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rakuu-en
rakuu-en rated it
Heaven Official’s Blessing
October 6, 2018
Status: Completed
I don't use this phrase lightly, but this book is a literary masterpiece.

I found the first ten chapters in English, and the premise was captivating enough that I gave the rest of it (200+ chapters!) a shot with my banana Chinese. That's how good it was, that I was willing to invest that much more time and effort in reading a book written in a mother tongue I am unfortunately not very well-versed in.

It was worth it.

The English translation is quality work, but invariably a lot of the original nuance... more>> and tone gets lost in translation. If you are able, I would recommend that you read the work in the original Chinese it was written in- to preserve as much of the hilarity and heartbreak that the author managed to skilfully convey as possible. Even if not, the countless plot twists, the strong supporting cast, and of course the stepwise progression of the main couple's romance work together to create a story that I really believe can transcend the language barrier to move any reader's heart.

The English fandom for this work is sadly minute at the moment, especially compared to the author's other works (ahem GDC I'm looking at you) I assume due to the dearth of translated chapters. Don't get me wrong, I love that other piece, but (this is my personal opinion) it pales in comparison to this one. If Baidu is to be believed, most of the Chinese fandom agrees with me on this. So I really hope that with time, this novel will receive the acclaim and fandom size it truly deserves. <<less
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rakuu-en
rakuu-en rated it
The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System
September 24, 2018
Status: Completed
I loved this so much after devouring all the English translated chapters available I braved the rest of it with my banana chinese. AND I FINISHED IT.

This novel. Is hilarious. Plotwise it is fairly intriguing by itself, if a bit simple; it doesn't compare to the hair-raising plot twists in Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, for example (yes, comparison is inevitable, I suppose), but neither is it glaringly cringey or gaping with loopholes, and it does its job of moving the story and the relationship between the two main characters along.

THE... more>> CHARACTERS. SQQ continually breaks barriers in breaking the fourth wall. The way he does so is just REVOLUTIONARY. He scathingly deconstructs the harem novel cliches of the original book. He scathingly deconstructs the new BL cliches that he is CURRENTLY LIVING OUT. Every time he encounters a character that fits your typical harem wuxia novel role, he scathingly deconstructs every single one. Hell, he doesn't spare HIMSELF when it comes to his immense skepticism. Whatever cliche scenario he's about to land himself into next, you can bet your bottom dollar he's ready to say something hilarious yet scarily incisive about it. I laughed out loud multiple times while reading this book, and thinking back on some of the scenes still makes me smile uncontrollably. LBH just... subverts all the normal cliches associated with the protagonists of such novels, by attracting an alarmingly dwindling number of girls (as commented on by SQQ), by being attracted to approximately none of them, and being a complete failure in building a harem (as commented on by SQQ), and by being, in essence, a Crybaby with a glass heart who hangs on to SQQ's every word (as commented on by SQQ. a lot. SQQ is savage in this novel, and we love him all the more for it.)

Is the romance in this novel ideal? No. SQQ spends a good bit of it being oblivious, which is hilarious, but I didn't really see how his initial horror at discovering LBH's true feelings morphed into genuine affection, when all LBH did was
Spoiler

kiss him several times against his will, lock him in a house against his will, and apparently sleep (or more?!) with his corpse for the 5 years he was presumed dead..... against his will

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That being said, the two have their cute moments and I did find myself rooting for these two deeply flawed characters in the end. I'm also glad the novel maintained its hilarity from start to finish- I would read this just for the laughs alone. If you're in need of some laughter in your life, this really is the book for you. <<less
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rakuu-en
rakuu-en rated it
Everywhere in Jianghu is Wonderful
January 5, 2019
Status: Completed
I came here after reading 帝王攻略 (The Emperor's Strategy), which is the 4th novel set in this universe. Conversely, this is the author's first novel, and it shows- 帝王 demonstrated a maturity in writing by maintaining an excellent balance between hilarity and heartbreak, and this novel is in contrast heavily, heavily skewed towards the former. Nevertheless the humour- though primarily very slapstick, occasionally downright cringy, and sometimes repetitive, with an over-reliance on the same few jokes- ultimately made this a very fun, lighthearted read, which I breezed through in a... more>> few days.

