Cold Sands

Description

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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
One entry per line
漠上寒沙
Related Series
N/A
Recommendations
War Prisoner (4)
Xia Niangniang (2)
Violant of the Silver (1)
Hako no Naka (1)
Friends with Benefits (1)

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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28 Reviews sorted by


Kaylee
New Kaylee
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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kiraluvst
New kiraluvst rated it
March 4, 2019
Status: Completed
Just, brilliant.

I had been saving this one because of the reviews, wanted to give it full attention when my heart and mind were ready.

I actually paused a bit after the MC and ML's first farewell because after that their story went independently for quite some time and the plot just went seriously real. I thought it would be boring until their next meeting and I would have to skim some parts, but I was totally wrong. The MC's character development was just so engaging with a sense of bitterness and... more>> loneliness as the main theme. I honestly sympathized with him.

The story-telling is really an art, every word is written beautifully, the translation is also extraordinary.

The story is ironic in some ways, since the MC was trapped into a situation far far beyond his expectation right after he decided to leave all of the good things he could have for freedom, that was never meant to be his. All of the good things he would come back to and yearn for until the end of his life.

The ending is terribly realistic. It is painfully sad, but it's the kind of sad that you cannot really complain about, the kind that you understand and have to accept involuntarily. I would not choose a different ending. Every "they could have..." is a violation of their sacrifice.

After finishing the story, it left me with such a lingering feeling.

Please trust me and the other reviews, this is so worth your time.

Note: you can finish without reading the first 2 extras and you'll still feel satisfied. Frankly speaking, I was quite disappointed about how the MC treated his loyal partner-in-crime who fought side by side with him, after the war. I believe this man deserves so much more : ((

Here are some heart-wrenching parts of the novel:

Spoiler

"Go." He passes me the reins and closes my palm. I look up at his bitter expression.

"You wanna live like the wind and I know you're not that obedient. You'd never just stay by my side like that. And I'm your enemy no matter how you look at it. We might've reached intimacy... and I could make you stay but your heart would be gone."

[collapse]

Spoiler

I squeeze the letter in my right hand as my heart begins to ache.

After years of overcoming hardships and obstacles and putting my life on the lines battle after battle, I have longed for someone to be there, for someone to understand me, for us to support each other with all our heart and share our feelings.

Yet the person I have chosen ended up leaving me.

[collapse]

Spoiler

My enemy's enemy is my friend.
I let out a deep breath and start feeling disgust towards myself.
Calculating and plotting every step of the way, abandoning my true self, becoming heartless, becoming coldblooded, tirelessly disposing of anyone who gets in my way.
And that includes the love of my life.
In the dark, gloomy palace hall, I tilt my head back and feel the warm fluids drip down my
face.

[collapse]

Spoiler

I'm not a good emperor.
I can't save everyone.
I'm tired.
It's as if I'm walking through a foggy night. From the skies above, an ocean of blood comes roaring towards me to drown me.

Where are you, Murong Yu? Why have you still not come yet?
I don't want anything. I just want you to come and take me away from this terrible nightmare.

[collapse]
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Liu
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
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
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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Shio
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>>
Spoiler

...

.

..

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.

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“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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Attica
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 s*xual 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
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**k, 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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oAoMo
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
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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Rosula_D
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 s*xiness.

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
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
kc.code rated it
May 4, 2018
Status: Completed
THIS BL NOVEL IS A MASTERPIECE.

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!

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

Spoiler
[collapse]
Still I WANT JUSTICE FOR MARSHAL HENG'S FEELINGS FOR HAN XIN!! UGHHH, HOW I WANT A FANFIC FOR THEMMM OR MAYBE A THREESOME 😭 I WANT HIM ALIVEEEEEE, I JUST BAWL LIKE A BABY WHEN HE DIED LIKE THAT 😭😭😭😭

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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Diviana
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.
Spoiler

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.

[collapse]
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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peachgummy
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>>
Spoiler

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.

[collapse]

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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soup-chan
soup-chan rated it
September 13, 2018
Status: --
This novel is not for the faint hearted. It wrecks your emotions. I literally cried in the end. No novel has been able to make me cry. The love, passion, destiny, SACRIFICE and DUTIES. One of the best novel I've ever read.
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missred
missred rated it
July 4, 2018
Status: --
I only read this story one time. But that one time makes me feel like my heart is being shredded! Piece by piece. It was beautiful and yet so heart wrenching. *Sniffs*
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Oceanskyice
Oceanskyice rated it
March 31, 2018
Status: Completed
This......

I cried. I rarely cry in love stories, mind you, but this was something that will stay with me for quite a long time. A wrote a short poem like summary. For those who want impact, read this after reading the entire series, including the extras. I wish a good journey.

... more>>
Spoiler

two emperors forever separated from each other, their love never forgotten between them, aging like wine. One cold and ruthless that wanted only the best for citizens, one generous and kind that in truth loved war, the love of the two emperors forbidden and hidden behind masks. Twenty years after ascending the throne, they meet briefly once again, speaking words that should have been spoken in their youth. The emperors lived lives of loneliness, reminiscing of their past days of joy and laughter, now separated by infinite space. When the cold emperor died, he was known in history only as a heartless leader, his sacrifice for his country unknown. After the death of his lover, the kind emperor left his throne not long after, reuniting above the clouds. They met as a prince and a prisoner of war, they left as rulers of two allied countries. The only witness in their forbidden love was a long gone general. The two emperors were remembered as two emperors who united the countries, and nothing more, their love lost in the never ending annals of history, buried beneath politics and war.

written by a certain snow fox

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Hundred Lilies
Hundred Lilies rated it
December 18, 2017
Status: Completed
So, before I started reading this fantastic novel, I read some of the other reviews and immediately red lights went up like a flare, screaming "danger danger danger", but of course... I ignored that (and I do not regret it).

... Now, I'm literally bawling my eyes out like Niagara Falls! The novel isn't very long, but sooo fulfilling and one can't help but to fall in love with the two main characters.

... more>>
Spoiler

It's a sad ending, but I wouldn't call it tragic, more like... a really bittersweet and heart wrenching love story that breaks your heart, but leaves you feeling satisfied afterwards.

[collapse]
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Sasha578
Sasha578 rated it
November 5, 2017
Status: extra 4
Spoiler

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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isecai
isecai rated it
June 23, 2017
Status: --
How come I haven't read this before? It's so intricately woven. Too realistic for my type, but that is precisely why this is a masterpiece. It fulfills the romance, drama, character development, all in a top notch narratives. Soon enough, the translation already immerses you into their world. Try it.
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KnockoutRoundabout
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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