Sha Po Lang


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In the age of the Great Liang Dynasty, the lives of the people were made convenient with steam-powered machines that run on a fuel named Violetstream Gold. Chang Geng, who lived in a small countryside village, shared a distant relationship with his mother while his stepfather was away most of the year round, and the only people he was close to were two little kids, the village teacher, and his yi fu – adoptive father. But his life was flipped upside down one day following the barbaric Man tribes’ invasion, and it turned out that his entire identity had been an illusion – not only was Chang Geng himself not the country boy he thought he was, but also his mother, his teacher, and even his beloved yi fu…

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Related Series
Golden Stage (6)
Guardian (2)
Imperfections (2)
Liu Yao: The Revitalization of Fuyao Sect (2)
Faraway Wanderers (2)
Cheeky Sword God (2)
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10/05/19 Northwest Flower v4c108
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32 Reviews sorted by

New iRead rated it
June 27, 2020
Status: Completed
Excellence. Wonderful story, not enough smut, hilarity and oppression at every corner. Huzzah to the author.

Heavy-ish reading, not for a light-hearted desire to pass the time.
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New procrastinatorpro rated it
June 12, 2020
Status: c128
Sha Po Lang is one of the best web novels I have read-with an intensely complicated plot comprising mind games and politics in the main and romance as a secondary theme. And it does not disappoint, especially with Priest's ability to make you cry at one moment and then be in splits at the other. The characters are not one-dimensional and you get to understand the reason behind their actions (i love this aspect).

Honestly, I was not able to keep up with the mind games all that much, but that... more>> just fuels me to read Sha Po Lang once more to understand this wonderful novel more thoroughly.

I will be rating a few major aspects of the novel now:

Plot: 10/10

Narration: 10/10

Humour: 10/10

Characters: 10/10

Romance: 10/10

Which is to say, I loved this novel (as is obvious) and strongly recommend it for those who are looking for a great plot and a story that will create havoc on your emotions (in the best way). Its definitely not a light-read. <<less
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earlgreyt rated it
March 14, 2020
Status: Completed
A webnovel that actually competes with published novels is very rare. This is probably one of the best webnovels here on NU, and I'm pretty harsh about my ratings, ok?

If you are tired of cardboard cut-outs, here's what to look forward to:

  • An ML who is actually a human being who is NOT stoic, NOT overbearing, and NOT idolized by the author. Are you curious about an ML who cannot be described with three adjectives? Read on!
  • Plot (an endangered species, I'm telling you) that is NOT there to glorify the main characters.
  • Villains who are NOT there to glorify the main characters.
  • Side characters who are NOT there to glorify the main characters.
  • Conflict that is actually conflicting, that forces main characters to actually try hard, and they don't always succeed (once more, NOT there to glorify the main characters).
  • Worldbuilding that is detailed (without going overboard) with fantasy STEAMPUNK (!) elements and based on an actual historical era (instead of some vague "ancient china" irrational mumbo-jumbo you get with most "ancient" settings)
  • DID I MENTION.... a lot of things NOT just there to glorify the main characters?!
I also have to say, the politics (and the emperor) are probably one of my favorite things in this novel. In every other novel, the emperor is either overly competent and somehow (magically or coincidentally) helps the MC... more>> or an absolute idiot who is the MC's opponent. NOT THIS ONE.


You literally witness how step-by-step, the emperor's caution and policies push the country to the brink. And separately, each step seem "reasonable" from his point of view, but alltogether, they become the straw that breaks the camel's back. Beautiful.

No handwavy magic, no vague "implications" (from authors who themselves have no idea what they're talking about). An incredibly impressive and believable way for the way the author set up each of the major events in the novel.


Another thing is seriously, the characters are actually normal and react in normal ways. For example...


When the MC confesses to the ML and gets rejected, he simply accepts the rejection and they go back to a 'platonic' relationship. Like holy crap! No forcing, drugging or threatening, what a f*cking shock! They also realize that there are more important things at stake like the stability of the country, not just their epic romance! A-m-a-z-i-n-g!


Webnovels typically suffer from three major issues: extreme filler (because higher wordcount directly associates with higher payouts), lack of forward planning (because writers have to update every day to keep readers), and extremely cliche/shortsighted instant gratification (because readers are paying for novels by the chapter).

