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dramamonster
dramamonster rated it
Chongfei Manual
June 15, 2018
Status: c156
I read the first 156 chapters that were translated into English.

There are 168+3 chapters in the Chinese book. The translation is very good and the translator includes pretty pictures of the Chinese items described in the story.

I do enjoy the heroine's friendships and her friends' storylines.

Chongfei Manual is interesting, but a few things stood out oddly to me:

Spoiler

    • In the first 42 chapters, the heroine is a beautiful, exquisite, doll-like, noble 6 year old. Because she had suffered until age 15 before being reborn into her 6-year-old self, her personality is mature and cold. As she outwits and punishes the evildoers in the first few chapters, the 15-year-old male lead prince saves her and dotes on her.
      There are many, many descriptions of her gorgeous, beautiful appearance.

      In this first part, there are many, many noble children and families introduced until I couldn't keep track of all their names, relationships and ranks.

    • From the next 81 chapters, the heroine is 13-14 years old, her body is still developing, her chest is growing, her breasts are sore, etc.. The male lead prince is 22 years old.
      After she gets her first period, the prince is always sneaking in to touch her body, even when she is afraid of being discovered and losing her reputation. There is very little character development and the heroine acts like a shy tween with an aggressive older boyfriend.

      There are many, many descriptions about how beautiful and exquisite the heroine is, how she takes care of her hair, nails and skin with her skincare and makeup concoctions, and many details about the clothing, furniture, accessories, jewelry, and hairstyles. Her main hobby is making herself more beautiful with skincare, nail care, etc.

    • Once the heroine is married at age 15 in chapter 123,
      the couple are all lovey-dovey as they deal with the rest of the plot, and there are lots of slice-of-life details of their regular married life. Now that she is part of the Imperial family, a few instances of graphic punishment for criminals/spies/assassins are made.
    • Because of the very young age of the heroine (13-15, compared to other young wives who are 16-19 years old in the story), and the excessive premarital fondling alongside the descriptions of her budding body, it felt a bit like a lollicon story, which I don't enjoy.
    • I've noticed in several chinese novels that s---x for happily married females seems to be described as very painful, requiring several days of bedrest to recover, causing sore waists, bodies covered with bruises and sore marks, etc. I'm not sure if this is a cultural difference, because western novels don't really describe intimate relations like this... Maybe I'm being too literal and it's really a euphemism, like a cheeky reference to happy lusty marital relations?
    • I've also noticed that in several chinese novels that female villains (usually jealous mean girls) often get punished in the story by having abusive husbands and being s*xually abused to death/suicide. I've seen worse instances in other books, but I'm not a fan of this trope.
      There are a few not-too-graphic instances of this in Chongfei Manual.
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The story is highly recommended by other viewers, and the translation is great, but it's not one of my favourites. I think I prefer Rebirth of a Malicious Empress of Military Lineage, Poison Genius Consort and Mistaken Marriage Match: A Generation of Military Counsellor. I will continue reading Chongfei Manual to the end, just to see how everyone turns out.
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dramamonster
dramamonster rated it
Dark Empress
September 18, 2018
Status: c8
This was a fun read. A 28-year-old, beautiful, confident, hard-working woman transmigrates into the body of a timid, plain Empress. Her modern soul has zero interest in trying to please the Emperor. He already has a harem of pleasing, gentle beauties and she wants to get out of the Royal Palace and live her new life. Of course, that's exactly what catches his eye and his heart...

This is different from the other transmigration stories because:

    • the heroine is an experienced, confidant woman who has lived and worked a lot, rather than a naive ingenue
    • the story moves very quickly, and there is quite a lot of smut
    • there are almost no harem politics because she simply doesn't care
There are some very minor typos, but the translation is good and the plot moves fast.

Just so you know, the novel mentions that the empress is considered unattractive because she has dark skin, which is an archaic beauty standard, but this novel is set in ancient times...
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dramamonster
dramamonster rated it
Return of the Swallow
September 20, 2018
Status: c195
5 stars. If you like the heroine of "The Rebirth of the Malicious Empress of Military Lineage", or the adventurous world of "Poison Genius Consort", you'll love this novel.

Qin Yining is the only child of the Prime Minister of Great Yan. Switched at birth by enemies and surviving on her wits alone in the war torn mountains, she is brought back at age 14 to her prestigious family. In Chapter 1, she quickly learns that she is not welcome by anyone, especially the girl who was raised in her place...

This... more>> story was very well written with a very endearing and wise heroine. Qin Yining is very intelligent (she gets that from her dad, apparently), very practical and wise (from seeing the worst of humanity as a child), and has no super powers or cheats other than an almost photographic memory.

From the first story arc, she slowly and logically gathers together her team/entourage and builds her strength. As the story spirals wider and wider, we are introduced to the greater continental sects and powers.

Although Qin Yining has to deal with her silly fool of a mother, vicious foster sister, selfish grandmother and a trampress (tramp+empress), she is fortunate enough to have the best fictional father who is intelligent, wise, loving, and sees through all the inner residence schemes with a glance.

Yes, her mom is tiresome, but once they go through adversity together, her mother learns to mature and appreciate her. Qin Yining is very filial to her parents, because they are her parents and she really wants good parental figures to love.

The male lead is cute and paradoxical. He reminds me of the male lead from the TV drama Legend of Fuyao with his many different sides. He steals every scene he is in. He is also the only one who can make the heroine lose her cool self-possession.

In the beginning, it is very hard to remember the numerous wives/daughters/servants in the Prime Minister's residence. I didn't even try. I just skimmed over the names and kept on reading. Eventually, the important characters will start to stand out more, and the rest can be ignored.

The novel is being translated at a very fast pace, but I am a bit concerned that the chinese raw is at chapter 753 and ongoing. I really hope the novel continues to be as good as it is so far.

I highly recommend this novel. It's in my top 3 now. <<less
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dramamonster
dramamonster rated it
Demon Wang’s Golden Favorite Fei
June 15, 2018
Status: Completed
I really enjoyed the first part of the story, when the transmigrated soul in a weak body overturns schemes and outwits villains. The translation is very good. The story involves multiple countries and certain parts are exciting and fun. The last past of the story, where all the loose threads are tied up, was excellent.

However, as enjoyable as the story was, I had trouble reading parts of it for several reasons:

1. There are way too many chinese names and terms. Because of the similarity of Chinese names, cousins and siblings... more>> have very similar looking names, and they are called by their full names throughout the entire story.

I'd rather read about Fourth Miss Murong, Prime Minister Murong, rather than Murong Qing Lian, Murong Qi Qi, Murong Xin Lian, Murong Xin Yue, Murong Tai, etc. The cast is huge and almost everyone is referred to by their full name.

I can't remember the difference between XXY, XXS, XXK, XXE. I wish the translator had said Maidservant XXY, Concubine XXS, Empress Dowager XXK, Emperor XXE instead. I'd rather read Lotus Courtyard, rather than Cui Zhu yuan. Why not just say Empress instead of "huanghou"?

