Qiang Jin Jiu


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The six prefectures of Zhongbo were offered to foreign enemies on a silver platter, and Shen Zechuan was taken into custody in the capital, reduced to a drowning dog* loathed and condemned by all. Xiao Chiye followed the scent of the furor and made his way over. But instead of setting others on him, he kicked Shen Zechuan with his very own leg, rendering the latter an invalid. Who would expect this invalid to turn around and bite him in a counterattack until he was all drenched in blood? That was the start of an epic feud between both men who tore at each other every time they come face-to-face with one another.

“Fate wants to bind me here for life, but this is not the path I choose. The yellow dust submerged my brothers deep under. I have no wish to bow in submission to an illusory fate. The imperial edict can’t save my troops, and the imperial court can’t fill the stomachs of my mounts. I’m no longer willing to lay down my life for this purpose. I want to surmount that mountain. I am going to fight for myself.”

Note: a drowning dog is someone who is down and out, having lost favor or power.

Associated Names
One entry per line
Qiang Jin Jiu
Related Series
Golden Stage (11)
Sha Po Lang (7)
Nan Chan (5)
The Husky and His White Cat Shizun (5)
Peerless (5)
Those Years In Quest Of Honour Mine (3)
Recommendation Lists
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10/20/21 Lianyin c182
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38 Reviews sorted by

New lovely8899 rated it
October 15, 2021
Status: --
This novel is so beautifully written and beautifully translated. I regret reading it before it has been fully translated but all I can say is that you will not regret it. I actually started with the audiodrama and then the novel after to fill in the details. Both the characters Xiao Chi Ye & Lan Zhou are so lovely! You will not regret reading it!
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New Berlin rated it
October 15, 2021
Status: c1
Frankly speaking, I don't think my brain is big enough to understand fully the political warfare in this, but then again maybe I'm just too tired from reading this nonstop past 4am daily (actually that is likely the case...) That's how good this is.

Brain power aside, the entire vibe of the story is serious, compared to some novels like erha, where you get a fair amount of light-heartedness. It's not a bad thing, and definitely sets a literary and mature tone.

The plot drives the story, but the MC and ML... more>> are the ones who shine on every page. Their ust seriously sizzles through the roof, disregarding circumstances even. I've been looking for good enemies to lovers stories that are well written, and this one doesn't feel like a web novel, but more like a polished, published work.

Haven't finished this yet and looking at it, there's a lot left to go. I'm too brain dead and tired to read it in Chinese for now, but I already know I'll love it. <<less
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Lianyin rated it
September 24, 2020
Status: Completed

QJJ is *NOT* like 2HA, enuff said.

◈ QJJ is POLITIC-HEAVY & POLITIC-INTENSE. That means lots of backstabbing, strategizing, plotting, scheming, deception, betrayals, and stuff like battle deaths. IT'S NOT ALL FLUFF AND SUGAR. If this isn't your cup of tea, just save yourself the headache and don't read it.

◈ If the characters or world in QJJ confuse you, check the characters and places glossaries on the translation site.

◈ By enemies-to-lovers, it literally means enemies.

◈ No matter what happens, it's HAPPY ENDING (HE) for the main couple. 1v1 + HE, HE, HE. Important things need to be said three times.

◈ Things aren't what they seem they are, especially when it comes to Tang Jiuqing's works. Keep an open mind until the very end.

◈ Xiao Chiye is meant to be a jerk at the start. He's also hornee. Just watch out for his character development. But he will still be the same old hornee.

◈ Shen Zechuan is meant to be UNREADABLE. Can't understand him or figure out what he's thinking? That's the way he's meant to be. Dude is one motherducking strategist (or schemer, whichever you prefer). Don't look at his actions at face value.

My Review:

I was hooked the very moment Shen Zechuan said "I don't like his shoes." Shen Zechuan is bae. Shen Zechuan alone is worth five ★★★★★

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yuukine rated it
June 23, 2020
Status: c34
Final rating: 4.25/5

"I am but an insignificant nobody." Shen Zechuan said softly, "Even if I didn't show up, you will still live."

"Exactly what, " Xiao Chiye's inebriation had worn off. He asked, "are you up to?"

"Repaying a debt of gratitude." The brim of Shen Zechuan's umbrella sheltered Xiao Chiye—This was how close he was to the latter. "Repaying all of you for your mercy in not killing me."

It starts with pain. Shen Zechuan is the last descendant of Shen Wei the traitor. The way it goes, because of Shen Wei's apparent betrayal, Shen Zechuan (Lanzhou) is now also implicated in his "rebellion" and forced to bear the very unpleasant consequences: torture, maltreatment, threats and death sentence hanging over his head.

Despite barely staying alive, and hanging by a thread, he finds the will to live when his old shifu and adoptive father Ji Gang finds him and doesn't blame him for the death of his own Ji family. But Xiao clan, on the other hand, also despises Shen clan and Xiao Chiye, the second young master, decides to kill Shen Lanzhou... But was unsuccessful. With the help of Empress Dowager who wanted to use him and therefore delaying his execution, he manages to survive for another five years, to the current point of time.

Shen Zechuan is thus dragged into the world of politics, of treacheries, of rebellions and turbulent ruling era, he wishes to live, while Xiao Chiye, who was free to soar, is now confined in Qudu and unable to return to Libei, where he belongs.