This book literally has none of the above. Seriously, give it go.


The translation is really good, except for two (pretty big) issues: grammar and fairly arbitrary pinyin inserts. It's clear the translators worked really hard to give Priest's book the attention it deserves, so thank you for your efforts.


The grammar is a pretty big issue for native English readers. The past perfect and present perfect tenses and plural/singular verb conjugations are almost always wrong. About 90% of the story is grammatically incorrect, which makes reading it extremely difficult. Typically, I would have long dropped stories with this level of grammar problems.

Specific terms are arbitrarily translated. I'm not sure why the "Black Iron Camp" and "Wind Slasher" got translated, but Spectrum Arrows, telescopes, monocles, mechanics, Beacon tickets, etc. are left their original pinyin. There's seriously a LOT of pinyin to memorize, and I read the book all at once so it would be way more difficult for people who were slower readers (because the vocab is not consistently footnoted).

I also recommend translating the pinyin for the steampunk oil into something like "viogold oil", because so many policies and people (like gold fighters) play on the word "gold" in that made-up term. Measuring impurities in it is one thing and setting it on fire to create explosions is a huge part of many battles/plots. It is SO difficult for English readers to even imagine what category of substance "ziliujing" is (a liquid? a mineral? a powder?) when the entire phrase is left untranslated.

Yes, I understand Chinese, yes I can read pinyin, yes I still think it's a problem.


P.S. If you are looking for stereotypical, clingy, sticky, romance-focused, "i love you so I don't have a life spoiling u is my life" or "a big part of the plot is about finding true love and keeping them happy", don't read this book. There are literally hundreds of others on NU that will perfectly suit your needs. <<less
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meridianna rated it
October 26, 2018
Status: c82
welp, still struggling through the mass amount of distorted English. will add more comments after finished all. and I plan to do it fast :))
but I can really tell this is very great.

the shou is shameless, looks weak and unreliable but still able to kill, best at it even. (kinda remind you of certain patriach). the gong is......... A GOOD, VERY GOOD CHILD. kind, selfless but detached. his only wish is to protect his yifu (foster father, the shou). what a kind soul, sobs. he really needs hug.... more>> and pats on head, ofc. eh, there'll be time skip, so it's not shotacon, you all can be assured.

the plot is very intriguing. but rather heavy on politic, so I think some people can't really stand it.


the gong and shou have some chronic diseases respectively. Gu Yun (shou) is half deaf-half blind becoz he was poisoned when he was a child. that's the truth. with some medicine he can see and hear rather well, but not without nasty side effects, like... shortened lifespan and severe headache. and this medicine was losing effectiveness by time to time. he still looks nonchalant about this. damn. Chang Geng (gong) was poisoned by his supposedly-mother in early chapters. well she was not his real mother, she was his aunt actually, she tried to kill him several times till he always gets nightmares every night. by this bad bad aunt, Chang Geng was cursed to be a madman, killing everyone in fit of madness, have unstable mind. Chang Geng is a smart child, he tried to suppress it and find a way to cure this. so, he looks calm and stable, but when his yifu is involved, the calmness was crushed. as far I read, this poison is only affecting the mind. but eh, I may be wrong.


looks a bit incest tbh, so I guess some people don't like it. however, I really dig on older shou younger gong these days, so I am very very okay with this.

edit: okay... I wonder why this one hasn't got any adaptation other than audio drama. the setting and conflicts are actually great. the characters too. I wanna see those black armors in motion! also the archery on top of a flying ship!! is it becoz it looks incest? welp. fyi Gu Yun in audio drama has same VA as Yiling Laozu donghua version. boii.. he even sang the SPL's ED ost. can't help to loop the song for many times.


now now i've read about CG's curse and how he got it. GDI XIU NIANG. W-WHAT KIND OF GRIEVANCE YOU HAD TILL YOU DID THAT TO A CHILD WHO MAY BE YOUR OWN OR YOUR SISTER'S ?!! the detail is too grotesque. can't write it here orz


tbh, this novel really pierces to my heart. Gu Yun to Chang Geng is a deterrent, limiter to his own curse. and Chang Geng to Gu Yun is a change of hard-like-stone heart. reading how Gu Yun finally learns to treasure his life because of Chang Geng is really heart-wrenching..

really, I think it's one of most famous from priest. donghua pls... <<less
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ShiraAichan rated it
August 1, 2019
Status: v4c95
Probably the best danmei BL I ever read, haven't found anything that could top this

Plot driven, slowburn romance, exciting in every way
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whitespade rated it
January 10, 2019
Status: v1c36
A BL novel that mostly focused on plot than 'plot'. Heck if this is not specifically labelled as BL and get rid of some of the protagonist's spring thoughts this will be an excellent 'road to kingdom' novel.

