Notes from the Grey Tower
March 5, 2018
I usually don't write reviews here because I am too lazy. However, I saw that this novel didn't have one and thought that it would be a shame if people didn't pick up the novel for that reason. That is right, a shame because with only three chapter the novel already completely grabbed my attention.
The synopsis is not really attractive because it starts with a long text about math and frankly speaking, who wants to read about math? We already have nightmares about the subject.
So I will try to summarize
the story again. The novel is set in England right before the start of WWII. Alan Caster, an irreverent, jovial, and a bit impudent young man is accepted to study in Cambridge in the field of mathematics since this is the only thing he is good at except for making jokes with his irreverent tongue and chase after his romantic interests that apparently change weekly, that is, until the other male lead appears (I am not going to tell who it is because it is more fun to discover while reading the book. The answer is in the first chapter anyway so no worries). Both main characters are math genius, one more than the other, which leads to the part of the plot related to cryptography. That is basically the study of how to create and crack codes.
Historically speaking, those codes were indeed essential in both WW but especially the second one, to transmit information and orders between allies. So, deciphering one of the enemy's codes would lead to acquiring confidential and important information that could change the flow of the war.
With only three chapter I can't tell much about the plot. But, what I can tell, is that the book is great. The author is Chinese but they either lived in England or did enough research to not give out the feeling of a foreigner writing about something they don't really know. An English reader might find incongruencies but for the others, the novel did construct an ambient with a 'Pre-WWII English' feeling.
Also, all the character, main and secondary, are very well developed to the point of you being able to think about them as living people. They are so captivating that you just want to know more about them.
And the plot so far promises to be very interesting.
At last but not least, the work of the translator is not good, it is superb. The quality of the translation is so amazing that you can't really teel it is a translation, it seemed more like an original work by a great writer. Supposedly, we should not comment about the translations on these reviews, only the original novel, but I think that the quality of the translation interferes directly with the quality and enjoyment of the read so here it is.
The review ended up huge, but the novel is worth it. I hope my poorly patched words will help some unsure readers to decide to give this novel a chance. I don't think you will regret it. And, who knows, maybe, if a lot of people start to read the novel the translators might get motivated to give us more chapters? I am eager for more.
Everyone Thinks that I Like Him
September 21, 2018
This story is great!
I read the two reviews giving it three stars and thought the novel would be average. But in the end, it was a pleasant surprise.
The light and fluent prose and vivid ambiance make the read as easy as breathing while the intelligent and sharp humor brings out smiles to the readers' lips at every few lines.
However, the most remarkable merit of the novel is the impressive ability of the author to create and depict vivid characters.
The author took the two most classic gong and shou personalities in Danmei and turned them into real people to the point where you feel you could eventually meet them on the streets. Which is quite different from the utopic characters that are frequently present in novels and that could never exist outside of the fictional universe.
The powerful and indifferent male God became someone that actually has personal feelings and thoughts under the aloofness while the whimsical MC is not excessively naive and unreasonable.
Both are intelligent and smart and can hold a conversation while exchanging light jabs with each other, which makes watching their interaction very fun and pleasant.
It is true that their schoolmates are nosy and make a mess out of the misunderstanding at the beginning, but they rarely cross the line to a real invasion of personal space so it doesn't turn unpleasant or aggravating. It is, otherwise, realistic.
Furthermore, they are clearly not being mean or intruding only for their own amusement. They are truly trying to give a hand even if it is not needed or requested.
But, above all, the MC is someone with a strong mentality that can healthily and reasonably deal with their interference.
And, as a plus, the ML is not one of the arrogant kind that treats the MC harshly because he thinks the other is trying to curry favors. He observes and understands the situation and is mature enough to not make a mountain out of a molehill.
All in all, it is a great read that is perfectly capable of providing plenty of enjoyable moments.
Also, before I forget, the translation is top quality. :)
King of Classical Music
March 17, 2018
This one seems very interesting so far. There are only two chapters but I am already anxiously waiting for more.
The Narrative is very vivid and the characters are rich in emotions. The MC is strong, smart and willing to give his best to achieve his objectives. Luckily, after being reborn he seems to have received the means to conquer those desires while his personality guarantees that he will use those means to the best of it. He will implacably climb, regains what he lost, attain even more, and make his
betrayer pay heavily in the process. One of the tags of this novel is "revenge" and judging by the MC's personality we can predict that he will make sure that his betrayer wishes for death before being done with him.
That doesn't mean this is the kind of boring novel where an overpowered character keeps on receiving everything for free on his lap, but that the MC is powerful enough to fight for what he wants and win over the difficulties.
Abou the ML, there isn't much to say so far because his presence has been scarce but we can already tell that he is not one of those ice cub gongs. He may have a cold and impassive exterior demeanor but is reach in emotions inside. Plus, he seems to be the devoted type.
Regarding the quality of the translation, it is impeccable. The read is very smooth and pleasurable with no grammatical issues or comprehensive difficulties. The translator deserves congratulations for the great work.
All in all, I am very hopeful for this novel. It will probably become one of my favorites.
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