"I seek to live. You seek to die. The Xiao Clan once had me trapped, and now the Li Clan does the same to you. Isn't the ways of this world strange? The bird in the cage longs for its former woods, while the fish in the pond misses the deep. Your lot in life has been laid bare from start to end. If you can't go back, then you are nothing but a loser with lofty aspirations sans actions. The most regrettable thing in this world is to train a wolf into a dog. How long can your fangs remain sharp in Qudu?"

The two quickly realize that they are both trapped, with their wings clipped, and that maybe their fates are intervened and connected... as they had been from the start.

This book has almost 300 chapters and is quite long. I can only write this much, but from what I have read, it's amazing book with very good politic system, schemes and catches. The translation is superb, as expected of Lianyin, and the story flows smoothly, although sometimes needs more concentration in order to focus.


Main characters: very interesting, intriguing, well developed. 4.5/5. Will probably love them even more in the future.

Side characters: intriguing, but so far I am not really invested in them, so 3/5.

Story: linear and clear, but court drama sometimes ends up being complicated and therefore requires complete concentration and attention.

Humor and angst: If it doesn't make you cry, you surely have heart of stone. There's no much focus on comedy, after all this is mostly serious story. 5/5
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AneeChan rated it
February 19, 2021
Status: c75

Here's the reason why:

Priorities first, as I reckon most of ya'll are here for one and one thing only and that's; The BL.

Their relationship is seriously one that you'd hardly come across in a thousand books as it's absolutely not your typical BL relationship. If you're here looking... more>> for a healthy, consensual and fluffy cotton candy of a relationship Or an angsty yet non-toxic, slowburn - please see yourself out. I repeat, PLEASE SEE YOURSELF OUT.

These are people who owe eachother blood and life and naturally their relationship was one doomed by the fates. Sure enough it's the enemies to lovers trope; But enemies here is definitely not the 'Don't-look-at-my-boner-when-we-fight ' kinda enemies BUT enemies driven by mutual loathing and inexplicable blood thirst. Like animals snarling and tearing eachother, cornering eachother and finding comfort in the blood bath they created themselves- And that's not cute. Heck, their 'love'is just so distorted that I'm not even sure we can call it love anymore.

○Relationship dynamic- Realistic. Unconventional. As any sensible person would not go around professing love towards a guy who's answerable to the grave of more than a thousand clansmen and how any intelligent person would not admire the d*ck of a guy who hates you- These characters, I'm tempted to call people, are true to their situations. No spoilers but the development they experienced from going to each others throats and subsequently their pants was so agonizing but so worth it. It's hilarious how Xiao Chiye (Gong/seme) kept telling himself "He's bad news he's bad news" but at the same tym be like "Damn wish I had that candy". It's an endless game of push and pull where ultimately both end up losing and falling. Oh, and sexual tension? It's a sea of it in this book :)

As a combo they're a bomb and as individuals they are even more of a treat.


》Shou- He's just so well developed and layered omigodd: He's bright like the fire in your hearth and still like the calm waters but the moment you deflect your eyes- He kills. When people tell unpredictable: This bi*ch is the deal. He's so unpredictable that the ML doesn't know wtf he's thinking, he's so sly that the characters don't know wtf he's doing and he's so unreadable that the reader actually doesn't know wtf he's upto. A mysterious guy who hates anything bitter (especially tea) and carries a pompous folding fan to con b*tches - Is really my type. Besides his descriptions are just so salivating that I wanna transmigrare into the book to see him. He's THAT FKING BEAUTIFUL. Also he's mastered the artof nonchalantly roasting people and I ROFLed pretty bad:D

》Gong: The carefree, oblivious seme who's got nothing better at life than to whore, gamble or exist around until Shou comes and he falls so mad in love that he'd bring the fking sky down for him? Not here. Seemingly carefree and seemingly airheaded and all that's Seemingly because he's made of beast material. He strikes when you least expect much like the shou and he's much morethan what the opening calls him out as. Unlike cardboard semes who got no life beyond the love interest He actually has a goal, motive and personal interest behind his every action. Additionally he's a total snack to the eyeand is constantly horny.

Also sidecharacter-- Do I even need to spell it out? Go read it :)

Lastly the,


The plot is obviously regarding political machinations and imperial drama that's absolutely interesting once it picks up the pace. Give it sometime-Around the 20th chapter if you're not hooked then pretty sure this is not your thing. But I promise for people like me who thrive on the myriad mind games of betrayal, scheming and heartless manipulation including sudden military assassinations and mutiny- Fear no one. YOU'D LOVE IT. Because it's not a one man show with a who dunnit- One loop combines another loops to an extent where the end of one arc would instead lead to hundred more than before. Thus not boring definitely, not at all. Because in this massive chessboard the one last move of our protagonists- it's just so well crafted that nobody knows what's the endgame.

Within a 100 chapters and so MUCH has happened. I don't even know wtf can even actually remain by 300 chapters. But no worries. It'sa HAPPY ENDINGGGG for the main couple it seems. Wallaaa

Onto the deep stuff. The most crucial theme of the whole story summed up in one word would be FREEDOM. It's a constant battle for freedom from confinement, freedom from setbacks and then there's freedom for authority, power and so forth. It's not an easy read you can read by as there's a kot you gotta concentrate and digest. But of course, it's this complexity of the story anf characters that makes it interesting.

