Cold Sands


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He’s just a low-ranking deputy general and he’s a prince. They meet on the battlefield but it turns out to be the beginning of a complicated and beautiful story.

Murong Yu is a very confident man – until he meets Han Xin.

There’s nothing he cannot get; there’s nothing he cannot destroy.

To let live or not, is all up to him.

He is the future ruler of Great Yan and so it’s only natural that the world should bow down at his feet.

But he had never thought that one day he would lose control of it.

That even his own will would be uncontrollable.

Murong Yu can neither get nor destroy this prisoner of war.

Han Xin has never given a care about the world – until he meets Murong Yu.

He has never cared about anyone, nor has anyone cared about him.

It doesn’t matter if you’re alone or sad, as long as you can still laugh, life will go on.

He has learned long ago how to not question, how not to believe, how not to lose and how not to care.

Destiny’s uncaring teasing and humiliations have already become numb to him.

That’s right, he doesn’t have a care in the world.

Even if it’s this Prince Royal of Great Yan who’s started to warm up to him.

Associated Names
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Related Series
War Prisoner (5)
Xia Niangniang (3)
Violant of the Silver (2)
Thousand Autumns (1)
His Royal Highness, Wants a Divorce! (1)
The Rental Shop Owner (1)
Recommendation Lists
  1. Great novels
  2. Plan to Read
  3. 4.5/+ bl novels
  4. Priority to read...BL

Latest Release

Date Group Release
08/08/15 Chinese BL Translations extra 4
07/30/15 Chinese BL Translations extra 3 part2
07/18/15 Chinese BL Translations extra 3 part1
07/02/15 Chinese BL Translations c41 + epilogue
06/25/15 Chinese BL Translations c40
06/18/15 Chinese BL Translations c39
06/11/15 Chinese BL Translations c38
06/04/15 Chinese BL Translations c37
05/28/15 Chinese BL Translations c36
05/21/15 Chinese BL Translations c35
05/14/15 Chinese BL Translations c34
05/08/15 Chinese BL Translations c33
05/07/15 Chinese BL Translations c32
05/06/15 Chinese BL Translations c31
04/30/15 Chinese BL Translations c30
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35 Reviews sorted by

New Talker09
February 25, 2020
Status: Completed
Funny start and then we get a emotional ride

I loved it but didn't really like the end

The MC didn't deserve anything that happend to him

And the chains of love, responsibility that killed his heart, I hate it! I hate it!

But sometimes you have to sacrifice for something good,

Both the MC and ML did the same
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Liu rated it
January 21, 2016
Status: --
I cried so much. Truly a bittersweet romance. If you like happy endings then don't read this, for it it's a gut renching romance that shows the pain and bitterness of love. It has happy times and is light and refreshing at points, well written and draws the reader in. The ending is magnificent and couldn't have ended better, even if it was truly sad. The story gives the reader a feeling of hope throughout the narrative, like it could work and they can be happy, I truly recommend this... more>> novel, for though sad, it is fulfilling. <<less
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sueita rated it
May 26, 2016
Status: --
I have finished reading yesterday, but I still have lingering feelings about the story. this story is alive, too realistic, and it could never be better. but, for my sake... since I can't get the feeling out of my heart... I shall share my feelings here.

i really hope there's a sequel.. maybe in the modern days, they were reincarnated... han xin shall raised by adopted family, when he had finished school he works at the palace, acting as an emperor for tourists. there he met with yu and a... more>> deja vu suddenly came.

yu on the other hand is the future heir of a talent agency, famous for bringing up actors. he himself is a famous actor. so he got han xin to work at his agency.

their love blossoms when they both re enact the story from their previous live... who could play it better then the REAL emperors themselves? they changed the script on the whim during the act, but the director finds the changes interesting thus he kept it.

before the drama ends, han xin got kidnapped only to find out that he is the heir of rival talent agency company. but the fact that he is he heir is closed from public thus he don't have the way and chance to explain to yu.