But the thoughts are still there and its delicious hehe. The characters are fleshed out and their actions are understandable, the inter-country fights are interesting though maybe too complicated/heavy for some people, the mechas are novel but not fully explained.

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baibaicai rated it
August 13, 2018
Status: c21

Why is the rating so bad... anyway this is quite a hard read for non native speaker bc the vocabulary is difficult QAQ

The MC is the seme (gong) so i'll refer to them as gong and shou instead.

THUNDER ALERT!!! up to the chapter I'm reading the gong is still 14 years old so please be aware. he's going to get older tho *wink wink*

The story:

... more>>

it's a forsaken child ascending to throne kind of story. the shou will be the one to help the gong become king. the world setting is a steam punk china with ziliujin (violetstream gold) powering machines, armors, and weapons. think of it like vibranium. china is constantly in battles with neighboring tribes for land.


The gong:


a bratty child, currently. but he's ardent in his martial art training and cares a lot about his yifu (shou). one time he thought his yifu has fallen into the water and jumped to save him even though he always acted nonchalant towards his yifu. a righteous person, would save his friend even when it endangers his life.


The shou:


GOSH I LOVE HIM. shameless ukes always burns my fire. he's beautiful and he's not ashamed to admit it. very lazy tho, would delegate all house chores to shen yi. even though he's sick he's not weak. although the desc said he's deaf-blind he still can see and hear from close distance. a general of an army division, he has won countless border wars. he thinks of the gong as his actual son. would the gong be son-zoned???

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Lovelies rated it
March 24, 2020
Status: Completed
What the heck? The novel (and author) is so underrated. This is one of my favorite BL novels, up there with well-known books like MDZS and HOB.

There are a very few amount of BL novels out there that have actual quality to it. So when you find a gem like this, read it.
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TimeToEscape94 rated it
November 5, 2019
Status: Completed
Rating: 4.3

This my first non-MXTX novel & I'm really enjoying it.

The story involves a lot of politics & wars. I had to use google sometimes to understand the plot (where they were for example). But it's quite simple to understand if you are well focused in your reading (really, don't read it when you're tired LMAO). Plus, the story and the sceneries are really well detailed, so you can easily visualize/imagine everything.

As the plot is quite consistent, the romance and the cute moments between the two characters are a... more>> little drowned in the actions related to the war, which can be a little frustrating. For example: we finally have a moment where the two characters are alone, the fluff is here, then suddenly BAM someone comes to warn them that something has just happened and the mood is ruined xD. However, that doesn't stop us from having a few cute/hot moments. BTW, yes they have sex, but there's not a lot of details about it; no smuuut (maybe in the end? T_T / EDIT 04.03.2020: THE ANSWER IS



I love the interactions between the main characters (not only the MC/ML), which are also often very funny. Gu Yun (ML) is a shameless king OMG haha. Despite being half-deaf, half-blind, he's no week at all. He's also smart and very dedicated -sometimes too much- to his work ;

being the leader of the Black Iron Camp

The MC is also very intelligent, strong and calm (when he's not horny about Gu Yun haha). Despite the different and long separations they have, their story is beautiful and I really like their relationship dynamics. I can't wait to see how it ends!

Since I really like very developed plotlines, I'll probably read more novels of this author!

EDIT 04.03.2020 : I finished the main story. I won't change my previous comments, since I keep the same opinion on this novel. The ending is satisfying for all the "the war/political plot". On the other hand, I expected more intimacy and sweet moments between the two characters.... Maybe in the extras? I will give it a try, but if it goes back into political stuffs, then I'll stop there. <<less
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January 25, 2020
Status: Completed
It's a very plot-driven novel, the main focus during the story is the fall and rising of the nation, the ideas of progress, all the scheming and planning behind it. Priest was very meticulous with the details so eventually, the pieces would fall into place. It was an interesting plotline with consistent development. I really liked the world-building, the mix of steampunk and more realistic elements, entangled with all the sociopolitical and economic aspects, it all enriched the story a lot.