One thing that absolutely sets this book apart from the rest is how true to its nature the author created it. She doesn't shy away from dubcon or portraying toxic relationships and in carving characters with selfish motives as that is indeed the nature of human beings. Nobody's a happy go lucky bulldog or a tragic hero- They are as despicable and lovable as the people around you are. There is also no fixed manual or direction in which the plot flows- Some chapters are just pure agony, some hot and action packed whereas others are tempered with mutiple backstory prose- Basically the perfect balance with a consistent ambience. When it depicts romance it does in the most brutal, searing way possible and when it depicts strategies it does so in the most downright inhumane way possible.

This story is SO RAW, INTENSE and EXHILARATING that it's unforgettable regardless of whether it's likeable or unlikable.

For a strange toad like me who's a sucker for these love-hate relationships it's GODDAMN FIVE STARSSSSS. HELL I'D GIVE THE WHOLE GALAXY IF I CAN. UTTER PERFECTION. ☆☆☆☆☆ <<less
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biiru rated it
March 7, 2020
Status: c89
So far the story is engaging. I became interested with this novel because of some pretty fanarts on twitter. Most people gave great reviews to this novel, too.

The translation is very good. It also has one of my favorite tropes: enemies to lovers.
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sweetguy rated it
September 2, 2021
Status: c165
I wish this story would evolve into a sentient being so I could cradle it in my palms and kiss the sh*t out of it. That's how amazing this novel is.

Tang Jiuqing is such an incredible author and she clearly is a perfectionist with how she chooses to challenge herself with head-spinning stories and, at least so far, has managed to maintain the same enthralling flow that was there at the start of the novel. I read Nan Chan before coming across this and I knew she is an author... more>> I can trust and expect a lot from--and boy was I absolutely correct.

With multiple P.O. Vs, there is no exact MC or ML so I'll directly mention the names.

Shen Zechuan (courtesy name Shen Lanzhou) : he is, just, wow. He is described as a bewitching beauty, which might be incredibly cliche but man, Tan Jiuqing's writing style, her adjectives, metaphors, similes, everything she uses to describe his beauty is so enthralling that you will be convinced that there truly is no one who can rival his looks. But Zechuan, he's more than that. He is a cunning strategist, a brave hero, a tragic villain, a sensitive little thing who feels too much, a human. We get to watch his character grow from age 15 and he only continues to get more impressive while still maintaining his original edge. He is also so seductive and foxy that it will leave you feeling...Things.

Xiao Chiye (courtesy name Xiao Ce'an) : this dude. Up in my top 3 favorite characters in all fiction. I could write a book about how Much I adore him. I could read 5 volumes about his life in Libei of him training his falcon and horse. Ce'an is such a beautiful name and it fits him perfectly. He is described as someone tall (incredibly), strong, powerful, domineering yet childish (this is really cute), rational yet sensitive, basically everything contrasting. You may think, 'whats so good about an OP character?', well, I don't even know how Tang Jiuqing managed to make him so interesting but boy did she do it well. He has a lot of weaknesses, he is incredibly broke, he starts from rock-bottom and climbs the ladder through his own prowess and achievements alone, and I am enjoying witnessing every second of his growth.

The Relationship: I think I don't want this book to have a donghua or live adaptation because they will fail to deliver the passion between these two characters as in the novel. Soulmates, that is what they are. There is mutual love, mutual pining, mutual initiative. Always always always consensual.

    • As enemies: expect a whole load of sexual tension that leaves you gripping your hair in frustration. The build-up is gradual and, I can't stress this enough, so convincing that there is no awkward sudden level-up in their feelings for each other. They are not 'tsunderes' who pretend to hate the other but still secretly work to help the other, so it is impressive watching their relationship evolve from this kind of loathing to.....
    • As lovers: the most unhinged and unbridled romance between two characters (imo). What starts off as a sexual affair (ahem, hate sex) transforms into a full-fledged romance. If you have read Tan Jiuqing's novels, you will know the type of quotable dialogues that are passed between the two lovers. For example,

      (letter from Lanzhou to Ce'an) Days have passed since we parted, I know you yearn for me.
      So here's a little gift to comfort you with.

      Touching it is akin to touching me.

      It's hard to sleep by my lonesome self. When will you return?

      A good night's sleep is only possible when you hold me in your arms.


      Xiao Chiye's ferocity caused Shen Zechuan to lift his head and gasp for breath. Shen Zechuan pressed down on Xiao Chiye's chest and attempted to make him stop this aggressive invasion. But he was also looking down at Xiao Chiye with tears in his eyes, seducing Xiao Chiye with his gaze into continuing with the fierceness, into keeping up with the meanness.

      'Do all you want.' and so on. This goes on all throughout the story (so far) so you can imagine just how much passion was injected into this book.
    • Power balance: This is what makes this book so addictive. Lanzhou is a cutting-edge mean vindictive etc etc character but he's still younger and he displays his childish and submissive side to Ce'an (and Ce'an only), while still clearly having the upper-hand, which Ce'an gives him unquestioningly. Ce'an is more domineering but he lets himself get dominated by Lanzhou's enigmatic sensuality, and also does act childish himself. They are equals both in and out of bed. They have their own goals, which they will not sacrifice for the sake of love. And the best thing is, the other party does not want that--they want their partner to do what they want and they explicitly provide all the necessary support (it's not all talk and no action). I've never read of a couple so mutually supportive of each other. They are the protagonists of their own stories but what entwines their stories is their love for each other, where they stand as unyielding pillars of unconditional love and support.
The side characters are fleshed out well, too well, that some might find it even annoying at times. I love politics and I love reading about strategies and their executions so this novel never once bored me (so far). You will definitely have to engage in active reading because if not, you will find yourself reading a paragraph multiple times to fully understand it.

