SPOILERS WITHIN FOR THE BOOK
This book was not what I expected it to be at all!
So I watched season one of the anime on Netflix and it was good. I really enjoyed it and his meeting with Hua Cheng and then everything after was just so cute! It was so romantic and just adorable. I’m talking about the part where he shows up on that wagon. The very first time he showed up I was not sure about him.
I just love their relationship, Xie Lian and Hua Cheng’s. It may be my favourite from MXTX’s works.
So then the anime ended at a good spot and I was introduced to most of the major characters so I decided to read the book. I found a translation and started reading it. Half way through I realised that the book has 245 chapters! Or was it 244?
Either way that’s a lot of chapters!
I haven’t read a long book in a while, I was not ready! Add in the fact that a lot of the characters were so annoying and needed a slap.
Actually no, it wasn’t that they were annoying it was that the more I learned about Xie Lian and White no Face the more I was like, “OMD, will he lose?”
I did know that the story had a happy ending but there were moments were I seriously doubted that! It had me at the edge of my bed losing sleep so I could get to the end and find out everything!
Now that I’ve finished I’m still processing some of the things that I learned.
Now, some things I saw coming. In terms of the individual cases that he did and stuff to do with Hua Cheng but at the end of the day she, MXTX, really surprised me. She had plot twists that came from nowhere but also were very well set up.
The first one being Ming Yi.
Be honest, you did not see that coming at all did you?
Ming Yi was acting weird, especially when they had to use distance shortening arrays but I never thought it was that deep!
Originally my thoughts were that Ming Yi died whilst they were in Black Water’s domain, like when he was floating on his shovel. Then I thought that Words Boogie Man swapped with Ming Yi and that’s what happened.
But looking back that makes no sense because it doesn’t explain Ming Yi’s weirdness at that festival right?
Also, that festival, there was something wrong at that festival. Why go there? It was an important place right?
And to be extra honest I was not invested in the Qing Xuan story line. In fact, I was irritated, like let’s get to the main plot! Why are we on this pointless side quest?
So when Xie Lian was like, “Oh that is not Ming Yi, that is He Xuan who is Black Water,” I was shocked! Then MXTX was like we never met Ming Yi in the story so that whole time, it was him!
That whole time!
And it makes sense when you think back. Ming Yi was the perfect cover because no one knew him and it made no sense to me why Words Boogie Man was still bothering Qing Xuan after he ascended!
Only to find out the truth… wow.
That was some A* writing and I lost all my irritation at the side quest. Because I was wondering when we would meet Black Water and to think we knew him all along.
Knowing that, it is shocking that Ming Yi lunged for Xie Lian when Xie Lian asked those three questions. You’re going to lunge for Hua Cheng’s man… in front of him? Do you have death wish?
But also it makes sense why he lunged as he was someone targeted by the creature like Xie Lian was so he probably knew their weakness and so he knew Xie Lian was on to him.
Although, to be honest I would have been mad at Hua Cheng for keeping that to himself because… you really did not let Xie Lian know? Not once? But he made a pact so… can’t be too mad.
Poor real earth master though. He escaped and almost saw freedom. Hua Cheng says Black Water did not kill him so then who did? Was it Jun Wu?
Which brings me to plot twist number two!
This one was the biggest! OMD!
So I kept wondering who is Mr Cry Smile? Who is he? Is it Xie Lian? Is it his dark side but the way the book was written was saying, no it is not him. Hua Cheng made a point of it a lot and the way Xie Lian referred to him also made that point.
Plus, when we got the flash backs it was clear that it was not him but someone else.
Then I thought, ok, he’s just a mean demon.
However man was obsessed with Xie Lian and would be nice to him at times and wanted him to unleash the curse and it was like but why? Why!
So I did read a spoiler, I am not going to lie. I was anxious and frustrated so I read the spoiler. I am the type to read the end of a book to see if a story is worth reading because I refuse to read things with a bad ending.
However the spoiler didn’t tell me much. So I was like, wow people are good at keeping spoilers to themselves in this fandom and honestly I appreciate that.
So I saw Jun Wu’s name but it made no sense and it was referring to some kingdom. And another name came up but I had no idea who that was so I forgot about it (turns out it was Guoshi, what a small world).
Then I got to the arc at Tonglu mountain and it all becomes relevant. We find out about the kingdom of Wu Yong. We find out about Bai Wu Xiang and what he did. It was crazy how similar his life was to Xie Lian’s and honestly I would freak out too.
But then man takes a hard left turn with the human sacrifices and I was like, “What!” and then he is the cause of the human face disease! WHAT!
Then I was like, wait Jun Wu… Jun Wu is Bai Wu Xiang but that makes no sense. How did he fight himself? Xie Lian never recognises his voice either… no it can’t be him! Perhaps Wikipedia is wrong.
