Faraway Wanderers

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A tale about the former leader of a special organization served under royalty, now leaving his past life behind and unintentionally getting involved with the martial world.

Associated Names
One entry per line
Tian Ya Ke
Tiānyá kè
Tyk
Word of Honor/山河令 [Drama]
Word of Honour/山河令 [Drama]
นักรบพเนจรสุดขอบฟ้า
天涯客
Related Series
Lord Seventh (Shared Universe)
Recommendations
Thousand Autumns (4)
Peerless (4)
Sha Po Lang (2)
Lord Seventh (2)
Liu Yao: The Revitalization of Fuyao Sect (1)
Record of the Missing Sect Master (1)
Recommendation Lists
  1. Top list
  2. historical danmeis!
  3. Chinese fantasy/non-fantasy bl novels
  4. Danmei i've read
  5. Best of danmei

Latest Release

Date Group Release
07/30/21 xuxunette’s... c46
07/27/21 xuxunette’s... c45
07/23/21 xuxunette’s... c44
07/21/21 xuxunette’s... c43
07/18/21 xuxunette’s... c42
07/15/21 xuxunette’s... c41
07/14/21 xuxunette’s... c40
07/12/21 xuxunette’s... c39
07/10/21 xuxunette’s... c38
07/09/21 xuxunette’s... c37
07/04/21 xuxunette’s... c36
07/02/21 xuxunette’s... c35
06/30/21 xuxunette’s... c34
06/26/21 xuxunette’s... c33
06/24/21 xuxunette’s... c32
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58 Reviews sorted by


lilacwood
New lilacwood
July 25, 2021
Status: Completed
So full disclaimer: the most sure-fire way for me to like something is to start with low expectations and be pleasantly surprised. I watched the drama first, and then read all the reviews saying that the drama more or less put the novel to shame. I went in to this expecting to agree with those reviews, but actually I don't!

I think Priest told the story she wanted to tell here and she did an incredible job. She's a master of plots and this was probably one of her simpler ones;... more>> the added content in the drama (even though I liked most of it) makes it seem bloated and rushed in comparison to the original story.

The novel lets you spend more time with a smaller cast instead of having a million side plots for a million side characters, and as a result those characters are better fleshed-out in ways that are funny and flawed and wonderful.
Spoiler

Ye Baiyi being an absolute as*hole at all times because he's so old he no longer remembers tact! All the missing Lord Seventh/Wu Xi content I so deeply craved (Beiyuan sitting around playing with chopsticks at a critical plot point? I'm dead) ! Cao Weining's inability to quote poetry! Gu Xiang's death scene! Wen Kexing's extremely fragile sadness that he hides so carefully! Zhou Zishu's interior monologue that makes it obvious he's incapable of being as cold and heartless as he thinks he is!

[collapse]

Honestly I thought it was great. It's hard to rate because of the comparisons to the drama, I think, and I wish I had read this first to get an unfiltered opinion. Somewhere between 4-5 stars for sure.

If you want to read it, read it. I almost let all the negative comparisons to the drama convince me that it wasn't worth it. I'm glad I didn't listen. :) <<less
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popbampop
New popbampop rated it
July 19, 2021
Status: Completed
I have to say I really liked this one! I see a lot of reviews comparing the live action to the book but they both were so different from each other, it really isn't worth the comparision (Ofc the book is a lot more gay LOL eventhough the live action did a great job portraying their relationship with chinese censorship)

The relationship between the two MC was the best! They had such a cute dynamic and you can't help but love all the supporting characters too. One thing I wished... more>> I had while reading the book was a character guide, all those martial art sects and ghost valley characters got a little confusing... but other than that, a great read considering this was one of priest's earlier novels and it has a satisfying ending! <<less
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Attica
Attica rated it
January 20, 2019
Status: Completed
Beneath all its hilarious comedy and sweet character interactions, Faraway Wanderers asks us an astonishingly depressing and human question: What does it take to walk out of one's past mistakes? How many good deeds does it take to erase one previous sin? Once one has fallen into the dirt and mud, can that stain ever be washed clean again?

Is true redemption actually possible, or is even the tiniest wrong forever inescapable?

1. Plot

Our MC is the commander of the secret imperial intelligence network, Zhou Zishu, who manages to retire from that... more>> dark line of work, but only by placing a death sentence of three years onto himself. While using his last few days to wander the Jianghu and maybe do some last bit of good to make up just a little for all his previous wrongs... he stumbles onto an overarching conspiracy that threatens to overturn the martial arts world. In particular, he encounters the ML Wen Kexing, a playboy martial artist who insists on sticking to MC's side, and is revealed to possess even more dark secrets than he does pick-up lines. These two men form this adorably funny yet incredibly badass merry band of adventurers by picking up teenagers as their "Adopted children".

Looking back, the plot of Faraway Wanderers was a truly wild ride, with well-foreshadowed plot twists and turns galore. The writing is as smooth as silk, excellently blending together horror, action, comedy, and yes, tragedy (yep, this is a Priest novel). This novel has the perfect amount of Wuxia worldbuilding--not too little and not too much.

The ending especially just blew me away with its ridiculous amount of reveals about certain backstory elements. That very last extra (;__;) reinforces how Faraway Wanderers pulls the old Priest classic: analyzing, deconstructing, and reconstructing the themes and philosophies of its genre of Wuxia. It really does feel a lot like the Wuxia version of Liu Yao by the same author (though this novel came first lol).

Of note, like all Priest novels, the ending was almost a little "too realistic", with that ever-present tinge of bittersweetness and tragedy even though it still counts as a Happy Ending. There is no perfect redemption here, no "becoming famous and celebrated as a hero for saving the Jianghu", no "everyone survives and lives happily ever after all best friends forever". And that's okay.

2. Characters

Ah, every single character in this novel was so nicely fleshed out, with 3D motivations and behavioral quirks. I loved the many sides and facets of our MC. He's kind of like a super badass Tsundere looking for a meaning to his existence. I really enjoyed how he took the role of the "wise Shifu" to a character who would serve a more traditional "young protagonist" role in another Wuxia novel--though an especially Tsundere Shifu.

(I will say that MC's character background wasn't super relevant to the story... I sense that the author wanted to draw more /subtle/ parallels to his past experiences and tell a story of "a dying man finding new meaning in a new world", but he's still an outsider.)

