Empress with no Virtue


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The free-spirited and brutally honest Ye Zhen Zhen was unwillingly chosen as Empress to the playboy Emperor Ji Wu Jiu. Their very first wedding night, she kicked the Emperor down from their bed and he sought out his concubine instead. This completely disastrous start was only the beginning of their eventful life together.

Associated Names
One entry per line
Huánghòu wú dé
Related Series
To Be A Virtuous Wife (7)
Heavenly Divine Doctor: Abandoned Concubine (7)
Why Harem Intrigue When You Can Just Raise a Dog Instead (6)
Living As the Villainess Queen (6)
Refusing to Serve Me? Then Off With Your Head! (6)
Beloved Empress (5)
Recommendation Lists
  1. Enjoyable C-Novels
  2. Good novels (in my opinion)
  3. Ancient Times/China
  4. the novels i read
  5. BGs Read (Completed) (2)

Latest Release

Date Group Release
05/27/20 PlainlyBored c91
07/28/18 Translator K c101 part2
07/22/18 Translator K c101 part1
01/21/18 San Guniang c100
01/14/18 San Guniang c99
01/07/18 San Guniang c98
01/01/18 San Guniang c97
12/31/17 San Guniang c96
12/24/17 San Guniang c95
12/17/17 San Guniang c94
12/13/17 San Guniang c93
12/10/17 San Guniang c92
12/03/17 San Guniang c91
11/26/17 San Guniang c90
07/29/19 PlainlyBored c90
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88 Reviews sorted by

rdawv rated it
March 25, 2016
Status: --
This is a story about a mismatched royal couple who are both unhappy with the arranged political marriage. The story opens with the young emperor Ji Wu Jiu aggrieved at the marriage forced on him, the empress Ye Zhen Zhen irritated at being used as a pawn in her grandfather’s scheme. It culminated in a disastrous first night for them, resulting in the emperor being furious and the empress being indifferent to her exalted position. In short, a loveless marriage.

The emperor being restricted by political reasons, resorted to petty moves... more>> of his own to trouble his new empress; putting her in charge in resolving the crisis and drama that arose one after the other in the palace so that she would trip up and embarrass herself. The empress who grew up willful and independent, took on the ploys head on as her successful resolution of them would demonstrate her own defiance. In short, both sides find small delight in annoying the other.

Surrounding this dynamic and strange relationship is the usual array of palace drama standards: the unhappy empress dowager, concubines competing with each other for the favor of the emperor, ministers and officials with vested interests to make sure their own daughter gets ahead, eunuchs and servant maids eager to see their respective mistresses win.

The initial draw of the story is reading about how the empress Ye Zhen Zhen uses her wits and decisiveness to overcome the challenges of the palace, as well as slowly gaining the trust and respect of the emperor as he realizes his consort is someone clever. Perhaps too clever. Still, she is still his consort, and all the back-and-forth made him feel more and more amicable towards her.

That and the anecdotes that arise from a couple that does not want to lose to the other makes for a humorous read at times (eg: “walnuts”).

Warning: the novel contains adult situations. Many. Explicit. In fact, the ‘problematic adult situation’ is one of the key relationship drivers. The other, as another reviewer mentioned; is misunderstandings. Colossal misunderstandings between two people who have no idea what it means to love.

Personally I was a little annoyed with the characterization of the empress in the second half of the novel. Her brazen recklessness comes as surprise to me after the bouts of intelligence in the palace and is one of the main source of misunderstandings between them; as if she didn’t know her actions could have life-threatening repercussions. I felt the author wrote those chapters in to blow up the drama. While it did switch away from the typical palace drama for a while, I felt it was forced in.

The translation is unpolished and the translator admitted that the more difficult parts were edited and summarized within the chapters (eg: poetry, lyrics). This doesn’t ruin the story, in fact to some readers it may help to quicken the pace. But it does mean some of the subtlety is lost. The prose itself isn’t as descriptive and the dialogue isn’t as dramatic as other palace novels eg “To Be A Virtuous Wife”, “Mei Gongqing” or “Chu Wang Fei”. It reads more like a narration. The earlier chapters are quite understandable, but there are some parts where the the sentences don’t exactly roll off the tongue correctly.