The translator even included all of the royal/servile pronouns - the king calls himself "zhen", the imperial wives call themselves "bengong", the prince calls himself "benwong", concubines calls themselves "qieshen", the empress dowager refers to herself as "aija" and the list goes on and on. Even the two stores in the plot have chinese names. Just translate them please.

I can't tell if Bei Zhou is a place, a name, a gem, a country, or a store. It's actually Northern Zhou country. Jue Se Fang should just be translated as Jue Se Fang Couture Shop. Shangguan Fei Yan should just be Empress Dowager Shangguan.

There are multiple chinese terms for every single relative, every single royal status, their homes, etc., There are just a lot of unnecessary, bewildering, chinese terms included and it makes the story very hard to follow over 200 chapters. The reading would be greatly improved if every name was prefaced by Maid X, Guard Y, Miss Q, Prime Minster R, Emperor W, Dr M, etc.

2. I've noticed that several chinese novels punish the female villains (usually pretty young jealous mean girls) with
Spoiler

abusive husbands/gang rape/anal/incestuous rape to death/suicide, as if because they are so evil, they deserve severe domestic violence/s*xual torture. Several girls have brains crazed by hate and jealousy, and they end up gang/incestuous/anal raped by crazy Imperial men/bandits, and it was just unnecessary and graphic.

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This book is very graphic in the villainess' punishments. Gross. There were many punishments that could have been less violent/rapey, and many insane monologues that could have been shortened.

Also, almost every villain is someone who turns evil because they want/lust after the too-beautiful male and female leads. This gets tedious. I've simply lost track of how many self-entitled ladies and princess want the male lead, and how many covetous men and princes and Emperors want the female lead.

3. There are 4
Spoiler

fake-incest relationships in the middle of the story. Fake, because although one brother didn't actually touch his sister, he was insane and used substitutes. Another couple found out that they might be siblings (but they weren't). One brother found out his sister was someone else pretending with a face mask, so he... while the mask was on. And there was an adoptive brother who developed insane possessive feelings towards his adoptive sister.

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The main couple are many superlatives - in a span of 5 years she becomes
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the world's number 1 doctor, fashion designer, jewelry designer, poison master, martial artist female

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, in addition to being the most beautiful woman - he is super handsome/talented/martial artist, etc. It's over the top, but I can overlook that in a story. There is little character development and the plot does drift quite a bit.

On the good side, the translation is excellent, the male lead is very good towards the female lead, and the story is wrapped up very well. There is a very long epilogue that includes the love stories of the main couple's children, which was well done. <<less
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dramamonster
3.5 stars. A girl from ancient times transmigrates into an aristocratic girl's body.
Spoiler

Her sisters have plotted against her, resulting in her pregnancy from a one-night stand. She leaves and gives birth to a fox. 5 years later, the Female Lead returns to get her revenge against her family. Along the way, she has developed major over the top supernatural powers, has a mysterious and powerful background, and become super beautiful. The father of her child shows up and he's also super handsome, from a mysterious and powerful background, and he wants her and his son back, except that he's usually out of the storyline.

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Pros: It's easy to read, the plot is interesting, and there are some good characters, such as the Male Lead, his sister, and the Holy Land Princess. After 300 chapters, the story is starting to expand to other countries and other cults/sects, so the world building is starting. The translation is good.

Cons: After disappearing for 5 years, the Female Lead (who is a transmigrated female but little is mentioned about that fact afterwards) has super-medical diagnostic, super-cultivation, super-martial arts, super-etc. Powers. Other than the Male Lead, she seems to be the strongest, scariest person on the continent.

The villains are powerful, psychotic, entitled and stupid noble women running around yelling and lying non-stop. For some reason, after 323 chapters, all the villains are still alive. After the first few hundred chapters, the plot is recycled and the same villains lie and make trouble over and over gain, get punished lightly, and continue. At 323 chapters, the story moves to a neighbouring country and the same story arc repeats. (I wish it were like Rebirth of the Malicious Empress of Military Lineage, where the villains get killed off permanently.)

Between the Female Lead and allll the villianesses, they are very one-dimensional.

The Male Lead is interesting, but he's usually absent. The Second Male Lead makes a brief appearance in the beginning then disappears.

The Female Lead has a 5-year-old son, the "adorable fox". He's small, cute and loves his mom like a 5 year old, but he's cunning, smart and ruthless like a Crown Prince, and independent and adventurous like a teenager. In other words, he's a perfectly unrealistic storybook child - pretty but requires no childcare, supervision or education like a real child. At one point, a group of men even want to submit to him and the Female Lead leaves the decision in the hands of her 5-year-old.

One trope I don't like is having a villainess punished with forced prostitution/gang-rape/s*x-trafficking, etc. The Female Lead is
Spoiler

the head of the Flower Brothel. On this note alone, I don't see the point of it. Other problems with the whole Flower Brothel concept: On the one hand, brothels are full of low paid s*x workers who are looked down upon, but on the other hand, we are told repeatedly that the Flower Brothel is on the same level as the Royal Families of the land. Also, on the one hand, the author reassures the reader that only willing women work at the Flower Brothel and even sign a paper agreeing to it, but on the other hand, several villianesses are dragged off there to be forcibly prostituted out as punishment. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

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I've read up to chapter 323, and the chinese raws are at chapters 2094 and ongoing, which is not an encouraging sign.

I've already read so far, so I'll continue reading it, but I find it hard to recommend it over other novels.
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dramamonster
dramamonster rated it
Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost
July 2, 2018
Status: Completed
If you liked Three Lives Three Worlds Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms or Three Lives Three Worlds Pillow Book, I think you would like this one too.

Jin Mi is a grape sprite living a very sheltered life in the Flower World. One day she saves a crow. When she tries to eat it for its divine essence, it turns into the ... more>>
Spoiler

Heavenly Second Prince, who is a reborn Phoenix. He brings her to heaven, and she is his servant Book Boy for a century. At some point, the Heavenly First Prince, a Dragon, also falls for her. There are all sorts of hilarious hijinks. Jin Mi's secret identity, the plots of other immortals, and how she gets her revenge and loves and loses and finds her love again, are all written. The story spans thousands of years and travels from the Heavens to the mortal realm to the Demon realm.

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There are 24 chapters and 4 epilogues. The english fan translation only summarizes the first 8 chapters, when Jin Mi first meets the princes. I wish someone could translate the first 8 chapters in detail.

Initially, Jin Mi's clueless character is very entertaining and funny. However, once the drama and angst take over, I want to shake some common sense into her. However, she is basically a very innocent and clueless fruit spirit, no matter how high she climbs. The book is written in the first person, so the plot reminds me of Three Lives Three Worlds Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (especially with the time skips), but the clueless personality reminds me a lot of the zany heroine in Refusing to Serve Me?.

All in all, I'd recommend this book for the engaging and imaginative plot and the
Spoiler

happy ending.