And I absolutely adore the depth of ML's character: he looks like a carefree playboy prankster on the surface, only to unleash surprising amounts of badassery and insight. And that moment in the ending when he broke down and revealed everything was just... god, so painful, but so goddamn cathartic at the same time.

Every single side character also had a very unique and fitting role in the story, especially the gaggle of odd kickass kids following MC and ML around. In general the writing was so tight and sleek--every character's ultimate fate made sense for the choices they made and the environment they were in.

Side note: Faraway Wanderers absolutely loves one storytelling element in particular:

    • "Hahahaha character X always does X behavior, what a cute and funny running joke"
~70 chapters later~

    • "Hey remember how you always laughed about character X having that running joke about doing X behavior all the time?"
    • "That's because all along, they had a horribly tragic backstory explaining why they did X behavior"
    • "DO YOU STILL THINK IT'S FUNNY NOW, HUH? DO YOU????" ;____;
... Yeah, rereading Priest's novels is a delightfully painful experience.

I will note, however, that the main villains definitely fit very well into the plot but do not come across as sympathetic in the slightest. The morality overall is mostly Gray (for our protagonists) and Black (for the antagonists), so the tone is generally dark despite the comedy on the surface.

Overall:

I said this about Liu Yao before and I'll say it again--Priest's novels are some of the best-written Danmei I've ever read. I only ever want to read her works once, but that "once" is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.

