Since I’m rather deep in cnovel hell, I thought that I might as well do quick reviews of what I’ve read. My stand is that you need to be in the right mood to enjoy the different range of novels, and I always try to find something in it to enjoy. For example if you’re in the mood for something light-hearted, no matter how good it is, you won’t appreciate a plot-heavy story with heavy themes. So I don’t give ratings, just my thoughts on what I find enjoyable!
I read mostly male x male romance (since that’s the majority of what my good friend recommends to me…), but I also read female x male romance. Not all the novels I read are romance-focused though. And I make it a point to finish once I start reading so if the English translations aren’t complete, I read the original Mandarin Chinese version. I’ll review 5 novels at one time. Since this is the first post, most of the cnovels in this post are my personal favourites!
助理建筑师 (Assistant Architect)
Zhang Siyi, a graduate student of architecture department went back from overseas seeking for work, he had a heated fight with his ex-girlfriend in a cafe. Angered, his ex-girlfriend was about to splash a cup of coffee in his direction but he managed to dodge it. As he stepped back, the misfortune was met by the handsome guy next table instead.
The following next day, as Zhang Siyi headed for a company interview, he discovered that the interviewer was the same man who suffered the splashing of coffee.
Hopeless, Zhang Siyi thought this work was unalterably unattainable, but that handsome man unexpectedly “disregarded past grudges” and decided to hire him. Even more, the man had become his immediate superior.
To accept Zhang Siyi by the said man, he was moved to tears with such magnanimity and kind-heartedness. Never had he realized it yet that his “miserable” fortune has just begun… (Novel Updates)
I love this so much. It seems that in the English community, this author’s other two novels are more popular but personally I love Assistant Architect the most. While the architecture theme is new and interesting to me, the issues about finding a job, RL stability vs passion, adult stuff etc faced by the MC are truly relatable.
You may have a poor impression of the MC (Zhang Siyi) at first, but gradually he matures and grows thanks to ML (Gu Xiao). The ML doesn’t just spoil him. While there seems to be some prejudice issues going on at first due to an unfortunate first meeting, MC eventually discovers how exemplary ML is and is influenced to settle down, focus, find a goal, and achieve his dream. The ML also becomes more open and approachable, as he learns how to express and interact better. It takes a while for them to get together, since the MC has to realise that ML is not picking on him, and is actually interested in him. But once they get together, the romance is really cute too! Their relationship is one of the most enjoyable which I’ve read about. They grow to become better people!
The supporting cast of characters is great and very supportive too, and there are a few sub-couples. The family drama isn’t that intense either, which is something I appreciated. Highly recommended if you want to read modern day office romance, which isn’t plagued by over-the-top drama.
天官赐福 (Heaven Official’s Blessing)
Written by: 墨香铜臭 (Mò Xiāng Tóngxiù)
Length: 244 chapters + 5 extras
UPDATED – Official Translations: Seven Seas
Eight hundred years ago, Xie Lian was the Crown Prince of the Xian Le kingdom; one who was beloved by his citizens and the darling of the world. Unsurprisingly, he ascended to the Heavens at a very young age. Now, eight hundred years later, Xie Lian ascends to the Heavens for the third time as the laughing stock of all three realms. On his first task as a god, he meets a mysterious demon who rules the ghosts and terrifies the Heavens……yet unbeknownst to Xie Lian, this demon king has been paying attention to him for a very, very long time. (Novel Updates)
It should be obvious that this is one of my favourites. Divided into 5 books, books 1 3 5 take place in present timeline, while books 2 4 are flashbacks of MC’s past. I read in order and I think it certainly helped me to appreciate the unravelling of the bigger plot and “mastermind”. Yes, this is a plot-heavy novel with overarching themes on humanity, pre-destined fates and choices we make, revenge and so on. Looking back, all the sub-stories are parallel to the bigger plot. It actually shows us the different outcomes that can take place, most of which are pretty bad. That in turn contrasts with the final (good) outcome in book 5, in which MC displays his courage, kindness and faith in humanity. Being the author’s third novel, you can tell that the writing has improved a lot, with the flurry of parallels, imagery and metaphors. Upon rereading, I picked up more of this, and early hints and foreshadowing. It was amazing.
I love the main cast of characters, and the main couple. Everyone has a story to be told, and from each story we can learn something about life. Both MC and ML have had their ups and downs. Pretty much all of the main cast of characters too. Nobody is truly black or white. The romance of the main couple is very, very, very sweet. The way they trust, depend on, accept, inspire each other is truly ideal! They have so many conversations and quotes that highlight this.
I was pretty emotional when reading this (and even rereading it for a second time) so my advice is to prepare tissues. It’ll be great to read this without knowing anything, ‘cos then you’ll be in for plenty of surprises. However, you can be rest assured that it is a happy end for the main couple (but not necessarily for every character).
一生一世美人骨 (One Life, One Incarnation – Beautiful BOnes)
Written by: 墨宝非宝 (Mo Bao Fei Bao)
Length: ~ 20 chapters
Beautiful bones. Rare in this world.
Those with bone do not have skin. Those with skin do not have bone.
Most people’s eyes are shallow, seeing only the skin-deep appearance and not the ‘bones,’ the appearance of the inside.”
