Liu Yao: The Revitalization of Fuyao Sect


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A cultivation story about how a declining sect is restored by a narcissist, a troublemaker, a meanie, an idiot, and a wimpy kid.

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12/05/19 Pizzilations c47
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10/02/19 Pizzilations c43
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07/08/19 Pizzilations c36
06/22/19 Pizzilations c35
06/03/19 Pizzilations v2c34
03/22/19 Asian Hobbyist v2c34 part3
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12 Reviews sorted by

Attica rated it
September 21, 2018
Status: Completed
First and foremost, Liu Yao is a heartwarming story of found family and blossoming romance. Despite everything I'm going to say below, it has a genuinely happy ending.

But beneath that surface layer, Liu Yao is also a wonderful deconstruction/exploration of the usual themes and messages in the extremely popular cultivation/Xianxia genre.

What does it mean to pursue immortality? Why does one walk down the path of a cultivator? What makes a "good" cultivator? What makes a "good" person?

What happens when we--we utterly foolish, puny, insignificant humans--attempt to defy the will of... more>> the heavens? What happens when you attempt to push the limits of what should be possible?

What does it mean to be only human, yet yearn to become something beyond humanity?

Liu Yao forces us to ask ourselves these ephemeral yet timeless questions. Its characters represent humanity's possible answers to these questions.

Some of these answers have better intentions than others, some have better outcomes than others. An answer can be foolish from one perspective, wise from another. Each person who has ever existed will answer them differently. But there is one common thread--in the end, what could be more human than trying to transcend one's own powerlessness?

1) Plot

At its most basic level, Liu Yao is about a ragtag group of kids who are brought together by their seemingly silly master to join the run-down and ramshackle Fu Yao sect. These disciples share a hilarious childhood filled with trouble-making and mutual complaining/teasing. However, good things can never last. A horrible disaster strikes, and this group of disciples ends up separated and away from home for many many years. As they struggle to return home and rebuild that family, the disciples begin to uncover long-buried secrets of the past: conspiracies, magical corruption, evil plots, and... the dark history of their very own Fu Yao sect.

I will say first and foremost that the pacing of Liu Yao is perfect. The author does a superb job building up the sweetness of a familial daily routine, the dread of incoming calamity, the tearjerking grief of having to bid a permanent farewell, the shock and horror of a plot twist... Each arc is the perfect length and tone.

And yes, despite lots of adorable humor and the relief from relationship development... the overall tone is somewhat dark. If you couldn't tell from my opening monologue, Liu Yao is not what I'd call a super optimistic story haha. While the main five disciples earn a happy ending for themselves, the story is always on the bittersweet side. Liu Yao's most prominent themes are the inevitability of death, the futility of trying to avert one's fate, and the impossibility of returning to one's nostalgic happy past. All in all, how being human sucks.

Hey, at least it's realistic! :P... :/... : (

Still, if there's one thing this novel argues, it's that while we appear to be stuck in despair and grief and hopelessness, we can always do our best within those circumstances. We may never be able to go back to our loving past, but we can try to make our future full of love. Things aren't truly as dire as they seem--we always have a thread of hope. Where the previous generations made mistakes and failed, the bonds of friendship and love between the current disciples give them the strength to successfully earn their happy ending.

2) Characters

Priest does an excellent job writing multidimensional characters who behave in startlingly realistic fashions for their fantastical circumstances. Each of the main five disciples has their own cute quirks, badass moments, and crippling weaknesses.

Our main character is Cheng Qian, the most hard-working and serious disciple of the five, who often plays the straight man to the rest of the group. His wonderful sarcastic tongue makes all his interactions with the sillier characters absolutely hilarious, and I admire his sheer willpower at trying to take all the burdens of the other disciples onto himself. He also has really well-written "obliviousness"--he acknowledges he's not the smartest person in the room, and it makes sense for him to always tackle serious business first. At the same time, Priest deftly explores how these unique characteristics can be turned against him, and how he eventually grows to achieve balance and reclaim his warm dynamic with the other disciples.

The main love interest is Yan Zhengming, who is an absolute joy of a character. He starts off as a complete and utter spoiled narcissist rich kid, pretty much a laugh-out-loud caricature of a lazy dandy. But as the Fu Yao disciples undergo more trials and tribulations, his true core emerges: a real leader who is determined to watch over his younger disciples, who is willing to take on any hardship for the sake of the Fu Yao sect. I also love how he is actually self-aware: he develops an inferiority complex over not being worthy of inheriting the Fu Yao sect and not deserving Cheng Qian's love, which he grows to overcome.

Of course, great character development isn't limited to those two alone. Literally every single character in this novel goes through a complete arc that makes perfect sense for their personality and role in the story!! There are way too many for me to count!


... Unfortunately, for almost every single side character, that complete character arc ends in their tragic death~ Again, "bittersweet".


The villains are also handled with immense skill, whether it's the plot twists they're involved in or their actual character. While some were straight-up more evil than others, their initial motivations and how they became the way they are today all made perfect sense. Every villain character advances the themes of the story, which is exactly what all great villains should do!!