While reading Faraway Wanderers, I slapped my knee red from laughing so hard. My teeth hurt from being clenched so tight during the dramatic climax. And yes, I bawled like a goddamn baby at the heartwrenching scenes.

~~~~~~~~

So, does true "redemption" actually exist? There is no easy answer to the question posed by Faraway Wanderers. A good person may be forced into a single horrible situation just once, and end up condemned to the shadows for a lifetime. Sometimes, life is nothing more than trying to make the best out of the horrible hand you're given.

How optimistic and cheerful, right? :) :) :) :')

But despite its realistic pessimism, in the end, Faraway Wanderers chooses to believe in hope, no matter how small the hope may be. It declares that even those trapped in the deepest darkness deserve that hope. Even the person who appears to be the greatest sinner deserves the chance to try and do a single good thing for once.

All humans make mistakes, some big, some small. Just like what the MC and ML experience, life may beat us down with its injustice. But no matter what our past may be, we always have a choice in the present: a choice to act for compassion, for goodness, and yes, for love. <<less
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Severe
Severe rated it
January 20, 2021
Status: Completed
I can assume that I cracked the reason why I never managed to enjoy Priest works. (Until this one) I have try plenty of them, even managing till the middle - but dropped all the time. And the reason is really simple - her works are not really BL type. Sure thing, male x male relationship are there, but if we readers come for BL tag - we anticipating to read actual romance story - and here is none. All the romance is really shallow and backgrounded every single time.

So,... more>> to be honest - her works are quite good if you are looking for an adventure genre - heavy plot with well developed world..... but not for BL.

And this is not the only reason. Most of the works are so heavy on a global plot (war, imperial struggles or whatever) , that the main characters and their struggles seems to dim a lot in comparison. Never liked that, sorry.

On the contrary, "Faraway wanderers" is a good example how to concentrate on the characters. Sure thing, something is happening in a world, but we still deeply connected to MC, rather than bystanderly reading about the big heavy plot.

Still, the romance part is surely lacking a lot, but with an enjoyable plot overall it was neglected by me.

P. S. Priest's novels are always well praised and compared to other BL giants, so beeing more stingy in criticism is affordable. <<less
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aiji
aiji rated it
January 24, 2019
Status: Completed
".. So freaking beautiful! A masterpiece! A perfect 5/5! Re-read! Re-read..!", said by my exaggerating heart that's still can't seem to move on.

Though still suffering from the empty feeling caused by reading this one hell of a masterpiece as an aftermath, I'll try to make this review spoiler-free as best as I can... and less emotional.

STORY:

... more>> The description provided for this novel is pretty straightforward and simple. It's like it's saying, "Here's the protagonist. Let's follow him!"— And that's it. But what's really in store for me?

To be honest, had I not happen to read decent reviews (and also mentioning my favorite characters Wei WuXian and Xie Lian xD), I wouldn't put this novel in my reading list by just the description. And to give my share what this novel is all about.. yes, we're going to follow the MC and his mini "crew" as they try to solve a certain mystery. Despite wanting to live a simple and carefree hourglass life, the MC found himself getting entangled in a rather complicated and bloody situation he didn't expect, which greatly changed his life. A mix of adventure, action, mystery, colored with supernatural elements. Actually, it somehow reminds me of Heaven Official's Blessing with the mentions of ghosts, disguises, with 'adorable' MC (Zhou Zishu might kill me for this), and a 'crazy' ML (yep), BUT with a totally different plot.

It's so nice to spot a story with an air of certain 'depth' to it. I felt lucky, as reading these types is rather rare. With an engaging plot, interesting main characters with solid substance, I have to admit the author did a great job connecting me firmly to the story, thus, effectively and successfully stirred my emotions as I read on. I like the author's writing style. I think I'm gonna 'stalk' his/her other works...

One more thing I like about this is how the *cough* 'romance' element is splendidly portrayed and developed here. Slow and sweet, and definitely not forced. You may accuse me of being too 'conservative' for a BL reader, but I enjoy not too explicit portrayals more, unlike some authors I know who describes every single thing in a thousand words when the couple is doing the R18+ stuffs, and sometimes not just once, but many times! I don't know if it is just me but the way of 'touch' and 'kiss' as described by the author here is enough to hold my breath unconsciously while reading. I'd say this is pretty much 'wholesome', good for those who prefer a 'mild' BL story. Just don't mind the shamelessness of the ML when he's teasing the MC (but you'll lose a lot, though). Very light and blends well with the story's other major elements. Hope to read more with a similar style, really.

For a 70+ chaptered novel, this is well-paced. I enjoyed the whole journey. It's also not too hard to MTL too, because it has less names/titles and places, so it's much smoother to read as you edit through, unlike the other wuxia themed novel I know.

CHARACTERS:

Ah, a perfect set of characters! I can't praise this enough!

A cute and adorable MC and ML... No, not that kind of 'cute' because the two are both already adults.

Why 'cute' then? Well, for one, the MC, Zhou Zishu, is a tsundere. What's more cuter than a grown man acting tough and spewing curses everytime but deep inside possesses a soft heart? The ML knows that well so he used it to his own advantage (Curious? Read until the end. It's funny and sweet) . It's so nice to find a tsundere MC that is not annoying, unlike a certain MC I know from a certain novel. On the other hand, the ML (Wen Kexing) is such a child. I mean, despite his shamelessness, unpredictable and crazy character (he's crazier than Hua Cheng xD), deep inside, he's just a lonely child. All he needs is someone like the MC to quiet him down and be his reason to continue living. He's 'disgustingly' funny and, thankfully, NOT a yandere. And though they're always 'fighting', they compromise and... and then we get what we want (hehe). I just love the two. So sweet. Now, whenever I hear the word "steam" and "braise", I smile and remember these dorks.

And for the side characters... very colorful—but with a darker shade. This has many unique and memorable characters. Some are crazier than the ML. I remember most of them by their ruthlessness and bloody method, if not ended up mutilated in a brutal way. A certain "couple's" death shocked me the most. I didn't really expect that. Very memorable. Tsk.

I praise the author for pooling a good set of characters, each have their own motives and circumstances, giving background and reasons why they do what they do.

OVERALL:

(No) thanks to this, for the nth time in my life, I doubted the reviews and the genre listed up there, panicking maybe someone forgot to include the 'tragedy' genre! That's how engaging this was for me. I was laughing one moment, then facepalming with a red face next, then found myself dying from worrying to the point of almost jumping to the last chapters to ensure that it's a happy ending. Ah, what a roller-coaster ride...

In short, I enjoyed reading it so very much. This is a very good read.

So, if you're tired of reading novels with too many 'fan service' and would like to try a little serious but not too heavy a drama (I think? Haha), with funny, unique, and cool characters and amazing story, why not give this a try?

I highly recommend it. <<less
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simmich
simmich rated it
April 11, 2021
Status: Completed
Even though I am reader of bl novels for a lot of years and regularly visit this site, I usually don`t write reviews. The reason was initially, because I was not used to share my toughts with other people but recently I started making more friends who I share mutual interests, as exchanging information and making suggestions of novels and I gained enough confidence and experience to make my first review.

I usually read a lot of reviews before I decide to start reading a novel and I know how... more>> important a review can be when you dont have any other means to decide if a novel is worth reading. After I saw a reviewer who recently compared the novel with the drama and how he thinks that the drama managed to exceed the novel in almost all aspects and recommended people to not waste the time reading the novel and only watch the drama, as those that will come reading the novel after watching the drama will be disappointed, it didn`t seem a right thing to say and so I had to finally make this review.

