i read These Violent Delights Duology by Chloe Gong and it was…fine?


hannah with truly the most wise of words

Hi friends! How are you all doing? I hope you are all taking care and staying safe.

Today’s post is a review (kind of) post WHICH WILL INCLUDE SPOILERS SO BEWARE, regarding a book series I just completed reading. My plan is to try and do more of these series-based posts because I think it adds a bit of *spice* to my typical blog posts so I hope you enjoy it!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would have already heard about ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’”๐’† ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ซ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’” and ๐‘ถ๐’–๐’“ ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ฌ๐’๐’…๐’”, a young-adult historical fantasy duology written by ๐‘ช๐’‰๐’๐’๐’† ๐‘ฎ๐’๐’๐’ˆ. To this day, this series is all over BookTok!

I read ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’”๐’† ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ซ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’” almost immediately when it was released in 2020 and I absolutely loved it. I do still love the overarching story and premise and how ๐‘ช๐’‰๐’๐’๐’† ๐‘ฎ๐’๐’๐’ˆ weaved fantasy, history and gang politics. So when I finally recieved my preorder of ๐‘ถ๐’–๐’“ ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ฌ๐’๐’…๐’”, I was waiting for the perfect moment to read it and that moment came in the form of my sister from another mister, Hannah who was like, “let’s buddy read the ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’”๐’† ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ซ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’” duology” and who was I to say no?! I was EXCITED. But…it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, friends. Because Hannah and I were stuck. WE WERE STUCK.

We completely forgot how freaking SLOWWWWWW ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’”๐’† ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ซ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’” was to get into and how slow the story builds. Here’s our first check in with each other as we started it:

So it wasn’t looking bright. We actually considered putting it to the side for a bit, but we were determined to try and read as much as we could. And we did!


๐•ฟ๐–๐–Š๐–˜๐–Š ๐–๐–Ž๐–”๐–‘๐–Š๐–“๐–™ ๐•ฏ๐–Š๐–‘๐–Ž๐–Œ๐–๐–™๐–˜, ๐–Š๐–“๐–™๐–—๐–ž ๐–”๐–“๐–Š

For ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’”๐’† ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ซ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’”, I actually wrote my thoughts as I was reading it. So here is what I originally wrote in my reading journal:

๏ผ‘2๏ผ๏ผ“๏ผ๏ผ’๏ผ๏ผ’๏ผ’

Iโ€™m really struggling to get through this book upon my reread. I am finding myself incredibly bored! I don’t remember it being this much of a slow-build – and a slow-build that worked towards such an unsatisfactory point. The first 200 pages did not have that much substance to them. The first half honestly feels as though it could have been 100 pages shorter and more concise. Considering that we spend 200 pages introducing the context and characters, we are not actually in a position where we find ourselves immersed within the story. I just wanted it to get to a point where the story actually moved forward.

I should talk about what I mean when I say that there is a slow build in the first 200 pages. By ‘slow build’ I refer to the building up to the point where Juliette and Roma finally decide to work together. 200 pages. The miscommunication or the unwillingness to communicate and LISTEN between Juliette (especially) and Roma was ridiculous. I understand it’s an enemies to lovers story, but it just felt so redundant. Roma has no personality and Juliette is such a bland character in the first 200 pages. Juliette especially is characterised by her constant sighing, exhaling and rolling of her eyes. There was a page where Juliette sighed three times in the space of a few sentences of dialogue. How did she not faint?!

The best aspect of the first 200 pages is the mystery surrounding the monster/virus making people rip out their own throats. That and the behind-the-scenes we get of the politics of the two gangs – chefs kiss. I currently have 200 pages to go until I finish this book and itโ€™s taking all of me not to throw this book across and room and forget about it.

Why am I having such a weird reading experience of this book? I rated it 4.5 stars when I first read it!!! Iโ€™ll check in with you once Iโ€™ve read some more.

๏ผ‘3๏ผ๏ผ“๏ผ๏ผ’๏ผ๏ผ’๏ผ’

So I finished it.