There is a lot more I want to say but this is one of those novels that knock the breath out of you, so that the more you like it, the harder it will be to find the perfect words to convey just what you feel. The translation by Lianyin is, as always, breathtaking. Read it. You don't want to skip out on this. <<less
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Curiositeey rated it
May 25, 2021
Status: c282
I signed up for an account just to leave this review because I finished QJJ yesterday and I'm going through withdrawals. I'm dumbfounded by why this novel isn't more high profile among the English speaking community, and my only guess is that translation is in progress and you can't MLT this type of writing. The translation by the way, is quite excellent. I read this book partly via the translation and partly via my own middle school level Chinese.

I'll start with my favorite part, which is the main couple. These... more>> two share a love of epic proportions. Even the voice actors in the audio drama characterized it as the ideal type of love that centers around unconditional trust, support, and passion, and something enviable that likely doesn't exist in the real world. And passionate they are. They start out with mutual loathing and what's basically a murder attempt (this is in the synopsis so not a spoiler), but about 100 chapters in it becomes very clear that there will never be anyone else for either of them. There's way too many epic quotes, but here are a few that I remember vividly off the top of my head, roughly translated by me. The following probably don't count as actual spoilers but being more cautious.


MC: "CeAn, I can't go with you to Libei. One day we will ride together under the skies of Libei, but it will be when I'm strong enough. 2 million silvers isn't enough to marry the young wolf; it's not worthy of my Xiao CeAn. With me in ZhongBo, I will one day be your invincible shield."

ML: "I'll trust you with my back. You'll trust me with your front. We won't be one without the other. I'll select the best horse in Libei for you, we will set up at the border and see each other every month. If you want to marry me, 2 million won't be enough. I want LanZhou's priceless smile."



ML: "Who is Shen ZeChuan? He is Qi HuiLian's student. He is Ji Gang's disciple. He is an official of JinYiWei. And he is the future head of my household. No other name has anything to do with him."


"At first Shen ZeChuan thought that what he cherished wasn't his life but Xiao ChiYe. He gradually came to understand that an injured finger would cause pain. However what hurt wasn't his finger, but Xiao ChiYe."


"By wearing the earring that CeAn gave him, Shen ZeChuan was also announcing his possessiveness. Amidst his pain and hatred there was warmth. This was his tenderness, and he only gave it to Xiao CeAn."


*ugly cries* YOU GUYS!!!! BTW, there is no non con between the main couple (or any of the couples actually), just two people who can't get enough of each other. There's some NSFW, but it's written in what I can only describe as a poetic way. It's not explicit, as in there's like, no body parts mentioned. You know what is happening, but what is written focuses on what the characters are feeling and innuendo rather than what they're exactly doing. Hard to describe, but it's quite tasteful.

MC happens to be the most beautiful man in the universe of this book (HAVE YOU SEEN THE ART OMG) but he doesn't fall into the trope of using his beauty to get what he wants. He fights, schemes, and plots his way from being basically a cast out prisoner hanging onto life by a thread to various positions of power using his own intelligence and determination. Despite his early show of being "helpless" (LOL) he is NOT weak, and is recognized as a formidable threat by his enemies.

ML is the ultimate manly man. He's sexy AF (he keeps getting women thrown at him 😂), ridiculously tall, ridiculously strong, and his battle partner is a badass gyrfalcon that thinks/knows it's too cool for school. He will tear the arms off anyone who hurts MC, if MC doesn't beat him to it. And more importantly, he has his own agenda and own goals. He was born into nobility but has to prove himself every step of the way and learns some hard lessons, so by the time he achieves his goals nobody can question his qualifications.

A TON of political intrigue type stuff, as well as some good action scenes. My only gripe, if you can call it that, is that it's really easy to get lost in the details and characters, and in the early parts there's more info dump on the background than I normally like. In addition to the 10 or so main characters there is probably like another 30 minor characters and "villains" who are pretty important and will pop up. If you take your time it'll be less of an issue but I binged this so I got a little lost at parts, which really isn't anybody's fault but my own. That being said, I'm quite impressed at how fleshed out side characters and "villains" are. I put villains in quotes because almost all of them have motivations that you can relate to, and one can easily write a different version of the story that would make them the protagonist.

TL;DR, just go read it. You'll be envious of CeAn and LanZhou's love too. <<less
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rosiekafe123 rated it
June 29, 2020
Status: --
This one is a masterpiece!!