As someone who read the novel and watched the drama as well, I want to give another opinion of everything that person said.

Firstly, I want to say that the drama adaptation Word of honor is in my opinion not as a faithful adaptation of the novel as people think, because the drama changed the sequence of a lot of events, added a lot of original plots, and a lot of storylines about the side characters and villains. The drama also changed a lot the character of Zou Zishu, not that much for Wen Kexing, and by adding a storyline where the two of them meet each other when young, the premise that they should meet and treat as strangers is gone. I will not mention more as to not give spoilers to the people that didnt yet watch the drama. All the dynamic ZZS and WKX had in the novel, was based on the the premise that everything starts from a destined meeting between two strangers who meet in a time in their life when one of them don`t have much time to live, and has accepted that and is only waiting for his time to die to come, and the other is about to see his revenge he prepared all his life to take place, even if his plans will get him killed.

The other reviewer only talked about what the drama appear to have done better than the novel, and I understand some of the things added as storylines for side characters, villains, but why did they have to change the personality of ZZS, and all the dynamic and development of the relationship that ZZS and WKX had in the novel. The drama changed a lot of things from the novel, how about all the times that the drama disrespected the source material ? Word of honor cannot be compared with Untamed, that drama is the best danmei adaptation drama made until now. Untamed had it`s shortcomings, but it adapted the novel almost chapter to chapter identically and it didn`t changed almost anything about how the characters were in the novel. If is one thing Untamed can`t be accused of, is of not being a faithful or a closer adaptation of the novel as it could be. When an adaptation is made, being drama or donghua, I think the majority of novel readers were burned a lot of times, so we don`t ask too much. In my case, and I think for many other people as well, I always expect that the characterization of the characters to remain as closely to how it was depicted in the novel, and to not change the dynamic between the characters too much, but this is where the drama failed me the most.

PLOT. For a novel this short, I read is an earlier novel writed by Priest, so didn`t have that much experience probably, considering how consistent the main characters were writed and how everything that happens was explained well, it's still one of the best novels out there. The reason why I like to read Priest novels so much, who until know is still my favorite writer, it's because she don't reveals too much about how the characters are from the start. Priest describes their actions, gestures, words, and then to understand all at a more deeply level you have to connect the dots or clues. Sometimes when I reread a novel writed by Priest I feel that, oh I didn't know that, as you can easily overlook things if you read in hurry or you are distracted by other things.

The story basically tells the story of how a unexpected meeting between two strangers at the time when one of them know he`ll die soon (Zhou Zishu), and the other put himself in danger, as he is willing to die if he has too (Wen Kexing), who did equally bad things in the past, but not trying to change each other, come to genuinely accept, understand, sympathize with each other and manage to find solace and hope in the posibility of living a life differently as how they lived before they meet each other, away from the martial arts world, if only they have each other. I`m sure WKX knew how dangerous his revenge plans were, as before they were started to be carried out, he went to experience the world outside Ghost Valley and enjoy all he can, so he probably thought that the chance to die was quite big. The story is about those kind of characters, who are attracted to each other because they feel they can really understand the other, because they sympathize to what they had to do in order to survive and be who they are in the present. Their story is as interesting as it is, because they can empathize with each other but at the same time, not trying to change each other and only intervine in the other life to give hope and willingness to continue living, as they now found and have each other.

ROMANCE.

The novel has two unique, charismatic, strong and mature characters, who respect each other boundaries and are possesive of each other. WKX is more possesive than ZZS, but they don`t stop the other in doing something that they have to do, mature is the key word for this couple. Both main characters are understanding and have a healthy and harmonious relationship. In the other review, it was mentioned that WKX followed and sexually harass ZZS, and this is not true, how can it be interpreted as sexual harrasment I don`t know for the life of me. Yes, he was persistent, he followed him for a period, but he knew his boundaries. When he sexually harass ZZS ? People should think more before they wrote something, every intimate moment they had was completely mutual. Also ZZS is not that weak of a guy to let himself suffer sexual harassment and be pursued for a long time, without making it clear to WKX to stop or trying to get rid of him. ZZS just didn`t bother with him at first, then he wanted to see how far he can go or if he can come to like him. If it`s something as i`m surely of, is that he was as attracted to WKX, as the other was of him as well. WKX was behaving as someone who tried to make the person he was interested in be closer with him and create situations to know each other better.

It was also mentioned that the relationship between the main characters is forced. The relationship between them isn't at all forced, is slow burn, all the clues can be easily spoted, and is in line to how ZZS would have behaved and reacted if he will fall in love. ZZS is gloomy, a bit depressed, he had lived almost all his life with a lot of pressure on his shoulders, and saw how relationships can be destroyed easily, even those deeper than that of lovers. Because of this, it has taken ZZS a lot of time to convince himself that WKX is serious with him, and to give himself a chance to love him. Also, ZZS didn`t spend half of the novel flirtling with girls, its only a few times and when he does it, he has other intentions, he don`t does it for fun, or because he likes them. The reasons WKX like ZZS are many; first it was curiosity but more importantly he saw in him that their past are similar, that they both lived a life until then that it was not their choice, then he slowly started to love him, it didn't just happen. In real life this happen too, sometimes after a short time of interacting with a person, you just feel that person is similar with you, or different but you just know they have something that happened to them, that it's similar with what happened to you. Because of this, you just feel more closer or something similar to sharing a bond with that person.

CHARACTERS.

The characters are not unidimensional. Priest don`t write unidimensional characters. She creates the most amazing, memorable, multifaceted characters in BL. The supporting and side characters indeed in this novel weren`t all memorable and they received very little screentime, only to move the story forward. But the ones that were described more, were charming, had a distict personality and were vivid described like; Cao Wei Ning, Gu Xiang, Zhang Cheng Ling and Ye Bai Yi. Liu Qianqiao also has a more memorable characterization than in the drama, as is described as a pitiful woman, who because she has low self esteem as a result of his face being destroyed. As a result of this, when someone has showed her love, she will fall in love and care for that person easily, and is showed how being this way hurt her the most. Also the villains didn`t do everything by themselves, 'as all they did was plotting against each other and WKX just given the fatal blow'. It was explained everything was carefully planned for many years by WKX, a big part of what happened is because he intuited and manipulated what the ghosts from the Ghost Valley would do, everything started from there.

This is in my opinion one of the few novels translated of Priest, that not only the story but the characterization of the characters is very unique, besides Silent reading, Sha Po Lang, Lord Seventh, Liu Yao and Imperfections. Also, is a novel where you can read about two characters that are writed to be equally strong in temperament, quirks, the ability to read the other people intentions, and that aren`t trying to brush things of, or avoid talking about serious stuff. It has funny, bickering moments, but also moments when the characters are doing things in a mature serious way, as in most of Priest novels. <<less