Humour is probably this novel's greatest selling point, though if you're not used to it at first the style can be a bit of a turn-off (I read the raws- so. many. exclamation marks). I confess- it took me about 20 chapters to really get into it, and prior to that I had half a mind to drop it, but I'm really glad I didn't, and I urge everyone else giving this novel a shot to give it that same chance.

The star couple of this novel is Qin Shaoyu and Shen Qianling, the latter having transmigrated from modern society into the novel's feudal setting after an unfortunate accident, and deeply regrets his whole life after finding out that his body's previous occupant was engaged... to a man. (That's in the blurb, by the way, not a spoiler.) This couple is basically a bona fide idiot pairing- no other way to describe it. The mischief they- and their equally nonsensical bodyguards- manage to get up to- keep the book lively, such that I never really felt it was getting too draggy at any point. That aside, I feel it important to highlight that the author did an amazing job of portraying the gradual evolution of their attitudes towards each other and the nature of their relationship from barely tolerating each other at the start to being madly in love at the end. Both in 帝王 and here, she managed to skillfully pen these developments in a very organic manner that one scarcely sees in BL novels, where the change of heart is often jarring and unnatural.

Spoiler

Unlike 帝王 which heavily centred on one couple alone, in this book we are also introduced to a second couple along the way, one of whom mega-tsunderes the other all the way to their wedding night, so that's something to look forward to as well.

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TLDR: don't take this book seriously. This book doesn't take itself seriously. But if you're looking for something lighthearted, heartwarming, and laugh out loud funny- this is it for you. <<less
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rakuu-en
rakuu-en rated it
Di Wang Gong Lue
December 30, 2018
Status: Completed
Everything the review above mine has touched on is spot on, so I shan't belabour the point. This is not an wuxia novel with a touch of romance to spice things up- this is quite clearly a Romance novel that happens to have an Wuxia setting! There's no Game-of-Thrones-esque political shenanigans to be found here- whatever politics depicted in the book is honestly very simple, easy to follow, and plainly meant to be a crutch to emphasise certain milestones in the development of the relationship between the two mains. If... more>> you came into this novel primarily wanting an Wuxia novel complete with political manuevering, treachery, betrayal, yada yada.... you're probably going to be disappointed.

On the other hand, this novel excels on the romantic front. The development of the relationship between the two mains is wholesome, organic, and just plain beautiful to read. I confess to shedding tears along the way at some points, but all's well that ends well, if that is a concern to some. Not to mention that this novel is bitingly funny, and overall paced excellently barring say maybe the last 10 chapters or so- agree with the above that it got a bit draggy, but perhaps that was telling of the author's reluctance to pen an ending for these beloved characters. I can relate- I only just finished off the last chapter mere minutes ago, and I am already reluctant to bid these familiar characters goodbye.

On a whole, would highly, highly recommend. Not sure why this novel hasn't gained as much traction as it should have seeing as it is well written and even has a manhwa and animation out. Hopefully it gains the status it deserves soon. <<less
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rakuu-en
rakuu-en rated it
The Villain’s White Lotus Halo
December 31, 2018
Status: c85
I persevered in reading this until the two leads finally got together, but honestly I wanted to drop this ages ago. I wanted to love this novel- this is my second Transmigration novel after MXTX's Scum Villain, which I loved- but there's really only two words for it. Slow. and Boring. If you came here for the same reason, I suggest you save your time and look elsewhere.

Whether you will enjoy this novel or not depends on what you want out of it. Though it was advertised as a danmei... more>> novel to me, it is extremely driven by its wuxia setting, till the point where the romance seems almost incidental- every 20 chapters or so, the author seems to recall that the 2 main characters are supposed to be in love or on their way there, and throws in a few lines to placate her readers. I'd say this book is 90% wuxia, 5% romance, and 5% the white lotus halo. It's like the author forgot that the halo existed after Chapter 20- I can literally count on one hand the number of times the Halo appeared in the entire novel.