3) Overall Thoughts:

Liu Yao is an extremely captivating novel--to be specific, it is the best Danmei that I will only read once.

Everyone in this book suffers--but to be fair, life is literally us suffering in confused futility. Liu Yao just has a more realistic take on the Xianxia genre through this lens of suffering. (Even now, my heart aches at the very thought of the fate of the story's side couple.)

However, at its core, Liu Yao isn't truly a story of suffering. It's a story of love.

Love in all its beauty and ugliness. Love as it drives us to attempt the impossible. To climb the eternal stairway to the heavens, to push our limits to protect our children, to sacrifice everything to resurrect the love of our life.

Because even if we end up falling and screwing up... we can look back and say: "I don't regret a single thing." <<less
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Nemone rated it
February 23, 2018
Status: v1c18
I wasn't expecting much from this at first but it's actually off to quite a good start. I really didn't know what to expect at first and the narrator (MC) also seems to not quite understand everything that's going on around him. That doesn't take away from the story at all though. When he meets his fellow apprentices, I have to say, the story just gets better and better. They all have very "unique" personalities.

Each of the apprentices, including the MC, has distinct flaws and these flaws lead them... more>> into conflicts with each other but not something like an undying hatred. It feels like real siblings to some extent, like if you had a brother who played with frogs or slugs but you yourself were a clean freak you'd find it absolutely intolerable, or if you had a brother that refuses to bathe for weeks you might feel disdain and tell him that he's a dirty scrub. Reading about these guys and their antics so far is just really enjoyable.

I can't tell how the story will go in the future but it's worth giving it a try at the beginning. I like the way cultivation is introduced in this story with the MC having some doubts about his master's legitimacy, wondering if he's just a con artist that's going to teach him how to fool people. It seems very realistic considering common people might not have any contact with real cultivation. The MC is the diligent type but he's not a genius and reading from his point of view it feels like he acts his age rather than acting like an adult in a child's body. <<less
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Chi rated it
April 26, 2018
Status: v1c30
Oh gods!

This novel is so good! And I'm not talking because I'm a BL fan (actually it seems like it won't actually even have much), but because of how it was well written and how the plot is fascinating with characters alive with their own personalities and quirks! Truly a jewel!

Man, when you think of a cultivation novel one always think of lots of people in a sect, all working their all to achieve great prowess and ascend even if they have to kill/scheme against each other, with awe-inspiring master/elders............ more>> but when we see this novel's Fuyao sect we are like ".......... this is a charlatan sect, right?"

A weasel quack like master, a niangniang 1º disciple, a naughty 2º disciple, a sharp tonged 3º disciple, an idiot beggar 4º disciple and a kid who can't even talk as the 5º disciple, in a declining sect that can only hold on because of the god of fortune lol

Quite the ragtag group, right?

This can be said to be one the few novels (and I'm not talk just of BL, but general) where we can see a character's growth (not only MC, but the side characters too) not only as cultivator but also as a person, and it's actually done well!

It's quite slow paced, but without that feeling of dragging and describing things over and over again that we get from other novels, but a rather slice of life kind of feeling.... that is, until sh*t hits the fan, because when that happens things happen in succession, fast but without skipping details and leaving mysteries around to be solved/explained later.

Quite peaceful, but the undercurrents are still going, the inevitable is still going to happen. So many twists and turns. Things aren't as they seem. The mysteries of Fuyao sect and the world of cultivators!


In a way, it actually made me remember Mao Ni and Er Gen.....

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flopyxing rated it
July 4, 2018
Status: v2c1
The translation really brings out the wittiness of this novel! I adore this story and its characters 💖 BUT MOST OF ALL IM IN AWE OF THE TRANSLATOR WOW I CANNOT EVEN FIND THE WORDS TO DESCRIBE HOW INVESTED I AM IN THIS STORY BECAUSE OF THE WAY ITS TRANSLATED ilu nanming thank you for gifting us with your words 😭
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rakuu-en rated it
January 26, 2019
Status: Completed
I read the first half of this in the translated English (which I must say is excellent- undoubtedly the best translating work I've seen in the Cnovel fandom thus far). Then I continued on and completed the raws in their original native Chinese.

First things first, I have to say- Priest's command of the Chinese language is really a cut above that of many danmei authors. Danmei generally being a genre that takes itself less seriously tends to be written in more casual language with a lot of colloquial terms mixed... more>> in for easy consumption. Not so for any of Priest's works. As someone who really only has a middling grasp of Mandarin, Liu Yao was a struggle to read. I can't say I've taken away nearly as much from this novel as someone else with a higher standard of proficiency in this language, who would probably be much better at appreciating the ornate descriptions and subtle nuances than I.

