CN Recs (and Non-Recs)

These are 95% BL recs so far, because finding BG/GL novels that don’t write women badly is way harder than it should be.

For translation quality:
5 = No issues. (Occasional typos are not issues!)
4 = Perfectly coherent, though has some grammatical issues that can interfere with story flow.
3 = Coherent, but has major syntax problems that actively hinder story flow.
2 = Barely coherent and hurts the brain to read.
1 = Basically an alien language, and/or someone very blatantly copypasting MTL.

[C] = The work is completely translated.
{F} = I’ve read the entirety of the novel, either in Chinese or English.
{A} = I abandoned it and will never pick it back up.
(BL) = boys love, (GL) = girls love, (BG) = boy/girl

Everything below is in a collapsible. Click on the titles for more info.

A

Any flaws are nitpicks. I get warm fuzzies when I remember reading these.

How to Survive as a Villain (BL) {F}

Translation: 4 – Genre: Historical fiction
A man hates the wasted potential of a shitty harem book so much, he transmigrates into its villain after he throws himself off a building following his incurable cancer diagnosis.
If that sentence invoked complicated feelings in you, congratulations! That’s how you’re going to feel for most the novel!
It’s certainly an emotional rollercoaster – laughing until your sides hurt in one chapter and lying face-down on the floor in despair the next is not uncommon, and there’s plenty of stabs straight to heart and twists to the plot that don’t exactly come left-field. The MC is, in essence, comic relief to a series of interwoven tragedies.
Make no mistake, though. It ends satisfyingly, with consideration of all that had to be sacrificed to get there.
Also, the ML is a blackened ‘protagonist’… without really being a yandere at all, and mostly being a sweetie! Wow! What a rarity! It’s almost like you can be ruthless without being abusive!
The work has a high chapter count, but each one is super short, making it a quick read with a fast pace.
Complaints: That fast pace can be its detriment – the tone ends up bouncing all over the place while the narrative tries to decide if it wants to be comedic or tragic at any given moment. The MC’s funny internal dialogue just doesn’t mesh well with the fact that a lot of bad things are happening and people are dying, y’know?
The reason for the MC’s transmigration and a certain other coincidental detail goes unanswered.

Thousand Autumns (BL) {F}

Translation: 5 (Momoe) / 1 (other) – Genre: High wuxia
A talented sect leader gets wasted and thrown off a cliff, then picked up by a Grade-A asshole who does it because it amuses him. Things evolve greatly and de-volve badly from there.
Anyone who reads TA will tell you their love for the MC Ah-Qiao, and it’s very earned. He’s a rare protagonist who’s pure-hearted yet competent and resilient, never blackening no matter what tribulations are thrown his way yet not being a doormat, and rising above even the most horrid setbacks to come out all the better for it.
The journey the story takes is long and harrowing with its emotional highs and lows. You will be sad, happy, and practically incensed at different points in time.
Now, here’s a truth: I’d kick the ML in the nuts any day. He is, however, a prime example of how to handle a character that’s a shithead well. Yan Wushi is a bad person from the start; the narrative never portrays him as anything but that. Never downplays his villainy, never makes apologies on his behalf, never twists the world so that he’s easily forgiven. He’s an asshole that gets seen as an asshole, gets treated like an asshole, and gets his just desserts for being an asshole. THAT is how you make a morally-dark-gray character and frame them right. None of that Mary Sue ‘misunderstood’ trash where reality magically bends to suit some jackass’s whims.
My one complaint is that the ending of the main story was super abrupt and simply ends in the middle of the action, but there are a ton of extras, so… do with that what ye will.

Liu Yao (BL)

Translation: 5 – Genre: Deconstructed xianxia
If immortality requires you to be above the rest of the world and its affairs, what’s the point of it?
What’s the purpose of a life lived without the bonds of family and friends, or without worldly pleasures? Even if you live for centuries, would it have been worth it?
This novel is one of the ones where I don’t think a synopsis does it much justice. If you think an existential xianxia that’s been extremely toned down is your cup of tea, then I’d suggest diving right in.

Golden Stage (BL) [C] {F} – SELF-TRANSLATED

Genre: Historical political romance
Ah, Golden Stage. So sickeningly inundated with tooth-rotting fluff and love (in a completely positive way!), it’s pretty much the only novel here that I would explicitly label a romance, as it’s that and the complex development of the main characters that are the novel’s main draw. With good reason, may I add, because they’re both distinctive in personality, and their relationship tops the meter on the ‘healthy’ scale. Neither is inferior to the other in terms of strength, they communicate well, and damaging stereotypes never come into play, which is sadly more than can be claimed for a lot of novels out there, BL or otherwise.
Despite being romance-heavy, the plot is definitely not tacked on. In fact, it’s integral to the romance developing, as is the romance integral in the plot developing. One cannot do without the other, and it keeps you on your toes all the while as the protagonists seize a future for themselves that other forces seem keen on preventing.
This was always fun and refreshing, if time-consuming, to translate, as CWBB is absolutely a great prose writer with a lot of sentence variation. All those descriptive and poetic sentences were no embellishments, trust me! (No comment on my own TL quality for obvious reasons.)
If I had to find something to complain about (other than very low-key wishing that they switched more often than they did), I suppose there’s little focus on side characters, and a lot of one-off ones, but… that’s not really a crime, as not everyone has to have an interesting backstory. All complaints are nitpicks, really. Read the dang book and love it with me.

Peerless (BL)

Translation: 4 – Genre: Political high wuxia
When a top-tier, narcissistic martial artist and a sickly, snake-tongued genius work together, it’s the former that gets the most slaps in the face.
A more in-depth review will wait until the novel’s near-completion, but until then, this is a good wuxia tale with both action and crime intrigue. The romance is slow, so don’t expect anything up-front.

To Rule in a Turbulent World (BL)

Translation: 5 – Genre: Historical slice-of-life
What the hell. I usually can’t stand slice-of-life stuff, and yet this is one of the best things I’ve ever read.
The character development in this is fantastic, and that’s not only for the main characters. I can’t think of a single side character that’s cannon fodder, as even disagreeable and/or unlikeable characters have their reasons for doing things; they’re all written as people, not plot devices.
It’s a very long and descriptive work with no detail spared, and beautifully translated. The shortest chapters are about 20k characters when typical chapters are about 4k, and every word is worth it.
Be warned, though: the protag is 15 at the beginning, which is of-age in the time period the work takes place in, but obviously not in ours.

B

Either great works with flaws, or good works that maybe lack the oomph for an A.

Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation (BL) [C] {F} – B+

Translation: 5 – Genre: Softcore xianxia
A man learns to control corpses, does some bad things, and dies. The end!
That’s not the whole truth, though, is it? History’s written by the victors, and powerful people have the means to keep their dirty dealings deep in the dark and deflect blame.
This novel was my own first foray into CN novels courtesy of how popular it is, and it’s well-deserved, having vivid imagery, deep characterization of even villainous characters, and a fleshed-out world, which are features that a vast many CN novels lack and authors fail to have the skills to create.
Severe pacing issues detailed below prevent me from giving it an A, but it’s still a must-read.
Constant and prolonged flashbacks that come without warning make the pacing very, very odd, making it hard to connect to characters as a result. Relatedly, there’s jarring jumps between heart-wrenching and comedic moments, and it can be disorientating. The ML himself is sweet, but he could have used a lot more work, and he’s not a dynamic character.

