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What Are Buzz Residents Reading?: Q&A with Emily Burnett

Cindy Burnett
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Emily Burnett

Emily Burnett recently finished the new duology by Chloe Gong, These Violent Delights and Our Violent Ends, and highly recommends both. 

This week, I interviewed my daughter (and former Buzz intern) Emily Burnett about what she has read recently and loved. Emily goes to college in New York City but is home for the summer and working part-time at Blue Willow Bookshop. She selected These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, which is a fantasy duology that retells the classic Romeo and Juliet story.

The story is set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River. 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 18-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.

The New York Times Book Reviews raves: “The Bard would surely approve,” and Natasha Egan, author of Girls of Paper and Fire, says it is a "[a] deliciously dark twist on Romeo and Juliet that feels vibrant, modern, and wholly exciting. Gong's writing brims with energy. I was swept away to her dark Shanghai from the first page and never wanted to leave!"

Here is what Emily has to say about it:

What is the best book you have read recently?
The best book series I have read recently is the These Violent Delights duology by Chloe Gong. The first book is called These Violent Delights and the follow-up is Our Violent Ends. Once I started These Violent Delights, I could not put it down. As soon as I finished the first one, I started the second in the duology.

What did you like about it? What made it stand out to you? 
While it is a fantasy book, it is set in Shanghai in the 1920s, which was one of my favorite things about it. The setting was so interesting and different than many other books I’ve read. Also, the duology is a reimagining of Romeo and Juliet, which I read in high school English, and it was so interesting to see how she incorporated elements of that while also having a unique fantasy plot and putting her own twist on the story. 

How did you learn about the book?
I learned about it through Instagram! These books are all over social media. I kept seeing people post about both books and finally decided I needed to pick them up. I am so glad I did.

What are you reading now?
I am currently reading As the Shadow Rises, the second book in the Age of Darkness trilogy by Katy Rose Pool. I am also really looking forward to the third book in The Inheritance Game series, entitled The Final Gambit, which comes out at the end of August. I have been eagerly anticipating its publication.

I would love to hear what you are reading! Feel free to drop it in the comments below.

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.

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