It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager


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Tang Shishi was the number one beauty in the court. She was arrogant, domineering and aggressive. She accidentally picked up a book and learned that she was just a vicious female second lead in a palace struggle. Later, she would fight for favor with the female lead, and eventually she was ruined and died miserably.

Now, they have just entered the fief of Jing Wang, and the first meeting of the male and female leads has not happened yet. There are two paths before Tang Shishi. The first is to hold the heroine’s thighs tightly and join the female lead camp early; the second is to please the male lead and steal the favor of the female lead.

Tang Shishi chooses the third way.

Tang Shishi knew that the male lead’s adoptive father Jing Wang seemed to be low profile, but in fact he was overly ambitious. In the near future, he will invade the capital and proclaim the emperor before the imperial court, but it is a pity that he passed away before passing the throne to the male lead.

This year, Jing Wang is twenty-four years old, still young, and has yet to marry a wife.
Anyway, she already in the Forbidden City. Instead of being the concubine of the male lead, it is better to be his adopted mother, the empress dowager in one step.


Zhao Chengjun had no intention to get married, so he adopted his subordinate son as his heir. He thought he would be with his army in his whole life.

Later, the imperial family sent a team of beauties to Prince Jing, and the leader was named Tang Shishi.

His young, adopted son and his subordinates also persuaded: Your Highness, this is a beauty trap.
Jing Wang: I know.

The so-called beauty trap was merely a bait for those who wish.

Associated Names
One entry per line
Related Series
I’ll Be the Male Leads Sister-in-Law (1)
Greetings, Ninth Uncle (1)
I Became The Stepmother of My Ex-husband (1)
The Crown Prince in the Jade Pendant (1)
Married To The Male Lead’s Father (1)
Recommendation Lists
  1. up on the second shelf
  2. Cherry's history-romance (2)
  3. Transmigration
  4. Binge-worthy (Historical)
  5. Once Upon a Time in Ancient China

Latest Release

Date Group Release
08/03/21 Just for Fun Trans c43c43
08/01/21 Just for Fun Trans c42
07/31/21 Just for Fun Trans c41
07/29/21 Just for Fun Trans c40
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7 Reviews sorted by

New Newbookeveryday
July 29, 2021
Status: c83
I came into this story content🤗. it has great comedy and the MC is good at speaking back to people.💪

now I'm around chapter 80 and I'm just wondering where her brain went😆 she speaks smart and logically. but her thought process is lunacy and her actions are even worst.

Also I feel like the summary was a lie. this girl's plans revolved around trying to catch the prince's adopted son. FYI the son is is a romantic scum and I felt disgusted watching her trying to get him to like her.... more>> btw the son has 12+ women chasing him smh. if not for her being the MC, her planning would have been the death of her, heavenly book or not.

she basically doesn't use her brain, and it gets worse once the romance starts with the prince. the worse part is how she looks at the prince as a dead man. in the beginning she never even thought of trying to get with him, just trying to get the son, because she knew the prince would die. in the book the son would be emperor, prince would die in battle, and Im pretty sure she died too. after she gets the book she's working so hard to change her future but can't use 1 brain cell to think of using/helping the prince😪... but you know plot.

also, whenever she goes to make a plan I get scared😅... in a funny I want to slap you kind of way

the plot is amazing but I guess it was too strong, taking over the mc🤣🤣 <<less
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New roseqanne rated it
July 22, 2021
Status: --
3 stars because the translator had a good job because it written so well.

This novel is not a cup of tea for me because of MC. I'm sometimes cringy own myself when MC going forward. The things is MC waiting for the book > the book given a title > MC acting shamelessly to rob opportunity. When she talking to Momo, she looks inteligent but after she readings the book and taken action she doesnt even think. She just want to taken action first, even people know she is ambitious... more>> to get favor. The things is her guess is always wrong but she get benefit because she is MC. Maybe the author want it be funny? For me it is so dumb, naive and cringy.