The MC and ML are smart and strong, each with... more>> a very distinct personality and important role, I especially like how witty the ML is. Romance is not the main focus of the novel but their love is still relevant in the story, though at some points it can get buried under the political elements.

The reason I gave it four stars is because all the complex external circumstances occasionally overshadow the characters' development and their inner transformations; there are also moments when there isn't much focus on the development of relationships among characters. Sometimes we get a throughout explanation of an event but there's not much about the characters' feelings or emotions.

Overall, I think the story is interesting and refreshing, I would definitely recommend it if you're looking for a complex and rich plot with a nice romance. <<less
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Melange rated it
March 31, 2020
Status: Completed
Wow. This is one of the best novels I've read in the genre and it is on par with if not better than MDZS. The plot is intriguing and intricate while the characters are all well-rounded and hilarious. There's a little angst, but it's not too overbearing.

Additionally, the translator does a very good job of explaining a lot of the figures of speech as well as the hidden meanings behind some of the phrases.

None of the characters are flawless and the author sometimes goes through great lengths to roast them.... more>> Especially poor Gu Yun.


Constantly being misunderstood as some lecher when in reality it was Chang Geng who seduced him, haha. On the other hand, we have Chang Geng with his, "Zi Xi, I'm hurt. Kiss me."


My favorite character is Old Maid Shen Yi, the true best friend, telling Gu Yun like it is. I haven't read all of the extras, but I'm hoping...


Shen Yi and Chen Qing Xu get married.


If you're reading this for the smut, then don't because there really isn't any. This novel is plot driven and focuses extensively on character development as well as the development of the nation of Great Liang. <<less
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Karinkatakika rated it
March 3, 2020
Status: Completed
Priest sneakily managed to climb her way onto the list of my favourite authors ever. She is so well-read and researches every topic meticulously, just so she can deliver yet another incredible work.

World building? Check.
Prose? Check.
Wholesome characters with adequate development? Check.
A cast of lovable and unforgettable side character? Check.
A badass female no-nonsense doctor? Check - If you are reading this I'm free on Thursday night and would like to hang out please respond to this and hang out with me on Thursday night when I am... more>> free

Please do not be intimidated by people claiming it's "incest" or a "problematic" relationship - it actually isn't? If one had to really call it something, I would say "risqué" fits it perfectly - but that fits most of Priest's couples and there are far more novels with even worse topics.

Gu Yun is the adoptive father of Chang Geng, but this only happens because of special circumstances. Chang Geng develops feelings for his foster father during his teenage years and what was at first infatuation, gradually turns into actual love as he ages and the story progresses.
Gu Yun doesn't pick up on it until much much later and is at first put off by those feelings. There was never a moment where I had the feeling he groomed Chang Geng or lead him on in any way.

I think it is a really wholesome relationship. They rely (*cough* mostly *cough*, Gu Yun you dog, please stop hiding your injuries from your lover, he will find out and you will suffer) on each other and want to build a better world for the other person.

The novel is full of political drama and military strategies, lots and lots of scheming and a wide cast of lovable (and hate-able) side characters:
Shen Yi is what every friend should aspire to be like, his bickering and nagging with Gu Yun is out of this world.
Doctor Chen Qing Xu is absolutely hilariously introduced and keeps delivering, I have rarely seen such a strong female character and would love to read more about her and her adventures.
Cao Niangzi is a transgender woman and no one can convince me otherwise.

Give this novel (can it be even called that?? It's a saga, it's an epic) a chance and you will be in for an enjoyable ride. <<less
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orhrzya rated it
January 3, 2020
Status: c119
When I first knew that the setting is steampunk ancient China I was automatically sold. I was not disappointed when I started reading because the worldbuilding in this novel is solid.

It is very heavy in politics, economics and war stuffs so I had to use a lot of braincells for this one lol. However, I personally enjoyed rereading the chapters to understand the war situations and characters' scheming better because I'm a sucker for those. Some situations in the novel also mirror the conflicts and issues from today like the... more>> conflicts around resources (ziliujin), corruption, poverty, incompetence of gov't officials etc. I gotta love Priest for writing those.