Overall, a nice novel to read. <<less
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nixxara rated it
February 21, 2016
Status: --

I love the way she doesn’t realize love even though it’s in front of her. Instead of throwing herself at the male MC, she unconsciously makes the makes the guy work for it!

This is a romance story by the way.
If any of you are worried about the fact that he has several concubines since he is the emperor, no need to worry. After he started chasing the female MC, he stopped his relationships with the others... Actually he is afraid to cheat! xD
5... more>> stars! <<less
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Attica rated it
October 3, 2018
Status: Completed
"Unlikely woman becomes Empress and must manage the imperial harem while also winning the love of the initially hostile Emperor". You've probably read this exact premise at least a dozen times, all with varying levels of execution and unhealthy relationships.

I'm proud to say that Empress with No Virtue is probably the most fun I've had with this genre, precisely because it knows exactly what it wants to be and executes that premise perfectly.

1) Story

Ye Zhenzhen is a free-spirited and self-confident noblewoman who loves her family, with a few quirks to... more>> compliment her great intelligence. Given her lack of ambition, she is not too happy when she ends up strong-armed in a political marriage with the only man above her in status: the playboy Emperor Ji Wujiu, who bears a grudge against her family. Their marriage gets off to a hilariously disastrous start with the wedding night alone, which is further complicated by the intricate political dynamics within the imperial court and harem.

Despite this "typical soap opera" premise, Empress with No Virtue is a joy to read because it capitalizes on its strengths so well: Humor (both dry and laugh-out-loud) and the ever-changing dynamic between its two main characters. That isn't to say it's all fun and games--I was surprised at how well the writing handled the drama and angst parts too!

I always found myself looking forward to what antics Ye Zhenzhen got herself into (particularly how she cleverly made fun of the other members of the imperial harem), what conspiracies and power struggles she must avoid, what odd yet ingenious strategies she would use to expose her enemies, and of course the blossoming friendship and romance between her and the Emperor. Note the last entry in particular--I literally binged the entire novel in 2 days because I was so eager to see the development of the...

2) Characters

Yes, Empress with no Virtue is so much fun because both Ye Zhenzhen and Ji Wujiu are really fun characters!

Ye Zhenzhen is a hilariously straightforward woman with very adorable and strange interests. Initially, her main goal is just to survive and pursue those interests. When she does get caught up in court politics, she shows off the intelligence and confidence to go toe-to-toe with the schemers, and grows to take more active control of her own fate. On the other hand, Ji Wujiu is a very competent emperor who just happens to have one big flaw: seeking shallower surface-level affections. He initially appears spoiled, arrogant, and ambitious, resenting Ye Zhenzhen despite how she was not at fault for this marriage. But over time, his interactions with Ye Zhenzhen open his eyes towards the importance of humility and open-mindedness, and it's really satisfying when he can finally see things from a different perspective.

Both main characters boast an abundance of endearing quirks, brilliant calculations, humorous reactions, and badass confrontations. Better yet, they aren't perfect! The author went out of her way to point out that these two main characters are still flawed human beings who misunderstand each other and mistakenly harm each other. YZZ and JWJ have very different perspectives and must work very hard to reconcile their viewpoints, make up for previous wrongs, and finally reach a harmonious equilibrium.

Above all, the relationship development between Ye Zhenzhen and Ji Wujiu is one that sparks off the page with its exquisite s*xual tension. Their personalities complement each other perfectly. Even after the two officially get together, I was really happy to see how they got to preserve that wonderfully bickering and teasing dynamic, instead of degenerating into character stereotypes.

The side characters are also surprisingly well done for this genre. The friendly side characters are so ridiculously good at acting the straight man in the kookier and more hilarious circumstances. And even the more "villainous" characters have understandable motives, and their reactions can be pleasantly realistic at times. (The rival concubines are of course hostile, but they change over time and face realistic consequences for their actions instead of remaining the stereotypical "mean low-IQ rivals who irrationally hate the MC").