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Also, I really hope the upcoming drama does the book justice. <<less
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dramamonster
dramamonster rated it
Legend of Fu Yao
June 16, 2018
Status: v2c19
I can't wait for Legend of Fuyao (tv drama with Yang Mi) to come out, so I started reading the partial translation of the novel. I've read up to Volume 2, Chapter 16, Part A of the English translation. The English translation is excellent and the story is fun. There are many fight scenes described in detail, which took some getting used to as I usually don't read wuxia/xianxia. In the novel's preface, Meng Fu Yao is a modern day archeologist. During an excavation in a creepy cave, she transmigrates... more>> into the world of the Five Regions, Seven States, where she enters the body of 5-year-old Fu Yao. She is put through 10 years of hardship by her martial arts teacher to learn the "Breaking Nine Heavens" technique. (This is a very martial world, where might is right, so powerful families marry and scheme to get martial arts techniques to rule the world. There are rumours that the "Breaking Nine Heavens" technique exists, but it's considered a top-level secret or long-lost technique.) While she is learning level 3 (of 9) of the Breaking Nine Heavens technique, her martial arts teacher sends her into the world to experience regular life, in order to cultivate herself to achieve the other levels. Chapter 1 begins 17 years after her transmigration. In the Five Region, Seven States world, Meng Fu Yao disguises her beautiful appearance and martial arts and has joined the Profound Origin Sect as one of their lowliest disciples. She is dumped by her boyfriend/martial arts senior brother and eventually leaves the Sect to wander around the world. She meets many interesting characters and gets accidentally caught up with the powerful, gorgeous princes/martial arts experts of the era. Because of the warring relationships between the 7 states, a special seal is needed to enter and leave each state. Fu Yao's goal is to collect a seal from each of the 7 states so that she can
Spoiler

go to the northernmost state, Heaven's Court, to ask a special deity/wise person to get something unspecified done. Meanwhile, on her journey through the land, she manages to break through several of her cultivation levels and increase her martial ability.

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Anyway, that's as far as I could read with the English translation. Can't wait to read more, or watch the tv drama! Update: I couldn't wait to read a few years to read the rest of the novel, (the current translation is at Book 2, Chapter 19, and there are 7 Books in total), so I read the rest of the chinese raws with google translate. It was very difficult to read a crude machine translation, but it was enough to get a general idea of the rest of the plot.

Just FYI, there are some fairly graphic depictions of violence in the novel at key points of the story.
The story is still great, and I will continue following the current excellent translation at https://trackest. Blog.

I am loving the very different but still enjoyable Legend of Fuyao tv drama with Yang Mi, currently at episode 40. My understanding is that there are very high standards for historical dramas aired on Chinese TV, such as no time travel, no overly powerful heroines, not too many male love interests, etc. So, like Princess Agents, Princess Weiyoung, and other webnovels, Empress Fuyao was also altered quite a bit in order to air on Chinese television. (Other dramas that haven't meet the standards are pulled off air, and/or distributed as web dramas). Both the novel and the drama are very good and worth watching, but their plots are different.

Spoiler

In the drama, Fuyao and the Crown Prince appear to die and then go to a happy afterlife, or maybe I could optimistically pretend that they had a happy ever after in real life - but in the novel, at the end, she travels back to see her mother, then returns to the Crown Prince's side, as far as I can tell from a crude machine translation. Fuyao in the novel really goes on some wild, epic adventures that are omitted from the drama.

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Update: The first translator completed the first 64 chapters. It appears that webnovel. Com is now translating the novel again from the first chapter. <<less
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dramamonster
dramamonster rated it
Genius Doctor: Black Belly Miss
January 16, 2019
Status: c2100
This is a wildly entertaining novel. It's more of a cultivation/fantasy novel, and as the heroine (MC) travels to different places, there are new plots and characters, and an overarching destiny. It has its faults, but I read 1969 chapters (so far) straight, the world building is so good.

The heroine spent her childhood confined to a forest hut learning medicine. As a result she is a medical genius, but almost autistic-EQ challenged when it comes to people. After she escapes, she spends her adulthood at a mysterious assassin organization. Her... more>> personality is cold, logical, but when she meets people who are kind and loving to her, she reciprocates a hundred fold.

The story really begins with her transmigration into a new fantasy world. So far, there is a Lower Realm, and a Middle Realm. There are several hundred chapters for each story arc, which are usually separated by location -
Spoiler

Lower Realm (first 1468 chapters) : Qi Country, Qing Yun Clan, Phoenix Academy, Zephyr Academy, Fire Country, Thousand Beast Country, back to Qi Country, Dark Emperor's Tomb, the entire Lower Realm against the Poison Men Army; - Middle Realm (1468 chapters onwards (I'm only up to chapter 1969 so far)) : Cloud Brook Academy, Pure Grace Palace, Shadow Moon Palace, Spirit World....I'm guessing that there should be visits to the Dark Region and the Upper Realm before the story ends....

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In the first story arc, after transmigration, the heroine is the young trash miss of the declining Jun military family. Her grandfather and uncle love her unreservedly, and she learns what family means for the first time. To protect her Jun family, she
Spoiler

overthrows the Emperor of Qi Country, installs her own allies, rearranges countries, etc.

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and levels up her power to protect them.

Her love interest is the
Spoiler

Dark Emperor, whom she rescues in the first few chapters. He has his own plots to deal with, so he is often absent from her side. In spite of his famed power, he has been presumed dead for ages and is hiding low.

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In the beginning, he's more affectionate towards her (she's quite the icicle), but she figures out her feelings and starts to discomfit him back with her skinship. The plot moves quickly, but their romance is still very slow although she is an adult now. The heroine is committed to becoming as powerful as possible on her own in order to stand by his side and protect her family.

In the beginning, it is easy to empathize with the heroine because we read her thoughts and emotions as she adjusts to her new transmigrated reality and tries to protect her people. Occasionally her loved ones or friends get hurt, and this serves as a plot device for her to get bloody revenge. However, as the plot spirals bigger and bigger, and she levels up, she becomes more omniscient and omnipotent. She has a very strong personality, genius intellect, excellent at scheming huge plots, and can be a bit clueless in her personal life. Eventually, most of the chapters describe the characters and plots around her, and at the end of every story arc, she unveils her absolute mastery of the situation and winds everything up satisfactorily. She is still cold and calm in nature, and her mannerisms hide her kind heart. So while I feel more distant from the heroine as the story progresses (she becomes increasingly an icy enigma because the story goes into overdrive and there is so much action, the story no longer focuses on her internal thoughts), the plot and world-building are so interesting, I just keep reading.

I think this paragraph describes the heroine best: "Towards people she wanted to kill, she could be completely heartless and merciless without even batting an eyelid. But if it was someone whom she did not mean to implicate, her heart would still retain a tinge of benevolence. Though she was said to be cold, but hidden inside her, was a big warm heart."