Rated 5/5 This novel climbed top 3 best novel I've ever read in novelupdates. QJJ is extremely well researched. There's a lot of focus on strategy, heavy politic matters and wars, and in the middle of that, bittersweet romance between MC and ML. I LOVE XIAO ER GONG ZI! All of the side characters are great, the antagonists have complex motivations and the story and drama are super well done and compelling.
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Misa07 rated it
May 22, 2021
Status: c130
Where do I start? This novel is a masterpiece. An extremely well written political intrigue, well rounded characters and well thought out plot. If you don't want to read the humongous mass of text I am going to write after this paragraph, and just want to know if it is worth reading, then this is your cue. Yes, read this. You will not regret it. Plus I am this close to learning Chinese just so that I can read it in it's original language so

(Also, this is my first... more>> time writing a review so please bear with me)

The plot and writing:

    • Very very well thought out. Like, I cannot express how detailed it is.
    • Contains a lot of political stuff which kinda gets confusing (especially if you do not know the map of the world, like me) but trust me that will not lessen your reading experience. In fact, it makes you more engaged into the storyline, and wonder how the leads are going to solve their problems.
    • This novel is hands down the best writing (in my opinion please) I have ever read. There are parallels, metaphors, imagery and all the best stuff.
    • It makes you feel the plot rather than read it, the style of writing is just so good, that you understand what the character is feeling rather than just reading about what they feel.
The characters:

Shen Zechuan/ Shen Lanzhou

    • Another of the "gray morality" protagonist.
    • This one is particularly interesting, because he suffered a lot. And yet, he is not explicitly portrayed as a pitiful protagonist.
    • In fact, I never considered him to be a victim of misery (though he was, and he still is.) but his goals don't come easy to him just because he is pitiful, but because he earned it. And that is highlighted very beautifully in the novel.
    • Very scheming, you have no idea what goes on in his head.
    • Spoiler

      Behaved as if he was a weak, pitiful little creature, just to stab everybody in the back as soon as they let their guard down lol

    • I would write more on him, but that would end up spoiling a lot and I want everybody to read and interpret his character on their own
Xiao Chiye/ Xiao Ce'an

    • He's a softie y'all
    • No actually pretty wild and unrestrained. Only a softie for his Lanzhou
    • Son of the official wife of a very powerful leader, even the emperor does not want to offend his father.
    • Seems very frivolous, but is actually a very hardworking and smart guy. In fact, he's a natural born leader.
    • Spoiler

      Is hella horny for SZC and the entire time he tried to be like, "you can do it, you can supress your urges. It's nothing, I've trained my horses and falcon, I'll just train my mind to not think of him" and then glances at SZC and goes, "nope. I cannot stop it." and it's hilarious

    • Again, I could go on and on about how great this guy is, but it would be better to read about him yourself
The CP:

    • It's a proper enemies to lovers. They loathed each other before.
    • In the beginning, they had to keep their manners in check in front of other people, so they used to fight with passive aggressive comments and it is hilarious.
    • After they get together though, they're the sweetest towards each other. Like, I've never seen a pair this completely trusting and supporting before.
    • Spoiler

      There are quite a lot of nsfw scenes, but one thing I noticed was that most (if not all) of them are completely consensual, something that I have failed to see in a lot of danmei.

    • Both of them are attracted to each other since the beginning, and they hate each other even more because of it lol.

      In fact, it is mentioned at more than one instance that SZC was attracted to XCY because XCY was a type of person SZC always wanted to be. And XCY was attracted to SZC because he realized that both of them were stuck in the capital, and couldn't leave because of reasons which were none of their faults at all.

    • Both work so well with each other, with all their decisions benefiting both of them.
    • I love how they have their own respective goals and never try to lessen the importance of the other's ambitions,

      Even if it means they have to separate (temporarily)


Pretty much one of the best I've ever seen. Seriously, shout out to the translators, they did a real great job. Especially for a novel like QJJ where almost every spoken line is a poem lol.

TL;DR: Please go read it, it's worth all your time <<less
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schipmate rated it
October 27, 2020
Status: c60
This story is so good, heavy political plots, interesting characters and side characters. I find myself consulting the character page regularly to figure out alliances and other relationships.

Both the MC and ML are extremely well written with flaws and desires, nobody is perfect in this story. The romance is subtle but somehow scalding hot and passionate.

Lastly, the translation is so very good, the editing is clean, the notes are all well researched, the character page is so necessary and well done.
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Psyche000804 rated it
May 15, 2020
Status: c120
The translation is so good!

the story itself is quite heavy-plot. And there will be a lot of Chinese names and positions u need to memorize but the tl site has their dictionary so don’t worry!

if u don’t like politics, u may not like this novel.

then interaction between the couple was sweet, I like to see how they fall in love with each other from enemies and believe and protect each other even the world is just a turmoil.
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du rated it
June 22, 2020
Status: Completed
The vocabulary, politics, and setting are very rich. The author uses a ton of idioms and references, so it is actually a slow read for the less literary of cn readers. A cn friend warned me about it and refused to elaborate, and I think I understand why, now.

The translation is high quality, informative, and honestly, a relief to have. Kudos to the translator! You did a good job, although some of the names chosen gave me a little whiplash :D

"Fate wants to bind me here for life, but this is not the path I choose. The yellow dust submerged my brothers deep under. I have no wish to bow in submission to an illusory fate. The imperial edict couldn't save my troops, and the imperial court couldn't fill the stomachs of my mounts. I'm no longer willing to lay down my life for this purpose. I want to overturn that mountain. I am going to fight for myself."

... more>> The philosophy and content can be rather heavy sometimes, which is why I suspect some readers left low ratings and no reviews. In actuality, this is an excellent piece (so far) heralding survival, growth, and the will to fight.

These are the points which draw the CP together— and make them terrifyingly formidable, alone or together.