3) Overall, I can say with certainty that Empress with No Virtue was just pure unadulterated fun to read--which is high praise for the often plodding "imperial politics" genre. It had the perfect blend of fluffy light-heartedness, dramatic politics, and teasing romance. I could genuinely believe every step of how Ye Zhenzhen and Ji Wujiu fell in love, which completely soothed the secret romantic in my heart <3

[NOTE: I wasn't too satisfied with the translation--it switches tenses constantly, uses unnatural/crude phrases, and just plain doesn't flow well in English. Still, you can at least understand it. o/ ] <<less
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omgsijin rated it
November 8, 2020
Status: --
the MC is witty but an ML that's established as a communal d!ck shared by many women simultaneously will never be appealing regardless of what bravado he did in the future, also

he pleasures himself with other concubine after being aware of his feelings for the MC makes him a pure glorified ahole all the sht and scheme he done to her family also added up to the disappointing ending.

the first half MC is wasted on him the latter's MC's behavior is so out of character.
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dona rated it
January 1, 2019
Status: c45
For some reason I couldn’t like the protagonist or the ML. The author tries selling them as ‘geniuses’ but I didn’t buy it. I found our protagonist too unreasonable sometimes. She ‘ran away’ from the palace in the midst of war, just to get a breath of fresh air, not caring how irresponsible that is. That’s when I really got bored of the story. If you don’t like the palace life, if you feel it’s too constrained and stuffy, then why didn’t you find a way or try to fight... more>> it instead of agreeing so easily to become the empress?? What did you expect? The ML was too childish, for example the way he tried to ‘show off’ in front of her just to get praises.. Ugh. Are you a kid ? The only person I liked was the cousin brother. I was impressed with him when he and the empress almost got framed. He was really awrsome, responsible, clever, sensible and kind. He should’ve been the main lead instead of that dumb emperor who constantly gets jealous and angry at his empress just because she gives attention to her cousin and not seeing what’s wrong with having countless other women in his harem. It really wasn’t a bad read, but the characters are really not likable. <<less
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Faye rated it
March 31, 2016
Status: --
Hail the T.O.A.D !

The title stays true to its meaning

We follow the adventure of MC who is wed to the Emperor.
She's a lazy tomboy... <== this is a spoiler already

Almost every chapters will make you laugh or sad.

And the story flows quite good... This is an enjoyable ride and I'm glad I got to have a go at it
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neri21 rated it
February 11, 2018
Status: c5
This is the novel that could have been Doomed To Be Cannon Fodder if that novel was written with more humor and more in-depth understanding of its characters.

Ji Wiu Jiu and Ye Zhen Zhen are mismatched down to their politics and their tastes in food. He hates her family and she thinks he's a man who*e masquerading as an emperor. She loathes the sight of him and he hates her because she continuously unmans him, the first woman to repel his s*xual advances with a sharp kick to his groin.

But... more>> they're married and must work within the parameters of their separate limitations. And that's the beauty of reading this novel. Because the emperor and empress are young and not really tied to hate and disappointment, they are able to close the gap that was trying to keep them apart. Ji Wiu Jiu is constantly jealous but he doesn't sulk and hide his head under the sand. He confronts, he nags, and waits for answers, even when he's about ready to blow his top. The same goes for Ye Zhen Zhen.

This is a couple that actually talks and discusses important issues that could affect their life: his family, her family, loyalty, fidelity, women, men, war, politics, s*x. The s*xual chemistry between the couple is blazing hot and there's lots of that scattered around.

What nicely ties the novel together is that by the end of it, Ji Wiu Jiu and Ye Zhen Zhen are so tightly coupled they basically ruled a kingdom without losing the loving humor and breezy sexuality that made their marriage so fun to read. <<less
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orblee rated it
December 14, 2016
Status: c21
I neither love not hate this story. The Protagonist has a decent character. She is beautiful, smart and doesn't let others step over her.

The schemes, political 'wars' and relationships aren't terribly exciting or original but they're still enjoyable.

As for the comedy factor, its decent. Though it could be amped up a little, instead of existing for the hell of it, kind of thing. I also enjoy the overall world-building. Isn't anything new but it's easy to imagine and enjoy. The reason I gave a low rating, however, is due... more>> to the portrayel of the Male Lead. I really don't like him. He's petty and annoying to the point of being a nuisance. But as I'm only twenty-something chapters into the story, I may change my opinion of him later on, but I don't have high hopes on that happening. For the time being, I'll try to keep an open heart and march onward. <<less
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bookmunchies rated it
November 25, 2020
Status: c43
MC is rather free, somewhat childish and unrestrained, somewhat lucky, somewhat smart, but most of all always cautious.

