Imperial Uncle

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I’m an imperial uncle; his imperial majesty’s uncle.

Once, someone with nothing better to do took a comprehensive survey of the current dynasty, and summed up the imperial court’s three great cancers.

Wang Qin leads in corruption; the treasury is never full.

Yun Tang favours a few, forming cabals; leading to corruption in our politics.

Prince Huai plays with power, and serves as the head of a hundred poisons — thus causing instability to the throne.

When they talk about the most venomous of vipers, the wicked one who plays with power, the biggest cancer of them all, they’re talking about me: this insignificant prince, Prince Huai, Chengjun.

I can only say that I feel rather hapless in the face of these theories.

In truth, I have been ever dutiful, ever devoted, devoid of intention to monopolise power, and possess even less of a heart to covet the throne. In the entire imperial court, I dare say there is no loyal subject more loyal than I.

But, most tragically, in all the realm, the matter of me being a loyal subject is something that not many would believe.

Associated Names
One entry per line
Hoàng Thúc
Huang Shu
เสด็จอา
皇叔
Related Series
The Mystery of Zhang Gong (Shared Universe)
Recommendations
Those Years In Quest Of Honour Mine (6)
Golden Stage (3)
Fei Pin Ying Qiang (2)
Lord Seventh (2)
The Wife is First (2)
Di Wang Gong Lue (1)
Recommendation Lists
  1. Danmei Angst with HE (Happy Ending)
  2. Diamonds
  3. Favorites
  4. Novel 3
  5. danmei

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ryaelle
ryaelle rated it
August 15, 2020
Status: c43
This is the first novel I’ve ever written a review for. The first one I’ve been so anxious to MTL and one that I know I’ll reread.

First, I have to thank the translator. When you’re reading this novel, you understand how many twists and innuendos are in every line of dialogue and I can’t imagine how vexing it must have been to preserve every detail in the story. The quality of the translation is really good, and I really appreciate their hard work.

Now the story: The narrator, Prince Huai is so unreliable. He’s so human in that even when you’re reading through him, there’s so many layers to peel off. Despite him reassuring us time and again that he’s a good person, you keep waiting just like the other characters for the other shoe to drop. Just like them, you’ll be questioning: What is he up to? Is he truly as good as he says? How is everything so coincidental? What is he plotting? There’s something else up his sleeve...

You get so absorbed in his flow of thoughts that when reality hits, it shocks you as much as it does our Prince Huai. The twists and turns in this novel are rather wild. I’m not sure I’ve read another novel achieve to be as different as this one is.

The ML. While I’ve MTL’ed the story ending and kind of understand who MC ends up with, I truly think you should just read this as there being more than one ML and keeping your heart open (and suffering along). It’s because any of them (and none of them) suit Prince Huai.

Yun Yu is my favorite at the moment - there’s such a good dynamic, a back and forth between him and Prince Huai that you can’t help but hang on and hope for. I don’t mind Liu Tongyi, but he’s such a perfect Chancellor. Straightforward, good, pure and shining, etc, - beautiful from a distance but so much smoke and mirrors that you’ll gag on it and choke on the pieces when you get close. Qizhe, the emperor... he’s the wild card. He was the one I liked as ML for a large portion of the novel but Yun Yu edged up towards the end. To be honest, by chapter 43, I was hoping for another ML or even a FL for Prince Huai. Someone who’d give Prince Huai a truly happy ending.

Prince Huai... another review mentioned how depressed he is. He’s so tired of his existence, wants his life to desperately mean something, so lonely, and so wanting a smidgen of love to hold onto. Time and again, he’s ready to give it all up for love - such a sappy romantic. He treats people as well as he can, always considering them and it’s never reciprocated. He’s so heartfelt in his confessions, and yet comes off extremely wishy washy. Of all his nuances, I love his parents the most, and how their memories weigh on his every decision and choice for the first part of the novel. It truly shows how he’s shaped and you can see how every character introduced has changed and shaped him as a human being. His characterization can only bring you pain, so I hope you’ll enjoy the angsty journey.

I love this story a lot, and I’ll be hanging on tenterhooks waiting for the translation to continue. The only thing I hate, and I’ll be so mad if I’m understanding the MTL right is that they introduce a fantasy element to explain parts of the story our MC can’t see. It makes me so angry that fantasy is introduced into this perfect historical and political novel. I hate it so much, but I’ll endure.
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emiliers
emiliers rated it
July 7, 2020
Status: Completed
So I've liked 大風颳過's writing since I read her Peach Blossom Debt, and Imperial Uncle is even better written, with added politics! (I love politics!)

It's also super twisty in terms of character relationships, and I would say that Prince Huai might be one of the most well-written unreliable narrators I've read. He's certainly the best in terms of WN protagonists. While the reader is initially lulled into a false sense of security with how refined/ (apparently) self-aware Prince Huai is about himself, it quickly becomes apparent (both to the... more>> readers and to Prince Huai himself) that he's kind of a sh*t judge of character. Which is kind of understandable considering the twisty nature of court politics and how people can say one thing and completely mean another.

(Again, 大風颳過's writing is good, but she's very much leaning into the ye olde Chinese way of speaking around rather than about things, of which has been translated very well by the translator. I have no idea how people have managed to MTL this. It took me a lot longer than usual to read this myself, and I actually know Chinese!)

Also, as others noted, it might not seem apparent who Prince Huai will actually end up with...

Spoiler

... though actually the ML never changes. Liu Tongyi and Prince Huai do end up together, but Prince Huai definitely has feelings for other people over the course of this story.