Because each story arc is in a different location, the story stays fresh, even through some repetitive parts. The heroine enters a new academy/country/Palace in disguise (usually a male disguise, so people think she's a small scrawny fellow who can be overlooked/picked on), figures out the abuse going on, plots, and cleans out all the muck and leaves behind a better/unified place. So far, each villain is dealt with summarily at the end of each story arc, so there's a mostly new cast of characters at each story arc, with some familiar faces. I have to say, the animals are hilarious.

There are some very gory violent battles/torture/injuries of the story (not as much as other long fantasy novels, but more than usual light novels), one instance of
Spoiler

prison gang rape, and two, possibly three, characters who suffered child s*xual abuse

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. The s*xual violence is described in very vague terms, like, the heroine hating it when females were "bullied" or "humiliated", or one character was that lord's "person" and was sent to his bedchambers... so while the actual incident is awful (and I would have preferred for it to not be included at all in the story), the description is subtle. The predators are all dealt with in very bloody ways.

The heroine can be absolutely bloodthirsty and annihilate a lot of people in revenge (which itself is always a big plot hole, because they could have innocent relatives who want to hurt her back, but this is fiction, after all). There are also large scale wars and battles and lots of nameless (and some helpless) people die in the story. But so far, all the important good characters
Spoiler

remain alive, and the heroine works to help them level up in strength too.

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The translation is great, but the entire translation was recently moved to webnovel. com. Further, it just recently became locked content, only to be unlocked with the use of "spirit stones" that you can pay for, or attain with regular checking-in on the website. So far, it's up to chapter 1202 on web novel. com

There are also major time skips. For example,
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they spend a year in the Dark Emperor's tomb and emerge powerful fighters. They spend a year fighting wars to eradicate the Poison Men. She spends half a year at the Shadow Moon Palace, and another half a year cultivating in the Spirit World forest.

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So major events can be quickly glossed over and the plot jumps ahead.

In chapter 1884,
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almost all her loved ones from the Lower Realm come to the Middle Realm at her call. So awesome.

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There are plot holes
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(the biggest one for me is that if she loves her grandfather that much, maybe she should visit him once in a while stealthily since he is so old, rather than pursuing power far away in order to protect him and not visiting him at all?),

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but I just keep reading and enjoying the world building.

This story is also linked in small ways to the Good For Nothing Seventh Young Lady, which I haven't read yet. "Chapter 2082..."Lockpicking was taught to me by someone else and if you want to thank, then thank that imbecile called Shen Yan Xiao." I read somewhere that in the other novel, it's explained that both heroines were in the mysterious organization together in the modern world before they both transmigrated in their respective storylines.

So if you read this for pure entertainment value, overlook the character/plot flaws, suspend your disbelief, and enjoy massive face-slapping revenge plots, it's well worth a read. <<less
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dramamonster
dramamonster rated it
Mo Flower
July 4, 2018
Status: Completed
I started reading this, not realizing it was a romance between 2 male leads. It's a short, sweet romance. One male lead is the great, handsome, wise Emperor of Da Shao. The other is the humble, sleepy, lazy, delicate Assistant Minister of Rites, Qing.

The Emperor has already fulfilled his duties by ruling a prosperous country and fathering his heirs. Throughout the story, there are flashbacks telling the story of the 6 year romance between the Emperor and Qing. The Emperor... more>>
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is in love, but Qing is unambitious and doesn't want any trouble so the Emperor has to chase him. Finally, the Emperor sends Qing away to figure out what he really wants in his time away from the Emperor. It's a happy ending.

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One of the most satisfying aspects of this story is the lack of conflict.
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The Emperor's parents are alive and well and his dad retired from the throne. The Emperor's brothers all get along with him - one of his brothers is also deeply in love with his Chief Eunuch. A neighbouring King wants one of the Emperor's brothers to be his male Queen. I guess in an Yaoi story, there are several similar romances? The Emperor's wives all live together harmoniously and raise their children safely.

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If you like short, sweet Yaoi stories, this one is good. There are some smutty scenes, if that matters. This Yaoi genre is not my cup of tea, but it was a cute story. <<less
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dramamonster
dramamonster rated it
Nightfall
November 29, 2018
Status: c643
I'm really enjoying the drama, Ever Night, so I started reading the novel translated by Qidian at www. webnovel. com.

Story: An act of treachery causes a massacre at General Lin's household. Only his 4 year old child, Ning Que, escapes. He suffers and survives to rescue a baby girl, Sang Sang, in the far north. Together, they manage to scrape and survive until Ning Que joins the frontier army and becomes an outstanding soldier highly skilled in killing. At age 16, Ning Que has a fearsome reputation and is chosen... more>> to escort a Princess back to the Capital, where he will be taking the entrance exam to the prestigious Tang Academy, where glory and magic awaits. Ning Que's plan is to learn cultivation and become strong enough to avenge his murdered family. Along the way there are plenty of surprises, adventures, and mysterious characters in the world of cultivation, politics, martial arts and religion. One of the biggest surprises for me was that Ning Que
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transmigrated from our world as a highly talented student, into the body of a baby.

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It's only lightly hinted at, so I'm looking forward to reading more about that.

Plot:
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The first long story arc involves Ning Que leaving the frontier and going to the capital of Chang'an and trying to get into the Academy. The second long story arc involves Ning Que going to the Wilderness. There is a short interlude back in Chang'an where he plans for the future with Sang Sang. From about Chapter 500+, there is a third long story arc involving the Child of Hades/Yama.

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Characters: Thanks to the drama, I like the characters even more after reading the novel. The 80-year-old Divine Talisman Master's comedic antics when he tries to grab a disciple, Sang Sang's umbrella, Ning Que's self-confidence, and suffering, etc., are well fleshed out between the drama and the novel. When Ning Que climbs the mountain, the drama showed some brief, confusing flashbacks. In the novel, the reader learns of his struggles to survive as a child in more detail, making his climb and progress in life even more amazing. I like Ning Que. He is willing to kill to survive and be shameless to advance, but he's innately very decent to others, works hard and he treats Sang Sang very well. Their childhood together really ties into later story arcs, when
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it's really the two of them against the world, and they can endure and survive as long as they have each other.

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World: There are 2 superpowers: The secular Tang Empire with its military might, and the Xiling/West Hill/Heavenly Taoism Religion/City. It's basically like the British Empire (at its peak) v. Vatican (at its peak). There's a complex world that's not explained immediately in the novel, instead being slowly revealed as the story goes on. Later on, you learn of 2+ other powerful cultivation sects... Within the Tang Empire there's the Empress v the Princess in trying to back their respective son/brother for the throne, and within the Xiling Religion there're different factions vying for power. There's also a coming Eternal Night, Child of Light, Son of Hades, etc. There are smaller important countries and factions. It's all pretty confusing to me, especially since I'm not familiar with these theories, but thanks to the drama it makes more sense.

The story has a few mysterious items/people that are explained later on in the story, so, for example, the first cryptic meeting between 3 men talking about ants and eagles in the beginning is only explained later on. However, as the world is explained as it follows Ning Quo's progress in the world and cultivation, it feels more natural.