The only thing is, what is with her casually making herself out to be the one in the wrong when she was r*ped??? Also making the whole, s*x repulsion out to be a side effect of her love for him and jealousy of other women being with him, when fr 0 love is there on her part


ML is a deranged pe*vert and rapist.

Not only did he take advantage of her while she was sleeping many times, he also r*ped her twice. The first time he disregarded all 3 of her rejections and only stopped when she started throwing up, and the second time he threatened her with the lives of her whole family.


It's ahistorical

and somewhat weird in the sense that guns are commonsense but binoculars are never before seen

so it's really best to just ignore those few things.

Harem battles are so so but MC does have some interesting moves.

The translation is not the best.

I'd recc it only to ppl who don't think too deeply about plots and character development, there is some humorous parts to the story and it's not very long. I dropped it on ch 43 and really do not think I'll ever come back to it.
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October 27, 2017
Status: c89
I loves the chapters translated so far. However, the second translator also seems to have given up and that makes me sad. The story is nice in the sense that the FL is not soft and feminine. She loves guns, martial arts and is very straight forward. This is not a transmigration story unless I missed something in the translation. They fall in love, the emperor realizes and pursues her. She is a bit dense about love and so is he. The r*pey scene mentioned other reviewers is because of... more>> her finding s*x disgusting - they call it a disease. They eventually figure out that it is because he sleeps with his other concubines. We are not reading a modern drama. Even in today's world, there are a**holes who sleep around. These stories are about times when theses kinds of have multiple wives was socially acceptable and probably a sign of wealth. So while I do want it to be only ML and FL, we have to bear through the parts until the excesses can be gotten rid of.

That said, there are some laugh out loud funny parts. Overall liked it, I such someone would finish translating! <<less
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sangmaharani rated it
February 22, 2020
Status: Completed
At first, you will be eandered by Empress' non-virtuous and free-spirited nature and awed by her intelligence. You will think the hateful Emperor isn't worthy of her and hope he won't end up with her.

As the story progesses, you will laugh, a lot, by their antics, their bickering, and super funny last-liners. When Emperor starts falling for the Empress, you will start to sympathize with him, see him as really pitiful being.

Later, when Empress softens to him, you will ship them really hard, since they are both so cute, innocent,... more>> hillarious, powerful, intelligent, basically match made from heaven. You will also blush (and laugh out loud) by their you-know-what moments.

After their feelings becomes mutual, you will wish they can overcome the rest of obstacles together. In the end, you will feel satisfied by how everything turns out.

And then, someday, you will find yourself wanting to visit this story over again. <<less
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kurojotei rated it
February 15, 2021
Status: c90
It's an okay novel. The earlier chapters are entertaining to read, but like most of the reviews here, the second half falls short of expectations. So far, from what I've read, while the Emperor JWJ grew in character and has become more mature as a lover and a husband, the Empress YZZ seems to have not grown much. Moreover, it irks me that she's so irresponsible given her position as empress and now in the more recent chapters, she's more of a lovesick person. It is quite disappointing to see... more>> a brilliant female character be reduced to a woman who's life and thoughts revolve around her love for the ML. I wish that her growth as a better lover and wife for JWJ goes hand-in-hand with her growth as an empress, since we can't all be kids forever. Instead, she is quickly becoming a one-dimensional character with occasional bouts of brilliance and deductive reasoning. <<less
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chibiheaven rated it
January 12, 2017
Status: c83
I was stuck between a 3 or 4, if I could give half ratings I would've.

This story can be pretty funny and I enjoy their interactions for the most part.

The female MC is cute and lovable, while the male lead really is just... I'm just glad he changed for the better. Though I can understand where the author is coming from in regards to some things that happened while he was still 'learning' about feelings and love.

... more>> An enjoyable read that makes me chuckle.

Warning: The translations are mediocre at best and have not been editted (unfortunately). However props to the translator for making the novel available. <<less
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Wolve2k rated it
July 16, 2021
Status: c40
not worth the read, cant ship ML and FL since there is really no base, it's just that the author wants it. Translation isn't that great either.
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Naimena rated it
July 1, 2021
Status: c101 part2
To be honest I'm feeling conflicted about this novel, I didn't really like it however I can admit some good points, it's just not enough for me. It might be because I got some kind of whiplash-like reaction reading this just after reading about the wonderful ML in "The Heartbeat at the Tip of the Tongue", but I'm not moved by the romance in this novel at all. I'm usually a fan of historical romance so some plot devices and morals of the characters can be given some leeway but... more>> this is plot has such a strange and disjointed way of advancing the romance...