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I'd also like to point out that, while Prince Huai is referred to as "Imperial Uncle" throughout this story, he and the princes (and the emperor) are actually second cousins -- his father was the cousin of the previous emperor, their father. Not a super big point, but worth noting, considering...

Spoiler

It's obliquely implied that Qizhe (the emperor) has feelings for his uncle. Though they still have the same surname, so it still would've been considered in*est in ancient China.

The emperor's feelings imo are almost certainly not reciprocated, though it's clear that Prince Huai loves Qizhe in a very familial sense, and there's always a wistful longing to reminiscences Prince Huai has about Qizhe's childhood.

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One criticism I do have though is that I didn't find the endgame as satisfying as the journey there, particularly since...

Spoiler

I'd have liked more of Prince Huai's later feelings on Liu Tongyi... Like, he admits that at first he fell in love with an image of Liu Tongyi that was never real (and Liu Tongyi himself mentions this as well), so I'd like to know how Prince Huai thinks of Liu Tongyi as he truly is, especially at the end. The author kind of pulls a out-of-nowhere timeskip on the readers in the last chapter, right after Prince Huai essentially says he wants to stay with Liu Tongyi.

And, I'd also have liked a confession scene! Prince Huai freaking confessed to Yun Yu like three! times! And, yeah, I guess he confessed to Liu Tongyi once, but that's waved off as "Prince Huai was simply confusing his feelings" at the time, and this is never really addressed later?? Like, he never straight up told Liu Tongyi, "While I might've been confused before, I do love you now." There's a limit to subtlety, ok! And I like my romances clear-cut!

In particular, the author adds some extras in the middle of the text (for clarity purposes, apparently), and it actually made the later chapters slightly more frustrating since it's told from a different perspective. While previous chapters are told from Prince Huai's perspective, and with the readers fully immersed in his thoughts, we tended to find his misunderstandings understandable/unavoidable. But with the knowledge of the extras (that Liu Tongyi really, truly loves Prince Huai, and knows that Prince Huai doesn't love him back), the later chapters become sooo nerve-wracking. And I was constantly shouting, "Just confess!!" at both these idiots. Because Prince Huai is so oblivious to Liu Tongyi's feelings that it was almost physically painful.

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The ending itself is a pretty sweet not-quite bookend though, and I really enjoyed the parallels there. It's very much a "life goes on" kind of ending, tinged with a bit of sadness.

In short, I had a legit good time with this WN (of course, 大風颳過's writing is always a fun time). 10/10 would have my feelings played with again.

EDIT: So the translator decided to translate the extras at the end instead of leaving it smack dab in the middle like it was in the original, and I don't entirelyyyy agree with this decision. Mainly, the second half of the story reads very differently without these extras informing the readers, and it kind of takes away from the emotional punch of the ending when you have more to read after it... so instead of sitting and digesting that end, you go immediately into an extra that takes place back in time, which imo detracts from the quiet, lingering bittersweet feeling of those final lines.

In other words, I have to go with Word of God on this one. Even if the extras-in-the-middle make the next several chapters a bit more frustrating, it's still better in the middle than at the end. <<less
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Natural_Sapphire
Natural_Sapphire rated it
February 24, 2020
Status: c57
This is a really good story. It's different. It's a simple story yet interesting and beautiful. I couldn't wait for update and had to finish by MTL.

Please don't read my spoiler if you haven't finished the whole story. It will seriously spoil the story.

Spoiler

I personally thought that MC's most loved/favourite person of the whole story is not both of his love interests but his nephew Emperor.


It seemed that MC never truely loved ML but finally ended up with him because he was the only choice if MC didn't want to end up alone, which he feared the most. And, I just hate it because I fall in love with ML while reading the story and he deserved so much better.

I tried to reduce one star from my review because of this but apparently I wasn't allowed.

And the other one I felt bad for is the Emperor. He loved his uncle so much but his uncle never considered about his feelings.

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I recommend this story for readers, especially those who got bored of reading Reborn, Transmigration, Fast Wear types stories.
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fulfillingkismet
fulfillingkismet rated it
March 23, 2021
Status: Completed
There is only one novel before this read that made me bawl my eyes out and sob like a child and that was 2ha. It was not fair to compare the two for they have different plots and genre all in all. Yet when I thought I would not feel pain as intense with this one... I was in for a surprise.

It was a short read. I managed to finish in half a day. Yet this short gold mine has a lot of twists and turns that end up made... more>> me want to hit my head on the rock for I was so dizzy. It will not let you on your toes in just one chapter. It makes me frustrated with the 4 main characters that I all wanted them to just jump off the cliff. Yet at the same time, I understand their drive, their wants, and the things they wanted to achieve.

This is one freaking hell of a ride.

Things that I love:

1.) The humor. The first few chapters of this novel made me roll on the floor. I absolutely adore how naive and so unlucky our MC is. There is this time:

Spoiler

When he first take home Chu Xun and that's the only day he has time to unwind. Then every single love interest of his starts to pop up one at a time and amusingly ruin that day.

[collapse]

I can't put my finger but I just had one of the best laughs during the first few chapters and I love it.

2.) The pacing. To be honest, if you are not a very focused reader... this one piece will absolutely be made your head spin like a fidget spinner. Even I a seasoned reader has to cuss the author at one point in the story. Yet that proves how well written this book is. It makes the reader go round and round. The author not only puts his/her characters in a washing machine but also the readers themselves. I felt like I was played by everyone in the story. Yet the pacing was phenomenal. I was thrown to be washed, squeeze dry, and laid bare before the sun but I do appreciate how unique this story is.