Consequently, this also means that if you like a dash of hilarity in your novel- like I do- you get your fill in the first 20 chapters and then the author leaves you hanging dry. But also literally dry, because this novel has chapters on end that are pure fight scenes. This is first and foremost an Wuxia novel. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Are there any pluses to this novel? yes. the translation is excellent. It's stuck at the early chapters, and captures the novel's early- and only- hilarity brilliantly. Then again, it will have no choice but to keep true to the source material.... and this is a novel that gets worse as it progresses, not better.

If you read Chinese and are pondering whether to brave the raws as I did- the level of Chinese in this book is high. It's a lot more poetic and stuffed with 成语 than your average danmei novel. (Again I say, this really is an wuxia novel which just so happens to have gay mains. Whose relationship is barely expanded on.) I love Chinese as a language despite being only average at it, and so this was a double edged sword to me- on one hand, there were plenty of beautiful turns of phrases to be appreciated. On the other hand, as impatient and eager for instant gratification as I was.... these phrases occasionally drove me to frustration. Then again, this is not a novel that romantic souls read for instant gratification, because there is barely any romance in this novel.

To summarise: if you want a Danmei novel with lots of m/m romance, don't read this novel. If you want a hilarious transmigration novel rife with misunderstandings and System Shenanigans, read the first 20 chapters of this novel. Likewise if you came here hoping for something like Scum Villain.... no. And unless you're a diehard Wuxia fan who loves reading florid descriptions of countless martial arts scenes.... don't waste your time. <<less
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rakuu-en
rakuu-en rated it
Liu Yao: The Revitalization of Fuyao Sect
January 26, 2019
Status: Completed
I read the first half of this in the translated English (which I must say is excellent- undoubtedly the best translating work I've seen in the Cnovel fandom thus far). Then I continued on and completed the raws in their original native Chinese.

First things first, I have to say- Priest's command of the Chinese language is really a cut above that of many danmei authors. Danmei generally being a genre that takes itself less seriously tends to be written in more casual language with a lot of colloquial terms mixed... more>> in for easy consumption. Not so for any of Priest's works. As someone who really only has a middling grasp of Mandarin, Liu Yao was a struggle to read. I can't say I've taken away nearly as much from this novel as someone else with a higher standard of proficiency in this language, who would probably be much better at appreciating the ornate descriptions and subtle nuances than I.

Secondly, Liu Yao stands out because it places its plot on the same level as the BL relationship it portrays or perhaps even higher- this makes for very heavy reading. There have been comments before mine singing praises about the depth Liu Yao goes into when exploring its admittedly depressing themes. All of this is true. The result of this is that we aren't given nearly as much detail about the central love story as one might expect. However, I will say here that Priest's strength lies in how she has successfully maintained the delicate balance between advancing the story's plot and advancing the main character's relationship, such that both grew side by side in a very organic manner. Though slow moving on a whole, the pace felt very natural and didn't skew too heavily towards the plot (ahem, I'm looking at you, White Lotus Halo). THAT BEING SAID, if you read danmei primarily for the gay relationships the genre promises, then this is one novel you might want to pass on. There really aren't many romantic moments between the lead characters at all, and those that exist are quite fleeting. I might even go so far to say that this is an Wuxia novel which just happens to have a gay couple as its protagonists. This is in contrast to other Priest works- for example Guardian, where plot developments and revelations are driven by the
Spoiler

thousand year long

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relationship between the two mains, and where romance is pretty much a driving force of the whole novel.

I'm normally impatient with my novels. I like instant gratification. I like grand romantic gestures and earth-shattering love confessions that make my blood boil. Liu Yao did none of that, so I can't put a finger on exactly what I loved about this novel, but it moved my heart anyways. That was enough for me to give it 5/5 stars. If you gave it a chance, it might do the same for you too. <<less
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