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PotatoCakes
PotatoCakes rated it
March 31, 2021
Status: Completed
Spoiler

To preface this review, I started reading Faraway Wanderers after I watched the Drama. I've watched The Untamed and read MDZS before, and thus had a preconceived expectation that the book would be better than the drama. Unfortunately, this was not the case. In my infinite luck, I've managed to find a novel whose drama adaptation managed to exceed the source material on all accounts.

Plot overview:

MC (Zhao Xu) decides to give up his ambitions of being the head of an assassin org working for the regional prince and wander the countryside instead. He meets a young kid that reminds him of his mentee in the past and decides to protect him. Along the way, he meets ML (Wen Ke Xing), who is the mysterious head of the ghost valley. ML decides to drop everything to follow MC around and sexually harass him for 40 chapters. They do nothing that matters for the duration of the novels until MC and ML manage to murder all the villains after the villains spent the entire novel basically plotting against themselves.

Some might disagree, but strongly believe that the MC and ML had so little impact on the plot that if you took out MC and ML and only stuck them in at the end to kill off the final villain, the general outcome of the novel would have been the same. Sure ML set things in motion before the book started, but after that, the villains basically did everything to themselves.

My Take:

Usually, books contain insightful internal dialogues for deeper characterization, more nuanced plotlines that cannot be intricately drawn out in an episodic format, or more fantastical imagery that can be described in words but not easily translated into reality. This novel conatained none of the above. The characters in the book are one dimensional. Every major character is either a sassy know-it-all or a naive youth. If you did not label the dialogue as spoken by MC or ML, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Whoever wrote and directed the drama should get a raise. The drama spent a lot of time fleshing out the side characters and villains, creating depth and storylines for them that are not in the book. Entire plotlines are cut and new situations are created. As opposed to this book, where the side characters are caricatures at best and received very little screentime. After reading to complete, I still neither understood why people did the things they did nor felt sorry for them during their eventual demise.

As with all priest books. She spends a lot of time quoting poetry and trying to sound sophisticated via archaic language, but the novel itself has very little substance. The relationship between the MC and ML is forced and lukewarm at best. Why does WKX like MC? Who knows? He's pretty? Love at first sight? Curiosity? Why does MC, who spends the first half of the novel flirting with girls respond to WKX's stalkerish/rapist-like demands? Who knows. The supposed "affinity" between the characters is constantly stated in print, we are reminded of it all the time. However, this is a classic case of "tell not show". If this wasn't stated, I wouldn't be able to feel it at all.

Instead of wasting your time reading this book, I recommend you watch the show. If you came here after watching the show, don't bother with this disappointment.

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riajhart
riajhart rated it
May 13, 2021
Status: extra 4
I didn't read ALL the reviews here but I want to disprove a common complain in the ones I did read: everyone complained about how block-like was Zhou Xu and I DISAGREE!

Actually, having watched the live adaptation (although I didn't finish it yet), I can say that I was surprised at how easy going Zhou Xu was in the novel from the very start, and I'm not saying he wasn't harsh because, let's be real, he's a tsundere through and through but he is a tsundere that can be quite... more>> playful, which was quite a surprise to me, as in the live action he becomes truly playful a few episodes in.

To be perfectly honest, Zhou Xu is FAR AWAY from being as emotionally constipated as Lan Zhan from The Untamed (I imagine since you're into this genre, you've already read this novel, if you didn't, TURN AWAY AND GO READ IT WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE COME ON) and yeah, I know, Lan Zhan is actually the most emotional one romantically throughout the whole novel but come on... as much as I love Lan Zhan with ALL OF MY HEART, no one can beat him into how conflicted he was at first with his own feelings, it took the person he loved literally DYING to realize how futile his restraint was, so not even Zhou Xu can beat him (soft hearted Zhou Xu that MELTS the moment Kexing is a little bit sad both internally and externally) and I really think that the only actual reason he was so conflicted is because he truly didn't believe Kexing was being actually serious, so it's all self-defense actually, plus it was new terrain for him, so cut him some slack, Wen Kexing was his first and last stop into the amazing world that is queerness.

The moment he realizes he is in fact pretty serious, he begins to open up really quick, of course it takes a lot for him to actually give himself to another person wholly (which is what I saw many people complained about) and I respect that as I know what it's like... if you think that realistically there's no person like that in the world, look no further, here I am, it takes A f*ckING LOT to strip yourself from all your defenses for another person, you could be ready to DIE for them and still have your defenses up, so yeah... that's it. Rant over.

It's was a good read, there's a lot of points quite different from the live action which makes it interesting even if you've watched the live action. Happy reading! <<less
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Gold_strength
Gold_strength rated it
March 5, 2021
Status: c1
I haven't read it yet so can't really rate it. I'm waiting for the novel to be completely translated before I start. But I logged in just to say that Chichi is doing the Lord's work by translating quickly the remaining chapters. Thank you!
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AliciaAlyss
AliciaAlyss rated it
December 5, 2018
Status: Completed
Really really good. Sadly, it's quite hard to mtl. Butttt don't let it stop you for reading this beauty. It's really really amazing. The translation is good too, I can actually 'feel' the story.

I love our MC and ML relationship.

... more>>
Spoiler

If you're looking for relationship with flirtatious (shameless) ML, I truly recommend you this story. Our MC doesn't really avoid our ML too hehe. There's serious undertones too in their relationship because of Our MC's condition (He only have around three years to live). He will be cured, don't worry.

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Spoiler

Yes, it's HE. Quite reasonable too, maybe. My brain can't keep up with mtl languange. The story itself focused on some mysteries that I still can't understand.. But, even if I only understand half of it, It's quite engaging.

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Please try this story~ <<less
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Peasant0
Peasant0 rated it
November 28, 2018
Status: v1c8
This is a little early to already be reviewing, but let me say... I'm loving this so far! I'd say the main character is a mish-mash of Wei Wuxian and Xie lian from MXT's novels. Zhou Zhishu is our protagonist, and said "former leader" of a secret organization issued by the emperor. He first presented as a lofty and authoritative figure who is seemingly cold and merciless.

... more>>
Spoiler

... But really, he's just a tired guy.

When he left his organization, he had to take a slow-moving poison that would kill him in three years time (sparing the gory details of administering it).

Even so, he's really happy when he leaves. He goes on to wander the streets and get drunk whenever he can, and is just... really satisfied with his life now. You'll get a good laugh over how shameless he is. Like stealing alcohol from a tavern.

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This passage just... cracked me up. If this doesn't get you interested, I don't know what will.

Spoiler

Staring at the boat sailing further away from sight, Zhou Zishu deliberately muttered a regard of absolute literary excellence, "f*ck you."

For most of his life he had mingled with the cultured but degenerate side of society; all they did was spouting Confucious this and Confucious that, never did a rude word escape their mouth. He felt incredibly delighted after blurting out that curse, as if years of pent-up frustrations have vanished completely with it.