3.) The characters. I wanted to slap them for the nth time throughout the story for making me go through so many emotions but I couldn't bear to hate them. They are people... and not a common one. They are members of the Imperial court and they can't make decisions the way a normal person could. They are in a different world. I loved Xianxia and Wuxia for how good the world building it gives off... but I only just realize that the Imperial palace is a different world altogether. They lie, they conspire, they fight and they die... for an imperial power that is the main reason why they have to do those things.

What's love? What's loyalty? What's kinship? What's family?

Those ties and entanglements are merely a means to rise up or survive.

What's real? What's fake? What's emotion? What's passion?

All of them are just masks that can be interchange with one another.

4.) The agony. That's where the reason enters why I mentioned 2ha here. In 2ha, the knife lay hidden in almost every chapter. The pain is almost consistent that the fluff sometimes just a prelude to a much more agonizing torment of reality. Not to mention the same unreliable narrator here which I loved from 2ha.

With regards to Imperial Uncle, the first part was a rolling to the floor amusement park, while the mid part was a torture chamber that rips my heart out for the MC, while the ending gives me a bittersweet feeling. This was a journey. I literally sob on Chapter 34. What a heartbreaking one it truly is.

5.) The romance. I never once imagine that a story could be as unromantically plot-driven as this one when you have multiple MLs in a story. I don't hate it, for I find it unique. In a normal set-up, you always know who's the FL or ML is... even though there is always misunderstanding and confusion... you know deep inside who is the one the MC gonna end up with. It's either you hate it or you love it. But with this one... the author would make the MC runs into a very tight circle over and over again that you as a reader are dizzy and confuse as him. The sheer amount of MC's confession that ends up making me grit my teeth was indeed a thorn in my heart.

I loved the 2 main ML and the emperor. Yet I know I'm biased with one. It was because both the MC and I were duped. Yes... I was duped just like him. Do I hate it? No. Do I want to slap the author? Yes.

This is a novel in which the MC wasn't given the chance to choose who he gonna end up with. It felt so real and flawed. Because that's what real life is, especially in the royalty/aristocratic world. Life and the circumstances you are in are the ones whole gonna choose what kind of life you will be leading. It's painful and felt so unfair but that's what it is. That's why I understand why the author ends it the way it is.

What I don't like:

1.) It makes me feel empty when I finished it. I know that's what the author is trying to make me feel. But I felt drain and empty. I read books to escape reality but the author slaps me as hard as possible and made me realize how unfair life can be. This is not something negative... it is just how I end up feeling.

2.) The book is flawless with flawed characters and set up... and I hate that there are no more chapters to fill up the void this book left behind.

3.) I don't find romance intimacy (smut) essential for a story to be great. Yet this should have been marked as Shounen-ai instead of Yaoi. A few intimate scenes even just on extras would be much appreciated, after all my heart has gone through... that would have been a nice touch.

Overall... this novel would be part of my top list of danmeis. This is the second time a novel made me write a review so it speaks for itself. This usually not my cup of tea but this one not only exceed my expectations, but it also gives my taste some sort of variety. I hope this one will become popular than it is now. It deserves more reads. <<less
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lanyons
lanyons rated it
January 10, 2020
Status: c12
=me? Reading another novel about court politics? It's more likely than you think. I love all of the characters so far: the main character, who is open about his sexuality & always knows the right thing to say; yun yu & his smiles & cutting remarks (please give him a boyfriend) ; the emperor, who was a quiet child but has grown up smart & capable. Has a cute main pairing but everyone is really shippable with each other, for which my multishipper ass is eternally grateful. Has a really... more>> good translation that actually flows in english & is one of the best I've ever read <<less
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Golemprincess
Golemprincess rated it
May 22, 2021
Status: Completed
I rate this book a 5 stars SUBJECTIVELY. But, it’s actually more of a 4 star book. HOWEVER, comparing it to some of the other novels listed on Novel Updates, it might as well be a whole 10 star.

Details

I am not gonna lie, I wasn’t expecting much going into this book, but right off the bat, I could already see it was going to be a roller coaster ride. The characters have so so so many layers to them! The events are also a bit realistic but obviously still fiction.... more>> The interactions are also humorous, sometimes poetic, sometimes anxiety-inducing... often times anxiety-inducing.

My favorite aspect of this novel is how you really think you know some characters but then towards the end, you find out all you know is their name, not their real personalities.

The plot was also quite good but towards the end, I felt so rushed I actually got disoriented and had to reread a few chapters to get what was going on. Some parts in the middle also do feel a bit rushed, but those can be winged and not too much confusion would follow. However, those last two chapters make me want to smash my phone. Wish they wrote it better and gave more information.

About MC,

Some people might find the MC wishy washy but I found that I completely related to him. He was simply seeking companionship and was often times very lonely. The people he actually loved were guarded against him, spying on him, plotting against him. When you find out that your affections are returned with suspicion and sometimes malice, it really freaking hurts, man. So I can understand the things he did.

His character is also very well-written. The author clearly shows us how human he is and I like that. I am tired of reading about cold, unfeeling cyborgs as our MCs. He has many faults that he does not acknowledge until the end, I relate. He also has faults he is very aware of and either wants to correct or plans to live with, I also very much relate.

ML (s),

I swear to god, I am still not completely sure who qualifies for this role. Like, is it the one he actually loves or the one that sticks til the end. Goodluck to any new readers, this part will f you up.

Also, does he still like men, even?