Pulling Together a Villain Reformation Strategy (BL) – B+

Translation: 5/4 – Genre: Xianxia transmigration deconstruction
Systems are trash, spread the word.
…Story synopses are scams, too. Spread the word.
Out of all the “straight man transmigrates into a villain, tries to help the male protagonist get his destined harem of women, but fucks up and the protag falls in love with him alone instead”-type works out there (I’m just now realizing there’s so many? wowie), this is one of my favorite takes on it.
The ML and MC have distinctive personalities and good chemistry, having been childhood friends, and they are both dumb. The biggest, cutest dumbos.
Furthermore, there’s a fight against the story’s System – which is cathartic for someone who’s read a lot of System stories and has rolled my eyes at the forced drama (me).

Sha Qing (BL) – B+

Translation: 5 – Genre: Modern mystery
This novel is so gory and violent, no less than half of its chapters are locked on jjwxc. It’s fucking glorious. The translation isn’t very far as of this writing so I don’t want to get too in-depth, but I honestly can’t get enough.
There’s a rather obvious plot twist coming, but with how well-written the novel is otherwise, I’m betting the anvil-like hints dropped are all on purpose.

Fight the Landlord, Fall in Love (BL) – B

Translation: 5 – Genre: Modern slice-of-life
CWBB apparently likes a) bickering couples and b) arranged marriages… well, it’s not arranged here because that’s illegal, but there certainly is high pressure. (CWBB is the Golden Stage author, btw)
It’s got her signature descriptive style, too.
Translation’s early on, but I trust CWBB to not do anything weird that I’d hate.

Spirit Hotel (BL) [C] {F} – B

Translation: 5 – Genre: Modern Western fantasy
God, this novel was so fucking funny. Heartwarming in many parts, too, but it was mostly just hilarious. I haven’t laughed at a novel that much before or since.
Since the novel’s comedy-centric, I don’t believe an in-depth analysis would do it any justice. Just go read it if you like gay vampires and fallen angels and dwarves with UFOs.
However, the author is high-octane allergic to women in a setting where that makes absolutely no sense, and it broke the immersion hard for me. How can a high-fantasy, high-technology universe be so heavily lopsided in the favor of men? It’s so unbelievable, that I can’t give it an A, or even a B+.
In addition, there were too many side couples, and I cared for zero of them, either because they were boring or upsetting. Reading that story about the witchman and the fairyboy (I don’t remember their names) pissed me off due to the *gasp* dubious consent! In a novel that was devoid of it up until that point! Thanks, I hate it.

Female General and Eldest Princess (GL) [C] {F} – B

Translation: 5 – Genre: Historical, light fantastical elements
me, finding this in the meager GL pile: delicious. finally, some good fucking food
Boring title aside, this novel has the works; a thoroughly competent protagonist, a scheming and morally dubious love interest, tragedy, hilarity, complex female characters, and a depressing reality for women in a patriarchal world. I couldn’t put it down from start to finish. (On that note, it’s best when binge-read, as the story does not move the fastest at times.)
A common complaint I’ve seen is that the FL is not a great person, and she’s genuinely not. That’s what I like about her, actually. She isn’t a total monster, but she does some messed up things for the sake of political scheming, all of which she likely would not have had to do if she was able to move around out in the open like her male relatives.
Unfortunately, it has its flaws. The author is great at writing women, and then has the absolutely baffling tendency to occasionally label certain characteristics as being ‘inherently girly’ in the narrative regardless of who’s talking, which I fucking despise. One example is that the protag was angry and throwing things, and the love interest pretty much labeled that a ‘girl tantrum’… uh, what? If I had a dollar for every time a man has angrily thrown things in either fiction or real life, I’d be a fucking billionaire. ‘Gender-based instincts’ are not and have never been real, please stop.
The story gets not-so-exciting towards the very tail-end. There’s some random vignettes, random character introductions, and a kind of left-field afterlife scene, which was still sweet despite its silliness. My biggest complain was with the ‘personality decay’ of the FL; she loses her villain-ish qualities, which I ended up missing because I love complicated, morally ambiguous characters. Sure, maybe she didn’t have any reason to be a ‘villain’ anymore, but is a manipulative personality really so easy to ditch? I don’t believe so. Ah, whatever, I still enjoyed it.

Devil Venerable Also Wants to Know (BL) – B

Translation: 5/4 without proofreading – Genre: Xianxia
The B is very tentative due to the translation being so early on! However, I’ve heard good things about this one, so I think it’ll at least be that score.
I like the direction the plot is going, where the ‘big bad villain’ finds a nonsense plot book of his own world and tries to make sense of what’s basically a poorly-written, unironic het novel that we’ve all seen 1000 times before. Why did so many women do so many things for a man that ain’t shit, he wonders? That’s a great question I’ve asked myself every time I so much as glimpse a shitty harem novel, my dude.

Don’t You Like Me (BL) [C] {F} – B

Translation: 5 – Genre: Modern supernatural
This work really grew on me over the course of reading it. Not revolutionary, but good for what it is. The supernatural aspect presents itself in an episodical matter regarding ghosts, and I don’t know if I’m too easily moved or what, but I found most of them nicely bittersweet.
The MC is slightly naive and arrogant, but not overly so. The ML is slightly overbearing, but not gratingly so, and he’s sort of naive in his own respect. In essence, they’re teenage boys acting like dumb teenagers, and not caricatures of one single trait like I usually see in high school settings. Their relationship is cute and smut is minimal; there’s only one explicit chapter and a few other vague scenes, and they can be skipped with no consequence if that’s not your thing.
While the supernatural stuff gives it more depth than a typical high school slice-of-life, and thus pushes it from a 3 to a 4, it’s still just that at its core, and there’s not that much complication to it. The “ending” is abrupt, and then there’s 30 more extras that follow the same episodic format, so it seems more like it should’ve officially ended much farther down its chapter count. Besides that, I enjoyed its simplicity and got a chuckle or two out of it.

Jianghu’s Road is Curved (BG) [C] {F} – B

Translation: 3.5 – Genre: Wuxia parody-deconstruction
Whoo boy, what a wild ride this one was. I’m not 100% sure how to describe it without spoiling it. Maybe “a Mary Sue with harem goals gets her bubble burst really, really, really badly, then learns to grow the fuck up”.
The second book is a complete 180 shift from the first book, and though the novel moves away from a lot of its comedic tones by that point, it doesn’t forget its roots of ‘eye-rolling Mary Sue bullshit’ that it purposefully immersed itself in. And, in line with the protagonist being a delusional Mary Sue from Mary Sue-land (literally, that’s where she’s from) that gets stuck into an actual wuxia world with all the real tragedies of the genre, it isn’t clear for a while who the ML actually is, and when you think it’s one guy, it ends up being another, except it’s not.
I think I’ve spoken vaguely enough about this to get my point across. Here’s a rule: don’t think you know the plot until the first half is over, and don’t think you know who the ML is until chapter 60.
As for complaints… the eye-rolling “yeah, right!” Mary Sue moments, while funny, end up jarring in the second half when they still crop up. Some major plot points are like “yeah, okay, whatever”, and it lacks certain thematic depth, but it’s generally well-written and well worth a read. Most importantly, the MC and ML both get needed character development, and neither of them end up horribly aggravating.
Translation: The sentence structure is kind of hard to read for the first ten or so chapters, but clearly gets better as time goes on. It never gets perfect, though.