The “bones” and “skin” are metaphorical and taken from an ancient text in which these are actually referring to inner and outer beauty, respectively. Most people are shallow and only see outward beauty and fail to acknowledge inner beauty.
The female lead, Shi Yi, has memories of her past life in which her heart belonged to Zhousheng Chen. That life ended in tragedy for them, and in this life, her only goal and desire is to find him again… and one day, she does. He does not look the same, but she knows that beneath the outer appearance, it is him. He, however, does not remember her. (Novel Updates)
It’s been a while since I read this so my memory is a bit rusty. But I do remember that I enjoyed it a lot. For one thing, it’s the MC pursuing the ML. Our MC is very mentally strong too. For another thing, the ML is described as plain-looking (which is a rare thing, believe me!). However, in exchange for that his personality becomes the attraction. I liked how different the two of them are, yet they manage to come together in the end. Do take note that while the MC is more vocal in her affection, a lot of the ML’s expressions of love are conveyed in his actions.
The ML’s family background is very mysterious and a lot is shrouded in the dark at the start. And for good reasons too. That eventually becomes one of the intriguing points as it’s gradually uncovered and the question is if their romance can bear fruit this time, unlike their past life.
There’s quite a bit of poetry and cultural references so a big kudos to the dedication of the English translator. It really helped to paint a poignant picture. This is something you should read on a rainy day, a slow-paced but touching romance to warm yourself up.
地球上線 (The Earth Is Online)
Written by: 莫晨歡 (Mo Chen Huan)
Length: 245 chapters
Translations: Rainbow Turtle Translations
Six months ago, tens of thousands of black phantom towers appeared all over the world, floating above the cities. Chemists, physicists, religious people… all of them could do nothing.
Six months later, people became used to the towers and no longer paid them attention.
One day, Tang Mo saw a flying insect crash into it instead of going through it. The next day, a sharp and clear child-like voice issued an announcement to all humans.
“Ding dong! November 15th, 2017. The earth is online.”
The black tower’s three iron-clad rules:
1. Everything is explained by the black tower.
2. 6 o’clock to 18 o’clock is the game time.
3. All players, please strive to attack the tower. (Novel Updates)
This is a really addictive novel!! The majority of it is about the MC (and other players) trying to clear the tower games, which are cruel and violent most of the times. It’s very entertaining to see how each game is introduced, and how our MC figures out the solution in advance. It’s always a brain teaser! The MC is quite a loner, but eventually he meets ML whom he actually knew from before and they have fabulous tacit understanding. I repeat, they have fabulous tacit understanding, and this becomes one of the charm points for me. It takes a while for their romance to progress (due to the dangerous events) and the acknowledgement of their romance is very subtle too. But nonetheless their chemistry is just amazing.
There is quite an interesting range of sub-characters. Nobody is black and white here. Everyone has blood on their hands ‘cos they are all just trying to survive. There is quite a dash of humour, especially thanks to the MC’s ability book. The concluding chapters are very moving too as: this is about humanity winning a victory against the tower. The explanation behind the tower was a bit cliche. However, I really enjoyed the journey and that one major twist.
(I also personally enjoyed that one AU chapter. ‘Cos WHAT IF.)
总有主角妄想开后宫 (There Will Always Be Protagonists With Delusions Of Starting A Harem)
Suddenly, the unmarried twenty-year-old Ye Zhizhou had many more relatives, yet it was too late for him to clearly understand the circumstances as he nearly died in a car accident. After that, he somehow managed to survive and was even forcibly bound to a Salvation System.
How is it salvation?
Harems destroy worlds! Preventing a harem will save them!
. . . .
Ok, prevent harems. After seeing the entire system introduction, the corners of Ye Zhizhou’s mouth twitched. In order to return home safely, he decisively began his risky journey—he’d just treat it as if he was playing a large-scale strategy game.
Since then, the people the protagonist would rescue, he rescued first.The businesses the protagonist would make, he made first. The little brother the protagonist would take in, he took in first. The cliff the protagonist would jump off of, he jumped off of first. The gay sex the protagonist would have, he’d have. . . . Wait wait, can’t do this one, change it, let me change it.
???: No, you can do this one.
Ye Zhizhou (alarmed): Who’s speaking?
???: Your husband.
Ye Zhizhou: . . . .
#every world has a man who insists on dragging me to go have gay sex, what do I do, waiting online for an answer, urgent #
#[scared] it’s the same guy in every world, how do i get away, waiting online for an answer, hurry hurry hurry! # (Novel Updates)
Yes, I have a transmigration novel in the list!! Haha. I read this a while back. Basically the MC is tasked with breaking up the harem, because harems cause the destruction of the world! The way the system describes how the world is destroyed is hilarious to be honest. But actually, each time the MC discovers that things aren’t as simple as they seem. There are deeper reasons and the truth can be pretty sinister. Each world also gets more difficult, with more harem members, and even if the MC gets rid of one of them, it can shift to a different target.
The ML is powerful, possessive etc (similar to other transmigration novels). But what I like is that the MC knows how to put him in his place! He got really angry when ML did everything behind his back etc. and took action. One of the reasons why I really like the MC. Also a shout-out to the system, it’s just the most adorable thing ever!
Towards the end, it does explain why ML and the system are helping the MC, and why each world is getting crazier. There is an overarching plot taking place in the background. My memory is a bit fuzzy now, so I may reread this later on.