All in all, this book was a doosie, read it! <<less
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uzu_no_fu
uzu_no_fu rated it
February 9, 2021
Status: extra 1 part6
I finished this novel within two days, and let me tell you, I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS about, like, all of it. I ended up rooting for (to avoid spoilers) the second ML even though I absolutely understand why Chengjun eventually picked the first ML (I don't agree with him about all of it having been fake, but I get why he would doubt both the second ML's and his own perception, thoughts, and feelings). The ending was perfect with how not-perfect it was. Instead of stuffing the reader with... more>> the sickeningly sweet "and then all was fixed, and they went home, and everyone lived happily ever after", the author gives us a happy enough but realistic "you can never go back to the past, but you can still find happiness even though things have changed irrevocably". It leaves you with this bittersweet feeling of both closure and a new cycle starting for new characters - for new people.

I only picked this novel by accident because I was browsing through foxghost's tumblr after reading her "Guardian" extras translations, IU's summary looked curious, and I knew foxghost would give me plenty of cultural notes; well, that, and the reviews seemed intriguing. I can't stand first-person narration, but this one was easy to read. The translation quality is outstanding. No clue as to how it was in Chinese, but foxghost perfectly captured that multi-layered Ye Olde Chinese imperial-palace-drama way of speaking. A lot of authors love having a character say something and then having the narration explain what the character actually meant, what they implied, and how the other characters took it. It gets very old very fast; we have brains, we can read the subtext! There is no such thing here, not once does the author devolve into such explanations. Not one wasted line here, no paragraphs filled with meaningless back-and-forth meant to up the word count. And it was really fun to puzzle out all the ways this or that phrase could be taken, especially with an unreliable narrator and the other characters all making assumptions and missing some key information. In this novel, all the characters clearly are flawed humans with limited perception, and even with first-person narration, it's easy to see that what one character says isn't necessarily what the others hear. I love this way of story-telling, I love reading between the lines, this is why Nirvana in Fire didn't scare me off even though it was my first Chinese show ever and it immediately dumped on me a huge heap of characters, storylines, and hidden agendas.

And now for the tears. YUN YU MY BABY I'M SO SO SORRY but admittedly the twist was brilliant. Qizhe was both creepy and adorable in his yandere tendencies (I got the vibes from pretty much the first scene, but I really didn't expect to be right). Liu Tongyi I just didn't connect with, for some reason ¯\_ (ツ) _/¯ Usually I like cool-calm-and-collected characters, but this one didn't do it for me, no clue why. I get why he, uh, ended up the way he ended up, though; I mean, my own preferences are one thing, the characters' preferences are another. As for Chengjun... please... you are valid, your feelings are valid, please please try to gain at least a little sense of self-worth.

To sum up all the incoherent rambling above: read this. It's worth it. It's not 1kk+ words, it's short (for a Chinese webnovel at least) and to the point, every word serving a purpose. The characters are vivid, the prose is beautiful, and the translation is brilliant. I wish there were more novels like this.

(Also, it's entirely possible that in half a year I will look at this review and be hella embarrassed, but whatever, this is how I feel right now.) <<less
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Uhei
Uhei rated it
July 25, 2021
Status: Completed
Well, this is a really unique novel. Suffice to say I don't think I've read another piece where the author stuck to the unreliable narrator the whole story.

Prince Huai is somehow very relatable to me. He's this MC born into the terribly dangerous role of being the imperial uncle, and when all's said and done he's not even the former emperor's brother but the son of the emperor's cousin, so the suspicion from the court was inherited. He's not self-aware but tries to do what he thinks is the best... more>> for everyone in this novel; what makes it so bittersweet is that he doesn't know his own heart. This story expresses the ‘风流’ or romantic personality that men sometimes have a reputation for in these historical novels. Prince Huai is such a man; he confesses to multiple people in this book and from his thoughts you'd think Liu Tongyi is his white moonlight but I wonder if he truly loved him since he seemed to misunderstand the man for most of the novel.

The characters in this book hurt each other a lot, and perhaps the 'final ML' gets to be with Prince Huai because the rest lost their right to pursue him and the ML was simply the one who was willing to sacrifice enough to remain by his side at the end.
Spoiler

Who knows if Yun Yu was truly disgusted by MC? How could he bear to fake a romance with someone he knew he was related with?

[collapse]

The book is deeply depressing because the MC is very depressed, but he did the things he had to for his nephew (s). Speaking of the Emperor, honestly even though he has a thing for the MC he's the worst one in my opinion.
Spoiler

At the start he acts like a vinegar pot and gets on MC's case even though he knows what the Empress Dowager has been doing to the MC will force him to do, and then he acts ambiguous with. every. single. person. MC could be in love with. Except Chu Xun, but I don't know if anyone bothered to clear up the misunderstanding Chu Xun had of MC. Even at the end, the fake poison was ?? like what is that supposed to mean dear nephew?

[collapse]

I hope that in the decade of living together with the ML at the end Prince Huai really did take good care of him and realise how devoted the man actually is, because he seemed very convinced that ML could only ever be good to him because of his gentlemanly personality and not love.
Spoiler

His POV is such a hoodwinker that the extras really shocked me. I'm just glad that he really did love MC.

[collapse]

And the ending was very poignant too, when you realise that the cycle is going to start all over again with another 'Imperial Uncle'... <<less
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maiha-sama
maiha-sama rated it
March 8, 2021
Status: extra 1 part6
I love this one so much! The writing, language, pacing, the style and plot, characters were all great. The novel is narrated from the MC's perspective but it's engaging throughout and the ending is, I must admit, a bit bittersweet. The characters are grey and mysterious. I LOVE Cheng Jun's character. He's so flawed, sometimes unreliable and naïve but I really feel for him. He has good intentions but he'd be better off if he just left things alone. You place your trust in him at the beginning until you... more>> realize that both him and you are seeing things only from his perspective. The dialogues are also not entirely simple. As with Palace conversation, there's often a lot of ambiguity and subtext that you'll need to figure out. It's not like those novels that "tell" you the speaker is being clever - it's there for you to see. (I think at some point I'm gonna re-read to see the things I missed).