Honestly? It was fine. I think the fact that the last 50 pages or so are the best part of the book is kind of an issue. Personally, I think that this entire book has a pacing problem. I think that is what it boils down to and why I feel so unsatisfied upon my reread. And I am so shattered!

But before I move on to reading the last book of this duology, I just want to point out that for badass gang members and heirs to their family – Juliette and Roma are so dumb. They make incredibly dumb decisions.

The most glaringly obvious incident of their dumbness was when they finally found Larkspur and after he dropped a little bit of information (the entire scene was super quick) they just…left? If Roma and Juliette did their jobs and actually interrogated him properly, what happened in the aftermath would not have actually occurred to the extent that it did. 3 stars.

Anyway, I better move on to the next book!


๐•บ๐–š๐–— ๐–๐–Ž๐–”๐–‘๐–Š๐–“๐–™ ๐•ฐ๐–“๐–‰๐–˜, ๐–Š๐–“๐–™๐–—๐–ž ๐–™๐–œ๐–”

Hannah was a girlboss and steadily worked through ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’”๐’† ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ซ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’”, finished before me and starting the sequel! Hannah’s thoughts on the first book was similar to mine; it started off so slow but enjoyable in the end. I did find it to be a slight disappointment considering it went from my original 4.5 stars to 3 stars.

But Hannah, after beginning ๐‘ถ๐’–๐’“ ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ฌ๐’๐’…๐’”, decided to have a small break because of the trope of miscommunication and angst. Honestly, me too. I want to emphasise that I really did not enjoy the miscommunication or the lack of these characters listening to each other. It felt as though Juliette never let Roma speak in the first book! And Roma didn’t employ something I like to call critical thinking skills.

๐‘ถ๐’–๐’“ ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ฌ๐’๐’…๐’” started off well. It felt more punchy in the beginning – as if it was starting off with a bang. It was slightly easier to get into this book because of that overall feeling of it being fast-paced. But it quickly descended into something unsatisfying…that’s the only way I can describe it.

I couldn’t understand how stupid Roma and Ben was with the whole ‘omg Marshall is dead. Juliette is an evil, disgusting person’ etc., when if they just did their due diligence and, I don’t know actually acted like gang members, followed her one night they would have easily figured out that Marshall was alive.

Also, the most blinding thing that hits you in the face when reading this, was the fact that the reason for all the angst and miscommunication (especially in regards to Marshall’s fake death), is that Roma and Juliette don’t trust each other. At all. Regardless of both of them exchanging fevered ‘i love yous’, they don’t trust each other. Roma was so easily able to fall back into thinking the absolute worst of Juliette and vice a versa. I just wanted to shake them! If there’s no trust, how can your relationship last? If Roma just trusted in Juliette and her reasons for doing things to ensure both of their continued survival (I mean, he literally did the same 4 years ago), the entire book would have been better. It would have enabled a more nuanced and deeper exploration of their actual relationship, as an actual couple in a historical context that was boiling to it’s exploding point. As heirs to two gangs about to lose all their power. That would have been exceptional.

The repetition of the monster/virus aspect was fine but it would have been more interesting if there was more of a difference from the first book. The first half of ๐‘ถ๐’–๐’“ ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ฌ๐’๐’…๐’” was so similar to what occurs in ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’”๐’† ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ซ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’”that it felt incredibly repetitious. Did anyone else feel this way?

Roma still felt slightly dull but Juliette had so much more characterisation and personality than in ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’”๐’† ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ซ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’”! I was so happy about that. I felt invested in her character, I enjoyed reading from her perspective much more than I did in the first book. I was so thankful for that, not going to lie. Also, I have to mention Juliette’s burgeoning relationship with Marshall and how freaking precious that was! I wish that Marshall had more page time, as well as Ben! They were so incredibly awesome, adorable and fascinating! And Celia and Rosalind! Even though I knew from ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’”๐’† ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ซ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’” that Rosalind was the spy as it was obvious, I really cannot wait to read more about her and Celia. Considering they were the side characters, I felt as though they had some of the most complex character work in the entire duology, which was interesting.


literally, an art piece.

And then Ben and Marshall.

Ben and Marshall.