Of course amidst all these conflicts is the romance between the MC (prince) and ML (general). god I love ChangGu so much 😭 The MC is a good boy, calm and quite serious. I wanna adopt him so bad lol if u hurt him u shall perish. ML is very cool and shameless but sometimes I wanna shake him because he's so emotionally awkward. Their character development throughout the novel is great and well-written. I love how they found from each other reasons to continue living.

I really love Chang geng's development. E.g. when he felt lacking and undeserving bc of the gap between him and Gu Yun despite their closeness vs. Chang geng managing the Grand Council and providing solutions to economic problems in the country

or when it was shown how he hates himself because of his childhood trauma + bone of impurity vs. when he realized all the misfortunes he suffered was to save luck in order to meet gu yun

As for Gu Yun, despite seeming carefree, he's actually quite distant and never lets his feelings and weaknesses show, making others deal with Chang geng in place of him. But in the latter chapters he opens up to Chang geng ("If something really happened to you this time... what am I supposed to do?... I truly have no strength left to... place someone else in my heart anymore") and even trusts him to command the Jiangbei camp in place of him during a foreign attack bc of his injuries. wow.

They both suffered a lot so I just want them to live in peace after everything gets resolved.


The side characters weren't given that much focus since the novel is more plot-driven but I find them quite likeable as well. I especially love the mute monk and his life advices to the MC :> (he needs to shower tho) Also ML's interactions with his bestfriend is hilarious hshddhd I love their friendship. <<less
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Justan_apple rated it
May 3, 2020
Status: Completed
There're a number of things I love about this book but it could be quite hard to read for many people so here's a heads-up.

Priest's literary style is quite flowery, laced with many Chinese idioms, metaphors and reference so it may seem wordy when being translated into english. Spl is extremely plot-heavy with lots of politic schemes and wars; the romance only takes about 1/4 (or even less) of the book so if you skim through all the politics and are just here for the romance, I wouldn't recommend this... more>> books. It's a plot-focused book with a side of romance, not the other way around.

Even the plot itself is very slow burn, you may feel very bored around chapter 30 (tbh the first time I read spl, I also had to take a break around this part and came back to it later when I had the mood), but please remember, the MC was only around 14 at the beginning, he needed time to grow; plus those chapters were setting-up for the war ahead as it is the EXPLANATION for the downfall of the country. Once it reaches the war arc, everything gets intense real fast and you feel like you have to keep your breath through the whole chapters. The characters are all very unique; they were portrayed with depth and reasons and their development is just superb.

Moving to the romance, although there were not much intimate scenes, it was still written very satisfyingly. You may wonder how the author will transform the love of a father and a son into the love between partners but worry not, it was dealt with very intricately.

Basically there was no father-son love at the beginning. ML has never known what the love of a father was like and consequently didn't know how to be a father either. He raised MC just the same way his father did to him: let him do whatever he wants and doesn't interfere with anything. ML's love for MC since the beginning has always been guarding and protection for the weaker and has nothing to do with the father-son love, thus, created a room for the romantic love to develop.

Just like the plot, it's very slow burn but very real and logical.

Overall, please don't be put off by everything I have said and give it a try, you definitely won't regret it by the end. <<less
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stardustmist rated it
March 4, 2020
Status: Completed
Priest definitely is my favorite author, she's just amazing and I am in short for words to describe her writing.

The story leans more on politics and sometimes I feel s*upid cause my knowledge isn't so vast. However, you can't help but fall in love with the characters. It has adventure, comedy, lots of conspiracies and a little bit of romance.

This was my first ever Priest novel and honestly, she just blew me away!!!

Protect Chang Geng and his precious Yifu!!! I really love when he calls Gu Yun, Yifu, it's just... more>> too pleasing to read haha.

Plot: 7/5 stars

Characters: 10/5 stars

Also, the flow of character and romance is just so beautiful. It isn't rushed, Gu Yun comes to love his adopted son slowly and it doesn't look or sound weird. The love between them develops naturally and oh, I just love them so much!!!

The translator did an amazing job and her notes are funny haha. Definitely worth the read!! Please give Sha Po Lang and ChangGu lots of love, Shen Yi, too~ <<less
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Yaoisensei rated it
February 21, 2020
Status: c128
Phew. This is the most wordy book I've ever read (and I read the legendary master's wife). From chapter 80 I think I was just pushing through from stubbornness. I was so ecstatic when I finished the last word. That being said, the story was really good.

