MC feels insecure because she's been told that her personality is too low-key and unattractive to men. So MC wants to ask what the ML likes about her.
ML: "You don't know how beautiful you are."
.... wow not SHALLOW at all. Physical beauty is everything!!!!! (Yes, in Chinese, "beautiful" refers exclusively to physical appearance. It is not a metaphor for something deeper.)
I literally could not stop laughing when the MC started rapping about mining and his roommate crashed his stream with accompanying dance...
I've heard she switches bodies a few times, so the old lady body is just the first arc.
For me there was zero sadness... even the hilarious misunderstanding that blew up after that *cough* phone call, cough. Ahhh I died so much...
The ML goes very quickly from an arrogant/cold/alpha male stereotype into a helpless regular guy trying to figure out his wife.
Even though she's called "dense, " one of my favorite parts of her character is her self-awareness. I believe that she saw how the other maids would constantly fight for favor in the beginning, and didn't want to become one of them so she became "dense" as a form of self-protection. Back then when one man had many wives/concubines, the MC had enough self-respect to not want to become one of many. In my opinion, she left him because she wanted to preserve her feelings for him at a high point and unspoiled by multiple 3rd parties (and possibly even test how deep his feelings for her went). And in the end, after realizing that he truly meant it, she was able to refuse being just a concubine and get what she deserved: to be the only wife.
Also that moment when the ML kneeled down to allies/rivals/enemies to apologize for his shitty behavior in the past? BEST.
She is not dumb; she may have only stayed with him in the beginning because she was looking for openings to get revenge for the times she was slapped/kicked before in the courtyard. Those hints from the mother/housekeeper asking her to stay were so obvious even a monkey would have gotten it, but she still left anyway. So it's far more likely that she was just pretending to be dumb so he would suffer. In the end, because she was truly in love with him, she forgave him after making him work for it.
I think this theory explains why she would have fun telling him about all those times he treated her badly in the past! And why she would never tell him how long she had liked him (to maintain the upper hand). Haha
This makes a lot of the drama/angst feel unnecessary or dragged out. The story becomes unbalanced, weighted too heavily on the angst with hardly any fluff or humor to offset it because the MC is so completely self-defeating. He gives up very quickly on any new relationship troubles because of crippling fear that he is not good enough; the kind that thinks "I'm not good enough so I should just give up now" the moment anything happens, leaving the ML to pull all the weight towards reconciliation or clearing up misunderstandings. Furthermore, the author spends too much time describing all the problems and heavy feelings and too little time describing the resolutions or fluff, so the reader hardly gets a break from the constant arrows to the gut.
It's so cute that despite the MC being forever 'second place' in terms of studies/competitions, he's actually extremely friendly/outgoing/valued by his community, so his interpersonal skills can be said to definitely outshine the ML.
It's unfortunate but most CN books completely romanticize rape/obsession/stalking/stockholm syndrome/dependent personality disorder/possessiveness etc. So the romantic relationships portrayed tend to be extremely unrealistic as well as unhealthy.
Things that got pretty old:
Even the old ex finds his happy ending in the extras.
Maybe it's because the author frequently describes how pitiful yet ultra-attractive she looked to the ML, from her eyes/her exposed body/her skin/etc., but it really struck as more "pretending in order to win pity" than something genuine from her upbringing.
Also the MC is a legal adult (18), yet acts like an 8 year old. I could understand her desperation/loneliness and ultra spoiled naivete up to the point when she touched the ML when he was sleeping and tried to keep him with her after confessing to him--when she knew that he had a girlfriend already. That was a turning point for when she went from pitiable to manipulative.
Of course stuff like this can happen in real life. I'm not blaming the MC for trying it because she was desperate, and I'm not blaming the ML for falling for it and remembering it (since he fell for it, he definitely felt something for her and feelings can't be forced). But like I said, that's why this story is not my cup of tea and why I don't feel much pity for the MC.
Some readers have complained about how unbelievable it is... but I had the opposite reaction. To me, the author's detailed descriptions of every subtle nuance was like an eye-opening, awe-inspiring "please teach me more" because of my personal experience when visiting relatives in China, since I tend to accept things at face value (the so-called Western 'naivete/straightforwardness'). Seriously, Chinese culture/courtesies are damn complicated; nobody ever says exactly what they mean, so I admire the author for writing & explaining it.
Despite being a modern person, MC's morals are pretty in line with the ancients; she fits right into all the 'using people, ' 'disposable servants' and scheming. Her transmigration is merely a plot point the author uses to give her previous 'weak' character a big contrast so she can become the most eloquent/OP one. Overall, MC resolves issues with her clever words and understanding of what's important to the people she's dealing with. Which means there are still lots of biases/calculating/lack of forgiveness, even towards children.
Babel Realm has a very average MTL because the pronouns are frequently wrong and the titles change every paragraph, and some phrases are completely wrong. Novelsreborn has the best translation, though some of it is way too literally/directly translated. Willful casual has a pretty good translation, while rosefantasy's translation has too much grammatical errors and suffers from the same issue of being too literal.
One very subtle issue is still the matter of CN culture/subtext in the story. While the author tries very hard to present a strong female MC, all of her actions are still written as being under the purview of the ML. It's stated several times that her choice to break away to stand on her own was 'allowed' or humored by the ML due to his love for her. The MC's brother is the same. In the end, the author writes that the MC feels more comfortable supporting the efforts of the ML instead of being at her own company. Of course, there's nothing 'weak' about supporting the person you love. However, this is a consistent theme in most C-novels and this author's stories. The female MC once again is only allowed to be strong enough or independent enough to suit the male characters protecting her. She will never be written to outshine them or take up a bigger share of any life burden because of her gender.
Despite this, it's still one of the better novels out there with a female MC that has more character and is written better than many others. (Kind of a sad state, tbh.)
I'm frequently astonished at the single-minded devotion (which doesn't waver even when the target seems to despise it?) frequently portrayed in these kinds of novels. So unrealistic yet strangely touching at the same time.