About this book:
As the grandmaster who founded the Demonic Sect, Wei WuXian roamed the world in his wanton ways, hated by millions for the chaos he created. In the end, he was backstabbed by his dearest shidi and killed by powerful clans that combined to overpower him.
He incarnates into the body of a lunatic who was abandoned by his clan and is later, unwillingly, taken away by a famous cultivator among the clans—Lan WangJi, his archenemy.
This marks the start of a thrilling yet hilarious journey of attacking monsters, solving mysteries, and raising children. From the mutual flirtation along the way, Wei WuXian slowly realizes that Lan WangJi, a seemingly haughty and indifferent poker-face, holds more feelings for Wei WuXian than he is letting on.
Translation Status: Completed.
Translation Group: Exiled Rebels Scanlations
What I think?
Warning: Possibly potty-mouthed rant, as the writer was coming off of a quarter-year long addiction, cold turkey.
You know what? Know how I was gone for like half a year because I literally did not grace your feeds with my long arsed rants about my latest shitty reads? Yeah, I definitely did not come back empty handed babes. I have come back with one mind-fuckingly addictive book to rant at ya’ll about. Trust me on this. Because I have been suffering. Hard.
Ladies and ladies, allow me to introduce you to this holy grail of gay Chinese Fantasy Romance book (XianXia genre as it is called) that I quite coincidentally tripped on while gallivanting gaily on the wide and wild fields of the internet paradise, & I swear upon everything you consider holy you guys, I have never fallen so fucking hard and so bloody deeply for a book as I have for this one-
Mo dao zu shi, or The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation as said so gracefully in english.
(an animated depiction of how this story hit me right in the face.)
Where do I even start guys? No seriously, where the fuck do I even start from?
This year hasn’t been the best with me and reading- I’ve tried tons of books, and hated more than I liked (take a 70-30 ratio), and that is bad for someone who read as extensively as I did, because I went through 8-10 books on an average in like a week & a half, and ending up hating like 7-8 books out of them? That. Is. Terrible. News.
And here’s the thing, I’ve been reading nothing but contemporary and dark romance (MM & straight both), with a dash of fantasy or suspense romance thrown here and there, and after some four-five odd years of this, tell me, do you think there was a single trope or story I hadn’t seen or read?
In short I ended up horribly OD’ing on romance as a whole.
By the end of this April, I was at a stage where I was beginning to either terribly hate or be pathetically bored with books and series and authors I considered my favorites, and I think I drew the line when I had three ARCs that I had been dying for from my all time favorite authors like Leylah Attar, Sierra Simone and LJ Shen, and I. Did. Not. Touch. Them.
Yes, this is me confessing to both, first actually not reading a Leylah Attar book the day it released (and I still have not read it yet), and second being an absolute ass and not reviewing my ARCs.
Do you get a gist now of the sorry state I landed my ass in now?
So I decided to shake things up a bit, and came up with a neat little salvation plan:
- Avoid contemporary romance temporarily and read other genres I won’t touch otherwise- which worked shockingly well, read: not at all.
- Backtrack your steps and stop reading anything and everything altogether.
- Read hundreds of mangas, and watch tons of anime. (This is a surprisingly effective step if I might say so myself).
- Fall in love with an incomplete animated series (donghua in chinese) about the best villainous necromancer and his silent angel like partner, and then go hunting for the source material of said anime, because urgh-mah-fookin-gawd what the hell happens next and how can you possibly end the series like that!
- Fall impossibly and irrevocably in love with a 126 chaptered fan translated Chinese novel about said necromancer and his enemy-turned-friend-turned-lover-slash-soulmate.
- Listen to and play all renditions of the song the silent lover wrote for the once-dead-now-alive necromancer on your flute. (AKA the audio drama version, donghua version, and the live drama version, because yes that is just how whipped I am.)
- Drown in the fandom.
I have to say this guys, I make ah-may-zing plans and they work out even better than I can anticipate, because that list above was followed down to the last T. Ain’t that something?
Do you see what I mean?
You can play the devil’s advocate, and say that the only reason I enjoyed this story as much as I did was solely because I’d never read such stories before, and because I really did overdo the whole reading romance thing, and you’d be right. Kind of.
Hear me out.
Look, this book begins with anyone and everyone cursing the biggest demon since Lucifer himself (or whatever the eastern version of Lucifer is)- Wei WuXian, and rejoicing the fact that he was dead, and then the next thing we know, 13 years have passed, and our boy Wei WuXian gets summoned back into the body of a lunatic gay guy- Mo XuanYu- to to take revenge on the Mo family, who had severely abused him. And do you know how this all powerful villain reacts? He’s basically like “what am I supposed to do, because I forgot, and I’m not gonna do it because it’s too much of a hassle anyways, but fuck I’m still gonna have do it because I’m hungry as fuck, and I don’t wanna die out of hunger just after being summoned back to life.”
