it came up for request on NetGalley I leaped at the opportunity.
However, by the end of chapter one I began to feel very queasy at the description of the death of a character. It was far more violent and gory than I was expecting from a novel classed as YA by NetGalley.
At this stage I had a quick look through a number of other early reviews on Goodreads and actually came across a review written by the author Chloe Gong. In it she gives a content warning which made me realise that this book was never one that I would read had I known prior to requesting it on NetGalley:
The content warnings are as follows:
- mentions and descriptions of blood
- character deaths
- explicit description of gouging self (not of their own volition)
- weapon use
- alcohol consumption
- parental abuse
As I already felt queasy after the violent scene described at the end of chapter one I feel I had to make the decision to DNF this novel as I am clearly not the right reader for it. I just do not feel comfortable reading any books that have excessive gore, blood and physical violence.
However, I do wish that the book’s content warnings had been made available on NetGalley BEFORE I requested the book as I would never have requested it had I known of the gory content and therefore the book could have been available for another, more suitable reviewer. I genuinely am so surprised that the book was as explicitly violent as it is because it is classed as Young Adult. To me this book would be more appropriate classified as New Adult so that the reader would know to expect more graphic / mature content.
I wish the author every good luck with this book and hope it finds its right audience.
*An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review*
Publishing 17th November 2020, Hodder & Stoughton