Tattoo (BL) [C] {F} – B-

Translation: 5 – Genre: Modern slice-of-life
A short and cute story about 30-year-old men accepting their pasts and finding love again.
That’s all I’ll say on it, really; due to its length and genre, there isn’t much to say, other than that it’s extremely interesting to read about modern tattooing in China, as someone who knows shit all about tats. It’d be a good palate cleanser after something dark and heavy, or if you’re just in a light reading mood.

The Demon King Always Thinks I’m Secretly In Love With Him (BL) – B-

Translation: 4 – Genre: Xianxia simulation/modern reality
A guy enters a VR simulation of a xianxia world because his dad thinks he’s too soft and indecisive and that this will toughen him up… uh, wow, that makes no sense when I type it out. Anyways, something goes wrong, and instead of taking up the role of the protagonist, he becomes a villain. And a pervert one, at that. In order to remain ‘in-character’, the System gives him a daily task of ‘harassing a beauty’, which…
You know what, I’m not synopsing this anymore. This work is half xianxia parody, half self-reflection, and I’m into it, so if that sounds like something you’d be into too, go nuts.
I rather like the comedic aspect, and the protagonist being a white sheep (it’s almost literally his name), and the ML being a tsundere idiot whose tsundereness is backfiring because the MC is a) obvlious b) Not Gay. It’s not the most strongly-written thing in the world, though, and has some tropes I’m not a fan of so far.

The Villain’s White Lotus Halo (BL) {F} – B-

Translation: 4 – Genre: Xianxia
A chronic mob-character transmigrator finally gets the opportunity to be a real villain with substance, wielding the ultimate Fiend Halo! Except it’s actually been partially-reprogrammed into a White Lotus halo and now he’s being labelled as a misunderstood sweetie. Oops.
But is being a ‘real villain’ what he actually wants, anyways? Or does he just want to have a life with meaning?
It’s really hard to talk about why I like this novel without spoiling anything. As of this writing, the translation is in the middle of a rather dry – and the most traditionally xianxia-esque – part of the novel. All this stuff will tone down and fade near the halfway point of the novel, where the real story kicks in, and several seemingly disconnected plot threads end up tying together.
For the side-characters, I do really wish they were extrapolated on more. The reader gets to grasp threads of their stories, but earn no satisfying conclusions to any of them.
NOTE: As of 2020, it’s been a year since I’ve read this thing, and my opinion on it may be very different now. I still remember it mostly-fondly, though.

C

Either good reads that are flawed, or decent reads that don’t stand out from the crowd.

Record of the Missing Sect Master (BL) [C] {F} – C+: Not bad for a mystery and the comedy gets some chuckles, but other flaws bring it down.

Translation: 5 – Genre: Wuxia mystery
Due to the inherent nature of the story, I’m avoiding plot-related details.
Things this novel does well are: comedic timing, foreshadowing, buildup, character distinction.
Things it does less well: romance, rich details, reader immersion.
This novel paradoxically manages to pull off having a lot of sizable chapters, yet never chewing the fat. Every chapter has relevant details in it to weave together into the last couple of chapters, which drop several plot twists that make sense in the grand scheme of things. It’s really something that deserves a second read to see through everything. I hate being so vague with stuff I like, but all I can really do is wildly gesture at the novel and say that the mystery aspect is really engrossing, because going in blind is best, eh?
Now my main complaint is, unfortunately, the romance aspect, because… well, there isn’t any. The MC and the ML’s falling-in-love stage is not only completed before the story even begins, but never revisited by the time it ends, so you can’t get attached to their relationship at all. Beyond that, the ML is forgettable in personality and overbearing in the bedroom, which is, to put it lightly, the opposite of a good ML. To be completely honest, I would’ve enjoyed the work more if the pairing wasn’t even in it, and, like, look at the rest of this page? I like reading BL? That’s a bit of a problem, innit?
As I said before, the work is uncomplicated, so visuals are pretty much never described in detail, nor is geography, nor anyone’s appearance, nor pretty much any stuff. I think the max we get is basic descriptors, plus some stuff like one character being fat, one having a scar, the MC being stupidly pretty, etc. etc. It’s not a crime to not use complicated language and enriching descriptions, but it doesn’t elevate it, I’d say.
Lastly, I will give the author credit for putting an intersex+genderfluid character that doesn’t die, doesn’t get misgendered, and isn’t viewed as a freak. Is it the best representation ever? Not at all, but it’s fair for contemporary Chinese views (and, admittedly, many non-Chinese views).
So! It’s a good read. If you’re in a romantic mood, I wouldn’t recommend it. If you’re in a mystery-solving mood, though, I highly would. I won’t give any more details because I don’t want to spoil anything.

The Wife is First (BL) – C+: Cute, but lackluster writing doesn’t make it stand out.

Translation: 2-4 – Genre: Alternate historical fiction
Power Couple: the novel. The two are really sweet on each other, and each make up for the other’s severe shortcomings. This is good to read if you want something unproblematic and easy to digest.
The schemes and plots are easy to follow, if simplistic; since it’s a rebirth, nothing really comes out of left-field, though what does come as a surprise seems hashed-in. The writing, in general, has mediocre structure, scrimps on the details where it sometimes really shouldn’t, and doesn’t read much deeper than wish-fulfillment to me.
There is a good amount of smut, too, and it’s all weirdly-worded. Not really sexy at all, to be quite honest… I’d personally prefer if it didn’t exist. I’m well aware that China has really stupid censorship laws, but I can only take reading about ‘abused beans’ and ‘rods’ and ‘little Junqing’s before I start wondering if they’re kids in a kitchen making bean paste.
Translation: I’ve never seen a translation bounce around in quality so much… the current one is alright, but some of the syntax is very strange, terms are inconsistently translated, and there’s too much unnecessary pinyin for my tastes.

The Wrong Way to a Demon Sect Leader (BL) {F} – C+: Hilarious, but needed more meat in its word-to-content ratio.

Translation: 3 – Genre: Comedic wuxia
A sect alliance is under the impression that a demonic sect leader is gay because he has a picture of a righteous cultivator up on his wall, so they hatch up a “great plan” to get that same righteous cultivator to seduce that sect leader. Equipped with a sense of righteousness, a book full of cheesy one-liners, and a completely straight face, off that same cultivator goes to seduce the sect leader that isn’t even gay and actually just wants to fight him.
The work isn’t complicated and has very short chapters, making it a quick and simple read – maybe a bit too simple, because while I can’t find anything I hated about the book, it also didn’t stand out much from the crowd. Despite the theme of ‘seduction’, the romance is slow-burn on both sides because the ML doesn’t like men, and the MC doesn’t like men either, but he’s got a mission. There could have been a lot more romance than there was, though… so I guess my only major complaint is that it’s a good read, but for being a romance novel, there wasn’t much romance or plot. Still, I don’t regret reading it at all.
Translation: The translator is obviously not a native, so some of the funniness is lost.
PS: Apparently, in the drama version, they’re… brothers. Why doesn’t China have its shit together?