Just because you know something, you cant just strike it out and hope a luck? Her character is really likes a the annoying side character (actually she is if we count the original books lol) but she is MC and ML just ignored her and letting her do as her wish. <<less
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JuuHachi rated it
June 25, 2021
Status: Completed
This isn't the sort of novel where ML and FL falls in love easily, rather it's the type of love story where every decision they make is based on what would be best. FL and ML are two people who grew up in court intrigue, where sincerity didn't exist and everything was calculated based on profit so it stood to reason that it would take a long time before this two would actually be together.

The thing between ML and FL is that even when they communicate and have a tacit... more>> understanding, the two are still part of two opposing factions on the surface, but in the middle of the story after FL becomes the wife of ML the two became a team even if neither realized it. Neither characters are toxic, just flawed individuals trying to survive in a place where life and death can easily be decided by one mistake, or a single move from the Empress Dowager.

ML is someone who had spent his life trying to get revenge, the appearance of FL wouldn't change that, and FL was someone who grew up wanting a better life for her and her mom, love meant nothing to her when the backyard intrigue of her home robbed her of what was meant for her. It's important to remember that this is a historical setting, where ML and FL are gambling with their lives for a better future.

The beauty of this story lies in how this two people grow together, the slow and oblivious way they begin to care for each other. The understanding that while the Empress Dowager exists, neither of them can truly live happily. The ending might be rushed for others but for me it was good enough, there's no need to go beyond establishing the fact that the FL and ML end up together, that their loss doesn't outweigh the gains.

In the battle for the throne, the rarest thing is having someone truly and sincerely love you, FL's love for ML is the selfish kind when based in the teachings of that kind, she isn't virtuous or open minded but she is sincere towards ML even if she doesn't notice it herself. The same thing goes for ML, he knows that he can't keep FL as long as his camp knows that she's part of the Empress Dowager's faction even so he uses logic to keep her by his side, uses to justify his simple love for her and the family they would built.

FL's actions of stealing from the original FL would probably turn off others but once her backstory is revealed it would make sense why she does what she does, and the same thing goes to ML. So if you prefer a story where love matters the most in the way it often depicted, which is without thinking of the consequences, then this isn't for you.

This is story where actions have consequences, the cause and effect are shown, though it is a love story it isn't the kind where anyone can just freely do things out of love. Duty and Responsibility, Honor and Revenge, are a big influence in the decisions the characters make. Each of them are just fighting for a better life in a system that is skewed, which is evident in the thoughts of the characters.

The characters from the main cast to the side characters are multifaceted, human in their actions and it means they are flawed. There is no absolute good or absolute evil among the cast but rather people who are must make a decision in order to profit, live, or even survive in a harsh political environment. Though the politics aren't the main focus of the story, it's influence is prevalent and in some way isn't that the reflection of the world we live in? <<less
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Meatshield rated it
June 12, 2021
Status: --
I skimmed through this while bored and honestly it was whatever. I thought the premise sounded interesting enough but the execution was meh.

What probably bothered me most about this story was the fact that the MC was so dull towards the ML. Unlike the synopsis, she doesn’t actually go after the ML until way later in the story. For a good chunk of the story she tries to use the book’s hints to seduce his son, the story’s original ML, and steal him from the original FL. She misunderstands the... more>> ML a whole bunch of times before then and it takes her an incredibly long time to really believe that he actually loves her. The whole time I was here like woman he likes you! Stop being crazy!

Overall, this isn’t worth reading imo. <<less
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SAddict rated it
June 18, 2021
Status: c78
The most toxic MC I've ever encountered. Trouble don't find her, she goes looking for it. ML is also toxic. Her character is really inconsistent

... more>>

She's already close to ML but she tries to seduce his son too. She doesn't have feelings for the son

ML was getting a wife so MC drugs ML's son to sleep with her so she can be his concubine.

MC just tries to find dirt on FL even though FL is minding her own business and want to live peacefully

MC was supposedly an awful selfish person but she saves ML's enemy because the enemy is using her family to threaten her. The same family that cheated her, mistreated her, stolen from her, sold her and etc.

ML's son was trynna get rid of MC which is understandable because MC has been trynna seduce him, everyone knows she's a spy from the Dowager faction and she's bullying people

ML's son left her to die and rot from her fever. ML's son tries to abort the child to prevent ML from being c*ckold. ML just walks in on it occurring. IN FRONT OF HIM!!!