TJQ's handling of the material makes me think nan chan will also be a fascinating book; the summary sounds like it could be eh, but with my current understanding of the writer, it is probably great


UPDATE: finished! I just want to say that the political intrigue is SO GOOD (and a little bit exhausting). I adored the humanity of the characters; the ruthless, the kind, the goodwill, and the hatred. While female characters are less in number and featured less often, they're all well written and important in their own right.

The way t97 handles themes and subtlety is absolutely gorgeous and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for inspiration, intrigue, or just excellent writing <<less
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karwasama rated it
June 20, 2021
Status: c140
If I had one quote to represent how I feel about this novel:

"Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before, unafraid to reference or not reference, put it in a blender, sh*t on it, vomit on it, eat it, give birth to it." - Lady Gaga

Thank you.

Anyway, this novel was fantastic. The immense world building was honestly intimidating at first, but now that I've read it I'm just so impressed by how well thought out everything is. Every character feels... more>> like a real, breathing person, and they all have a purpose other than to make the protagonists look good. You're going to hate them, sympathize with them, and cry over them when they die, even if you never liked them to begin with.

The politics in this make sense and I loved that we were able to follow along with the MC and the ML as digested new information. We were able to follow their schemes while recognizing other schemes, and I was surprised when I was able to accurately guess what would happen next. This isn't to say the story was predictable; rather, it was realistic. There was no crazy last minute twist that left you confused. For example -


- I was able to guess what they (I don't remember their name exactly LOL) were doing when they adopted that group of children, because I remember in a previous chapter there was a subtle hint that the emperor may have had another child. I really enjoy stuff like this, where the reader is given the same amount of information as the characters and thus are able to come to the same conclusions on their own and not have to be spoonfed answers.


As for the MC and the ML themselves, I think it goes without saying they were incredibly well written. They both have depth, they have personality, they both have backstory, they grow from their trauma and become stronger. The MC may be astoundingly beautiful, but he barely relies on this on his journey back to power (and the author doesn't remind us every five seconds about his looks either, so that's definitely a positive). He's clever, ruthless, but he's also so painfully human. This is recognized by the ML, who is just the same.

Together, they have a scorching relationship. Like, Jesus, I'm not kidding. I went into this novel expecting nothing but scraps of romance. Even knowing that they had a love-hate/enemies-to-lovers chemistry, I thought it would be mild dislike for each other at most. What I got? Well, take a look at this quote:


This was mutual loathing.

Tainting the other party with the filthy stain that was their own. Letting hatred turn into a bond that could not be torn apart. It was too much of an agony to live like this, being the only ones who could hear their own howls in the night. So why not come together and tear each other bloody? Let this visceral intimacy metamorphose into a form of solace they could rely on.

This life was already rotten enough.

(Chapter 40)


I honestly love that their reasons for hating each other aren't shallow and that there's genuine discord between them. In the same vein, I love how their burning desire for freedom and how only the other could understand them kindled their relationship. It's such an amazing concept and one that's executed beautifully. From then on, their relationship builds out of genuine respect and attraction, until we're hit with these raw-as-f*ck quotes:


Shen Wei and Bai Cha (MC's neglectful parents) did not matter.

Xiao Chiye lowered his head and pressed up against Shen Zechuan’s cheek as he stared, with deep hostility, at the sunlight which was attempting to cloak Shen Zechuan.

Shen Lanzhou was his—Xiao Ce’an’s.

(Chapter 112)



That kick that had never once turned a hair during all the years in Qudu had, along with the passage of time, cunningly turned into pangs of pain after Xiao Chiye fell into the clutches of love. The turbidness that was love and hatred went through a cleansing by the heavy downpour to become a crystal clear lake. Xiao Chiye drew in his claws, bowing his head in submission to the word “love”.

Shen Zechuan released his hand and held hands again with Xiao Chiye with interlocking fingers. He tilted his head to bump gently against Xiao Chiye’s unmoving head and said, “Have you fallen asleep?”

Xiao Chiye raised his head and said in a hoarse voice, “Oh, how I love you so.”

(Chapter 119)



“Lanzhou has lived in Zhongbo for a long time, and it’s inevitable that there will be someone bringing up old affairs. But, he, Shen Zechuan... ” Xiao Chiye raised the horsewhip and pointed in the direction of Qudu, “... is the student of Qi Huilian, the Grand Mentor of the Crown Prince in the Eastern Palace; the last disciple of Ji Gang of Duanzhou; the former Northern Judge-cum-Vice Commander of the Imperial Bodyguards; and the head of household of my – Xiao Ce’an’s – future residence. He has nothing to do with any other names.” - ML, about the MC

(Chapter 112)


Anyway, another point I want to bring up is that the translation for this novel is so, god damn good, as you can see in all of these small sections of the novel I've written above. Translator, if you're reading this, I want you to know that the Lady Gaga quote is also about you, and that you have my sincerest gratitude for how well you have translated this novel. I don't think I've read a smoother, more comprehensive, well written translation on this site. Seriously, kudos and much thanks for your work.

I don't give these ratings freely (I think the only other novel that I've given this to is Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, and come one, that's practically the Bible around here) but I'm rating this a 5.0/5.0. Seriously, this was so f*cking good, you won't regret reading it. <<less
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engineer001 rated it
February 21, 2021
Status: --
Wow. The plot is very extensive. Although there is quite a bit of romance, there is a LOT of plot. I love that.