This is tagged comedy but I cried so much! As for the ML.. Sigh, its a little complicated. I'm mostly in favor of how it turned out. My heart did waver often but I couldn't justify a certain someone's actions. I understand why Cheng Jun chose as he did. If you're looking to read some sort of idealistic love, this isn't it. As for Qizhe, I'm a bit torn.

Spoiler

I wanted to see how he felt (YY too!) after realizing he'd wronged Chengjun. I have a sort of love-hate thing for his character. In his letter, he writes “I have always believed in you, uncle, but you have never believed in me.” but thats a complete lie. Guess we'll never know and its a pity how he ended up.

[collapse]

Do I wish this had a more detailed ending - Yes. But overall, I think the author was successful in bringing the story to something akin to a full circle.

Translation was A++. In short, Excellent. Definitely recommend. <<less
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Happykoala
Happykoala rated it
January 17, 2021
Status: extra 1.6
Like several reviewers here, I enjoyed this story so much that I felt compelled to write my first review on this site and encourage others to read it. This novel is a real gem.

The author has created a unique story, a plot that intertwines historical political intrigues with the emotions from the heart. There are several twists and turns and you never see them coming, it’s all cleverly hidden in the witty dialogue and the use of the MC’s naturally subjective narration.

Each of the four main characters have been well... more>> constructed – their backgrounds, motives, desires and the emotional journey they each go through – I felt heartache for each of them at varying points, and I am still thinking about the ‘life’ of these characters three days after finishing this story.

The writing itself is fantastic, apart from the aforementioned clever dialogue, the prose is beautiful and the author has managed to weave in layers of meanings and ambiguity which requires the reader to interpret carefully. I had to re-read a number of passages a couple of times to try and guess the meaning. It really kept me guessing until the end; in some scenes, I felt like I was watching a game of tennis – my mind would flit from one character to another in a vain attempt to work out who the ML was, often in the one chapter.

The settings for each scene are detailed and descriptive though never superfluous. In particular, the time the MC spends in Chengzhou was a highlight, and I was able to easily imagine these scenes in detail. It’s one of the few times I’ve read every line of a setting – usually in WNs I find myself getting bored quite easily and will skim through these sections.

Full credit must be given to the Translator, Foxghost. The translation is first class. I felt like I was reading a story that was originally written in English. The Translator was able to capture all the nuances to ensure the intrigue and ambiguity was kept, and the flowery prose was interpreted in a way that the English reader could easily absorb (the notes are also helpful – particular in relation to the verse regarding “Mount Wu” and “Jiangnan” – a key element of the story). Thank you, Foxghost, for doing such a beautiful job on this novel.

Although I gave this story the maximum rating, there were a few things that would make it perfect for me. Firstly, I found the ambiguity surrounding one of the main characters to be too vague – I’m still not 100% sure if my interpretation is correct. It’s probably the author’s intention, but it made me tear my hair out.

Spoiler

Qizhe – what did he really feel for the MC? Familial love or more? Was there real jealousy with the other characters or just part of the ploy? Although I felt pity for him given the restrictions relating to his position, I couldn’t feel as much for him as the other two leads.

[collapse]

I wish there was more detail on the ending. The journey there was so arduous and filled with angst, it felt strange to then have such a short and brief few paragraphs to signify the end.

Spoiler

The eventual ML endured so much from the MC, and you could say he became the ML because he was the last man standing (as opposed to the MC making a deliberate choice), so I would have liked to see him be cherished and loved, even if it’s just a glimpse of their everyday lives. I also feel for the alternate lead – it would have been great to see an extra on him rebuilding his life.

[collapse]

Also, maybe it’s my own interpretation, but I didn’t fully understand the ‘trigger’ in the last plot twist and the rationale for it.

Spoiler

How did the face mask twig to the MC that something may be awry?

[collapse]

Overall, of the three novels I’ve read from this author, including the much lauded Peach Blossom Debt, in my opinion, this is the best story by far. It is a more mature and complex work compared to the others. If you are looking for a well written story that you can immerse yourself in, this is it. <<less
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Charmian
Charmian rated it
February 5, 2021
Status: Completed
Imperial Uncle is very different from the novels I usually read. When I started it I was first surprised by the first person narration and it was a pleasant surprise as I've never read a webnovel from this point of view and it's even an unreliable narrator on top of that, which makes it even more interesting.

The novel really got me thinking and I caught myself at times reading with such concetration in order not to miss a detail in the story because, in my opinion, every detail mattered and... more>> they all get together and make sense, just like hints and clues, especially after reading the extras.

I was frustrated at one point when I couldn't discern who the actual ML was, whether it was Liu TongYi or Yun Yu (I didn't really percieve QiZhe, the Emperor as a love interest, but I read a few reviews of people who did), but then I realised that this isn't quite the typical love story. I view it more as a journey of the MC, Jing WeiYi - ChengJun - Prince Huai, towards the things he desires, such as to find a partner for life with whom he could idly chat, drink tea and be happy.

I was initially rooting for one character, but things took twists and turns and the MC didn't just gradually go from one love interest to the next one, which made the end result even harder to guess beforehand. He ended up who he ended up with; if I knew he would end up with this character when I was halfway in the story, I would've been quite displeased, but going through the story, I found out other things, got to see character developement and I am content with the pairing at the end of the day.