after months separated away from each other, they finally meet again during a show, it's a show where the guests were important people from any organizations. this time they invite the ceo of two big talent agencies to talk about their achievements. that time, they were the youngest ceo in history, that is also the reason they both were invited to the show. with no where to run, han xin faced yu with complicated feelings.

after the show ended, yu suggest to have a drinking party with people from the other company, han xin got no way to escape. in the middle, yu forced han xin to follow him to the hotel room upstairs... (use your imagination)

well, for the rest of the story, I still feel the need to insert xiao qingyue as well but the ending this time around wont be too tragic... I believe most will be happy if they were to get together in the end.

finally, my heart feels a bit lighter.. LOL <<less
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nixxara rated it
December 25, 2015
Status: --
Very heartbreaking, but the characters had such a passionate all-consuming love. The situation was very realistic, I couldn’t have thought of a better ending.

Definitely worth reading... this book really pulls on one’s heartstrings.
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Attica rated it
October 3, 2018
Status: Completed
Ah, tragedies. I traditionally avoid anything with a whiff of a sad ending, since I've always been the optimistic type who feeds off of happy endings to survive.

But I can only applaud Cold Sands as the embodiment of the perfect tragedy. Where two people's differences are finally irreconcilable. Where an unhappy ending is logical, even inevitable. Where a proud and determined human refuses to bend, and in the end can only break.

1) Story

Han Xin is an idle young nobleman pressed into the military by his corrupt nation, despite dreaming of... more>> nothing other than living a free life. He ends up captured by the enemy, where he remains proud and unbroken despite his seemingly lazy nature. This gains him the admiration, trust, and eventually affection of the ruthless ambitious enemy prince Murong Yu. Out of their mutual love, Murong Yu lets him go to live that free life. Yet at this seemingly happy ending, a revelation shatters everything Han Xin knew about himself, and he is dragged into the clutches of destiny's unceasing machinations.

(Re) reading Cold Sands is a uniquely bittersweet experience. The beginning of the story is an archetypal example of my beloved "enemies-to-lovers" dynamic. The bickering sexual tension between Han Xin and Murong Yu is so much fun to read, especially with the hilarious levels of crude swearing coming from Han Xin's free-spirited mouth.

Then at the halfway point of the novel, the story takes a drastic turn into serious court drama and politics, as Han Xin's personality is warped and changed like steel forged in the fire.

Finally, yes, the two main characters of Cold Sands do meet what can only be called a truly unhappy fate. The ending was absolutely flawless in that it even had the tiny glimmer of hope just to add to that depressing realism~

This is the essence of a perfect tragedy: if Han Xin and Murong Yu had the chance to do everything over, they still wouldn't have changed a thing.

2) Characters

Our main character Han Xin is absolutely the star of this novel. It's both really fascinating and really depressing to see him evolve from a carefree, lazy, and hilariously mouthy/sarcastic youth... into a cold and ruthless emperor who must personally take the responsibility of an entire nation on his shoulders.

On one hand, he gains a sense of purpose and the ability to make a hugely positive difference in the lives of countless people. But at what cost, at what terrible cost?

In the end, he has lost everything--his friends, his freedom, his love, his very self.

On the other hand, the main love interest Murong Yu is wonderfully written as Han Xin's exact counterpart. Where Han Xin grows to deny his own humanity, Murong Yu develops in the opposite direction. He starts off as an inhuman conquering prince, but grows to acknowledge his own humanity through his love for Han Xin despite knowing how it will become his glaring weakness. Still, in the end, he cannot abandon his ambition and thirst for power, and it costs him his last chance to be truly together with Han Xin.

Besides these two amazing main characters, the side characters of Cold Sands also fit the story extremely well. Every single one represents and develops the themes of the main story: Han Xin's childhood friends that he must cut ties with, the crueler subordinate generals below Murong Yu, the corrupt old order of Han Xin's nation that he must root out... Special shout-outs to the love rival of the story, the wonderfully written Heng Ziyu.