The Ugly Empress (BL) {F} – C

Translation: 4 – Genre: Alternate historical fiction
The NU summary is a scam. Here’s a better one: Teng Yun is a Prince and General of Teng country, captured and personally executed by the enemy country’s Emperor, Xue Junliang. Then he wakes up in the body of Feng Yun, a Princess from Feng country and Xue Junliang’s Empress – who is purported to be incredibly ugly. Title drop.
A lot less hilarity ensues than one would think. Schemes and political strategies rapidly come to light, and many of them don’t end prettily for those involved – though, for the reader, the typical complicatedness of CN court drama is lacking, as the protagonist is either out on the battlefield or stuck inside. Easy to wrap one’s head around, but not mind-blowing. There’s quite some side couples involved, but they get their due screen time.
Lots of people will probably be turned off by the ‘gender bender’ aspect of the work, but it’s actually pretty well-handled. Despite the protag’s female body, he’s still referred to as a male in the narrative, and nothing changes of his personality, as it should be. Also, yeah, it remains a BL. Not saying how.
Here’s a problem that may be a turnoff for some, though: there’s a situation where the ML sexually harasses the MC, but it’s a complicated case of mistaken identity + spiritual mistaken identity + political motive + farce + drunk. It did make me uncomfortable, but not enough for to pitch the novel in the trash, mainly because I could see the (completely assholish) reasoning to it, and it also wasn’t portrayed as ‘sexy’, but ‘gross’, like it should’ve been. Feel of it how you will.

Fox Demon Cultivation Manual (BL) [C] {F} – C: Silly, helter-skelter, and reads more like a donghua transcript than a novel, but cute enough.

Translation: 5 – Genre: Xianxia
I understand what other people meant when they said that this read like a middle book of a series – slightly justified in that it is the middle book of a series, the rest of which is not translated. There are a shitton of characters that seem to all have their separate, non-elaborated stories going on in the background, obviously to be extrapolated upon in some other work, just not this one. I won’t fault the work for wanting continuity, but I will fault it for Too Many Bastards. Also, I’m not a fan of how few non-villainous, non-dead female characters there are in it (I can think of one (1)), though there’s apparently 500 gay guys running around… but I digress.
The story of this goes all over the place and is pretty disjointed, not at all helped by the loads of characters and implied other stories. The first arc, I liked the buildup and the side story’s conclusion. The second was decent, though the twist ending was a bit odd and had some glaring plotholes. The ending itself has a random “oops! got sucked into a book!” scene that makes no sense, ends abruptly, and is completely pointless, like a filler episode in an anime. At one point, there’s time travel, which is more “completing the loop” than actually changing time, and everyone assumes the MC’s a demon, even though he looks and is powered suspiciously like their own clan members, and despite not giving off a demonic aura, everyone takes at face value that he’s a demon. These immortals pop stupid pills, I swear.
Oh, and I can’t forget the reason I called this a donghua transcript; the description of people’s appearances (esp. bright red hair, etc.), how the world works, how the fight scenes are described, how people’s outfits are described as looking, how the ‘cultivation’ works; it all reminds me of how Japanese anime looks and behaves. That’s not an insult in and of itself (I personally fucking love that stuff), but in this case, the way it was portrayed was cartoonish and slightly silly.
ALL THAT BEING SAID: I did like this novel and don’t regret reading it. The author is pretty good at emotional aspect, and I highly prefer the parts that delve into trauma, complications between people, and evil machinations than anything else, really. The pairing between the MC and ML is pure sugar with no problems at all between them, though I would have appreciated more screentime for them.

Didn’t Know the General Was Female (GL) [C] {F} – C: SELF-TRANSLATED

Genre: Historical fiction
This novel was, at the end of the day, nothing special, aside from being a completed GL work that didn’t end in tragedy. Word and sentence structure variance was a huge problem (there wasn’t a whole lot), making the end result pretty wonky for me to translate. However, aside from a weird parallel-universe extra that read like a bad fanfic, I didn’t have any other complaints about it. If you want a short, light-hearted yuri novel, then it’s perfectly fine.
My translation on it has typos and tensing issues up the wang because it’s an early work. Read it if you like, but be warned.

Spring Once More (BL) {F} – C: Wow! A harem novel that isn’t horrible! It’s still not great, though.

Translation: 5 – Genre: Historical fiction
This is one of the… actually, it’s the only harem novel that I’ve ever bothered to finish reading. I didn’t hate it (mainly due to the funny, clueless, ex-straight gong MC, the general comedic overtones, the small harem, and the very short length), but it did confirm that harems are really not my thing at all and I’m not ever going to read another one. Me not liking harems isn’t why I gave it a 3, though.
There are some good twists and turns to the novel. The ending is almost depressingly realistic compared to the rest of the tone of the novel, however, and doesn’t harmonize at all. It’s like someone gave you a lollipop, but when you got to the center, there was a damn roach inside.
Since I’m being blunt, I’ll say that the reason for the harem’s existence at all honestly baffles me. The author is clearly biased towards one of the three MLs, which I don’t think you’re supposed to do in such a small harem (not an expert here), while the other two seem pretty indifferent to the MC. Why not just go all the way and have it be 1v1? Cut out the middlemen already.

Spring Trees and Sunset Clouds (BL) [C] {F} – C – The setting’s up in the trees and plot got thrown to the clouds.

Translation: 4 – Genre: Alternate history/light xuanhuan
The prince of a country is wrongfully prosecuted and tortured by his own brother, whom he loved and helped put on the throne, and his failing body is then thrown into an icy river. He survives, gets picked up by chance, healed up, and taken into a strange town that’s obviously hiding something… seems like a setup for a good adventure novel, right?
Nope. It’s a slice-of-life novel, and a somewhat dull and nonsensical one, at that.
The romance is sweet enough, the characters likeable (MC’s a dullard but that’s okay I guess), and the content is light and not too long. It’s a decent read, but nothing grand, and might leave the reader craving more substance.
It just doesn’t explain enough, and the way the world works isn’t logical at all (you’ll see what I mean in regards to reactions and consequences of certain things). There’s lots of questions left hanging at the end that the author simply won’t explain or writes off. As for plot, it doesn’t really exist aside from the romance.

Guardian (BL) [C] {F} – C: A very strong start turns, unfortunately, into a folklorish mess.