This is the first danmei novel that I've read where I can believe every single character is the star in their own narrative. Some authors create dramatic backstories (tragedies etc) for supporting characters and villains to seem like everyone has depth, some give supporting characters more time/focus and their share various aspects about their day to day so they seem more real. But either way, it's either contrived,... more>> unbelievable or boring.

There are a lot of romance novels where power is involved, be it supernatural powers or political/military powers or wealth as power etc. None of it is realistic because it's all romanticized. QJJ is the first danmei novel I have ever read where it feels real. When power is involved at the top, no one can be 100% altruistic and kind, it's a cutthroat and cruel world.

Not a single character is good and pure.

Not a single character is evil.

The novel is about fate. Everyone is born into their own unique set of circumstances, but they're all just people with different ambitions in life. Its ambition of all sizes, as small as someone giving up on their old dreams and just hoping to survive, or as large as conquering everything. In the end, all the characters are merely human. They're at times noble, kind and good. But they also make terrible, cruel, s*upid decisions other times.

"时也,命也,运也,非吾所能也" Be it timing, fate or luck, none of it can be controlled by someone like me. (Chapter 282, but quoted from 吕蒙正格言)

Some people are born into the luckiest situations and throw it all away. Some people plot and scheme only to fail, or succeed for a time. Good people commit treason for what they believe are honourable reasons - but is treason truly ever honourable? They all draw their own lines differently. It's super worth reading!

I love the depiction of women in this novel too. Most women have no way out in life and they meet bad ends. But you have some strong women characters and they're each strong in their own way.

The Empress Dowager who's the most successful woman, so clever, schemey and great at reading situations (

although she was murdered in the end, she spent decades holding on to power - and she achieved the highest "accepted" title for a woman in China.

), she depicts the kind of woman who plays by the rules of society to reach the pinnacle.

The only female general ever who fights against order and the rules of inheritance to get to where she is. And she does this because it's what she likes. Her determination and skill also led to her becoming the unofficial head of the clan. Her ambition later on in life is to be remembered by generations after for her achievements, and not to be noted only as her father's daughter.

The female Emperor born of the former Emperor and his daughter in law (although related by blood, it's incest), defies her birth circumstances to become the a fairly wise ruler for a time, but still fails in the end, because you cannot escape fate. In the end, goes crazy before ending herself.

The noble born 3rd Missy, taught by the Emperor Dowager and is as clever as the Empress Dowager. But lacks the same ambition and greed, so she gets her own happy ending. But she is as ruthless when she puts her mind to it.

The noble born Princess Zhuoyue, who is the only one in her generation who is remotely capable. But she understands the limitations to her birth and never tries or wants to do more. Happy enough with what she has, in the end, when the nobles get into trouble and her husband is among the first to be executed. It's her idea that saves her father and brother from execution. Even after going bankrupt, she quietly and calmly picks herself up and sells embroidery she makes, and writes for others to earn money.

Be careful if you are easily triggered though. QJJ doesn't shy away from reality or try to be PC. There is a very horrifying chapter of animal cruelty which is related to the humiliation of a character (power play) that I couldn't read too closely because it was so disgusting. There is also human trafficking, prostitution, a lot of mentioned r*pe (not of lead characters), pedophilia, torture by the lead character (

MC tortures someone by skinning them, and leaving him alive. Poor guy killed himself out of pain - this seems kind of vague in the English translation I read but this is elaborated in later chapters I read in Chinese

), 1 brief mention of cannibalism (due to starvation).

I have to finish this by saying this is one of the best translators I've read so far. Great work. Historical Chinese novels are probably the most difficult translate if I have to be honest, especially when it comes to titles and how people are addressed. This translator has done a fantastic job. <<less
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tiredtiredtired rated it
February 20, 2021
Status: c100
I am in complete and utter awe of how one is able to create such a masterpiece.

Qiang Jin Jiu is an amazing story filled with twists, a complex plot filled with even more complex characters, with several layers to them.

5/5 This story deserves more recognition and love, and the translators and editors who managed to translate such a complex story filled with so many idioms and historical context deserves the world, Thank you so much lianyin for doing such an amazing job.
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seika27 rated it
June 29, 2020
Status: c40
I am really enjoying the novel, the political plot is easy to read and entertaining it does not bore me at all, and the main characters have good chemistry, their personalities fit well, I like them both, I am looking forward to seeing how their relationship will develop. In conclusion good story
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yunyunyun rated it
September 24, 2021
Status: Completed
I have so much love for QJJ.

QJJ is an amazing story of counting grains a dynasty at the end of its lifeline and the interrim period where power passes from the Li clan to ... more>>

Shen Zechuan first, and then the Xiao clan.

Although it's by no means necessary, I do think you'll enjoy the novel a bit more if you have some knowledge of Chinese history and dynastic cycles.

After reading through the whole story, I still think the first book is my favourite, because I really like the intrigue of well written Chinese court politics. Also, I find the first book to have the best pacing and character development. It's a period where Xiao Chiye and Shen Zechuan each feel isolated, like a fish out of water, due to their background. XCY and SZC's enemies to lovers phase is actually quite short (only for 40-60 chapters). But even though they're attracted to each other, they remain forever cautious, constantly testing each other's intentions and trying to unveil the intentions of every other powerful official in the capital. This is a very tension heavy period and there are a few plot twists that really made my jaw drop. By the end of the book, SCZ and XCY grow to trust each other completely, and SZC leans on XCY for one of the saddest moments in his life. Ah, that sweet, supportive, (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) relationship stage.