3) Overall

All in all, I have pretty much no complaints about Cold Sands whatsoever. It's just that I don't want to reread it since seeing how happy Han Xin and Murong Yu used to be makes my heart hurt too much.

I can only hope that in their next life, Han Xin and Murong Yu can live free of all these burdens and worries, and finally be happy together.

I'll leave you all with this poem, which I think captures the bittersweet ending of Cold Sands perfectly.

Rima XLI by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (Rough translation)
You were the hurricane, and I the tall tower which challenged its power: You had to either smash me or knock me down!
It could not be!

You were the ocean, and I the firm stone which awaited your waves: You had to break upon me or tear me down!
It could not be!

You beautiful, and I proud: accustomed one to crush, the other not to yield; The path narrows, the inevitable impact...
It could not be!

[Side Note: The translation of this novel is on the more liberal side. It reads very smoothly in English, but there are anachronistic changes here and there.] <<less
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SHIPPER rated it
April 14, 2017
Status: Completed
> Must READ if you like Captive Prince--- with tears and realism!

> A++ translation - really good like you can publish it.

> Great character developement and likable main character like Lelouch. The main character has bad luck but is very capable and level headed and very... Lonely. (ಥ_ಥ)

... more>> > Save it for when you want a good story with a great main character, historical drama, war, and you dont mind crying for a while.

> The love scenes are not alot but if there are, it will be 2 chapters long and will be very sweet and tender. They dont f*ck, they make love. ღ˘‿˘ற꒱

>Depending on how you look at it, this is not the normal kind of tragedy without happiness. It's more of a natural kind that is inevitable for everyone like the passage of time. It is bittersweet and subtle and does not aim to make you cry but the circumstances they experience makes it hard not to feeeeeeeeeel it.

>It also gives you a dose of realism so rare in BL novels even more so for a historical one where it is so easy to just magically make everything ok in the name of the BL!

>The tragedy in this novel does not come instantly BUT it come subtly like a slow trickle at first and then as the chapters goes by and you are immersed in good plot, this trickle will turn into bigger drops and then at the end and you can't help but be swept away.

>This will be one of those novels that will forcefully carve a part of your heart out and it will snuggle in whether you want it to or not.

Read it! (ಥuಥ) <<less
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Shio rated it
December 11, 2015
Status: --
It’s really great. The character, the plot, the romance, all was woven into a bitter sweet story. 10/10 recommended.

... more>>




It’s mostly bitter. I cried, checking the epilogue like crazy, yet until the very end it is still bitter. Good, but bitter. Both male lead are citizen, the emperor first, then an individual. Which means both will sacrifice a lot of thing for their country. Even their life, family, and love. I hate that they never abandon other to find their own happiness, but that's why I love them too.

“Please be with me, until the earth ages, the sky crumbles and our hair whitens; The winds never rested, blowing away my troubles... ” <<less
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oAoMo rated it
April 3, 2017
Status: extra 4
This novel is worth reading. I love it so much and keep reading it again and again. I know it may not end the same way as typical yaoi novels nowadays, but I didn't feel like it's sad or tragic. It's just so beautiful. The feeling that they have to each other. Don't feel discourage because you think it's sad... It is not that kind of sad. This novel is one of the best I have ever read in my life time and I am yaoi fan for more than... more>> 20 years and read countless of them both in English and Japanese. This one leaves something behind and you will feel it for a long time. <<less
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Reitian rated it
August 1, 2017
Status: Completed
Beautifully written, the prose was poetic, the relationship bittersweet. The story was surprisingly realistic, portraying the despair found in war time very well. I was impressed by the depiction of details such as wartime rations and refugees. The characters were written with a lot of effort. For example, the more I learned about the main character, the more mysterious he seemed. The author's depiction of the character's emotions is this story's strongest point. It twists your heart, sometimes leading you on, making you hope for a happy end. The ending... more>> itself was also not a forced happy ending. Instead it felt like a natural result of the characters' choices, which causes your heart to ache, but at the same time, accept it. The extras wrap up the story very well; the supplementary extras were in just the right place. <<less
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Jajachin rated it
September 5, 2019
Status: Completed
I have read this story like a long time ago but I am here to express what I felt while reading this wonderful novel. The story was so interesting, so heart-wrenching, like I cried a bucket while reading this masterpiece. It was si awesome. Just read it then you will reLize how beautiful this story is.
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Kaira rated it
July 14, 2019
Status: Completed
Both were very nice emperors sacrifices everything for nations. But I think as a lover they were bit lame.... Don't get me wrong!! I mean after signing treaty of peace why did they take pledge to never meet again?? Oh! Come on! They longed for each other for twenty! years?? I don't get it why they didn't meet each other secretly?? At least once a month if not then at least few times in a year?? Can't they send letters to each others?? Han Xin just died and didn't even... more>> demand the last visit of Murong Yu and his empress?? I guess authors just wanted readers to immerse in the story to shed tears and made this story sooo pitiful.