Then I remembered he can change his appearance. Also Jun Wu had the most worshipers and so the most power… surely he could create a clone and fight it.
When I realised that, everything was so messed up because he is literally the most powerful being in that universe and he controls everything and he knows Xie Lian so well and Xie Lian trusted him!
I felt so bad for him. The person who caused him so much pain was also his most trusted mentor.
I thought it would be difficult to prove it to the other martial gods and that they would not believe Xie Lian once he figured it out. However thank goodness for Feng Xin’s sword as that came through in a clutch.
Side note: what kind of ‘god’ would you be in that world? I’d be a martial one, seems fun. Plus, they’re lacking in lady martial gods.
They all saw his true face and bam!
The sinister energy in that moment. I could feel their despair and fear. It was so frightening! How do you fight against someone so strong?!
But they did it. The key is to kick fear in the face because where there is a will there is a way as Hua Cheng showed.
Hua Cheng believed in Xie Lian and made sure Xie Lian knew that and uplifted him and showed him that you can make fear your bitch!
Because at the end of the day White No Face attacks with fear. His attacks were psychological and you need to be strong psychologically to win and Xie Lian was not. However Hua Cheng was. He was strong mentally and he lent that strength to Xie Lian.
If Xie Lian had not met Hua Cheng he would have been defeated by White No Face. I don’t think he would ever have become the White Calamity again but I do think he would have given up in the same way Words Boogie Man’s victims died.
That’s one thing I love about this pair, they give and take. There is something that Hua Cheng gives to Xie Lian and vice versa and there is something that they receive. It is a well balanced relationship.
And when Xie Lian was at his weakest Hua Cheng was there.
It is amazing to me just how present in Xie Lian’s life Hua Cheng was. He was there for almost every major event. I did not expect to learn that he died in battle fighting for Xie Lian.
I also did not expect to find out that he was there when Xie Lian went through a hundred stabbings death or when he briefly became the White Calamity.
He really gave his all for Xie Lian and that was admirable.
He was also such a strong character. If you look at Hua Cheng’s life he could have given up and he could have just died but he never gave up, never!
The same goes for He Xuan. So in the end Jun Wu was the weakest calamity in my opinion because he did not have the strength that the others did.
The fight between them and Jun Wu took the longest time but was pretty epic. I still can’t believe he was testing Xie Lian to make him like him so that he would have a protégé. Like dude, just have kids! Why are you bothering Xie Lian?
So that was his aim all along because he finally found someone just like him who would understand him. But he failed to understand that going through the same life experiences does not make you the same person. Everyone reacts different and has different characters.
Yes, Xie Lian could have become like him but he didn’t. He was different. For one thing he never considers killing his friends to save the people. He never tells the people of Xian Le that the way to avoid human face disease is to kill. He never gave in.
That is what makes him a failure in Jun Wu’s eyes but no, Xie Lian is not a failure, he is a success. He came from being a spoilt rich kid and royalty to having nothing, to being humbled and not taking it well, at all!
Xie Lian had such a temper and was so angry and mad at the world for the hand he was dealt. He experienced poverty and humiliation and ridicule. He really got dragged through the mud and lost everything but came out a better person. That’s admirable!
He was definitely not a failure.
Jun Wu however was. He did fail, not because things went wrong but because he didn’t accept it and then he killed his friends and his people.
If you’re going to use force, force them to move to avoid the volcano. Why was murder your only option?
And that part when he’s like to Guoshi, “You were making Xie Lian a better version of me because I’m immature” and Guoshi says no, I was like, “YES!” He was immature and he didn’t learn from his mistakes!
Also he was very messed up. I wish his psyche was explored more because at the end I was like, was it really all because you wanted someone like you? So you were lonely this whole time?
Doesn’t it make you think though? The ‘heaven’ they were living in was really actually hell because Jun Wu let them get away with evil and the city was built on the bones of those he killed… *makes a face*
Also he was technically a ghost king, the original ghost king. They stayed getting scared of Hua Cheng not knowing they were being ruled by White No Face. How much bad did he do? Think about it…
So yeah the story got me thinking a lot.
It showed that you should not give up. When you fail the trick is to stand up again, that’s where you succeed.
You are you, there is no one like you and even though as humans we do have a lot of similarities we will never be exactly the same as someone else.
It is good to trust your instincts as often times you are right and people are not as they seem.
There are honestly so many lessons in this story.
I do wonder how they will animate it going forward because that is a lot of story. I also wonder if they’ll bro zone Hua Cheng and Xie Lian because the other BL stories get bro zoned. However in season one they really leaned in to the romance coding so who knows.
What did you think of the story? Were you as mind blown as I was?