Translation: 5 – Genre: Pseudo-modern xuanhuan
My feelings towards this novel are as complicated as its plot ended up getting in the latter half, and not in a great way.
I loved the first 60-ish chapters; the 2nd arc was my favorite, with great development for a side character. The mystery revolving around the Ghost Slayer, the ML, and the MC really seemed to be going places. And then, in the 3rd arc, something jogged loose and it all kind of crumbled into a weird slurry of ‘too much information, yet not enough details’. The rest of the side characters, who I was expecting good arcs like the 2nd one for, are just kind of shoved off to the side. Things are revealed with way less fanfare than they should be and clarify nothing, only making things more confusing. The MC himself started confusing me, too; his personality became unclear, and I could never tell what he was thinking when he was doing things. He just seemed like he ‘knew’ things, but the logic for how he ‘knew’ those things wasn’t revealed to the reader, which made it look like his intuition was coming out of his ass.
The 4th arc doesn’t get any better and devolves into some metaphysical stuff that contrasts badly with the rest of the novel. Instead of weaving into the narrative and modern setting, it just kind of… vomits onto it, then pushes it to the side.
Still, it’s a decent read. I don’t regret reading it, I just regret it wasn’t more than it was. To be blunt, if priest wanted to do xuanhuan stuff and bring xianxia-like elements in, she should have either complimented the modern times with it, or just not made it modern at all.
PS: the later translators even skipped around a chapter and didn’t bother to translate any bits that weren’t about the main pairing. Bruh. I can’t agree with doing that, but if that alone doesn’t speak volumes about how boring the side characters are, I don’t know what will.

Cold Sands (BL) [C] {F} – C is for Crying

Translation: 5 – Genre: Alternate history/tragedy
Cold Sands is the reason I won’t read tragedies anymore. It’s not even that spicy of a tragedy, admittedly, but my point forever stands.
“But why did you read a tragedy if you knew it was a tragedy?” I thought I could handle it, but sometimes I make bad decisions. And oh boy, Bad Decision.
The plot and writing were also, in hindsight, nothing really special. “I gotta be Emperor because I inherited the responsibility” bitch no you don’t and no you didn’t. You didn’t like any of those assholes. Burn it down.

Love Stops Rumors (BL) [C] {F} – C: It’s okay.

Translation: 5 – Genre: Modern slice-of-life
I forgot I had read this novel. It’s okay.
It’s not very long, so if you want a quick, uncomplicated read with an unproblematic relationship, go nuts. I don’t have much to say about it other than it’s okay. High school settings get drab.

BG short story catch-all: Mulberry Song, One Night, One Day, One Year, One Lifetime

This goes on a separate 1-10 scale.
MS – Kinda wondering what the point of this story was, being so short. Enough tragedy to make you frown, but not enough content to remember it later in life. (3)
ONODOYOL – Ouch. This one is a well-written tragedy, managing to make the reader feel bad for a terrible person, and her victim. Dogblood, dogblood, people making bad decisions, and more. GF’s part is much weaker than HY’s. (7)

BL short story catch-all: Evil Cult Undercover Gets Exposed Everyday, Refined Sunflower and the Little Priest, Right Way to Offer a Sacrifice, Sharing Rain and Dew, Mo Flower, Flowers Reflecting the Sky

Uh… don’t expect me to talk about these in-depth. They’re all enjoyable in their own ways, but obviously don’t have a whole lot to them. Good to read if you don’t want a massive time-sink for once.
ECUGEE – The translator is blah, ‘Evil Cult’ should have been ‘Demonic Sect’. I liked this one the most out of these, though. People think the MC is an idiot, and maybe he is, but what can you really know to do in that situation? (7)
RWOS – A man doesn’t take a river god’s shit and makes himself be the ‘bride’. A forceful, domineering shou for once and a pathetic crybaby gong, what’s not to love? I do wish the translators would shut up and not put their notes all over the place, though. (9)
RSLP – The side pairing is somehow way more appealing than the main one, consisting of a shixiong and an orchid demon with a big… stamen. Hehe. Otherwise, this one’s kind of unexciting. (6)
SRD – This is a better one about death and reincarnation. Translation is shoddy, though. (5)
MF – I liked the lazy, spoiled protagonist. The ML, being an Emperor, was… okay. He still has his harem, being smitten aside, so that’s not that great. (5)
FRS – This would be a better mystery story if it didn’t involve first cousins banging. I know ancient China is weird, but you don’t gotta make a story about it. (4)

C-

Not bad enough for me to rake over the coals, but not good enough for me to recommend, either.

Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator (BG) [C] {A} – C-: The MC is a Mary Sue. The ML is a chauvinist. Together, they do some het nonsense while eating food in a mildly entertaining way.

Translation: 5 – Genre: Historical slice-of-life
I tried to think higher of this one. I really did. I liked the sound of the premise, but the actual contents were just so cliche and the MC was so Mary Sue-ish. It’s a real waste. I got to about the 500 chapter mark before calling it quits.
Everyone plays mind games and petty schemes , can’t communicate what they’re feeling worth a damn, and has an IQ of 50. Everyone. This is the source of 90% of the drama. The most egregious example is a mild-mannered character the MC saved from death, only to have her suddenly be the ‘screeching harpy’ type that’s apparently been embezzling money from her own family. Characters can receive fates disproportionate to their crimes, which the MC – a once-modern girl – doesn’t bat an eye at the inhumanity of.
The MC is infuriatingly unambitious despite all the means she has at her disposal. You have modern inventions in your head! You’re the only good cook in the entire country, apparently! You could rule the world with fucking food so JUST DO IT
The ML is… not really called out on his behavior other than everyone making disappointed faces at him. When are you people going to talk about the transmigration/reincarnation thing. Why is it taking so long.
I want to slap several characters upside their dumbass heads, the MC and ML included, and I got too bored and frustrated to finish it, but this wasn’t an awful read. The ML is adorably incompetent at trying to get revenge on the MC for what ‘she’ did in his past life, the plot is easy to follow, and there’s several characters that have a good head on their shoulders. If you’re more tolerant of the things mentioned above than I am, then I’d actually highly recommend it for you. It’s simply not my cup of tea.

Rebirth of the Malicious Empress of Military Lineage (BG) [C] {A} – C-: A satisfying and brutal revenge story, sullied by an ML that needed to be reeled in a couple dozen times.

Translation: 2 – Genre: Historical face-slapping cathartic extravaganza
I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I’m finally reading a long face-slapping story that I can stand, and it’s very satisfying to read; the protagonist is a woman who is talented and sharp-witted, and she lives up to the brutal title of ‘Malicious’ well. On the other hand, it has some pretty glaring flaws, particularly in regards to the ML, the low IQ villains, and some timeline issues. This novel’s a lot like a Budweiser; lots of people drink and enjoy it, but that doesn’t mean it’s great.
1: The prevalence of low IQ villains makes me think that there’s something seriously wrong with the brains of half the population of China at any given time. The mental gymnastics these fools do could put a narcissistic parent to shame.
2: I do love the MC. She teeters on Mary Sue at times, but she at least had some tragedy in her background, and her resourcefulness is justified by the fact that she lived a hard past life. Even when being thrown for loops at times, she manages it with poise. Is it realistic in how often she gets her revenge? Not really, but I’m not going to fault a wish-fulfillment novel for being its genre.
3: The ML is a full-blown Mary Sue. I don’t like him, nor how he’s portrayed.
– 19-years-old and in control of some secret army that even his dad doesn’t know about. Yeah, sure.
– So talented in martial arts, he can never be detected, even by more experienced people. At 19. Yeah, sure.
– Possessor of a ~~mysterious past~~, that his dad also doesn’t know about. Yeah, sure.
– The stud of the world, attracts girls everywhere. Even ones who never saw him. Yeah, sure.
– Somehow always in the exact right place to spy on the MC or get in her way. Yeah, sure.
– He’s apparently the only one who can invoke childish emotion in her, even though he shouldn’t be able to because he’s really not that clever or great. She pretty much never loses composure except when this fucker waltzes into her room without notice, like he’s an IQ sapper.
– A cocky personality that no one has ever found attractive, yet MC is somehow subliminally attracted to him anyways. Yeah, sure.
– Every single time he comes up, the narrative won’t shut up about how hot and beautiful he is, to an eye-rolling extent.
Listen… if the author’s a woman, she writes like a lonely and physically neglected housewife. If he’s a man, he’s either describing his ideal man, or is delusional and projecting himself onto a character that he wishes he is, but 100% isn’t. If they’re on the non-binary spectrum, shame on them, they should know better. Above anything else, though, this is just really, really pathetic.
I lost interest at a little under the 150 chapter mark. With how badly I dislike the ever-perfect ML, I don’t think I’ll be revisiting this anytime soon.
On translation: I’m baffled as to how this work has not one, but two editors, yet still manages to be elementary-school level in terms of writing. How do three different people fuck up so bad?

Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System (BL) [C] {F} – C-: A good setting and character lineup, not done any favors by a dubious main pairing and lack of focus on characters that deserved focus.

Translation: 1 (WorshipperA) / 4 (BANovels) / 4 (faelicy) – Genre: Xianxia parody
I recently figured out why I love/hate SVSSS, once others pointed it out; I think everything about the novel is great, except the main pairing. And that’s a bit of a big damn problem, isn’t it?
I think the concept of xianxia parody is great. I like the setting of ‘potentially cool place that a shitty author filled full of dumb stuff’. I like the characters and their personalities and/or backstories. I like the MC. I like the ML – when he’s not being enabled. And therein lies the problem! The ML gets enabled in his ham-fisted relationship with the MC, leading to gross behaviors that are treated like, oh, he’s the protag, it’s okay, he gets what he wants. Uh, no? Isn’t the point of this novel to fix shitty plot points? And MXTX ended it by giving a manbaby the relationship he was actively fucking up with his extremely creepy and/or violent yandere tendencies? Pardonnez-moi, what the fuck??? This is not Reward Bad Behavior City, no residence for you.
I sat there and thought about it for a while, and concluded that literally any other ship than the main one would’ve worked. Also, more information on the world would’ve been fantastic. Instead, we get this grotesque, infantalizing-manipulation dynamic between a guy that always sees the other as the kid he raised and a guy that has a teacher kink… eurgh.
The potential in the plot and setting this novel had, especially in the parody aspect, set it up for a lot of success, only to get sidelined hard by the status quo or something. Should’ve just been NP, honestly.
Translation notes: Original translation is MTL muck, thankfully being fixed by faelicy.

I’ve Led the Villain Astray, How Do I Fix It? (BL) {A} – C-: Spoilers, you can’t.

Translation: 5 – Genre: Xianxia
I don’t want to give an in-depth synopsis on this as I feel like that would ruin the premises, so I’ll just explain it like this: it’s an anti-white lotus, anti-harem, fix-it xianxia BL with a kind-transmigrator-meets-blackbelly-reincarnator aspect.
I’m not going to go much harder on the review than that, simply because the novel doesn’t go thematically deeper at all. It’s a comedy xianxia. No real existential themes, no angst being addressed, no real anything. It’s good if you don’t want to think so hard about things.
Even so, it embodies one of the things I hate most about typical xianxias; it’s just too damn long! A 50% cut on the detail would have been nice. I might have actually not gotten bored and finished the novel then.

Eastward Flow (GL) {A} – C-: SELF-TRANSLATED

Genre: Alternate history, semi-xuanhuan
Eastward Flow? More like Eastward SLOW *crowd ohhhhs, airhorns blare*
No, really. It’s well-written, but good god, it takes forever to get anywhere. The plot doesn’t really pick up until the chapter 35 mark, which the author even comments on, saying that she needs to set things up… girl! Set things up a little faster and stop chewing the fat!
Sorry to say, but no matter how good the writing is, the story structure… isn’t. If interest in the readers (or me) picks up again, I’ll pick it up, but until then: nah.

Reborn as My Love Rival’s Wife (BG… BL?) [C] {F} – C-: The LGBT work that isn’t.

Translation: 5 – Genre: Modern slice-of-life
This novel is a mixture of gender-sexuality identity issues that both intrigue and baffle me, even though the novel itself isn’t that deep, fam.
Full disclosure: I don’t like pregnancy. Don’t like thinking about it, don’t like reading descriptions about it. I read this novel since it was mild, thinking I’d be fine, but I ended up hating the way it was handled – a straight guy being casual about being pregnant and laid-back having a kid or three? I don’t buy that BS at all, but I am, evidently, very biased. (This is a body-swap gender bender, not mpreg, by the way. I would never ever touch that garbage.)
It was cute and funny for what it was, but the romance got weird, like every goddamn BG work seems to like to do. Here’s a scenario: the MC gets drunk, watches rape porn on his laptop (yep), then ends up sleeping condomless with the ML… and the next day he’s like “oh well, that happened”. That’s significant, so can you freak out more please, you fucker???
I don’t know. It was all enjoyable until the author got to a lot of the identity/sexuality stuff and whiffed hard. I know both those things tend to just do whatever they want sometimes, but there was always something slightly off in this work that rubbed me the wrong way. Ah well, one day I’ll find a gender bender other than the half-example of The Ugly Empress that I’m okay with.

D

D is for Disappointing. No redeeming qualities here.

Who Dares Slander My Senior Brother (BL) {F} – Me. I do. He’s a pervert twat.

Translation: 3 (for old) / 1 (for new) – Genre: Xianxia
This novel takes a much bleaker stance on cultivation than most other novels do, and it’s a bit refreshing – at first. People can go into their elder years never getting past the first stage, the process is imperfect, and every last person has their own issues, much like real people do.
The first third of the novel is decent, the middle half is trash, and the last third is pretty good. This has most to do with the content, as I found the buildup, climax, and twists in the third half to be immensely satisfying, the introductory stuff in the first half to nicely build the world and characters up, and the second half to take a steep nosedive in the characterization of the ML (making him into a ephebophilic molester for no real reason… thanks, I hate it) and general plot progression.
However, the plot goes everywhere and a lot of characters get shoved to the sidelines. I docked stars for the ML’s molester behavior (*disappointed fatherly sigh*) that’s mostly prevalent in the second half. Seriously, I fucking hate the second half and the ML’s bad characterization in it.