There are discussions about Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, and since I don't much about them, I don't know how accurately they are portrayed in the novel. Those schools of belief/thought are tied to the cultivation/martial arts/supernatural powers that are taught in the novel, so the discussions seem very relevant. I'm not sure I understand it all, but it was kind of easy to follow along.

There are a few gruesome/graphic/violent descriptions, like the occasional battle scene, or the
Spoiler

Halfman Taoist.

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Translation: Overall pretty good, but sometimes the tenses or grammar are wrongs and it seems to be happening more often. Also, in the novel, they use the term Haotian Taoism, Haotian this, Haotian that. It wasn't until I watched the drama that I realized that Haotian Taoism is actually Heavenly Taoism, and Haotian means Heaven. I can't read any Chinese, so even if the translation isn't perfect in English, I'm thankful I get to read this novel. In the drama, they call the religious faction, Xiling. In the novel, it's called West Hill.

Cost: At webnovel. com, chapters 1-77, and 600+ are free. The rest of the chapters require you to "pay" with their Spirit Stones (earn enough for free each day to unlock a single chapter, or pay real money to purchase Spirit Stones).

Comparison to the drama: I'm only 50% through the novel and 50% through the drama, but here are some differences - there are no transmigration references in the drama, while it is very lightly hinted at in the novel. The novel offers more detail about the different sects and characters. The drama (especially since the very beginning) has a lot of scenes involving Prince Long Qing (and his love interest) and the Xiling/West-Hill Divine Palace, while they have few scenes in the novel (so if you're tired of seeing the underground/indoor/fire and brimstone/red and black demonic outfits the Xiling people use in the drama to signify their supreme evil status, the novel is a nice break from that), the novel is gorier, and the drama only films half (I am guessing) of the novel (since there is already talk about season 2 online). I'll update this once I'm farther into the novel/drama.

If you enjoyed the drama, I'd recommend the novel. It really supplements it and is an enjoyable read. Also, if there really is a Season 2, that means you'll have to read the novel to find out what happens after Season 1.... <<less
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The Beloved Imperial Consort
October 23, 2018
Status: c14
This is a mixed rebirth and transmigration story. Modern soul Zhou Tong wakes up in the body of 11 year old Mu Xi Yao. Originally, Mu Xi Yao was chosen in the imperial selection to enter the royal family as a concubine and suffers greatly there until her death many years later. Upon her death, a family treasure sends her back to be reborn in her 11 year old body. However, there is a mistake and modern woman Zhou Tong instead wakes up in her body.

Armed with Mu Xi Yao's... more>> memories of the future and her modern smarts, Zhou Tong has to right the karmas in this ancient lifetime and prepare for her future in the royal family.

The heroine has a few initial cheats -
Spoiler

a few cultivation pellets to increase her health and beauty, cure poison

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- but relies mainly on her rebirth memories and modern smarts to protect herself. She is not very OP, so the story seems more realistic.

There are only 14 chapters so far (of 465), but the chapters are long and the story moves at a good pace. It's like a lighter version of The Rebirth of the Malicious Empress of Military Lineage, one of my favourite novels. <<less
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The Legend of Chu Qiao: Division 11’s Princess Agent
July 22, 2018
Status: Completed
I was blown away by the blockbuster 2017 tv drama, Princess Agents. The amazing fight scenes with Zanilla Zhao, the graphic violence/cruelty in a slave-owning aristocratic society, and the inherent power of a lowly slave girl with heart and strength who is true to her friends - made a lasting impression on me. It was very different from the other female protagonist chinese historical dramas I had seen. I loved it.

Oddly, the drama only filmed half of the book. Because of the abrupt ending in the drama, I went to... more>> the online translations available at the time:

    • Pinayatsunshinestate's blog translations of the chapters where the heroine and hero meet again, after the drama ended
    • Yunshengw's blog recaps of the novel in summary
    • Spring breeze's translation of the lake scene and immediate aftermath
    • Sueleesunshine's blog translations of the engagement and marriage chapters!!!!
    • Ninja Reflection's blog translations of the final chapters
There are also some incomplete but stilted translations available elsewhere. Basically, from what I can tell from these piecemeal translations,
Spoiler

although there is there is blood, war and betrayal by others, the hero lives and becomes the king of another country, she marries him, they take over the world and live happily ever after.

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The description above says, "The two of them eventually become recognised as the famous Queen of Beauty and the King of the Green Sea, establishing a prosperous, long-standing and stable dynasty." Happy ending. Perfect.

A friend read the entire book in hard copy in Chinese, and said it was excellent.

The drama and book are different, as there are restrictions on historical dramas aired on Chinese TV. For example, although the novel heroine is a transmigrated special ops women who wakes in the body of an 8 year old, who then ends up living with the Prince of Yan Bei for 8 years in his exiled state, in the drama Zanilla Zhao is a young girl with superhuman abilities from her secret sect mother and early childhood assassin training, and only lives with the Prince of Yan Bei for 3 years. Etc.

I haven't yet read the new (started May 2018) chapter-by-chapter translations by Qidian International listed here, but I love the drama, the story that I know piecemeal so far, and I hope their translation is good. So far, they have up to chapters 243 on their website (although it's not updated on novel updates), and you have to either watch an ad, or pay with "stones" (you earn them by checking in on the website regularly) to view the hidden chapters.

I'll update this once I've read their translation. Zanilla Zhao, Kenny Lin and Shawn Dou were amazing in Princess Agents, and like many other fans, I secretly hope they come back to film the second half of the novel!

Update: I've read the completed 292 chapter novel at www. Webnovel. Com. The translation is good. Pros: Our heroine gets her happy ending, sticks to her principles, and I get to read the rest of the story after the lake scene. And there is so much character growth that it even gets kind of sad. There are also some side stories and epilogues at the end. Con: The story has so much war. There are many battles, involving 70, 000 dead here, 40, 000 dead there, etc. It was hard to imagine in my mind, as I'm used to light novels, not war novels. There are many characters and I soon forgot the names of most of the soldiers, servants, foreign royals, etc. They should include a map, because most of the novel involves many characters travelling all over the continent, planning military battles and excursions based on the geography. In conclusion, it was a good read and I'd recommend it. However, the cost in spirit stones is pretty high. <<less
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Empress with no Virtue
July 11, 2018
Status: Completed
This is an interesting read because it's an Imperial palace romance, but there isn't really an evil villain. Ye Zhen Zhen is the much loved granddaughter of the Prime Minister. Against her wishes, she enters the palace to marry the Emperor as his legal wife, the Empress. The Emperor doesn't really want her either. Their first night is a disaster and they mutually dislike each other. Over time, as the harem's schemes unfold, the... more>>
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Emperor starts to admire, and eventually fall in love with Ye Zhen Zhen. The Emperor can see through all the backstabbing harem schemes, and eventually he realizes that the women in his harem look weak and gentle, but are cruel and vicious, whereas the Empress looks cunning but is actually kind.