The worldbuilding is truly odd too. This FL isn't actually a transmigrator for once, yet her ideas seem to be so effortlessly modern at times? There are mentions of landmines and guns yet it seems the rest is mostly meant to be just your average historical conflict with barbarians. It's not quite wrong but it doesn't fit either. Female rulers are accepted and the empire was founded by a female emperor, one would think the social rules and family relationships are accordingly fairer to women, yet women don't seem to have a stronger position at all compared to your average historical novel. There are not unconventionally powerful women introduced nor relaxed palace etiquettes at all, so, what's even the point of that background info? Concubines are still decorative toys for the emperor with gentle, womanly pursuits; Mother empress is still reduced to petty schemes and a motherly facade; Ye's family women aren't mentioned to have any merit apart from gossiping and being the object of their husbands love; even FL is unable to reject her own marriage and is forced to be a tool in the harem to protect her family. So what's different here? It's the same man owns woman historical context in other novels. There's nothing to indicate any influence of feminism or equality derived from the female rulers of the past.

I don't feel the romance is done well. It is pretty forced. Even if the r*pe and s*xual harassment is not considered

(and it should, even if he "didn't really mean it", he threatened to harm her family if she didn't please him well and when he saw her disgusted face he just changed positions so he wouldn't have to see her crying face)

, the whole development is flawed and twisted conveniently to accomodate a "happy ending". The FL is so indifferent to the ML initially and she's pretty much accepted the empress title to protect her family but clearly doesn't have the intention of acting like a wife. It made her pretty cool and likeable, yet the chapters following the r*pe she jumps from "this bastard could kill my whole family or me anytime he wants so I'd better play nice" to "oh he's my man and he treats me so well, I'd die without him". She was obviously sex-repulsed and hated his forceful actions to the point it made her throw up yet it was used simply as a plot device to drive us to a monogamous ending. There's no consequence to his threats, his traps or the r*pe apart from him feeling guilty for a night. It was a "love changes people" trope to the extreme.

At least the prostitute actually had common sense, she said it right "who could be so unfortunate to catch his attention?". The result was decided anyways because FL doesn't really have a choice.

The characters feel shallow, the MC and ML's personalities change so much in comparison to the first chapters that they might as well be different people. Even the playboy, manipulative ML whose one good point was a sense of responsability ends up all "to hell with the nation, I choose love". This ML... is so bland. He magically turns into our "pampering obedient husband" ideal because it was the only way to get the FL's heart, that's nice to read in fluffly and funny scenes, but what's even his personality?. The FL who was so careful and concerned about her family suddenly just sneaked away and put her reputation and position at risk because she liked war that much. It was obviously a plot device so they could travel and know the happiness of a "two people world" but it doesn't make sense. What's even her priority?

I'll admit there are plenty funny scenes, FL's schemes and responses are witty and the later half's pampering is satisfying enough but you need to abandon common sense. I never could get myself to root for the ML, I dreaded his advances and later on was just resigned. He's not the worst ML but he's nothing special. Apart from being rich, poweful and occasionally reasonable, what's his charm?

I'm also appalled at the overwhelming amount of "oh so sweet he's in love" "poor thing, why can't she love him already?" "so sad, he made a mistake" "she's so inmature for being disgusted by s*x, only needs to get used to it" comments for the r*pey chapters... even if this is supposedly historical and the characters don't have a concept of spousal r*pe, don't you guys have modern morals? This kind of reactions, they truly opened my eyes... I wish I could rate it lower but I'd feel that's too biased by my own personal disgust. <<less
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August 15, 2018
Status: Completed
Bless you, if you can read this till the end.

Honestly, for someone who likes romance this is maybe the one. The beginning chapters are cute and funny. Interaction between emperor and empress is quite entertaining. Bickering, love-hate type, tsundere. I must say this part is the appeal of this novel. You will find it funny or/and heartwrenching.

Then toward the end, it becomes draggy, weird, and nonsense. That's where I dropped it and I need to make believe that c55 or around ... more>>

(+a pregnancy chapter)

is the perfect ending. Man, I'm still pissed by the way it ended, what was author thinking by adding weird plot in it? It ruins the whole thing.