The second book mainly features a long distance relationship as XCY and SZC return to their respective hometowns to build up the two things you need to overthrow a dynasty: military might and provisions. Of course, at this point they're not thinking about that and are more focused on short term goals. XCY slowly proves himself as a commander while filling in the shoes of his injured brother and fighting the Bianjun 12 Tribes while Shen Zechuan fights for power and stability in the Six Prefectures of Zhongbo. This is a build-up stage, but also a stage of freedom and immense character development, as they finally free themselves of the shackles that are Qudu. Though I have to say while I was reading, I found it so funny that talented scholars kept running to Lanzhou. For 20 chapters or so, whenever he needed a certain person to do something, they'd just, like, show up for refuge. Isn't that too coincidental? Lmao.

And then the final arc. Victory and all the glory that comes with it. The unveiling of all the secrets behind the Zhongbo invasion (actually I forget if that was the 2nd or 3rd book). Cleaning up the country of internal (bandits, corruption, spies in the court) and external (12 Tribes) threats. Conquering the jiangshan.

f*cking on the throne.

I also have to give extra props to Hua-san here. Hua-san is such a good girl. I wish she and Qi Zhuyin got more relationship development... :')

QJJ is amazing in that it explores so many different points of views, from the empress dowager desperately clinging on to power to the group of mixed-blooded outcasts scorned by both nations to the brave widow of a slain warrior. I'm not cultured enough to comment on how plausible SCZ and XCY's rise to power is, but T97 beautifully tells the story of a dynasty falling apart through the eyes of all that live within it, outside of it, on its outskirts. And that makes you really excited to see XCY and SZC bring about a wave of change, but also melancholic for all those left behind.

And T97's prose <3 there are so many lines that blew me away. QJJ truly deserves all the praise it gets. <<less
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nakia19 rated it
June 24, 2021
Status: c142
I recently got into chinese novels. I've only read, far away wanderes, 2ha and sha po lang, but this novel is the best so far, even one of the best novels i've ever read.

The love story between the couple is to die for, its so beautiful and realistic. I love these two so much, both as a couple and as individuals. The political and military drama is perfect. I never knew I could love military drama. I'm not good at reviews, just know that this story is perfect. My only... more>> regret is that I should have waited till the translation is complete, I'm all caught up now and I don't know what to do with myself. Lol

The translation is perfect, I understood everything even though I'm not chinese and can't read it. The translation is so good that i've deciede to read other novels translated by LIANYIN. Thank you so such for such a beautiful work, God bless you. <<less
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Gwennie Call
Gwennie Call rated it
September 10, 2021
Status: c120
Such a great story and a good translation, too!

Getting a bit panicky because I'm approaching the cut-off chapter - maybe I should eke it out a little, so I'll have more of it. I just get freaked out when something happens to our boys and I need to know what's next, heh.

It's so weird, in the first chapters I wept for and loved Shen Zechuan and really hated Xiao Chiye, like hated him.

And now I'm like 'cupping both of them gently in my hands while crying meme' - nobody is... more>> allowed to touch any of them! <<less
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Rainbowlad rated it
August 5, 2021
Status: Completed
This book is HUGE. Not just in length, but in layers and depth of plot. Maps and charts provided on cangji. Net will help you a lot. I also highly recommend waiting for translations to complete before beginning this if you're only reading in english. If you were to take a long break halfway through this story while waiting for more chapters, I think it would be very hard to remember all of these names, places, etc.

The MTL is unfortunately completely unreadable, and for a book so heavy in details,... more>> you can't just blast through it.

All that being said, this book is so good that you will not mind reading through chapters and chapters of details about military provisions, moldy rice, city ditches and other incredibly boring areas that are covered in this book in immense complexity.

The main couple are completely unparalleled. Cunning versus cunning, flirt versus flirt. Every romantic encounter is consensual, albeit hostile at first, but they both have the ability to push the other away. They're both very strong in physical and mental prowess.

The first half of the book grabs you by the feels and makes you feel like a teenager. By the second half, you will feel like an old married crone rooting for your children while fully invested in the numerous plotlines.

What I really like about this couple is that each has been written as a full person. There is no two-dimensional lover who only lives for the main character with no life of his own. They each have their own likes and dislikes, detailed family histories, close friends, confidants, senses of humor, etc. They're very believable as real people in the world, but there's still no lack of passion that people like from those 2D relationships.

I would read 45 more chapters just about rice for these heroes. <<less
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oceanstarjp rated it
July 12, 2021
Status: c148
This novel is gold! Although I usually stay away from politically heavy novels like this one, the plot is intriguing and engaging and usually find myself engrossed just to find out what happens next. The two main leads are even better. Man when they say enemies to lovers they mean enemies. I always love the enemies to lovers trope but this one is done in the best way possible. You can feel their hatred for each other with their actions, but the author has a way of making their actions... more>> against each other in such a way that it is purely foreplay. There is complete sexual tension during their fights and scheming against each other and it's purely delightful to read. What I love most is seeing these two men have their own goals and plans. They are not so obsessed with each other that they become sappy lovers. No! They have their own desires and will do anything to reach their goals. These are two strong men with strong wills and their relationship is completely believable. I am so excited this will be adapted to a drama and I look forward to the end! <<less
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