The Reader and Protagonist Definitely Have to Be in True Love (BL) [C] {F} – This Reader is Definitely Not in Any Kind of Love with This Novel

Translation: 4 – Genre: Modern + Western fantasy
People like to rave about this one. I won’t be doing that, because it’s bland at best.
Side characters straight up don’t matter, and they all McFuckin’ Die at the end (the ML destroys the reality of the book’s setting so he can get into the real world. it’s as dumb as it sounds), so don’t even bother getting attached to anyone outside of the MC/ML. No one other than them seems to have been written with any sort of compassion or moral compass, anyways, so maybe that’s for the better. Aside from the adventure and the relationship between the ML/MC, the other details of the novel are pretty forgettable.
The ML makes extremely morally questionable decisions that are never called out… though, I guess, at the end of it all, anything he’s ever done – good or bad – is rendered moot anyways, which is another major flaw within itself. (There’s also a lesbian sister side pair… who are lesbians… with each other. Why. Why the hell would you do that. (I almost forgot; there’s a dub-con scene, too! Stop! Doing all this! STOP!! IT’S SO AGGRAVATING DJHFJQ))

The Villain Has Something to Say (BL) [C] {A} – Why’d the main pairing have to be so gross?

Translation: 5 (first), 2 (second)
I don’t typically like hardcore xianxias, but this was one of the better ones… aside from the glaring fact that I would learn later on that the ML raised MC from a baby and essentially groomed him his whole life. Big yikes. Big yuck. Big no thank you. Hard pass, hard pass.
“Chichi, why did you start reading it if that’s what the main pairing was?” Listen. I’ve seen disciple-master relationships before. They’re old news. I just didn’t quite comprehend the magnitude of how egregious this one was. How am I supposed to fathom that someone thought fucking grooming was romantic???
What I liked was the character development and setting. A cannon fodder villain with hidden depths striking back against a shitty stallion protagonist is the stuff of my dreams. I liked all the characters by the time I cut losses and stopped (40-ish). Why couldn’t his love interest have been literally anyone other than his adoptive father? Nasty.
Translation: The first twenty chapters are great, but the second translator is obviously cleaning up MTL, complete with janky grammar and heavily inconsistent terminology. It’s readable, but bad.

A Seductive Gentleman (BL) {A} – MDZS, but worse.

Translation: 3 – Genre: Xianxia
If the one below this is diet SVSSS, then this one is diet MDZS. The similarities between them are glaring, and this one is really not well-executed in anything it does. Pretty disappointing; I had higher hopes because it has a decent Chinese fanbase.
The protagonist is of the shameless and highly talented variety, gets blamed and betrayed by a bunch of sects, loses his cultivation, gets his death faked for him, gets amnesia, yada yada yada. He enters the palace as a concubine (the process of which doesn’t make any sense at all), finds a childhood ‘friend’ that helps cover for him and secretly likes him, yada yada yada. There’s constant flashbacks to the past, interrupting the flow of the whole story and not really getting it anywhere. Characters are introduced that I think the reader is supposed to bond with, only to die not even a few chapters later, so who even cares? There’s so many stops and starts to the plot threads, it’s hard to tell where anything’s going or where it came from. It’s hard to read, get into, or care much about, either, and I only got about a third of the way through it before giving up.

Every Day the Protagonist Wants to Capture Me (BL) [C] {F} – SVSSS, but worse.

Translation: 4 – Genre: Xianxia
This is, like… diet SVSSS? It feels cheap to say that, but that’s the first thing I thought of when I read it. You’ve got a possessive ML who the MC – a transmigrator into a canon fodder villain who dies horribly – helps ‘raise’, trying to get him his destined harem, and then gets blindsided by the ML’s hots for him. It’s not as well-written, though, or as funny – but the MC is his shixiong instead of shizun, so there’s that.
The plot goes all over the place, and it’s very hard to tell what exactly the end goal is supposed to be at times. The ML is that annoyingly possessive, oppressive, overly-sexual yandere type that makes my skin want to peel itself off. There’s a lack of details, plot threads can go nowhere, and the ending isn’t very satisfying – it just kind of ends. Just very meh overall.

Transmigrating into a Mob Character to Rehabilitate the Villain Plan (BL) [C] {A} – Timeskips Plural: The Novel

Translation: 3-5 – Genre: Xianxia
@MC: why you always dying, why the fuck you dyin’, mmmm oh my god stop fuckinG DYING
I got pissed off by the cycle of the MC dying, reincarnating, and timeskipping all the time. It’s really hard to connect with characters when you skip all their character development and go straight to “things went south” part. I stopped reading at book 3 way back when because I couldn’t take it anymore, and that’s apparently a good thing, as many other people say that book 4 is cancer.
The first two books were decent (that’s why it doesn’t get a 1, though maybe it deserves it if book 4 is that bad), but since the rest of the work was not, I can’t recommend reading something that ends so disappointingly.

Let Me Tease You (BL) [C] {F} – This sure does… exist.

Translation: 2 – Genre: Light xianxia
This was a weird novel, and somehow also was extremely bland. The System in place made even less sense than Systems usually do, giving the MC nonsense tasks before randomly not giving him anymore for no reason. The plot was mediocre and nothing anyone couldn’t see coming. In short: it’s whatever.
There was a dub-con scene (for the love of god, stop doing this, authors!!) and heavily implied incest in an extra (stop doing that too!).
Translation: The translator is obviously not a native speaker, with typos, odd syntax, and too much left-in pinyin abound.

Legendary Master’s Wife (BL) [C] {A} – snzzzzzzzz

Translation: 5 – Genre: Xianxia
This novel is 700-something chapters long. I got through about 130 of those before I dropped it. It’s your typical xianxia; long-winded, complicated terminology, random power-ups, legendary artifacts, forgettable side characters, cannon fodder villains, shuffled settings, characters who declare war because someone gave them a dirty look, and so on. The MC and ML are unlikable, each in their own unique way – the ML for being overbearing, needing to have his way no matter what, and then infuriatingly getting whatever he wanted, and the MC for never being allowed by the author to grow beyond his initial characteristics of ‘dimwit klutz’. Their relationship is either painful or boring to read at any given point.
It’s so bland and forgettable, I can’t even really muster the passion to hate it. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the praises people sing about this one. It’s good if you’re easily amused, I guess?

My Wife Always Thought I Did Not Love Him (BL) [C] {A} – POOR COMMUNICATION KILLS

Translation: 4 – Genre: Modern
This novel would have ended at chapter 20 if the MC bothered to explain a single god damn thing.
“hey I’m being blackmailed by my parents because they think being gay is wrong”
There. That’s all he had to do. Did he do that? NO. He transmigrated into the past, he’s got 30 years total of life experience, but his communication skills are on par with a goddamn rock. What was the point of transmigrating at all? Unbelievable.
Furthermore, the protagonist’s parents are both completely unlikable in an almost comical way. The mother’s an ungrateful bastard to top ungrateful bastards, and the dad’s a cartoon villain twat. Even so, their twattiness could have been avoided if MC had just been upfront about things.
I tried to read this twice, and it made me too mad to finish twice. It gets a 2 just because the first half of the book was cute and the ML is (…was?) endearingly dumb.

Quick transmigration catch-all: Quickly Wear the Face of the Devil, Who Touched My Tail!, Reborn As a System, As the Minor Gay Rival in Het Novels – all {A}

I decided to lump these all together because they all have the same ratings, and roughly the same problems. I don’t think QTs are my thing, y’all.

