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These Violent Delights: 01/18/21
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong is set in Shanghai in 1926. Juliette Cai has returned home from New York to help run the Scarlet Gang. Their main rival is the Russian gang, the White Flowers. At first squint, this novel is clearly inspired by Romeo and Juliet but reframed, re-contextualized.
But this isn't strictly a historical fiction about Europe's continued interest and meddling in China. Primarily this is a horror mystery. There are multiple sightings of a monster. There is some contagion coming out of the water that is driving people to kill themselves.
I'm going to freely admit that the bug mystery is what kept me reading. Rather than a straight up retelling of tragedy reframed as a more recent historical fiction, we get to see versions of Shakespeare's famous enemies to lovers being forced to work together to save their city from a potentially supernatural threat.
That said, the mystery can be solved. The clues are there. It's a satisfying conclusion and a rip-snorter of a climax. I look forward to what Chloe Gong comes up with next.
The sequel, Our Violent Ends is scheduled for release on November 16, 2021.