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As for the Empress, she doesn't need his favour (she's already the Empress), she doesn't need to have children (technically, any children of the harem have to acknowledge her as the legal mother), it doesn't matter to her if he dies (she'd just be the Empress Dowager), so she just tries to live her life peacefully. Also, the Empress is wary of the Emperor because he is so politically wily, she is afraid that he will use her to destroy her family. Soon, the
Spoiler

Emperor is going crazy because he's in love with his wife and she doesn't want anything to do with him.

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Regarding the Emperor's harem: In Ancient China, males had an actual duty to have sons, as sons carried on the family line and worshipped the family ancestors. The Emperor had to have an Empress, 4 Imperial Concubines, various lower ranked concubines, and even more females that were selected every few years to enter the palace. From the story, the Emperor's harem is already pretty small. Most of the harem are either political or cultural-forced marriages.
Spoiler

Before he fell in love with the Empress, the Emperor did his duty. However, there never were any surviving children, and the more he fell in love with the Empress, the less he visited anybody else.

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Spoiler

The first part of the story is about the Empress and the imperial harem schemes and the Emperor falling in love with her, the middle part of the story takes place at the battlefront, where the Emperor and Empress have some adventures and romance, and the last part of the story involves a big plot in the kingdom.

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The last part of the story has a different translator. In total, it was a cute story. The Emperor started out cold, but
Spoiler

once he was in love, he was wonderful to her. The officials can work together to run the kingdom, and there is a happy ending.

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Unruly Phoenix Xiaoyao
July 4, 2018
Status: c232
This is a crazy fun romp of a story. The premise sounds complicated but it's actually easy to follow in the novel.

The soul of a warrior medic from an apocalyptic zombie world has transmigrated into the new Emperor!

Except that the Emperor is actually a female put on the throne by her mother, the evil Empress Dowager and her grandfather, the Grand Preceptor. The villains are waiting until the Empress Dowager's baby son can be old enough to take the throne, at which point they'll... more>>
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poison the Emperor and take over outright.

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In the first chapter, the transmigrated soul opens her eyes and she is sitting on the Dragon Throne while the evil Grand Preceptor and Empress Dowager are trying to kill off the loyal Generals and guards. It is only the second day of her imperial reign. Coming from a zombie world where human lives are precious and rare, and Emperor runs around the Capital saving people and wreaking havoc with all the villains' plans. She is really awesome.

Because humans have had to evolve in the zombie infested world, Emperor has the ability to heal, talk to animals, and super strength. These powers were ported over with her. Unlike other novels, the Emperor is not all-powerful. She inherits a weakened throne and all the military might is in the villians' hands. How she uses her abilities is part of what makes the story so fun to read. A lot of the fun in this novel is the Emperor's direct and honest value system - where others try to scheme against her, she just straightforwardly does what is right. The nation has been falling apart and she is there to fix things and help the common people. She discovers the wrongs done by her father, and fixes them.

However, because she grew up in an apocalyptic era where life is precious but short, she is very direct. She doesn't have any knowledge of the extensive rites, customs and laws of Ancient China. Unlike the scholars in her court, she didn't spent 10 years studying classic texts. It's because of this that the Supreme Commander (the hero) has to re-word/carry out her orders in a way that everyone else can understand. As the Emperor puts it, enemy zombies are easy to understand. The devious and complex minds of live humans, are difficult for her to decipher. Her heart is in the right place, though.

The other fun part is all the talking animals. There are no secrets in the Imperial Palace when the mice, birds, falcons, cats, etc. Are all watching. Even the ants can
Spoiler

enter and tell her about the secret torture chambers of her enemies.

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Everyone keeps asking me why I'm laughing while reading - the 24 brushes, the pickled vegetable jars, the way she talks back to the Empress Dowager - the story is just hilarious. One of the things that I also love is that the Emperor is constantly eating or snacking because there was no good food in the apocalyptic era and she is frequently
Spoiler

healing people hurt by her enemies or her father.

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The male lead, the Supreme Commander, is an honest, loyal soldier. However, we learn that over the years, the Grand Preceptor's schemes have killed off the Supreme Commander's parents, brothers, and most of the honest and loyal officials in court. Being honest and loyal only led to the Supreme Commander being on the execution grounds. In order to protect the Emperor, the Supreme Commander starts being ethically ambiguous in his dealings. This may be something readers may not be comfortable with. However, when the Emperor learns, she's okay with it.

Anyway, just a very fun read. When I read it in long stretches, the frenetic pace of the plot can seem a bit much, but when I return to it after a break, it is still very funny. <<less
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Three Lives Three Worlds, The Pillow Book
June 22, 2018
Status: Completed
After watching Three Lives Three Worlds: Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (TV drama starring Yang Mi and Mark Chao), and reading To The Sky Kingdom (the official English translation of book, available from Amazon), I turned to the English fan translation of the sequel book, Three Lives Three Worlds: The Pillow Book in order to get my fix.

The book starts off with Crown Prince Ye Hua's wedding procession to pick up Queen Bai Qian from her Fox Kingdom.
Spoiler

To the astonishment of the onlookers, the prestigious Emperor Emeritus Donghua Dijuan, Starlord SiMing, and the Third Prince of the Heavens, Lian Song accompany the wedding procession. And that's when Donghua Dijuan remembers first meeting our heroine, Bai Fengjui of the Fox Clan, as she rises from the lake while Siming is gossiping about her.

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The drama and movie adaptations for both books (Ten Miles and Pillow Book) were purchased by different companies, so although each couples' stories ran through both books, each company couldn't adapt part of the other book. As a result, part of Donghua and Fengjui's story in Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms TV drama was made up.

In the Pillow Book, you read about Donghua and Fengjui's past history (when she was a maid in his heavenly palace and he never noticed her), their present relationship
Spoiler

(when she keeps on running into him in the heavenly palace while she stays with the newlywed Bai Qian for a short visit), and when he chases after her for the rest of the book.

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If you were frustrated at Donghua's frigidness and Fengjui's unrequited love in Ten Miles, this is the book for you. It is very satisfying to finally see Donghua
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falling in love for Fengjui and chasing her all over the place.

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There are sooo many scenes of Donghua being shameless and scheming to stay close to Fenjui.

The book does get pretty confusing because there are lots of backstories in the timeline (similar to Ten Miles), but also, there are stories within stories. For example, for a long story arc, Fengjui goes into
Spoiler

Fan Yin Valley.

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There's a whole story arc there. Then from there, she falls into
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Aranya's dream,

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which is another whole story arc. I had to read the novel a few times to figure it out.

Anyway, it's a
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happy ending, eventually. You have to read past the final chapter to the included and online epilogues to see their happy ever after.

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The epilogues are very sweet, and there are further epilogues/outtakes translated from the author available online on some blogs. In which you see the main couple,
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happy, awake, in love, and dealing with the little dough and their boy.