For the characters, the MC is not that great actually, she's smart borderline annoying imo. The ML (emperor) is a pe*vert, boring and flat character. The memorable thing for this emperor is his pe*vert nature

at some point, I almost believe he has somnophilia tendency, which is creepy

. I'm not even remember if he ever help the MC to solve her problems. I almost wish Lu Li guy is the ML.

Then, the antagonists are quite repetitive which I kept forgeting who is who, who was doing this, fortunately they weren't that important because they're bland. <<less
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Abhieghail rated it
December 15, 2016
Status: c81
This story made me laugh, cry, and get mad. Ahhhh really! Some of the concubines wanna make me slap them, their personality is soo hateable. Zhen Zhen is such a good character.!! Her fluff moments with the emperor is soo doki-doki. &Lt;3 a goood mix of seriousness, fluff, comedy and smut
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dramamonster rated it
July 11, 2018
Status: Completed
This is an interesting read because it's an Imperial palace romance, but there isn't really an evil villain. Ye Zhen Zhen is the much loved granddaughter of the Prime Minister. Against her wishes, she enters the palace to marry the Emperor as his legal wife, the Empress. The Emperor doesn't really want her either. Their first night is a disaster and they mutually dislike each other. Over time, as the harem's schemes unfold, the

Emperor starts to admire, and eventually fall in love with Ye Zhen Zhen. The Emperor can see through all the backstabbing harem schemes, and eventually he realizes that the women in his harem look weak and gentle, but are cruel and vicious, whereas the Empress looks cunning but is actually kind.

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ViraVera rated it
March 27, 2018
Status: Completed
This was a really enjoyable story! It's funny, skillfully developed, and long, yet satisfying. I guess I would describe the writing as detailed and character-driven, providing a blend of drama, comedy, and world-development. I wanted to share a few things I hope will be helpful, if you are deciding whether or not YOU might enjoy this story.
    • The translation is a bit rough for some of the chapters, so if that ruins your ability to read a story, beware. It's not always easy to understand. It seems like an especially difficult type of book to translate to English. I understood enough from the translator's hard work to enjoy both the story and the details.
    • While "mature, I think most of this book doesn't qualify for the "smut" label, especially since for more than half of the first "100" chapters, the main characters aren't really in a s*xual relationship yet. Their relationship has to grow into a good one before that can happen! While some s*x scenes are described, many s*xual moments feel like they are more focused on the every day interactions of a good relationship (finally!) and the details are left to the imagination. The relationship between the emperor and his empress is the focus of the story and his harem is more about the political palace context/background.
    • I think the storyteller is skillful because there were so many plot points that could have been flat and boring. A summary of events in the story wouldn't do any justice to the interesting ways they unfold in the actual book. The way the characters and their relationship were developed is very impressive to me, since I'm usually an impatient reader, for example if I think the author has dragged out a romance unnecessarily. I'm not saying there were no tropes, I'm saying that they were used without feeling too forced throughout most of the book

      although I did think that one of the heroine's decisions was uncharacteristically dumb and felt forced, and it felt strange going from the original translator's coverage of a major event to a new translator's efforts after chapter 85

      ; but I thought the plot and pacing were skillful and fun from the beginning, so don't force yourself to keep reading if you don't find the story to your taste.
    • I thought the female lead was intelligent, quirky, stubborn, likable, and hilariously ignorant about sexuality. I thought the male lead was talented, capable, relatively responsible, and grew from being selfish, to being mature and loving. They are far from perfect characters, which is what gave them room to stay interesting over so many chapters. They have to develop a lot of emotional intelligence and the portrayal of possessive and jealous instincts from both of them is realistic in that these feelings are treated as normal, but distracting from what is important, the honest care and appreciation they have for each other.
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Scorpia123 rated it
February 20, 2018
Status: Completed
Honestly, at the beginning, I didn’t really want to read this novel because of the harem but I thought I might as well give it a go. After reading I couldn’t stop and just kept binge reading even though I have exams, but yolo. ? This story is funny and the harem was only at the beginning, soon the male lead basically stopped going to his other concubines. The fluff and the cute bickering couple, and most importantly it’s not too cheesy for me.
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