I loved the world building and the characters with all their quirky personalities. The romance was swoon worthy and the MC and ML had really cute and hilarious interactions. I found myself LOLing and asking "wow did he really just..." A LOT and when... more>> your guard is down from the swoon they stab you with knives and feelings.

Side characters were also very well done. in depth with their own story lines. No lie, I would suffer through more of this story for some of those side characters. I still need to read the extra chapters but aside from the wordiness this was a modern classic.⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pros to the translator and their hard work. It was pretty well done. I can't imagine how long it took to translate such a wordy book. <<less
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bluecookie rated it
January 25, 2020
Status: Completed
  • Extremely good plot
  • Likeable characters
  • Well-balanced romance
I won't say anything else you should just try reading this because why? Changgu is life!!
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April 23, 2020
Status: Completed
This novel is one of the best I have ever read. I was crushed when I finnished it and I am really craving for more..

The plot's great, although I struggeled a bit with those affairs halfway through, but I connected the story as it progressed.

The romance is just.. amazing. It's a beautiful slowburn and it really felt natural and mutual between them. Precious.

Additionally, I have to point out Priest's sense of humour... My god, how I love it.

I'm really looking forward to reread this gem sometime in the future! = ̄ω ̄=
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joktzer rated it
February 9, 2019
Status: c50
this is not even a good review so just skip over my comment~

im priest tr*sh what can I say, every novel of hers I will rate 5 stars~~

anyway, the world building is intense, the way she writes is beautiful, her characters are so riveting, shes just great okay. And so is Sha Po Lang <3 there's reason why it's so intensely loved in the cfan community
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Rena877 rated it
April 18, 2020
Status: Completed

This plot is a masterpiece: by having a smart MC and ML the complexity of this novel is high. The storyline presents exceptionally thorough war strategies, politics, economics and schemes (parties plotting against each other, rebellion etc.). The interaction between the MC|ML starts off in the childhood days of the MC and takes the reader through his adolescence, 4 years of separations and then the "restart" of their relationship. It's a very very slow romance without smut or cheesy scenes: it still contains sweet and fluffy moments... more>> without sacrificing the MANLY character traits, staying realistic and true to the respective personalities.

The main focus of this novel is clearly the plot, romance only secondary, explicit scenes non existent.

As plot-twists are everywhere, you have absolutely no clue what the grand plan of MC actually is, which keeps the tension constantly built up. Meanwhile ML's easy going character grants superb comedic moments in between. Very well balanced. Due to the heavy and detailed plot this certainly is no skim-through material, but the translation is very well made, so you can read through this smoothly. [Sometimes the grammar is a little off, though almost undetectable]

And I love the fact that this one of the few BLs that actually has a likeable, capable female character. <<less
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dee_ism rated it
April 6, 2020
Status: Completed
Rated 5/5

This novel climbed top 3 best novel I've ever read in novelupdates. I love it as much as MDZS.

The story has a very heavy plot about war, politics, and military. A very bit romance, it's slow burn, but when it kicks in, you will totally love our main couple.

... more>> Have I said how much I love Gu Yun since less than chapter 5? He is AMAZING! Hahahahhaa. He is God of War, smart, calculative, yet so freakin funny and annoying. Ask his best friend, Shen Yi. LOL

And our MC, Chang Geng, also amazing. He is Gu Yun adoptive child cause of special circumstances, so rest assured it's not incest. While Gu Yun focus in military, Chang Geng mainly focus in country council, strategically building a country and eliminate enemy.

So our pair is such a power couple.

Please try to read it and enjoy the fantastic ride. <<less
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MagicalAnacardo rated it
December 14, 2019
Status: v4c118
This story is extremely well researched. There's a lot of focus on strategy, politics and economy in a nation dealing with war and crisis, and in the middle of that, bittersweet romance. The secondary characters are deep and lovable, which is something I really miss while reading other novels. Both main characters are imperfect, and so the author can clearly show their growth thorought the narrative until you love them to death. There's a lot of tragic and violent scenes and backgrounds, but they go hand in hand with really... more>> ridiculous and shameless scenes that have made me spit my coffee all over my laptop more than once. I'm so grateful for this translation... It's really good that the translator keeps including notes about the language and the different meanings of some words! <<less
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