I liked all characters in the story, they are all different and 3-dimensional. I liked Prince Dai, Qitan, especially, he's just adorable and I felt that he sincerely did love his uncle
Spoiler

- he was also the only one who cried at ChengJun's funeral; his farewell words in the extras broke my heart and I couldn't help but tear up

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The ending left me with a bittersweet feeling and conflicted feelings, which is why I appreciate this novel - it managed to leave a deep impression on me and stir up my feelings. I just wish we got to see a bit of the lives of the couple after the end of the main story.

Additionally, I don't agree with the Harem and Yaoi tags, Shounen-ai would be by far more suitable.

Either way, I'll remember this novel as one of the more unique ones I've read. "Stay in the dark too long, and you'd grow fond of the light." - this is one of my favourite lines btw. <<less
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SugarBunny
SugarBunny rated it
January 28, 2021
Status: c56
This novel is simply one of a kind. The political intrigue, the romance, and even the comedy was all subtle. The writing is also splendid and is able to evoke the right imagery and emotions in the reader. Definitely topnotch. 👍

It's just that I have a few grievances to vent QAQ... my poor little heart ahh~~ TTATT. This is me bursting out in real-time, ugly tears. The author is simply too good at sending their readers hearts into a complete tizzy orz. My heart has really been through a lot...... more>> from getting stuck hanging in my throat to crashing down in my chest in relief, this vigorous exercise is a bit too much to take. Sigh~

Now I need to find a s*upidly sweet novel to recuperate. Wish me luck~

P.s. Much thanks to the author and translator for bringing this novel to us!! <<less
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Ritu
Ritu rated it
August 10, 2020
Status: c42
Oh how much I cried while reading this novel. Fair warning, since this novel is set in a historical setting, they don't actually talk about mental health at all. But by the time you rech midway into the novel it becomes very easy to recognise how depressed the MC is. I cried so so much for him.

There are so many twists and turns that even after reaching the 2/3rd of the way, we don't know who the MC will end up with. The political planning while not something very hugely... more>> discussed, it plays an important role in the story too. The plot twists are really too shocking.

  • 10/10 recommend
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KeyLyme
KeyLyme rated it
July 12, 2020
Status: Completed
Honestly after finishing this novel my thoughts towards it are summed up in one word: lacking.

It's really sad because the first 35 chapters had me really interested, but as it went on I just was really disappointed.

The romance was a 1/10 for me as most people will find it excessively confusing imo. Although it is technically 1v1 HE, I would not reccomend it for people who are dead set "one true love" kind of 1v1s.

... more>>
Spoiler

although I shipped him with Liu Tongyi from beginning to end the author gives far more development to Yun yu x Prince Huai and even the emperor x Prince Huai has more substance to it than the eventual main CP. The ending was extremely unsatisfying in terms of romance especially after the extras with the ghost dude confirmed that Ransi in fact did love Prince Huai.

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The plot/court intrigue explored in the first 35 chapters could have been expanded better as that was the most interesting part of this story.

Spoiler

The author really could have expanded more on the rebellion plot. It just sort of happened and ended. She could have given us people's reactions when Prince Huai was revealed to not be traitor.

I was especially confused as to the rebellion plot itself. Like how did Prince Huai accomplish "going undercover" with no faction or servants of his own? It makes it seem like he has some but at the same time says he doesn't? Overall poorly done to me.

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Edit: Another thing the author tried to do was make Prince Huai a flawed but somewhat self-aware character. It's an interesting concept with it being and unreliable narrator and all but I found it poorly executed and somewhat irrelevant, unsolved, and untouched upon towards the end.

Overall, the romance was lacking; the plot explanation/exploration was lacking; and I just started feeling incredibly ambivalent towards what happened to the characters after awhile.

Note: there are a bunch of extras told not from Prince Huai's POV in the middle of the story. The author placed them where they would chronologically take place in the story, however I reccomend reading them after finishing the main story. Another reviewer talked about how frustrating reading the latter chapters were after reading the extras. I understand where they are coming from and suggest reading the extras at the end to avoid some frustration, as it isnt vital to the main story but will answer some questions you may have. <<less
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bunnydesuuu
bunnydesuuu rated it
January 11, 2021
Status: Completed
I sincerely love this novel. We have an MC who is a massive joker but believes that he isn't, or rather, trying to convince himself otherwise. He's very smart. There were times that he seemed so full of himself that he almost made a fool of himself if he truly spoke his mind, and others, when he seemed to "belittle" himself. Blink, and you might miss these jokes. But seriously, he's such a dirty little liar and I love his character! Someone else mentioned this, and I think it's very... more>> true. Prince Huai (MC) is very human. He has so many layers and even if you're not like him character-wise, you can still understand him, appreciate him and his decisions, be it for love, for family or as a "duty" as a filial son/uncle.

This is the part that not everyone likes. There are unexpected conspiracy theories hidden under each other, and you never knew for sure who the actual ML is. Just when I start thinking "it must be him!" something else happened that changed everything. There were potential for a few ML for romance to blossom but everything was building up and you couldn't be sure. I.e the romance wasn't clear cut and was pretty ambiguous. If you're not into that, this probably isn't for you.

The thing about court politics novel is that there's always a fine line where it can end up being overly dramatic dog-blood drama. This one was actually a little complicated and there were a few times I actually got a little confused and had to go back a few lines to reread again to understand what exactly happened. However, it was still pretty realistic considering it was set in ancient China. The schemes and conspiracy were well planned too, and each arc was very exciting.