And to his surprised revelation, cursing turned out to be such an enjoyable thing to do. He was all smiles, whispering once more, "Eat sh*t bastard, got my money and couldn't even do his job right."

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Pfffft he's just like a kid. The novels where a seemingly cultured and reserved MC is actually a hot mess on the inside is my thing.

Edit:

Spoiler

If I'm right, I believe the ML should be Wen Kexing. Not sure whos the gong or sho yet, but ML seems to fit the first pretty well hehe

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ApolloAresZues
ApolloAresZues rated it
June 2, 2021
Status: --
One of the few cases where the drama adaptation is better than the book. Before this even became a drama, I'd been meaning to read the book when it was fully translated. But the translations were slow and by that time the drama was out, so I figured I could read the book after I watched it, since books tend to go into more depth that dramas dont or go into things that dramas couldn't add. So I'd be able to get more understanding and like it better, is what... more>> I thought.

Now, when I watched the Untamed, I read the book at the same time because it was already fully translated. So I figured I would get less confused bc it's easier to slow down and memorize names in books rather than dramas. This helped me enjoy the drama better cause I had a general census of who was who, what was what, so I was less confused. And I found that while I like the emotionally and character development aspect of The Untamed better, the plot and intricate details of the book version are better than the drama. What I'm trying to get to by mentioning this is that in that adaptation case, both versions have their own strengths and you cant denounce either because they both bring something different yet great to the table.

Now in the case of WOH the drama (which I enjoyed alot. I loved it actually) and the book it's based on, I'd have to give all the merits to the drama adaption. Theres no comparison. It's just better on all fronts. Where the book gave shallow motivations for characters decisions and emotions, the drama gave us in depth looks into what the characters were thinking, letting us get to know them, while keeping them both consistent and complex. For instance, Zhou Zishu of the drama moved me alot more than the book version did. I also felt like I understood Kexings motivations and trauma alot more.

Plot wise, the drama also did surprisingly better. Whereas events in the book felt kind of disorderly and scattered (you can argue that since it is a book, there is more "down time" and events arent happening one after another, except it should still not feel discombobulated). While in the drama, I guess the screenwriters took those events and put them in an order and pacing that made much more sense and also made the characters more involved with the plot. Because for a good majority of the book, it felt like things were just happening to the characters, rather than them making decisions and that leading to changes in plot. The revealing of various mysteries was also much more interesting in the drama, with alot of buildup and it actually felt like revelations were being made and layers were being peeled back. In that regard, the book was not at impactful with unfolding secrets. And it's not bc I already know spoilers due to the drama, because I can still enjoy how stuff unfolds even if I'm not shocked at the end, it's always about the process and the step by step leading to a reveal, except the books way of doing it felt lackluster. The truth was still juicy, but the journey to it simply wasnt as fun.

Another thing is the romance. Dont know how they did it, but the drama actually seemed more romantic to me? The romantic development definitely made much more sense in any case. I dont know if its the vague writing style that doesnt let us too far into main characters brains during key moments, but by the time Kexing develops feelings for Zhou Zish I was very confused. The drama of course will always have the advantage of letting you visually see his romantic development. But the book should in turn have the advantage of internal monologue, either through Kexings view or someone else. In any case, it must be witnessed and expressed. Except it wasnt. A lot of details regarding setting was described in the book, but not much character emotion. By the time I looked up I was deep into the book but still didnt feel like I understand the motivations of any character. And not in a "oh so mysterious!" way, but in a way that implies poor characterization. Things like this make me not care for characters.

The most obvious one was the depth they went into for villains and side characters. In the drama, the villains were much more fleshed out. Their motivations and reasonings made sense and made them feel like great villains to both hate yet understand. Even the ghosts seemed more interesting in the drama.

The only thing I can chalk all these disparities in quality between the book and the drama is that this was one of the authors earlier works. It was written more than ten years ago in 2010. They probably didnt have the capabilities to flash out all their ideas and characters on to paper. The screenwriters of the drama did a great job of essentially polishing a diamond in the rough.

Admittedly I would not have finished this book if I hadn't read and watched the drama. The first 20 chapters alone were boring to me and if it was just another book without an adaptation that I liked, I would have just dropped it. It's not rlly my taste to be honest, especially in terms of writing style. It reads like theres a veil over everything that blocks you from knowing even simple things from characters. It might as well read like a Gods point of view, with no emotional explanations added. You're just left to interpret the bare minimum on your own. Anyway. Take my review as you will. Would totally recommend the drama though. Maybe coming fresh off the awesome drama that was Word of Honor, in a reverse to the norm, my expectations of the book were too high. <<less
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Hale_eee
Hale_eee rated it
March 4, 2021
Status: Completed
I am a big Lan Wang Ji stan, alright! Hhe is like my ultimate bias when it comes to characters. But Wen Ke Xing might be my bias wrecker. I've never fallen in love with a character like this. Sob!!!

To whomever, still unsure about reading it, please give it a go. This book is totally worth your time.

(Sigh) I am in love again!
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narinim
narinim rated it
March 12, 2021
Status: extra 1
I started reading Sha po lang but got bored and dropped it in the middle, I didn't try to read another Priest novel until I watched Legend of Fei drama. And I finally decided to give another novel by her a try. I didn't get bored like sha po lang, the characters and plot look really promising, but the ending was mediocre.

ML is really interesting, very cool, shameless and strong. He keeps flirting with MC from the beginning, and MC is very good at talking back and he is very... more>> shameless too, maybe just not as much ML. If there would be a reason for me to recommend this novel to anyone it would be because of ML, he is just soooo good.

From the beginning of the story MC is dying and has three years to live, which is very cliche. Because in shapolang both MC and ML were sick and in the Legend of Fei ML was sick as well. Apparently the writer doesn't like to write a novel where everybody are healthy. I wish MC wasn't sick because I hate these s*upid cliches.

The story keeps going in a good pace, if it wasn't for the ending this could have been a veryy good novel. But the ending is weird. It makes you think that all those villains are just some talking monkeys with no brain.

And if you are looking for romance, this novel won't satisfy you. There is no sweet talking. MC and ML are a perfect match, it seems like they are made for each other, but unfortunately no matter how much you wait, you don't see a romantic scene as you wished for. (Even when they sleep with each other it doesn't seem romantic) and also it seems like ML likes MC more than he likes ML and that is a bit annoying. <<less
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Arisa kyouka
Arisa kyouka rated it
May 4, 2021
Status: Completed
This is my first Priest novel and I came here from the drama WOH. This would be my second BL novel after mo Dao zushi. So I had a lot of expectations. I was a bit worried that the novel was only 77 chapters long but once I started I knew this is a good find.

This story is meant for everyone. If you are here for the intriguing plot, there is plenty, if you want fluff, tianyake is nothing but that. In short, there is overall satisfaction brought to... more>> us by wenkexing and a grudgingly reluctant Zhou zishu.