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If you enjoyed Three Lives Three Worlds Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, I highly recommend this book to read. We even get to see Moyuan again! Also, it's true that the Pillow Book is an even better story/novel than Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms. And a native Chinese reader told me that the original Chinese version of the Pillow Book was a great romance. Also, Dilraba Dilmurat and Vengo Gao will be reprising their roles as Fengjui and Donghua, respectively, in the 2019 TV drama of Pillow Book!
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Refusing to Serve Me? Then Off With Your Head!
June 13, 2018
Status: Completed
I loved this book. The heroine is brave and zany. The hero is sneaky and loving. It's one of my top 5 favourite Chinese novels now. Major spoilers below, because the story is confusing and told partly in flashbacks, so knowing the basic plot makes the book more enjoyable on a first reading:

... more>>
Spoiler

The heroine An Yi was raised as a valiant General's son and companion to the child Crown Prince. When the heroine chases young nobleman Yan Ping, he rejects her ruthlessly because he thinks they're both male. When the neighbouring Crown Prince Feng Zhao Wen visits their country when the heroine is 14, Crown Prince FZW discovers that she is a girl and sneakily falls in love with her.

3 years later, the 2 kingdoms are at war. Our heroine is now a war General and falls in battle from a head wound. She is captured and recuperates for 6 months in the enemy camp of Crown Prince FZW, except that she's lost her memory and thinks he's her boss! He has a lot of fun ordering her around and making her stick as close as possible to his side. However, eventually she regains her memory. Nobleman Yan Ping's father helped betray the country and enemy Crown Prince FZW has won the war. Our heroine flees and escapes into obscurity with the deposed child Emperor.

After 3 years of extreme poverty, nobleman Yan Ping captures our heroine An Yi and the deposed child Emperor in the very first chapter and sends them to the new Emperor FZW. When nobleman Yan Ping later discovers that An Yi is a girl, he bitterly, bitterly regrets his actions. The deposed child Emperor escapes and our heroine is sent to the dragon bed. THIS IS CHAPTER ONE in a nutshell. Total hijinks ensue for the rest of the book.
What really resonated was An Yi's character. She is totally zany. She has lost so much - her father, her kingdom, her crush, everything - she has struggled and worked for 3 years to feed the deposed child Emperor through crushing poverty - by the time she is captured in the first chapter, she just wants to survive and eat well. She has no shame anymore, and is quick to embarrass/scheme her way to freedom/food. Other reviewers have described her as muddleheaded, but I thought she reminded me of someone who has been through trauma - depressed, can't feel pain, forgotten things that make her hurt, just wants to survive day by day - her EQ was never the best (like chasing Yan Ping for so many years) - and that made her zany actions so realistic because she just wanted to live and eat. She doesn't care for riches, status, handsome men, she just wants to survive and eat meat. When she meets Emperor FZW again in the first chapter, all the way to the last chapter, you can see her heal and recover from her trauma and learn to love and live again.

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This story, although it has no magic, really reminds me of Three Worlds Three Lives Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms/To the Sky Kingdom. It's first person POV, the story starts halfway through their relationship, she has forgotten many things, there's amnesia, he continues to love her and she is quite clueless to it, and heck, he's a Crown Prince too.

There are 48 chapters and 16 epilogues. In the epilogues,
Spoiler

there is a chapter from the Emperor's Chief Eunuch (including his remembrance of how Crown Prince FZW fell in love with her the first night he met her and everything FZW did for her), a chapter from XH (remembering why he stuck so closely to An Yi in that cold palace and his current life now), and a chapter from Yan Ping (fervently regretting that he ever pushed her away, when he realized that he loved her too late). Total happy ending!

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Oh, and I love how the heroine deals with harem schemes. She is such a delightfully fearless/cunning/shameless woman.

I read it once, and re-read it right away. I highly recommend this book. Oh, and my other top favourites so far are: Rebirth of a Malicious Empress of Military Lineage, Poison Genius Consort, Mistaken Marriage Match: A Generation of Military Counsellor, Sound/Ballad of the Desert, Three Worlds Three Lives Pillow Book, etc. <<less
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This is a sweet, light romance novel so far. 20-year-old college student, Chu Yan, transmigrates into the body of a 10-year-old girl, Chu Qing-Yan, in ancient China.

Chu Qing-Yan's father used to be a famous general. However, 10 years ago, he was injured and mentally disabled, resulting in him having the personality of a young child. The discarded general, his wife, and their 2 month old child, Chu Qing-Yan were thrown out of the Chu family. Chu Qing-Yan's mother worked hard in a poor rural village to support her disabled husband... more>> and little daughter over the next 10 years. Fortunately, after the heroine transmigrates, she realizes that her parents look just like her parents in the modern age, and she continues to love and be loved by them. Shortly after the transmigration, the Emperor orders Prince Xian to
Spoiler

marry a daughter of the Chu family. Prince Xian is known to be cruel, evil, disfigured, etc. He wears a big silver mask. The Chu family doesn't want to send any of their precious daughters to him, so they bring back Chu Qing-Yan's parents and her and send her instead.

As a result, little cute Chu Qing-Yan, age 10, is sent to live in Prince Xian's residence until their marriage. She is careful to appear like a child. Prince Xian is actually a decent guy who has a horribly cold family, and once his EQ rises a bit from his interactions with her, he learns how to take better care of her. He treats her like a cute child for now. She's 20 inside, but he's so intimidating at first that she easily acts like a kid in front of him. Their age difference is 8 years. Another reviewer mentioned that it's not until chapter 700 that they get married, when she is 15.

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The story moves quickly until she moves in, then it becomes a slower, cute, slice of life story. I like that the heroine is a decent person. She isn't vengeful or super-powered (yet). Her main goal is to protect her parents and live well, especially considering her poor, uneducated, weak background. So far so good. <<less
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Poison Genius Consort
July 21, 2018
Status: c722
This was one of my favourite novels for the engaging, wide-spanning plot. It's more of an adventure novel than a romance novel, in my mind.

A poisons doctor transmigrates into the body of a pitiful poisoned-ugly bride on the day the Emperor has maliciously ordered her to marry the royal Duke of Qin. The story is set in "... the Cloud Realm Continent (which) was vast and filled with powerful hidden tigers and crouching dragons... The heroine has her own secret identity, and her secret secret identity. The hero has... more>> his own top secret identity too...

The story starts with Han Yan Xi fixing her own body (first few chapters), then her new household (first hundred chapters, I think), then moving on to other parts of the country such as Medical City, Poison Sect, Southern Ning, Celestial Mountain, etc. Because of the secret backgrounds later revealed, I anticipate that the plot will move to the entire Cloud Realm continent.

I like the wuxia elements to the story - the secret martial arts, cults, guards, sects; the political elements - the power plots over the throne; and oddly enough, the financial schemes - the dark markets, gun powder, etc.