When I say that the side characters were more interesting, I freaking mean it. Ben and Marshall were one of the best aspects of this novel. Their slow burn best friends to lovers plot line in the background was what made me continue reading because I wanted to see them together so badly. Hannah also completely and totally agreed with me haha.


Hannah really loved the ending, and yes I totally agree! I also remember finishing the book and thinking, ‘oh, is that it?’. I just felt a little bit robbed? Similar to ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’”๐’† ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ซ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’”s, I felt that the second half of ๐‘ถ๐’–๐’“ ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ฌ๐’๐’…๐’” was building up to something and when that climax happened it was just fine. I don’t know if this was a me issue (most likely) or an execution issue but it, again, left me unsatisfied. In saying that though, the second half of the novel was good in the sense that we had more Roma and Juliette content.

I remember saying to Hannah that I hate when books are promoted as ‘enemies to lovers’ and we get next to no ‘lovers’ content. I need to believe in them as a couple, have time with them as a couple and not just as ‘enemies’!


But it was always going to end in a certain way, wasn’t it? It is literally a Romeo and Juliet retelling and Hannah and I weren’t sure how close to the original material ๐‘ช๐’‰๐’๐’๐’† ๐‘ฎ๐’๐’๐’ˆ was going to get with her retelling. I was expecting something along the lines of how it actually ended and I think the hints of ambiguity as well as the ‘are they or aren’t they?’ aspect of the ending, was something that I enjoyed. But the last 50-100 pages felt too fast that I wasn’t able to fully enjoy what was happening! I think both ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’”๐’† ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ซ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’” and ๐‘ถ๐’–๐’“ ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ฌ๐’๐’…๐’” is victim to pacing issues, similar to a roller-coaster: slow, fast, then slow, then TURBO CHARGED FAST AND THE FURIOUS SPEED, end.

But here is Hannah’s wonderful and awesome reaction of when she was nearly finishing and then when she completed it:


DESPERATE REUNION BANGING

That still makes me cry-laugh. Hannah’s reactions are EVERYTHING. Go and give her some love, will you? She also has a super epic podcast called Women of War (Hannah is a historian – she’s a badass and I love her).

She has a point though. That’s literally what this book was missing. Some good old fashioned BONING.

When ๐‘ช๐’‰๐’๐’๐’† ๐‘ฎ๐’๐’๐’ˆ decides to write Adult, we are ALL going to be shook.

Although I wouldn’t consider this duology an absolute favourite, these two books I still overall enjoyed. I think this duology has created more interest in me to read the spin off series, because I really enjoyed this world, the politics and the elements of fantasy that are woven within the narrative. I just think the main characters are the least exciting aspect of these books where the side characters actually outshine the MC’s so much.

I gave ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’”๐’† ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ซ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’” 3 stars, and ๐‘ถ๐’–๐’“ ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’• ๐‘ฌ๐’๐’…๐’” a 4 star rating. Again, not a favourite but overall an enjoyable experience.


And that’s all for today’s post, friends!

I hope you enjoyed it! Let me know if you’ve read this duology and your thoughts about it. Please be kind in the comments, I am a sensitive bean!

Until next time, happy reading!

All the love,

allie

xx


๐“ฝ๐”€๐“ฒ๐“ฝ๐“ฝ๐“ฎ๐“ป

๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ผ๐“ฝ๐“ช๐“ฐ๐“ป๐“ช๐“ถ

๐“ฐ๐“ธ๐“ธ๐“ญ๐“ป๐“ฎ๐“ช๐“ญ๐“ผ

๐“ผ๐“ฝ๐“ธ๐“ป๐”‚๐“ฐ๐“ป๐“ช๐“น๐“ฑ

4 thoughts on “i read These Violent Delights Duology by Chloe Gong and it was…fine?

  1. I’ve noticed in myself that sometimes whether or not I enjoy a book depends on where I’m at in life. I’ve read books that I absolutely adored then felt meh on the reread years later. I’ve also read books for school that DRUG then couldn’t put them down as an adult. It’s weird and interesting how that happens. I sometimes wonder if I wait a while longer, what feelings would I have with a third read. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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