Secondly, Liu Yao stands out because it places its plot on the same level as the BL relationship it portrays or perhaps even higher- this makes for very heavy reading. There have been comments before mine singing praises about the depth Liu Yao goes into when exploring its admittedly depressing themes. All of this is true. The result of this is that we aren't given nearly as much detail about the central love story as one might expect. However, I will say here that Priest's strength lies in how she has successfully maintained the delicate balance between advancing the story's plot and advancing the main character's relationship, such that both grew side by side in a very organic manner. Though slow moving on a whole, the pace felt very natural and didn't skew too heavily towards the plot (ahem, I'm looking at you, White Lotus Halo). THAT BEING SAID, if you read danmei primarily for the gay relationships the genre promises, then this is one novel you might want to pass on. There really aren't many romantic moments between the lead characters at all, and those that exist are quite fleeting. I might even go so far to say that this is an Wuxia novel which just happens to have a gay couple as its protagonists. This is in contrast to other Priest works- for example Guardian, where plot developments and revelations are driven by the

thousand year long

relationship between the two mains, and where romance is pretty much a driving force of the whole novel.

I'm normally impatient with my novels. I like instant gratification. I like grand romantic gestures and earth-shattering love confessions that make my blood boil. Liu Yao did none of that, so I can't put a finger on exactly what I loved about this novel, but it moved my heart anyways. That was enough for me to give it 5/5 stars. If you gave it a chance, it might do the same for you too. <<less
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aniki rated it
February 19, 2019
Status: v2c33
This is a very well-written and engaging story! [Also an exceptionally well translated story. Thank you, dear translator (s) ! The quality of the translation is very high and makes reading this story even more enjoyable.] The focus is much more on the characters' personalities rather than the romance--which, where I'm at, is just barely, barely scraping by as bromance, honestly, and I'm living for it. It's almost like watching brothers bickering with each other in a sitcom, showing only very faint glimpses of sincerity for each other once a... more>> year lol. This is probably one of my favorite Chinese novels so far because each character has some downside to them. They're all very flawed, even the protagonist. He is essentially a good kid, but while I was reading I was uncertain as to what road he would take in the future. That ambiguity in the character's morality really keeps readers curious and what ultimately makes me recommend this work to others. <<less
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meridianna rated it
July 2, 2018
Status: Completed
the first thing that attracts me is the characters. They are so unique and fresh, also not 2-dimensional. Even in the middle I can relate to MC. He looks so annoying at first but then he has some depth. Just say, he's actually humanely. The interaction between brothers-sister is great too even after they meet again. Not to forget the master
... more>>

he's so like a weasel becoz he's actually dead for long and integrated into a weasel. Man I won't forget that this so-unreliable master is very dear to his disciples :' (


i actually like the plot very much, but thanks to MTL, I can only understand bits. I know my comment will look cliche, but everything happens here has reason.
the only thing I dislike maybe the lack of smut. Well it's more to brotherhood than love anyway <<less
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MyRAMEN rated it
June 26, 2018
Status: c10
The MC is a mortal who believes his master is a scam. He believes almost all sects are tricksters which no one can actually defy the heavens. Its a good book but I didnt like how everything in the book was written like even the author was confused. Im ok with mysteriousness but with the slow paceits going I cant stand the novel much.
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Skullysinner rated it
July 3, 2019
Status: v2c36
So far I am totally in LOVE with the story and the characters. PRIEST is excellent of story building and character creation/development. I can't wait for more ;o;
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HuynV8626 rated it
June 15, 2019
Status: Completed
it is a BL novel but it actually touches my heart for the first time I read

too many tears and regret but thanks god it is happy ending.

each character has their own traits that makes me both love, sympathise, or even feel regrettable

i dont wanna say too much on this

it just depends on ones feelings but this novel is highly recommended for its quality
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M012 rated it
February 10, 2019
Status: v2c33
I'm so sad that this didn't get as much reviews, it's a really good story that even if it's not BL I would still read it. Honestly the description for this novel is way too short, I was going to skip it until someone recommended it to me.

This is one of the few novels that made me laugh hard and cry a little, the characters are all filled with personality and I absolutely adore them. I couldn't really tell who the ML is when I was reading it, but it... more>> didn't matter anymore since the characters are good enough for me to keep reading. I even went as far as to try to read it in Chinese but I wasn't good at it so I still had to wait for translations.

the story is very slow when it comes to romance, so if you don't like it taking too long to get to that point then maybe it's not for you.

Can't wait for the next few chapters to come ;u; <<less
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Chuyin rated it
December 10, 2018
Status: v2c31
Time and again, Priest confronts the reader with eternal questions, the answer to which many people have been searching for all their lives. Since many of the characters in her works begin their journey (narration) as very young, we have the opportunity to contemplate the process of their maturation - the spiritual and the physical. These incredible children, who each go their own way, develop step by step, both independently and with the help of others.

At first, the story seemed funny to me, in it many events and the initial... more>> patterns of behavior of the characters are very comical. But, watching them, I freeze in admiration, because time after time they overcome themselves.

The fact that the English translation was interrupted breaks my heart (this is not a joke). I really love Chinese novels that make you think; besides - despite the fact that I love BL, one of the charming details of this book is that BL here is like a icing on the cake. Not the main direction, but rather a piquant addition.

This book made me think about many things, the answer to which, it seemed, I was looking for so long and did not see right in front of me. At the same time, to accept them, you need to work on yourself.

Translators have done a fantastic job to subtly convey the meaning of this story in English. But I still hope that this work will continue. I beg for it. <<less
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