Of course, the heroine Han Yan Xi has a fantastical poison computer/space system within her, which is her one cheat/power. She is a bit geeky - she likes studying her poisons, and generally doesn't bother other people. She's not the deepest character (for me, that would be Shen Miao from Rebirth of the Malicious Empress of Military Lineage). There are times when she doesn't have much personality, but the plot just rips along, so it's easy to read on. She's neither vengeful nor angry. Unfortunately, because of her position as Qin Wangfei (royal Duke of Qin's wife), she gets into all sorts of hairy situations.

There are many interesting men in the story, several with secret identities, and they help the plot move along at a fast pace. Like most male leads in chinese romances, the Duke of Qin is cold, smart, wealthy and very powerful. He also has several very deep secrets. In the first story arc, he's not even in the picture - which gives the heroine a lot of space to develop her own role in the new household and organize things her way. The Duke of Qin and Han Yan Xi's relationship develops slowly over the novel.

This is not a sweet, fluffy romance. The Duke of Qin is busy with his schemes and secret martial arts doings and had the marriage forced on him. Although the Duke of Qin ignores the heroine in the beginning, her adventures and personality start to win him over. He's not there a lot of the time because he's busy doing his top secret stuff, so there are times when the heroine suffers, especially in the beginning when she's hardly on his radar. The first 200 chapters, he basically leaves her alone to fend for herself, and she goes through several trials without his help. In her mind,
Spoiler

"Being husband and wife with Long Feiye in name only, where the well water didn't touch the river water[1], wasn't so bad either. Once she'd stabilized her position in the Duke of Qin's household, she should find something to do. Otherwise, where else would she go to get silver?... He can keep walking on his broad and sunny road while I traverse my single-plank bridge. Well water won't touch river water!"

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The Duke of Qin ends up falling in love with her. As one onlooker thought,
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"He didn't expect His Highness Duke of Qin to have found Qin Wangfei already. He really wanted to meet Qin Wangfei and see what kind of woman she was, to drive the Duke of Qin so crazy that he stuck up bounty posters all over the world. "

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Actually, the romance isn't really the best part of the story. The adventure is. Once the two leads get together and start scheming their way through the continent (love the grain donation scheme), the story gets better. Currently, the translation is
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3 years into their marriage, they are in love, and they are scheming their way through the continent as everything breaks up on and off into war...

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Where I would take away a star is the secondary female characters. Like many other stories, most of the other female characters are jealous, beautiful, vengeful types from powerful families who act like complete brats. The male lead is also the typical cold chinese male interest, however, it seems that there is a
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taboo on his body that prevents him from getting hot and steamy

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... The worst jealous female stereotypes are in the beginning arcs.

This is is also one of the best English translations I've ever seen for a Chinese novel. The original translation is on the Volare Novels website. I've read 722 of 1370 chapters. About 5 chapters are released every single week, - entire, long chapters. The plot doesn't lag at all, it moves along at a fast pace, and the story has long complex arcs. Right now the latest translation is at chapter 722, the leads are at Celestial Sword Mountain Sect, and they are on a new story arc...

So read it for the adventure - modern day poison expert transmigrates into a world of martial arts, kings and mysterious societies, saves the day with her poison skills, and eventually wins over her indifferent prince.

Update: I enjoyed the drama (Legend of Yun Xi) and it's two short bonus epilogues (available on youtube) that explain the happy ending, but although the drama was charming and good, it's quite different from the novel. The drama is limited in its ability to showcase the vast geography/cast/plots that are in the book. So the book is still an excellent read (if I skip over the jealous side character female paragraph descriptions) as it includes more characters, such as the Celestial Sword Mountain Sect, Cloud Trade Consortium, West Qin, East Qin, Nether Clan, Di Clan, Medicine Hut, Pill King, Chu Clan, etc. <<less
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Eight Treasures Trousseau
November 18, 2018
Status: Completed
Hua Xi Wan is the devastatingly beautiful and beloved daughter of the Yi'an Marquis with the long-transmigrated soul of a modern actress. She is lazy and quietly lives her life with her loving family in the Marquis manor, uncaring that she has a reputation for being too ugly to be seen in public.

The Emperor has been looking for a way to suppress his nephew Prince Xian, so he orders Prince Xian to marry the ugly Hua Xi Wan, in hopes that she will be slighted and her noble family will... more>> come to daggers with Prince Xian. (In those times, married couples did not see each other's faces until their wedding night.) So on the wedding night, Hua Xi Wan's true appearance is a total shock. Fortunately, Hua Xi Wan has a lot more to her than a pretty face, as she becomes the Xian Wangfei (Xian Princess Consort).

Both Hua Xi Wan and Prince Xian are very intelligent and practical. Marrying into the Imperial family requires some major and subtle scheming to stay alive. One thing I liked was that even with the unpleasant events that occur in vying for the throne (which takes over most of the latter story), it's all very, very subtle.

Prince Xian grew up in the Imperial family, what kind of women and schemes has he not seen? Seeing him deal with scheming females quickly and trying to get the lazy heroine on board with his ambitions was entertaining. For example, I didn't understand immediately why Prince Xian was angry when a maidservant broke pottery right in front of him, or a maid revealed a red bracelet in front of him, or why Hua Xi Wan looked oddly at his poorly embroidered sleeve. Fortunately both Prince Xian and Hua Xi Wan are very quietly smart people who can maneuver when people scheme against them.

This is by the same author as To Be A Virtuous Wife, both are slice-of-life romances involving Imperial-arranged marriages to princes quietly vying for the throne, but there are major differences. In contrast to To Be A Virtuous Wife, in this novel, Eight Treasures Trousseau; (a) Hua Xi Wan is the only wife, she has no concubines to manage/control; (b) The Emperor has a dirty secret (c) Prince Xian has an unsavoury habit
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(prisons)

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; (c) Hua Xi Wan has transmigrated since birth/very young; (d) her family is loving and supportive; and (e) Prince Xian favours her from the start.

I actually liked this novel a lot more after a second reading, because I could better understand the Imperial plotting and the intricate subtleties involves in their manners and protocols. A lot of ideas/ranks are lightly hinted at, rather than outright explained. Fortunately, Hua Xi Wan's modern day acting skills are up to par enough to keep up with the Imperial family.... She is indolent, beautiful, and smart enough to survive. In general, this author writes strong female leads who have self-respect and know how to take care of themselves and live well.

It's a
Spoiler

happy ending, with Prince Xian ascending the throne, and Hua Xi Wan as his only Empress/Consort. They, and her family, live happily ever after.

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dramamonster
dramamonster rated it
Secret Nights In The Inner Palace
August 30, 2018
Status: Completed
This is a male to male (yaoi) romance. The conquering Emperor captures the escaping Princess when her country is overrun. However, the Princess is actually a Prince who is two-gendered. The description sounded very strange, but the storyline works very well. The translation is very well done, and there are several extremely graphic bedroom scenes. In 7 chapters, the conquering Emperor/captive Prince story is set up, there is very detailed smut, and they fall in love. The only thing that would make this story better is if the author had... more>> given more clues/insight into the Emperor's mind. <<less
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