QWFD – The MC is a Mary Sue. Sure, he’s a universe-hacker, but this isn’t a parody work so it’s neither funny nor cool. The ML is a creep and I’d castrate him if I met him in real life. There are several parts of this story where I either rolled my eyes (MC hacks himself to be a pretty model in one arc and the narrative won’t shut the fuck up about about how ‘angelic’ he is) or cringed (at one arc set in ancient times and the ML says he wants to suck on the MC’s toes for no real reason… dude… let’s dial it back a couple thousand notches). I don’t get the hype at all.
WTMT – Poorly handled in the latter half after the main pair gets together. I know QT story setups don’t matter too much in the long run, but damn, do you have to rush them so bad?
RAS – The MC kills me with his idiocy. The ML is a yandere-ish type I actually liked for once, but boy, I wish the MC wasn’t dumb as a rock. They put an mpreg beast world in, also, so that really sucked for me. The MC falling for the ML had all the buildup and subtlety of a thrown brick – it smacks you in the face and you hate it.
AMGRHN – Typical yandere ML + dipshit MC combo. Boring plot. Sucks. I sleep.

F

F is for Failure. Even the memory of these novels actively fills me with hate and repulsion.

War Prisoner (BL) [C] {F} – Stockholm Syndrome fetish fuel? Cold Sands, but super shit??

Translation: 5 – Genre: Historical super-melodrama
Oh boy, this sucked. The plot was weird, the… romance (?) was really weird, the relationship (???) progress was really weird, there’s a rape (!!!!) scene at the beginning that we’re just gonna ignore for the rest of the novel (and not even halfway through the story the MC says the bastard ML is a close confidant… with no warning or reason… like… buddy… are you forgetting something), the writing and pacing was weird, I wanted to kick the “ML” in the groin a few dozen times, and 90% of the conflict could be avoided if people JUST TALKED TO EACH OTHER about shit like proper adults do.
“But Chichi, why did you read it if it had the R tag on NU?” Because I didn’t find it on NU, and then I kept reading it after the initial Bad Scene out of morbid curiosity. I’ve now learned my lesson to always check things on NU, boy howdy…

The Transmigrated Senior Martial Brother (BL) {F} – I hope they invent a device that erases memories so I can un-read this.

Translation: 4 – Genre: Bad
Who wants to read shit like this? Who wants to write shit like this? (Why did I read all the way through this? Am I stupid? Maybe I was just hoping that it would get better at some point, and then it didn’t.) Unless you’re a fan of trash yandere MLs, non-con, poor worldbuilding that goes nowhere, and sudden endings that are so abrupt you don’t even know whether to label it BE or just No End, avoid this one.
“But Chichi, why did you read it if it had the R tag on NU?” because when I read it in 2019, only the first 10 chapters were out, and it wasn’t tagged. So I read the Chinese, and now I want to find the author and commit slapface.

Female Protagonist is a Blackened Villainess (GL) {A} – If you don’t have the skills to write a xianxia, then fucking don’t.

Translation: 3 – Genre: Xianxia word salad
I lengthily lambasted this on its NU page, but let me sum it up for you: lolicon, poorly-written yanderes, egregious timeskips, overabundance of useless characters, basically no plot, and a metric fuckton of wasted potential does not a good story make. Wasn’t worth my time to read, or finish. Every once in a while I go check its NU page to cackle at its low rating, because it deserves it.

Hua Hua You Long {A}{A}{A} – How do I purge someone else’s novel from existence, then purge the author from existence so their sinful fingers never darken the world again?

Translation: doesn’t matter – Genre: Kindling
I was having such fun in nice, cute, happy BL land that I forgot that there’s a lot of this stuff in the world out there. It was like a freezing bucket of water getting dumped on my head and I’m 100% sure it traumatized me, even if I didn’t get farther than a few revolting manhua pages and a brief glance-over of a few chapters (because I foolishly thought ‘it can’t be that bad, can it?’ But oh man, it could).
Okay. Let me use this… thing as a generic catch-all for all works like this: if you like this disgusting, disturbing, Stockholm Syndrome rape fetish trash, see a therapist and stop glorifying rape culture. It’s not “hot” or “cute”. It’s just messed up. And no, that’s not lessened because they’re ‘not real people’, much in the same way 50 Shades of Gray featured not-real people and still did damage. Thanks.
(If you’re wondering how I even found it, it wasn’t from NU, so how was I psychically supposed to know it was burn-worthy?)

Nan Chan (BL) [C] {A} – Putting a senseless date-rape scene in the middle of your novel is never not a bad idea.

Translation: 4
There’s a lot of people who like Nan Chan. I don’t know why, because it’s a handy guide on how to completely screw up your novel in one easy step: casually mention halfway through that the love interest date-raped the protagonist in the past. No, the fact that someone else drugged the MC and that he ‘had to have sex or he’d die’ doesn’t make it okay, because that’s fucking stupid. Killer aphrodisiacs? Seriously? Why? Stupid plot devices are what is known as ‘awful writing’. It flat-out shouldn’t have been put in, and it ruined the whole thing for me to the point where I regret the time I put into reading this hot trash.
It’s a real shame, too, because I was looking forward to where the story was going, aggravating ML and inconsistently-characterized MC besides (is he supposed to be a cold aloof immortal or an awkward idiot? those two personality traits were either clashing too bad or the writing was too off). My disappointment is tangible and my day is ruined.
If you want to read it yourself, you’ve either got a higher tolerance for bullshit death-aphrodisiacs than I do (that you maybe shouldn’t have), or you should heed my advice and specifically skip chapters 76-78 to avoid irrevocably tainting the rest of novel for you.

Qinglian Chronicles (BG/BL?) {A} – SELF-TRANSLATED

Genre: Historical fiction
My first foray into translating ended with bitter disappointment. I’m honestly surprised past-me lasted as long as I did on this one, considering the novel is, in retrospect, an embodiment of everything I bloody hate in a novel. Must’ve gotten carried away… and I was using an unpopular work as Chinese practice, 100% on purpose.
I had been intrigued by the non-binary protagonist, but the whole of the novel was awful. Plot went everywhere, there were a lot of uncomfortable scenes (to say the least!), the MC had major mental issues, the ML was grossly possessive, no one talked about their problems, and things seemed rather haphazard with no satisfying resolution in sight. The author mentioned wanting to do a more ‘realistic’ story, as in a lot of things happen by chance, but they didn’t really pull it off. As reader interest waned, so did mine. And, looking back on it a year later, good fucking riddance!
If you’re interested in reading my translation because you like reading cringey stuff or something, be warned that a) I was a beginner and b) hadn’t seriously written in years at the time, so the TL is pretty shit.

The Shelf

This is for works I’m currently reading/intending to read, but don’t feel comfortable giving a definitive score on yet.

Sha Po Lang (BL)
Translation: 4 – Genre: Steampunk wuxia

Heaven Official’s Blessing (BL)
Translation: N/A – Genre: Xuanhuan

Clear and Muddy Loss of Love (GL)
Translation: N/A – Genre: Historical drama

The Earth is Online (BL)
Translation: 5 – Genre: Modern genre blender

You’ve Got Mail: A Cautionary Tale (BL)
Translation: N/A – Genre: N/A

You Boys Play Games Very Well (BL)
Translation: N/A – Genre: N/A