I purchased volumes one and two of Heaven Official’s Blessing, by Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiù. Who could look at the cover art of that first one and not be tempted? I’m just going to go ahead and write a single ‘review’ for both books, since it’s a single continual story.
About the Books:
Born the crown prince of a prosperous kingdom, Xie Lian was renowned for his beauty, strength, and purity. His years of dedication and noble deeds allowed him to ascend to godhood. But those who rise, can also fall…and fall he does, cast from the Heavens again and again and banished to the mortal realm.
Eight hundred years after his mortal life, Xie Lian has ascended to godhood for the third time. Now only a lowly scrap collector, he is dispatched to wander the earthly realm to take on tasks appointed by the heavens to pay back debts and maintain his divinity. Aided by old friends and foes alike, and graced with the company of a mysterious young man with whom he feels an instant connection, Xie Lian must confront the horrors of his past in order to dispel the curse of his present.
Xie Lian has confirmed that the bewitching youth San Lang is actually Hua Cheng, one of the Four Calamities and a supreme ghost despised by all heavenly officials. Still, he has trouble matching the terror of his companion’s reputation with the charming, clever, and protective young man he’s come to know.
When a distress signal leads Xie Lian into Ghost City, a bustling metropolis containing all the horrors and delights of the dead, he sees Hua Cheng in his element—and his true form—for the first time. But despite their chemistry and care for one another, there are missions to fulfill and secrets to uncover, and Xie Lian’s centuries of troubled history are never far behind.
These are the 3rd & 4th Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiù light novels I’ve read this year. I purchased everything that came out at once (Heaven Official’s Blessing 1 & 2, Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, & The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System). These are the last to get read and, though I’ve enjoyed them all, I’ve been reluctant to call the post I write for each a review.
I’m not as familiar with all the expectations and norms of light novels*, like I am regular novels. Plus, I can’t know where blame or praise should be lain—with the author and/or the translator—for language choices. I’ve seen several reviews (from people who were able to read the stories in the original Chinese) saying the translations aren’t accurate, leave things out, and/or change the relationships of some characters. And since I can’t read Chinese and can’t know, I’ve just decided to write posts expressing how I feel about what I’ve read, without actually reviewing it. It may simply be semantics, but it makes me feel better.
Anyhow, as I’ve said, I purchased the four books available as of now and I would have bought the rest if they were out. So, that ought to tell you how I feel about this series (all three actually). I’d seen season one of the Heaven Official’s Blessing anime on Netflix. But, though I thought it very pretty, I wasn’t convinced I’d love the series as much as the avid fan-base and gorgeous fan-art suggested I should. But having read these first two volumes, I think I will and look forward to immersing myself in it…one volume every couple months for the rest of the year. *cries.* I wish I hadn’t discovered it until the whole thing was out.
When I finished volume one, I said over on Instagram that I thought the language too modern for the setting, but that I otherwise thought the series was super cute so far and looked forward to continuing. Cute to me is OK, but I do prefer my fantasy a little on the darker, edgier side. So, I was thrilled when someone commented, ““Cute”… honey, you’ve got a big storm coming ??.” It was the piteous “honey” that really let me know I’m in for a change of tone. And having finished volume two, now, I can see some of that storm being set up and expect to enjoy watching it all play out.
As has been the case with the other Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiù light novels I’ve read, it’s the characters and their interplay that makes this such a winner for me. I actually do think the language is a little on the silly side and the world is big, but vague. None of that matters though, because I read on just to see the next time Xie Lian and Hua Cheng were on page together. Xie Lian is just so blithely oblivious to Hua Cheng’s obvious attentions that I can’t help but enjoy myself. The story development (and romance) is very slow. But it’s still a fun read.
All in all, I really do look forward to finishing the series out.
*Edit: Proving my point that I’m not well enough informed on the genre of these books to truly ‘review’ them, I received a comment over on Goodreads saying these aren’t truly even light novels (as I’ve been calling them) but a published webnovel.