It was humourous, but surprisingly, there was a hidden melancholy that was building up and I didn't notice until it hit me in the face and I was tearing up trying not to cry (I failed, of course). Just a tinge of wistfulness.

Also, doubt anyone would, but don't skip the extras!!! There were so many interesting reveals!! (Saw previous reviews that extras should be read in the middle... Actually, I liked that I read it last? Because they were extras and didn't directly contribute to the story, but just fill in some missing gaps + give you a few interesting tidbits.)

Unfortunately, it's not a light read. The complex scheming keeps you constantly on your toes, so keep that in mind.

(Use Masterpost to get the Dreamwidth site instead of tumblr)

The translation was very good!! <<less
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Shadowdrop
Shadowdrop
November 30, 2019
Status: c7
This novel is... different. Although it's set in ancient times, there is no transmigration/rebirth MC. As such, he does not have any of the typical advantages of a 'modern MC in ancient world'. He is in a position where the emperor cannot wait for him to disappear, and yet his story is only starting...

This novel shows a lot of promise and has the potential to be a masterpiece, but it is too early to tell.

I will re-write the review and rate the novel once it's translated to chapter 30-40 at... more>> least. <<less
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yukiruhina23
yukiruhina23 rated it
October 8, 2021
Status: Completed
This novel left me melancholic. I ached for the characters. Can someone please give the MC a stable boyfriend? Please? I adopted and casted away then re-adopted, then finally disowned one character that I thought was the main lead lol.

The ending was bitter sweet. I would like if the relationship of the true ML was expounded more, maybe give them some light or something. I just really want them to see a happy life together.
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XxmeacxX
XxmeacxX rated it
January 15, 2021
Status: c63
personal rating: 2.5-3/5 (my personal list/ratings are somewhat strict. However, it doesn't affect my outer 5 stars since the story needs its ratings to rise and be more recognized).

I FELT VERY MUCH PLAYED TILL THE END BY THESE FOUR MAIN PEOPLE (they got me hooked and there were a lot of twists. THAT'S HOW GOOD THIS NOVEL IS - they never let you go even at the end chapter extra). No stones unturned yet sometimes I felt I wanted more extras, especially on the couple's adventure life. At the same... more>> time, I'm satisfied seeing the end
Spoiler

all those time leaps made me feel they've lived their life.

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I prefer reading the extras at the end - keeps all the mysteries and revelations that way and only says, "ahh so that's why" or "if I connect it to what happened.." and it'd feel more enjoyable and some, surprising when they're revealed.. But I guess if you want a one-track or seamless story progress, it's easier to read the extras after a/that particular chapter.

The story was as the summary stated: the life of the Imperial Uncle who is always misunderstood and at some points, have also misunderstood or is dense/slow. Nevertheless, he has intelligence on how to live, continuously plan, and adapt to situations. So many complications lol...

The novel is well written, especially that we view things in the mc's narration. It felt like we're living his life in his perspective and that we'll get surprised when we get to the numerous twists and turns. Because of the realistic-ness, I really felt like they're really human, especially the MC (at times, even he doesn't understand himself and had to ask others what is he to them). No one is omnipotent and anything can happen (examples like: the walls having ears and unexpected turnouts. I'm amazed that these characters have also developed with time (they're not mere cardboards). The schemes, struggles, and decisions were really well composed and some realistically felt/connected with). Moreover, the way the story was written, the words they've said, is how you'd imagine them to be in that era - full of flowery words and lots of hidden meanings [the relationships are so complex especially at first that I had to write it out lol]. In addition, the way the situations were handled was also great (balance of good and cancerous people and how it's not easy to suddenly make death sentence or accusations... some were meticulously planned or need evidence or careful judgment)... And how people take and respond to the situations at hand. Some words were just uwu

Another thing I would like to praise is the translation. It's well done and easily understood (e.g. the terms and honorifics like Zhen, Empress Dowager, Former Emperor, prince, and such were translated into I and etc.). Additionally, if you have any clarifications, she would explain to you in the comments as to what actually transpired (some parts got me confused but then I understood after seeing her comments. One thing that still got me confused is the sudden bomb near the end about Yun Yu
Spoiler

Yun yu and his brother and Yun's background, I got shook.. also, confused a bit if the two brothers were interchanging or it's just Yun Yu changing faces and mingling everywhere.

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One thing though, some words I had to google since I couldn't understand. Also, some of the links don't work/redirect me. Additionally, my reading experience wasn't seamless, I had to manually click and direct myself to a new chapter's tab since there's no next chapter link shortcut.

My take on the Novel: the novel was short yet jampacked. really kept me on my toes till the end. Full of details and complications and the conflict! I had to double-check if what I was reading was a happy end and that there were more chapters till the end. There were a lot of twists that happened there - even after the conflict and all of the explanations that happened... Then, I got surprised by the world-building. Unlike other novels, they don't just limit us to the empire. Also, some extra details like the antique collections and then the novel books got me impressed...
Spoiler

after dying, our MC has traveled here and there and showed us a bit of the merchant world - Even speaking of foreign lands (that were countries today) and how he has lived in some of his travels, living on the move and shaping his development (If they were to talk about past countries, I wish they did it right though considering the consistency of the good writings). I felt that the death scene made me want to scream cut and let me feel it's a fitting reincarnation story lmao

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On another note, I also pitied the MC
Spoiler

In such an environment, it was hard for him to find his true love and reason (I felt so lead to 2-3 people as to who really was the ml!) (And I felt so led with that love square (yun-emperor-mc-ml).. and how he finally got his love! It felt like a journey up till the moment he finally realized how the ML is the only one he could think of to get favors or entrust matters related to him (The lovey-dovey scenes were really scant! It was even through that ghost that I got some small fill of kiss scenes //cry... It was more of the MC being confused towards the three of the men's actions towards him (the extra made me pity the ml... The MC confessed to him but then it was put aside to feeling like it's a dream love and different from reality. Also, how he had to experience one-sided love and had to be pushed by a ghost, and also! had to experience 3 heart-stopping events related to the mc).. in his love department, the nephew and the other men really made me run in circles (I'm happily surprised on the extras though).

