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The Geekwave

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University of Utah

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These Violent Delights: A Novel by Micah Nemerever


“I kill them because they’re beautiful, and it’s the only way I can keep them.” 

If you liked the atmosphere of The Secret History by Donna Tartt but were left wanting for a little more intensity, you need to check out These Violent Delights by Micah Nemerever. I really didn’t think I would find another book that would make me feel like The Secret History did, but These Violent Delights took me there and beyond. It is intense from start to finish in a way that won’t let you put the book down even if you wanted to. This book contains graphic violence, disturbing content, and sexual content, make sure to check the content warnings before you read.  


Paul is an odd young man; he is artistic at heart, but his brain seemingly only wants to view the world in black and white. He lives at home with his mother and his sisters, a house still consumed by grief after his father’s passing and seems to just be letting life pass him by. That is until he meets Julian, another odd boy but in less obvious ways. Julian is fascinated with what makes people tick; he knows how to get his way with just his words and Paul is immediately infatuated with him. An unstoppable force and an immovable object collide, and this book is the brilliant aftermath.  


These characters are not the heroes of this story, they are cruel, violent, and very real. This book is told from the perspective of Paul, an unreliable narrator. He is not unreliable when it comes to the events happening, but in how he perceives people’s actions and intentions. Paul truly does think the worst of himself, and he projects this onto everyone he meets. Even after he spends almost every waking moment with Julian, he still cannot believe that Julian likes him for him. This can make it difficult to grasp Julian’s true character right away, but slowly we get to see the real Julian behind the curtain of Paul’s perception.  

Paul believes Julian is perfect; he has put Julian on a pedestal and believes his devotion to Julian will keep him around. Because of this we begin to also believe that Julian is perfect, almost nonhuman. Though every so often we begin to see that Julian, like Paul, is just a boy, a young man who is desperate to be loved and seen. Paul may love Julian, but he will never be able to accept Julian’s love in return. Julian begins to feel stuck; he has no way to express his love for Paul in a normal way, so he comes up with creative and dangerous ways to show it. The things that these two do in this book are obviously outside the realm of normal human experience, but the way that Nemerever shows us the emotions connected with these actions makes it scarily relatable.  


This book has very little emphasis on actual plot until the end of the book, but the way that the story is written makes it hardly noticeable. While I believe this is mainly because of the character work, I believe that Nemerever’s writing style also helps keep the reader engaged. This book is beautifully written, it has that academic and flowery component that dark academia fans die for while also not feeling like a chore to read. As a dark academia fan myself, I obviously can appreciate dense flowery prose, but sometimes you just need a book you can dive into without rereading a page three times to fully take it in. This book is easy to fly through, while also having quotes that will haunt you for days. 

Final Thoughts  

I didn’t get into too much detail here because I believe that this is a book that is best enjoyed by going in blind. Being inside Paul’s head is a journey and being able to discover who Julian is behind the curtains was truly a beautiful and haunting experience. Micah Nemerever has a real grasp on writing a compelling story in a way you don’t see from many debut authors. The characters he creates are horrible and cruel, but in a way that is very human. While I don’t know if he has another book on the way, I know that These Violent Delights will be a book I reread many, many times until then.  

Final Rating 5/5 (First one!)  

Check out These Violent Delights: A Novel for yourself at Barnes and Noble or your local bookstore!

Also check out Jaxson’s review of Helldiver II!

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