Here's the thing though. The only reason he consummated the marriage was because he didn't want her to have the freedom to be with another man. Lucky for him, she turns drop dead gorgeous. He cant seem to live without her after that. Hell, none of the royal males in the kingdom can bear to see her with her own husband after they see that face.
She's your brother's wife for f$$$'s sake!
All was well till the last few chapters and then it just wrapped up like the author was in a hurry to use the restroom :/ why? I feel like the MC just settled with what she got. She was so fiery and lovely at the beginning. Surely, growing up doesn't necessarily mean you become docile and lose your personality. I'd understand if she remained duller than her earlier self - that's only natural. Here though, she just seemed to accept everything that came and quietly retreated into her box.
I wish the author had spent more time on describing the effort the two put into their relationship after the female lead decided to go back to to him. Considering what the two have gone through, it would have been interesting to see how the male lead reacted to her return and how they worked through their issues. One chapter would have done it.
Lets get the facts straight: theres no drop dead gorgeous MC, no OP-ness, no cheats, no band of male leads falling for her. Its pure smarts with a slooow burn. We have the regular family villains as appetizers and the stakes get higher as we progress. Thankfully we have none of those nonsensical shameless characters, fairies and what not. You can see why each of the villains/circumstances are challenging. Another thing I liked is that the villains are reasonably smart.
What I really like about Shen Miao is that she is quick and ruthless. Other novels have the same villains that keep cropping up like cockroaches, hating for no solid reason. But when our Empress goes for the kill, its game over.. So I was very surprised at first. Our Empress was a stupid fool in 'love' in her last life and had to learn things the hard way. In this life, she simply exudes majesty in everything she does. The things she managed to accomplish were without any outside help. She's just a girl (with a lousy reputation, might I add) without any power to speak of. The schemes she plays out are well planned and oh so completely satisfying. As badass as it gets.
Coming to the romance, I saw a few reviews complaining about the non-existent romance. I don't think thats true at all. In books like DWFGF, I failed to see why the ML likes the MC so much. But the ML in this one has to be one of the best I've read. Though he's got his own agenda, smart, good looking (uh huh.. As if we didn't pick up on that already) and most of all genuinely cares for our girl. He doesn't fall immediately.. It's slow and steady but you can feel the intensity ramp up. You know exactly why he got interested, why he falls. Initially, XJX comes off as a mysterious, carefree, flirty jerk but he grows on you. I love the mental and physical chemistry they share. So the romance is not cotton candy sweet but quite epic all things considered. The wedding bit is actually so sweet and I feel they're perfect together. A great power couple.
They say "Death is a Tragedy.. But only for the Living". Gao Fei went back to his regular life and he tried his best to deceive himself into thinking this was what he wanted. The more he lived, the more boxed in he felt, more detached. I like how the details of Fei's mental illness are not revealed explicitly.. Just tidbits peppered throughout. It allows you to imagine the extent and severity of his love for Yujin and how deeply he has deceived himself. I've found his character is really memorable - the price you have to pay for being too prideful and too stubborn
The gay-not gay thing just tired me out after a while. Also, the Crown Prince~now~Emperor took advantage of her amnesia to sleep with her and then he sends her back to Fang Hua as a 'service'. That was just despicable.
Truthfully, the most pitiful are probably the 7 princes she was baby-sitting. I liked reading their back stories and it looked like the MC really made a difference in their lives.
I think I would have liked this more if the ending had turned out differently. Some redeeming factor. Alas. Even with the whole immortal setup, we just never saw the two be happy as Fang Hua and Shao-er and that was just sad
The ML is arrogant, s*xist, a rapist and believes he is entitled to whatever he wants. He has no shred of compassion or understanding of what it means to love someone. The MC clearly stated her intentions, and he was (understandably, considering the era) bewildered. Did he think there was a need to take one night out of his rape sessions to have a heart to heart about what the MC believed in? Of course not. Because love is pampering her and having s** everyday. WTF. I am appalled at how casually he forces himself on her (by incapacitating her nonetheless) in the name of love. That is just all sorts of wrong. If there were awards for most loathsome male lead, QEL would be a direct finalist
I pushed myself to read to the end hoping there would be a deliverance of some kind. I wanted to see the ML suffer and lead a miserable, lonely life and finally see his ex and child living a free, happy existence with a better man she encountered on the mountain. Author, I am so disappointed in you.
The ML's background is vague and sometimes things go way over the top. The second brother's scheme was WTF - what was that? Poor Wang Man who ended up losing the baby!
I also thought Wen Xing's devotion to Mei Xing was really touching. Mei Xing's love for the MC as well - very subtle but it is a definite repeat of their past life.
why MC? Why? Why would you choose that bastard? He has always reneged on whatever he has told you. Even went back on his promise to the lady he supposedly loved. Even used her as exchange! He never gave you his time/affection/respect when you married in. Suddenly out of nowhere, he realizes that the one he loves isn't the woman he's been secretly meeting at the Palace for months - it's you. How. Convenient. Do you expect me to believe he actually left everything and went away with her because of their love? That is his redemption? HA! I think he had just done too much damage in the Palace
in the first place. Probably wouldn't have kept his head if he stayed. What about the poor girl he played and flung at another man? Is she even happy? Does her life not matter at all. What if he does the same thing to the MC? The author just chose the easy way out.
Truth be told, I wouldn't have minded even if she had ended up with the Emperor. It seemed like he was developing real feelings for her and would be good to her in the future. In my heart though, the General would have been the best choice. He loved her and she cared for him deeply too. A
lovely, awkward relationship that I can believe would have lasted for a long long time. The special that spoke about how the General and her almost saw each other that the temple (in Ch 1) just broke my heart. So close.
I would have happily rated this a 5 if she had divorced the numb-nut and flown into the arms of the General. I call BS.
Some of the lines in Chapter 11 show her helplessness: "I look up to the tall and lofty Feng Zhao Wen from the ground. I feel like I have hit rock bottom long ago. No matter how many people kicks and tramples over me, the one person who cares for me is no longer here. No matter how much I stumble and suffer, everything will bring no difference." I really felt bad for her at this point.