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And the ending, damn, they don't really let us off, letting us feel melancholic afterward.

Spoiler

I got so sad they didn't see each other for the last time - wtf the death was so sudden even if it's years have passed - I nearly cried because there was a lot of catching up to do and they didn't get a last needed opportunity at his last request/summon. [Got sentimental when we got a slight ghost appearance/last appearance scene though that coincided with a past talk "Do ghosts visit you when they're dead" (Seriously, the damn feels) ]. I got sad for the ghost's life too..

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being in the imperial family seriously sucks, all those relationships and plots and such. And how simple talks or relationships from the past could change so much. More so, it feels so lonely to be an emperor (so many restrictions), especially so when you're misunderstood by the one you cared about. Another thing in the end that kept me OwO is how the new dynasty's relationships felt deja vu lol with Qitan instead.

That's all I could think and compose for now (I seemed excited as I wrote this after I finished the last chapter). All in all, it was a great read, and with its short yet satisfactory chapters, it's easy and nice to reread it again and again once in a while (Although the cast is somewhat large, they mainly focused on four people so the story is focused and no sidetracks).

One of the words the MC said: "If I'm to search my heart and ask if I'm still fond of him, the answer is - I still am." "But love is one thing, reality is quite another. More than love, I want to live free for the rest of my life. I can't take being tossed around like that anymore." <<less
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sqaz
sqaz rated it
April 10, 2020
Status: c57
Edit: was so annoyed by the ending and generally the latter half of this novel that I had to drop my rating from 5. The author played bait and switch toooo many times and there were too many unnecessary 'twists' and reveals. And, most importantly--

... more>>
Spoiler

MY SHIP, THE MOST WELL CHARACTERIZED AND EMOTIONALLY INTENSE SHIP OF THE THREE POSSIBILITIES, SANK IN SUCH AN UNPLEASANT AND ANTICLIMACTIC WAY.... like I seriously have no idea why the author would have let that emotional thread just drop like that. Incredibly odd from a writing POV and very frustrating to read!! JUSTICE FOR YUN YU. PERIOD.

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I can appreciate a bittersweet ending but this was not the way to do it. I do respect the author - the first half of this novel was excellent - and the translation is really wonderful. I'm very sad to say but the end of this book just felt like a disservice done to the whole prior story.

(prior review)

This novel has really pleasantly surprised me!! It's got a subtle humor and all the court politics I could ever desire, even though as of right now the stakes are still not too high. The MC is such a fun character, you can't help but love him even when he says things that make you groan. He's very charming but that same charm is kind of his downfall because it makes people think that he's being dishonest and shady. The main ML (I think??) is very interesting and mysterious, and I love how he subtly makes fun of the MC all the time. Chengjun is not one of those characters who doesn't have eyes for anyone except his love interest; in fact he has other casual relationships and flirtations, which I love. I think that it makes the character dynamics more interesting and mature. Speaking of which Yun Yu is my dark horse fave so far, please let him have a happy ending and a bf ? So far while this novel has been pretty humorous and light-hearted, there are some moments which hint to deeper underlying themes, so it doesn't feel shallow or silly. If this novel continues to further develop these themes and explore the grey areas of Chengjun and other characters, it will definitely become one of my faves.

The translation is top-notch, so smooth and really a pleasure to read. <<less
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Fuffoals
Fuffoals rated it
November 30, 2019
Status: c7
So far this seems like it will be really good. The writing is good, the translation is good, and the characterization is also good. MC is very interesting and well-written, not at all a generic shou, and the other characters also seem interesting and more than one dimensional. The interactions between the characters have kept me invested so far, and it's refreshing to see an MC that's already bent. I'm excitedly waiting for new chapters. Can't wait to see where this goes!

Update: I started this novel three years ago, when... more>> it first started being translated. Now it's 2021 and I've finally finished it. To be frank, it was sad. I cried. It was very depressing. My heart goes out for the MC. But this story is written brilliantly. There are so many twists and turns and depth to it that I've never experienced before. But after so many twists and turns and plot twists my heart is so beaten and pained it cannot take any more. It became a bit tiring, to be honest. After so many twists, I couldn't react anymore and rather than anticipation, I felt more resignation that things would only get worse. And I found no satisfaction anywhere after that, our poor MC only suffered blow after blow. The ending could be called a happy ending, maybe, but it came after such ab*se (to the readers heart) that I couldn't even be satisfied with it. This novel truly broke me.

But on that note, it is amazingly written. The characters have so much depth to them it's unbelievable. Everybody has motivation behind their actions, even if you cannot see it at first glance. This story was so engaging that I couldn't put it down. One of the best novels I've read in terms of writing, even if it ab*sed my heart strings. I only wish there was more closure.

It feels satisfying finishing this novel after so long, though. And maybe a tad regretful that it's over.

Oh and if you came for romance, I would turn back. There's no romance, only heart break. The most romance this novel had was a few lines at the very end that hinted perhaps they are more than friends, but most likely not. After waiting for romance the whole novel, it was quite saddening. <<less
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