But I liked few things though...... I had never ever read this much passionate intimate scene ever in life full of lust, desire never wanted to be separated. I mean if I think of myself I can never be this passionate to anyone ever in my life.... Their intimacy in chpater 40 and 41 shook me so hard.

But in the end all I can say is that they were just foolish lovers suffered till end. And one more thing... I really can't find any of those songs that Han Xin played in this story. What are they? <<less
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March 11, 2019
Status: Completed
Finished read chapter 40 and the extra..... and I was bawling my eyes now while writing this, tears wont stop pouring, like a spring. My throat hurts, my nose is runny........ omg..........

People, you need to read this.

I hate ending, but but this is really a nice story. Those who can make me cry a bucket is def something I never forget.......

I dont want to see this as movie or manga, no no my heart wont be able to take it.
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Rosula_D rated it
November 30, 2018
Status: Completed
I really liked this- to the point where I made an account so I could specifically review it.

First, I feel like the "tragedy" tag is a bit misleading. This was not a happy ending, but also not a tragedy per se. For me, the ending was really appropriate for the overall tone of the novel: melancholic and realistic, but with a hint of optimism for the future.

Second, I think this is also not strictly a romance. For the most part, we read about the struggles of the MC. The ML... more>> is present only for 3/5 of the novel. For me, the strongest parts are the political and war elements. Very well written, definitely not a fluffy and light read. However, there are certain points where the writer delivers on the cuteness and sexiness.

Third, I can't read Chinese so I'm not sure how this was in the original. The style is quite modern, not full of ancient words or cultural references. The translation also includes several notes which were helpful. Overall, I would rate this as a good translation.

I would recommend this for sure, especially if you enjoy angst, palace intrigue and a smart MC. <<less
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Airisu rated it
August 15, 2018
Status: extra 4
I... cried so much. One of the best novel I read, and I am pretty picky in saying this.

Beware, this is not something that will make you feel well, probably it will destroy you for some days (as it did for me). Is it worth the pain it gives? Yes, it is.

So, if you want to read something really good, and deep, that you probably can relate to, this is for you. If you are weak and want fluff, this isn't. Or better.... there are some very adorable moments, even... more>> more precious since they are rare. But if you don't wanna suffer (even if I assure you it is worth the pain), find something else. I warned you.

Want a power couple? Both male leads that respects each other on a profound level? Then, read it. I felt... so satisfied for how the story went on. It is sad, yes, but I feel that, since this is a realistic portrait of warring countries, the end is bittersweet, but it's still the more fitting for the characters. The growth of all the characters is not shallow, you can see the author made a good work on this (even secondary characters).

I felt so close to MC, really, he's so human and feel so real I could't do anything if not loving him, till the end. The ML surprised me too, positively.

i don't want to spoil anything, so I'm stopping here. <<less
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kc.code rated it
May 4, 2018
Status: Completed

No joke....