I liked the fast moving pace and honestly there were times I was truly lost. This author's writing is plot centric and she also faithfully develops her characters. Wenkexing is perhaps the most shameless self proclaimed flirt in the history of Bl novels. I was one of those rare readers who did not condemn him for stalking zishu non stop. I could have found faults with his almost perfect character but I accidentally fell for him instead. And all the blame goes to Simon for acting out his role to a fault. Wenkexing oozes charisma and when he goes crazy, the red signal goes everywhere but you can't bring yourself to critique him. I read the whole novel in 3 days all thanks to the motivation given by wenkexing.

The plot is good. It's not over the top nor can I say it's the best. Since Priest focuses on building the story and the world behind it, you can easily get lost in all the twists and turns but the pace was indeed daunting. Sometimes I wished she had put on the brakes so the ending didn't feel super rushed. This plot deserved a well thought out finale, slower than what transpired. We also needed time to process what author tried to convey. Sadly many readers including myself felt some loose ends existed.

Priest's narrative is one of a kind. Her action scenes were least complicated as if she could bring to our eyes the whole episode in simpler terms. The drama also helped actualization of wenkexing and zishu before my eyes. So I am thankful to Priest for tianyake.

The one place I felt completely devastated was with the romance. With unparalleled abilities in the field of flirting, wenkexing and Zhou zishu could have been the best couple. They are mature and behave like adults. They don't impose their will on the other. Both know that they have their part to complete and will silently support one another. Both are powerful and there is mutual understanding and respect in their relationship. With so many parameters checked, the romance could have had more substance. I was given to understand many days later that this is fluffy bl. But my fujoishi heart still wanted a larger preview of their physical relationship. And the extra no 1 was absolutely unhelpful. Where the hell was the papapa scene. I felt robbed. I was more sorry for wenkexing towards the end. All that hardwork put into building the romance, wenkexing will
Spoiler

still have to put up an act of tragedy to get s*x from zishu. Since they are evenly matched, the top-bottom battle will continue.

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I love the character background for both MC and ML. Both are carrying the burden of their dark past and create a path for them in their own way. There is no hiding the fact that both have been villainous and at no point do they try to be anything but their true self. Ever since the moment each one set his eyes on the other, he knew who the other one was. Even if zishu had a tragic past, I didn't get a complete idea of his suffering but towards the end with the minimal details on wenkexing, I was emotionally struck by what he had to go through to become valley master and his endless loss till the last moment was like stabbing an arrow to the heart.

I liked wenkexing the best and Zhou zi shu was stiff as a cardboard and there were time I couldn't make anything of him. I had to remind myself constantly that he keeps his heart guarded and it may take more efforts to crack this fellow. Ironically, the drama captured his personality and gave the couple a sense of history and maybe mellowed him a bit? Their dynamics in the novel can be at best considered lethargic but the drama took many steps ahead and made it lively.

As a special mention, baiyi deserves as much love as well. Lonely characters are sadder to read and I have a soft spot for him. I found ah xiang cute and her Cao weining was a sweetie. He was among the first to accept and ship WenZhou.

I highly recommend reading the novel. But if you intend on watching Word of Honor, watch the drama first. The novel is great and you will have a lot of expectations and while the drama is decent, it still cannot compare to the source material as a lot of elements are altered and while to some this fine tuning is perfect, I on the other hand thought otherwise. <<less
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nazgul8126
nazgul8126 rated it
September 11, 2020
Status: c61
Overall: 4.75/5

Another great novel from Priest. Highly recommend! Review as of chapter 61 on 9/10/20.

Story: Cultivation setting, with lots of great fighting scenes and comedic bickering. MC dedicated 10 years of his life to help the former Crown Prince become the now Emperor of Heaven. The story starts off with MC retiring as the leader of “Tian Chuang, ” the organization of intelligence gatherers and assassins loyal only to the Emperor. However, leaving such an organization comes at great cost, and MC is no exception to the established... more>> precedent of undergoing the “Nails of Seven Apertures for Three Autumns.” As the name suggests, once the nails are inserted, MC has three (painful) autumns to live. MC initially spends these three years traveling the pugilist world disguised as a beggar, drinking good wine and seeing sights that he missed out on during his youth. However, MC saves a young master (not ML) one night and learns that one of the five great sects has just been wiped out. This is the first of a string of massacres, and MC and ML travel together to find out the cause.

The story focuses on three major mysteries. One, the identity and motivation of the mastermind (s) behind the killings. Two, the events that occurred 30 years ago that set up the situation in the present time. And three, ML’s identity and motivations.

MC: Presumably the shou. A wonderfully multifaceted character. He was the cold-hearted leader of “Tian Chuang” yet takes childish joy in cursing like a sailor after meeting a cantankerous fisherman. He is weakened by the Nails to 50% of his original strength yet can fend off all but the truly OP (*cough* ML *cough*). He accepts a dying’s man wish to protect the above young master but hides his soft-heartedness under the cover of being bought by a measly two silver crumblings. ML basically calls him a tsundere.

ML: Presumably the gong. With the persona of a playboy, ML first identifies MC as a skilled cultivator and then as a true beauty--both despite MC hiding behind a sickly beggar mask. ML is refreshingly sincere in his distraught upon learning of MC’s limited lifespan. As mentioned above, his background is a driving force in the story.

Relationship development: ML shamelessly flirts with MC from the get-go and continues to do so throughout the story (not crossing into dubious or non-consent). His less flirtatious actions ultimately move ML, and ML comes around in a manner that comes off neither sudden nor frustratingly tsundere/oblivious. MC’s “Nails of Seven Apertures” looms like a death sentence and adds a bittersweet quality to any of his relationships. I just wish sickness weren’t so common a trope to use in danmei novels to progress the relationship: MC is sickly and has to accept ML’s closeness during a time of vulnerability, etc.

Commentary: Again, a great read. This could be read for the plot alone (I believe a live action drama is in the works?). The relationship between MC and ML is fun to read. I'm a fan of MC's and ML's characterizations: MC is NOT a supposedly skilled individual that in reality ends up being a damsel in distress for the stoic ML to save constantly.

Actually, I really like how well the secondary characters are fleshed out as well. MC ends up taking the young master mentioned above as a disciple, and their interactions are hilarious to read. Likewise, ML already has his own disciple, and she is her own force to be reckoned with. Some sect members and villains act as tertiary characters and have their individual personalities conveyed despite only getting a few paragraphs of screen time.
The Emperor, Lord Seventh, the Great Shaman, and MC's shidi are apparently characters in Priest's "Lord Seventh" novel. I plan on reading this next, but knowing that they are the main characters in their own story just adds a sense of "moreness" to the story.
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KeyLyme
KeyLyme rated it
June 15, 2020
Status: Completed
This is probably my least favourite work by Priest, which is not saying much because I LOVE everything I've read by her.

The plot was still good, the writing was good and I liked the dynamics between the main couple (as I do with all Priest's CPs) however I felt like them getting together was rushed and the ending was a bit ambiguous/open.

This could just be a by product of it being on the shorter side but I didn't feel this from Lord Seventh. Zhou Zishu and Wen Kexing had a... more>> good buildup and after they got together was also sweet imo, but I felt like something was missing before them getting together.

As for the open ending, the major plot points are resolved, but I just wanted to see more, it just didn't feel resolved to me. Also knocked a star off cause sadness

Spoiler

Gu Xiang and Cao Weining dying QAQ made me too sad

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Therefore don't rely on this review too much, still an enjoyable read as all Priest's works are! <<less