ML just let it go that his soon to be wife is trynna get with his son and also let go of the fact that his son and his son's wife is trynna kill MC in front of him

His son obviously have a little hots for his stepmom

I don't understand the Dowager's logic either. She has no descendants and she's old. ML is pretty much just waiting it out

No one is related to anyone by blood in this royal family. MC is the only one trynna work out he pregnancy and even then she doesn't want it


Thanksgiving must've been awkward <<less
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WindyWind rated it
June 11, 2021
Status: c100
Love it!

Reading the description I thought it was going to be the usual - FL gets a cheat, takes advantage of the events and using peerless knowledge will worm her way into power.

This is not exactly what will happen.

The book containing the story is very under powered - the chapters are locked and they are unlocked when it gets to that point in real life - that is by the time FL gets to read about the event, things have already happened. The chapters also don't contain useful information and... more>> are mostly just about the books FL (not the MC) doings, small things. There is no information about hidden agendas, secret powerhouses, magical treasures to be found. So at best the MC uses the titles of the chapters to try to guess what will happen, and try to take advantage of the situation.

I say 'try to take advantage', because she really tries - but often that not fails miserably, due to her, lets say, eccentric way of thinking xD.

At one point, the Prince she wants to get the favor of, is under attack by assassins. Her first thought is to run away. Why? She knows that she, like the books FL, could go and try to protect the prince. Its the perfect opportunity to cultivate feelings. But sorry, she is someone that does not want to suffer hardship! There will be other opportunities, so bye!


The FL is very headstrong, and is very unwilling to suffer hardship. Give her an inch and she will want a mile (the ML words). It is hilarious FL trying to scheme and get ahead, yet to fail miserably because her way of thinking is different that normal ladies. She is very transparent, what is why she gains the trust of the enemies and to which the ML takes interest in. Unlike what the description says, she did not aim for the ML, but tried the second option, which is to gain the favor the prince (The ML of the book), yet it is all the failures to do so that bring her closer to the ML.

Now the ML.

At first glance he is your usual ML - cold, abstenent, powerful, merciless etc. You know the deal.

The FL knows her boundaries and the ML is very strict. Yet very slowly, we see that change. Inadvertently, the FL pushes the ML boundaries, and ML relents. Again and again, we see him give more leeway to the FL. The FL also becomes more brazen as time goes on, but nothing changes. The ML bottom line just keeps getting lower and lower.

At one situation the ML comes to a realization. He saw that the FL is obviously faking the situation. If he were to give in, he would have no bottom line left for her. It is best for him to walk away...

So he sighs, turns around, and lowers his bottom line.

He is an absolute s*ave to his love. The FL pretty much breaks his every taboo, yet he cant bring himself to do anything to her.

Once an accident happens and FL gets pregnant with his child, we see that even more. The FL can cuss at him, command him, break his orders, and the only thing he can do is sigh, and go along with her. Mind you, that the novel takes place in ancient china, where the male are in control, and the female have to follow the mans every word, or get thrown out. So its even more gratifying seeing the ML lower himself to the ground, while FL is free to step over him.

The care and effort he shows her is just so freaking sweet, and how he himself discovers sides and feelings to himself he never thought he would have. WARNING, MAJOR FLUFF SPOILERS

At one point the baby in FL stomach kicked her, and upon touching her belly, the ML also felt it. The ML never knew such a thing was possible, and somehow took a very keen liking to it. Every day he would touch her belly tens of times of day, record every moment it happened down in a notebook, and try to predict when it would happen again. Once he managed to succeed in predicting, he would even run from meetings just to feel the baby move in her belly.


It is so awesome to see a man become a father in such a realistic way. He wants to give her and the child the best. The care and passion he holds is unrivaled. I just love how much focus the novel gave to the ML showing his care and love to the FL.

Overall this is a very nice novel. Definitely recommend giving it a try! <<less
6 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
July 1, 2021
Status: --
I love the protagonist has defects but she knows how to use it and the love she has with the male protagonist develops very well, they are very compatible and I love how their relationship is, they have everything I like
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