Tag Archives: Seven Seas

the scum villains self saving system

Book Review: The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System, by Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiù

I purchased a copy of Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiù’s The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System (Vol 1).

the scum villains self saving system cover
Half-demon Luo Binghe rose from humble beginnings and a tortured past to become unrivaled in strength and beauty. With his dominion over both the Human and Demon Realms and his hundreds-strong harem, he is truly the most powerful protagonist…in a trashy webnovel series!

At least, that’s what Shen Yuan believes as he finishes reading the final chapter in Proud Immortal Demon Way. But when a bout of rage leads to his sudden death, Shen Yuan is reborn into the world of the novel in the body of Shen Qingqiu–the beautiful but cruel teacher of a young Luo Binghe. While Shen Qingqiu may have the incredible power of a cultivator, he is destined to be horrifically punished for crimes against the protagonist.

The new Shen Qingqiu now has only one course of action: get into Luo Binghe’s good graces before the young man’s rise to power or suffer the awful fate of a true scum villain!

my review
I didn’t know much about The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System when I bought this light novel. I’d seen clips of the donghua here and there. But I’d not paid much attention to it, because I didn’t like the animation style. But like so many of us, I’d seen the live-action version of The Untamed 3 Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiù booksand loved it. Would have read the book, too, except that I didn’t think I could handle something thousands of pages long on my computer screen. So, when Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiù’s books got official English translations (in print), I bought the first volume of all three that came out together (The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System, Heaven Official’s Blessing, and Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivations). I’ve read two of the three now.

I ended up enjoying this. But I honestly thought the start was a bit of a mess. It took a little while to figure out what was going on and settle into the narrative. It’s partly because the main character (Shen Qingqiu) is so utterly blasé about what happened to him and so informal in his narrative, slinging around slang like loli and moe. But after a little while, even that felt like it fit.

But what I found significantly more amusing than I expected was the parody aspect of the story. It’s very meta—aware of what it is and good-naturedly mocking the genre, authors, conventions, and character arc types of what is, in essence, itself. I laughed several times at it.

When I finished this volume, I went ahead and finally watched the donghua, which follows the book quite closely (but loses a little of its meta-ness), and pre-ordered volume 2 of the print series. Here’s the thing though: I ordered it more on my expectation of liking where the story is going than my love of this volume.

Luo Binghe is a child (14) for most of this book, and Shen Qingqiu is trying to be a good mentor to him. It’s cute, yes, and watching Shen Qingqiu miss all the signs of how he is changing the narrative (and even the world and genre of the story itself—and doing it with kindness) was fun. But there’s a quote, round about the middle of the book, that goes:

the scum villains self saving system photoDemons were compelled to viciously bully the person they liked. Only if the object of their affection failed to die would the demon accept them. If the target died, that meant they were useless and not worth nursing any lingering affection for.

The anticipation of a Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiù-style pairing and all the flustered bullying to come is delicious. So, I’ll be following the series. I’d honestly expected that to be what I found in this volume. But I don’t mind the story starting earlier than I expected and being made to get to know these characters better while I wait.

Other Reviews:

REVIEW: The Scum Villain’s Self Saving System by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu

Review: The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System, Volume 1: Ren Zha Fanpai Zijiu Xitong by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu


I normally prefer to link to other small blogs, not big ones like Tor. But I liked this review so much that I’m including it.



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Book Review: Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, by Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiù

I purchased a copy of Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiù’s Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation. And while I academically understand that Chinese names aren’t ordered the same English names are, which means my process of alphabetizing by last name, comma, first name is possibly inaccurate, I and 100% counting Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiù as my X author for in my author alphabet challenge this year! And look at me getting it read in FEBRUARY and I’m probably going to read more than one! That never happens. X is almost always the hardest and last letter I manage.
grandmaster of demonic cultivation
Wei Wuxian was once one of the most powerful men of his generation, a talented and clever young cultivator who harnessed martial arts and spirituality into powerful abilities. But when the horrors of war led him to seek more power through demonic cultivation, the world’s respect for his abilities turned to fear, and his death was celebrated throughout the land.

Years later, he awakens in the body of an aggrieved young man who sacrifices his soul so that Wei Wuxian can exact revenge on his behalf. Though granted a second life, Wei Wuxian is not free from his first, nor the mysteries that appear before him now. Yet this time, he’ll face it all with the righteous and esteemed Lan Wangji at his side, another powerful cultivator whose unwavering dedication and shared memories of their past will help shine a light on the dark truths that surround them.

my review
Honestly, this isn’t so much a review as just documenting my thoughts about reading this first volume of Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation. Because there isn’t any way to separate out my the untamed posterexperience with it and my love of The Untamed. I was 100% predisposed to enjoy this, for sentimentality’s sake, if nothing else. I 100% wish I had read the book first (since the show follows the book so closely), but if I’d not seen and loved the show, I almost certainly wouldn’t have thought to pick up the book. And I kind of think I might not have loved the book as much if I’d not already fallen in love with the characters. Chicken meet egg, yeah?

I also decided I wasn’t going to try and write a real review because I don’t know how to separate out what can be attributed to the original writer/writing and what is the fault or accomplishment of the translator. I definitely thought some of the colloquialisms and informal language (like “duh”, and “you messin’ with me”) felt out of place. But I also quite enjoyed reading the story. There’s a pretty good review from a professional translator on Goodreads that I found really informative on this point though. And it isn’t the only review I’ve seen saying the translation isn’t all that great. But I am in no position to comment on such things myself.

Lastly, I just don’t know what standard to assess danmei by. I understand poetry, short stories, and long form fiction all have different literary expectations. So, there isn’t any reason to think danmei don’t as well, and I don’t know them. So, I don’t feel qualified to judge them.

So, rather than pretend any of the above isn’t true, I’m just going to say I love these characters. And as meandering and unfocused as the story may be sometimes, I’ll read about Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangi watching paint dry if that’s what is on offer. For those who enjoyed The Untamed, this book gets just about as far as the drunk Lan Wangi scene and it’s every bit as cute as you’d expect.

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