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secondthots
secondthots rated it
June 22, 2021
Status: Completed
Consider this a thoughts-dump purely for my own sanity & not a trustable review because I read this novel through a very filtered lens. In case you were wondering, YES, like much of the more recent reviewers, I DID INDEED WATCH THE DRAMA. I do implore that everyone who reads this novel should too! Those who have seen the drama regard the novel to be pretty lacking in comparison. A pro for the drama production; a con for the original material. But considering this is one of Priest’s earlier works-... more>> who am I to judge & air complaints?

If we’re comparing story & character depth, plot execution, clarity, then FOR SURE the drama excels. The novel is kind of a hot mess, but navigating through isn’t too difficult. It’s just tough to get a grasp on the characters, their motives, any gravitas really. A shame because I hoped the original content would dish out more details. Again, this is one of the rare examples of an adaptation besting its original. For those who consider MC (Zhou Zishu) to be an “ice-block”, I honestly must be BLIND because I feel that he’s more tsun than anything. ML (Wen Kexing) has always been my favorite, most likely because I have a soft spot for my more crazy licentious fools & because his poetic flirt-game is super hot. The two make for a really good, balanced CP & I think it carries the novel. <<less
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alliknow
alliknow rated it
March 22, 2021
Status: Completed
This is an incredibly well written novel. I had no context for the author and their work, so I hadn't expected to read a novel that had such a tightly conceived plot. There are reoccuring themes, motifs, not to mention the character depth, relationship dynamics, all meticulously interweaved. Other reviewers have already delved deeply in the specifics of how well it was written so I'll try not to be completely redundant and only address things that prevented me from reading sooner or things I want to clarify.

... more>>
Spoiler

The Tragedy: So yes it can be considered tragedy, but in the way that Harry Potter, or any novel that is rooted in realism (even in spite of their fantasy genre) has tragedy. It's not gratuitously creating angst for the sake of drama. At least for me it felt like the tragic components were the natural progression of character flaws and motivations. And as the other reviewers have stated the main CP has a HE. I'm a huge baby and it really wasn't tragedy for me. There are sad moments in the way that anything that makes you emotionally invested does, but it's not overly bleak.

If you want to know the complete specifics of the tragedy and HUGE spoilers (highly suggest not reading if haven't read the novel already, but just in case you need that extra reassurance) :

Spoiler

1. There's the tragic nature of the MC's impending death, which he is actually able to recover from. The other reviews had me expecting that they would die together or some other kind of bittersweet ending. But nope, they are alive, well, and free to live without restraint at the end of all of it.

2. So this is probably the real reason for the tragedy tag. The secondary couple (essentially ML's adopted sister/daughter and another supporting character) are both killed in the climax. But the extras give them a HE, which made this novel just not a tragedy for me. Not that I'm complaining, they definitely deserved a HE.

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The Romance: The relationship between the MC and the ML can be clearly defined in two parts. The first is when the ML is a gay playboy and is somewhat attracted to the MC who is not attracted to men. ML flirts with MC and MC brushes it off. There isn't any ambiguity in his rejection. MC is just not interested. The second is when they have unofficially/officially established their relationship and are like an old married couple. It's very sweet. The issue is the disconnect from the first portion of their relationship to the second; when their relationship escalates from an emotional one to a physical one. We see how the ML falls in love with MC. We don't see how MC falls in love with ML. At all. He just suddenly reciprocates non-platonically. It was jarring (as in when it escalated I thought, 'Oh. Ok. When did that happen?'). However, I think if you can ignore the abruptness of the transition of their relationship, it's still enjoyable. It's just a bit of shame since everything else is so tightly written. (I would like to note that the secondary couple is great. The way their relationship develops is quite natural, although it doesn't really happen onscreen.)

The Climax/Ending: For the amount of suspense and intrigue that was laid down, the climax was very quick. It was one verbal confrontation which escalates and a short final battle which was more like a one sided massacre. The action is incredibly short. It felt a bit like the author ran out of steam and wanted to wrap everything up and move on. The outline was there so everything was tied up well, but it felt unwhelming in comparison to the amount of care and depth went into the beginning/middle portions of the novel.

Spoiler

It really felt like there could have been one more extra to wrap things up with MC and ML. We know they are alive and well, but there's not much closure in what they want to do next. Just a pat on the shoulder that they're fine. Still a good novel and I'm glad I read it, but the ending could have been much better.

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If I were to characterize this novel in order of prevalence of genre it would be an adventure, mystery, sprinkled in with action and then romance. Regardless, it's the large cast of characters that swept in and out of the plot that really differentiates this novel. No character is unnecessary, and they all exist with their independent and complicated motives. If you aren't looking purely for a fluffy romance, I cannot emphasize enough that this is a great read. <<less
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baruna
baruna rated it
October 3, 2020
Status: Completed
One of my favorite novels by Priest. I grew up reading Wuxia novels (particularly those by Jin Yong) and this gave me the same flavor and style. Right up there with Thousand Autumns for me in cultural authenticity. There is a distinct Chinese-ness to both these novels which I really love, not to mention the very interesting characters (two OP clowns... also they both feel like 攻's) and overarching plot.

I personally really liked the ending and found a lot of the elements which others might find shocking quite typical for... more>> Wuxia, lol. Perhaps because I'm used to reading novels in this genre? Either way, I really enjoyed this read & it has surprisingly entered my list of all-time favorite Danmei. Also, this novel hits different after you've read Qi Ye, so I recommend reading them both in junction! <<less
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GhostFlute
GhostFlute rated it
April 11, 2021
Status: Completed
Cold-shoulder, terminally ill, tsundere MC and shameless flirt ML. What a pair!

I understand why people say that it shows how Tian Ye Ke is one of Priest's earliest novels. The cast of relevant characters is pretty small, the only fully-fleshed ones could be said to be the MC, ML, and the "little tyke." Additionally, several things that are set up in the beginning as important are later glossed over summarily, or even narrated indirectly by secondary characters.

Apart from these issues this is a really good novel. Priest's writing style is... more>> so dynamic that you can have a hilarious paragraph next to a tragic one and it doesn't puts you off. Her descriptions and transitions are flawless, the pace of the romance is well-balanced, and the characterization, for the characters are more than name-holders, is excellent. <<less
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ONHA
ONHA rated it
April 7, 2021
Status: --
I actually ended up enjoying this story more than I thought I would. Priest’s novels are often well written and entertaining and go beyond the typical BL genre in terms of storylines and character development which I always appreciate.
I enjoyed the plot and the characters a lot, they actually ended up being more entertaining than the plot itself.
I do have a few complaints however, especially about the rushed ending which would have left me very unsatisfied if it weren’t for the last few extra chapters at the end.
I also wasn’t really convinced by the romance itself although I enjoyed the bickering between the two characters. I understand... more>> that the romance was not the main element of the story but I personally felt like it lacked in the emotional development and left me unsatisfied.

Despite these few issues, it still remains an enjoyable story. <<less
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