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  • Writer's pictureBreanna Crossman

These Violent Delights: Addressing the Roma Montagov Slander by Cailey Tin

In continuation to the previous Book Review article of Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights, published here.

Image from DeviantArt

Juliette’s love interest, Roma, faces some slander among bookish communities because of his occasional softness, which is interpreted as "uselessness" compared to Juliette because he’s more hesitant to put a bullet through someone’s head. Yes, there are some Roma-Juliette scenes in which his role was being the "weaker" character, showing more sympathy to the Larkspur’s men who were trying to gun them down, and of course, also for his betrayal to Juliette four years ago. 

However, no matter how much insecurity Roma feels about his position as the White Flower heir, particularly because his cousin Dimitri is more well-liked than him and Lord Montagov

could easily demote him any moment he decides that his son isn’t good enough, the novel is still transparent about the fact that Juliette’s struggles as an heiress made her tougher and more merciless than Roma. 

After all, Roma doesn’t let territorial boundaries stop him from breaking into this girl’s bedroom. Roma got into a physical fight with his cousin to prove who the true heir was. He also shouts at his father, which is perfectly sensible because of Lord Montagov’s ignorance towards his own daughter Alisa’s hospitalization, but meanwhile, Juliette has to be tight-lipped on a stricter basis. In the beginning, before she clears things up with Roma, she is a bit more law-abiding (to her gang, definitely not to Shanghai’s actual laws, if there were any). Particularly because of her insecurity towards her cousin Tyler, she protects her reputation to the very end. Juliette clings more to the anxiety that, at any moment, she could lose her place in the Scarlet Gang and be discarded as an Americanized toy. 

Despite Roma’s reasonable insecurities, it is an undeniable truth that Juliette held onto her position more than him. It’s constantly emphasized that without power, she is nothing. After being sent to America for years, she comes back with a stronger sense of dis belonging and it changes Roma’s perception of her completely. 

Therefore, her character naturally becomes more vindictive and stone-cold. Unfortunately, there's always a side to the media that thinks that if a girl is brutal, the man must one-up her on being stone-hearted for them to be "shipped" together. But Roma’s empathy, compared to Juliette’s, isn’t a weakness; it’s a privilege.

That does not make him a toxic, "useless" character. His rage and wit effectively shine through when his loved ones are in danger, and just because he’s more merciful doesn’t make him undeserving of Juliette. When the deadly insects latch on Lourens’ beard or when his sister needs him, Roma is quick on his feet, sharp, and always unafraid to act.

Cailey Tin is an interview editor of Paper Crane Journal. She is an Asia-based staff writer and podcast co-host at The Incandescent Review, a columnist in Incognito Press and Spiritus Mundi Review, and her work has been published in Fairfield Scribes, Alien Magazine, Cathartic Lit, and more. Her work is forthcoming in the Eunoia Review and Dragon Bone Publishing. Visit her Instagram @itscaileynotkylie.

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