At first I thought it's not going to be interesting because aside from the historical timeline, there's also warfare and poetry and such that usually bore me to death BUT since I read in some comments/reviews that its a good read, I gave it a try and guess what? I BECAME SO ADDICTED TO IT. The author was able to give a full details of the settings, emotions and expressions of the characters and the good plot and character development of each. Im not... more>> good in making reviews BUT I swear this is such a good read! ALSO THANKS TO THE TRANSLATOR FOR THE AMAZING JOB!

Although the ending was saddening, it is justifiable given their current situation and positions as emperors of their respective country.


This is the kind of novel that leaves a mark to its readers. It is not for the faint hearted as it really squeezes you to the core and then give you fluff only to be dismayed again later.

Sometimes you might think that the MC is too much, but really, it is justifiable. And Murong Yu, ghaadd 😭😍😍 BUT YEAH, prepare for the emotional rollercoaster. 😊😊😊😔 <<less
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Sasha578 rated it
November 5, 2017
Status: extra 4

Call me crazy, but I hate sad endings. Read the whole darn thing in two days with the hope of a happily ever after only to be crushed and crying... nothing like bringing the positivity to a low point. Only have myself to flippin blame for not reading the reviews first. And to think it was a beautiful story until about half way through

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Diviana rated it
September 15, 2017
Status: extra 4
4.5 out of 5.

This novel made me bawl. This is a classical tragedy. It may not actually be a classic, but the prose and tone evoke the ambiance of one. That the author's care in crafting sentences showed even in a translation is amazing.

The focus of this novel is definitely the character's internal landscapes. We understand a great deal about Han Xin's motivations as well as Murong Yu. Never was there a point when I was reading that I felt they made decisions that were not the logical conclusion of... more>> their actions or personalities. It somehow made it even more bittersweet of read. They always behaved according to their personalities, the situation, and their respective roles. A lot of conflict came out of when these two to three things conflicted.

I cheered them on because of the odds.

I wanted them to achieve their dreams so badly. I felt like if the events had repeated, the same situation, with no change in personality or roles, they would have made the same choices. Han Xin'so growth really compounded it in. He went from a man with nothing to one with the world on his shoulders.

The novel made feel very strongly for these characters when I typically shy away from political intrigue and historical heavy novel. I was invested in them. I found this novel because of War Prisoner. While the topic is same, the approaches to it were every different. I expected a similar progression and pleasantly surprised by the difference. I'm glad I read this. <<less
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KnockoutRoundabout rated it
December 4, 2016
Status: extra 4
One of the best stories I've read here. Extremely well written with incredible insight into the culture and history of the time.

The protagonist is a wonderfully crafted character who is incredibly real in all his flaws and boons. The love story is bittersweet but beautiful and I could not help but cry at the end.

I'd happily recommend this story to anyone, it is so much more than any bl novel I've come across and was a pleasure to read (and cry about).
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amruta rated it
January 7, 2020
Status: Completed
Even though I know how this ends, the last chapter makes me cry every single time.

Unlike what Disney would have us believe, true love does not overcome all obstacles. Sometimes, reality is a curse which cannot be broken.

Both Han Xin and Murong Yu choose country and people over love. They live their lives doing what is necessary but never forget each other. Their sacrifice brings peace to their people.

A beautiful story. Excellent translation.
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Red Pineapple
Red Pineapple rated it
May 23, 2019
Status: Completed
It has been half a year or maybe a year after I read this, but I still hardly move on from it. Really touching.
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peachgummy rated it
January 31, 2019
Status: --
Amazing read.

This was one of the first Chinese BL novels I read, and I'm so happy I found it. I'm writing this review nearly 3 years after having finished it, but I still remember the insane feelings I had while reading it. It's such a beautiful story, but be warned--even if you are ready for the angst, it might hit you harder than you think! The characters and plot are so wonderfully crafted and they'll string your emotions along with them.

... more>>

By the end you might be mad and sad and resigned, but miraculously satisfied because the author lays out all the circumstances that led to that point, and shows us that life is really full of difficult decisions.


I'm pretty sure I'll end up reading this again at some point, it was so memorable to me. <<less
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