Or some rendition of it. Ah man, I love this guy.
And then he just keeps running into every single major person he just shouldn’t run into because either they are someone who directly contributed to his death, or someone he considered an arch-nemesis.
Talk about having a bad day, eh?
Anyways, let me introduce you to the major characters:
In red and black we have our very own demonic cultivator, sassy overlord and Mr. Dense Extraordinaire- Wei WuXian (birth name: Wei Ying) also known as the Yiling Laozu (translated: Yiling Patriarch). And rocking the white and blue aesthetics we have the stone-faced, everyone-including-him-thinks-I-hate-him-but-I-just-love-him-so-much-I-don’t-know-how-to-show-it-but-I’ll-keep-his-rabbits-even-though-pets-are-forbidden-and-raise-his-child-while-he’s-dead, Wei WuXian’s Lan-er-gege- Lan WangJi (birth name: Lan Zhan) also known as HanGuang Jun (translated: Light Bearer).
Yes, there are two names, and in some cases even three and four, and yes, for someone who finds all sorts of names incredibly difficult to remember, Chinese names are a nightmare to keep track of.
But do I still adore this book enough to memorize every single name every single person is being called by? Yes.
Argh, this book is bloody difficult to review without spoiling the fuck out of it, and I just feel like I have so much to say about it, so I’ll try my best. Can’t promise though.
Spanning a length of 20 years, chronologically this book begins with both Wei Ying and Lan Zhan as innocent 15 year old cultivators (basically a witchy rendition of Chinese magical people, except it’s kind of not, but I don’t know how else to explain this to my very non-Chinese friends, so roll with it). They’re both studying in Lan Zhan’s very strict sect- the GusuLan sect (literally guys, they have their 3000+ rules carved into the face of a mountain), and Wei Ying being an extremely playful prankster keeps getting into hot water with the very strict Lan Zhan, and honestly it’s an amazing relationship to watch unfurl, because on one hand you have this incredibly chaotic guy trying his best to get Mr. perfection incarnate’s attention on him, while said Mr. perfect is dealing with the fact that he suddenly has very non-platonic feelings for chaos impersonate.
And then the political situation surrounding them just descends into downright hell, when a war breaks out, and kids are dragged into the battlefield, and left with no other option, Wei Ying turns to demonic cultivation, which is a big no-no, to be strong enough to fight beside his family. And although he was one of the biggest contributors to the winning of the war, in the aftermath, he is someone people are terrified of, and soon the terror turns into murder, and our boy is dead.
Then you have the whole resurrection thing 13 years later, when another major political disaster comes to light, and Wei Ying and Lan Zhan are caught in the eye of the storm, and end up together by the end.
Here’s a very short summary of why I adore this book so much:
- Wei Ying and Lan Zhan: I just adore how on the surface you can’t get two people anymore different from each other, but then the moment you peel off the first cover you realize that they are the exact same person. They share the same morality, view and respect for people, one single brain cell, sense of sacrifice, and crazy ass love for the other. *cries at the sheer perfection*
- An incredibly huge assortment of very well built characters: Ahh.. I think this just says it all. The character tray is crazy, and the way the author has taken care to give almost everyone at least some compelling backstory is to put it into one word- brilliant.
- ANGST. Angst. and. A-N-G-S-T: Look guys, you have one person who died a horrible death due to political manipulation and misunderstandings, and the other who waited 13 years in a world that treated the love of his life like trash without knowing if he would ever see him again, and that is just the beginning.
- Excellent depictions of political ideologies. Urgh, this post is long enough already, so I won’t say much more.
- How every single character acts as a foil to another: Again another thing that you need to read the book to understand.
- Look man, we have a guy who turned into a villain solely because Lan Zhan is too fucking pretty. Period. And I just love how every other villain has a really strong moral/circumstantial reason for their acts of villainy, and then there’s this guy.
- The confession scene: *chefs kiss* ‘nough said.
- WangXian and rabbits. You will get this if you read the book.
Fuck my life.
I won’t really comment on the writing quality because it was a fan translated version that I read, and that is available online for free reading, and because I loved this book despite the grammatical errors that exist, which honestly just shows the quality of the story-telling.
I swear guys, I cannot recommend this book and this author more if I tried. I’ve read all three of her books (translations of course) and they just keep getting better. This was the second one, and it was already amazing, and her third one is like angst on heroine, so.. What I’m trying to say is, this is an amazing book regardless of everything, and honestly, it needs to be a book you read, because the quality and depth and diversity of the story is simply excellent.