I’m in high spirits right now, especially after reading this magnificent work of art!
OMO OMO OMO huhuhu It’s been a long time since I’ve last read. And yes, even a week of hiatus from novel reading is already long enough for me these days! That said, I’m extremely happy I’ve found another rare gem for leisure reading, esp. after that gruelling week of finishing academic requirements one after another. I just felt so lucky right now that I can’t help but write about it and share it with you all.
And that novel I’m talking about right now is… dun dun dun (you prolly know it already, the title says it all) Poison Genius Consort by Jie Mo!
Easily cowed and bullied, she was the useless, ugly woman with no talent in medical skills. Supported by millions, he was Tianning’s most respected duke with the power to move all under Heaven. On their wedding day the bridal sedan was carried to the front doors, but the Duke of Qin’s gates were shut tight.
They told her, ‘Come back tomorrow.’
All alone, she walked step-by-step full of pride through the duke’s doors. Little could they imagine, this unattractive good-for-nothing was a beautiful, genius doctor of poisons!
After transmigrating to the past, poisons expert Han Yunxi finds herself on the verge of being married off to the country’s second most powerful man, the Duke of Qin. Her future life seems set–except her husband is an unfeeling ice block, her in-laws think she’s a eyesore, the empress dowager wants to use her for her own goals, and poison-related plots abound.
Alone, the intelligent (and sensible) Yunxi must carve her own space from the intricate web of court intrigue and the jianghu, relying on her words, wits, and wisdom to survive. Adapt when necessary, use force when required; to survive and thrive is the name of the game to a prosperous life.
No matter what, she’ll prove her right to live!
* SUMMARY taken from the translator’s (volare novels) page
Anyway, there are a lot of things that I really love about this — the plot, the Chinese classic universe, the political intrigue, MC’s wittiness, almost everything! I’m pretty much invested on it, perhaps more than all of the Chinese romance novels I’ve read, and maybe even Kenkyo Kenjitsu and Husband, Be A Gentleman. And yes, that is saying something.
First off, if you’ve noticed, this novel isn’t actually far from the usual novels I’ve read — that with a smart female lead, transmigration, genius couple, royal schemings, they’re nothing new. But! I’d particularly like to highlight that it wasn’t just because of that that I came to love this novel. Nope! To be straightforward with ya’ll, it’s the writing! It’s the writing, the progress, the way the characters have been painted and given light is what I liked best about this work!
Anywaay, before I begin, I’d like to say first that whatever you’ll read next is purely based on my personal preferences, and opinions. And not exactly based on a professional literary critique either — since I’m not one to begin with, not even majoring in literary or anything of that sort. Moreover, the following also contain mild spoilers and spontaneous rants.
So continue at your own risk, and I hoped you’d still form your own thoughts later on (after reading the novel itself) rather than be influenced by my views.
Without further ado, on to the reviewing!
To start off, I did say what I liked about this most is its writing, and how the characters were well-defined. Yes, there’s arranged marriages. Yes, it’s the same MC-died-and-time travelled plots you’ve prolly heard from me countless times before. Yes, there’s political scheming. Yes, it’s full of clichés. HOWEVER! How these clichés tied together, how they were written, and moved the characters from point A to B is something that I found flawless.
Particularly, what I liked best are the MC’s and ML’s personalities, and the chemistry slowly forming between the two. I’m fond of slow romances, but I could still easily get bored by some to the point of dropping them.
This one is definitely the slow romance type, but doesn’t tire you from waiting. It offers subtle, but consistent developments, at the right points in time that definitely gets you hooked throughout. Moreover, amidst all that are all these exciting things happening — that with MC being caught in-between two powerful figures, underlying tension between kingdoms, it’s enough to get you occupied.
Anyway, I’ll further break it down to clearly define my point.
I’ll start off with the characters, particularly our two main leads — Han YunXi and her husband, Long Feiyi.
Let me first begin that these two didn’t marry out of love. Nope, this one’s the usual arranged marriages type too! And arranged marriage in a way that they really personally DON’T know each other at the start. Ever heard of Goong? Anyone?
The wife is scorned at by people, because of all the rumours of her being hideous and incompetent; and the husband, being described the ice block that he is, is indifferent in all this and take no particular notice of his wife’s problems. At first.
Yes, yes, what kind of husband is he?! Yes, yes, I hated him with a vengeance too! For goodness sake, he didn’t even show up during their wedding! Did nothing when she embarrassingly have to wait outside the manor for a day, after arriving at closed doors and being told by his mother TO JUST FUCKING COME BACK THE NEXT DAY! ( ಠ皿ಠꐦ) Although, yeah, one might say he was away that time. STILL! WTF?! t(- n -)t I even think describing him as a heartless ass#*!3 is putting him off way too easily. I really hated him a lot, and flagged him as someone YunXi must never ever trust or love or forgive.
THEN AGAIN, with all that comes the unexpected twist and turns.
I guess this is where the writing and development comes into play.
Let me note that author was very consistent in defining his/her characters’ personalities, without explicitly defining them, particularly these two leads. Author was very consistent in pointing out how reticent, to say the least, Feiyi really is — he doesn’t trust easily, he keeps people at a distant, doesn’t know how to smile, doesn’t like to be bothered by people… and basically just downright ice cold. Yes, to everyone in general! And yes, for a good reason.
You can’t really fault him when he treated his wife with indifference at the start. BECAUSE HE DOESN’T LOVE HER. Well, at that point, he’s prolly too long inside the freezer to notice anyone, much less love someone, anyway. This guy is just sooooo… honest to a fault about his feelings (to the point that, sometimes, I considered him a cute idiot with a face, and downright dense).
BUT! Along with the many chapters comes to witnessing his cute development. It was already hinted a couple of times in the early chapters. But since his POVs are rare, and if there are, it would only describe the things he did and not ON HOW HE FELT, it’s quite vexing to read all of it but without definite confirmation. Then again, as they say, action speaks louder than words…?! XDD It wouldn’t be until much much much later when we get to have the definite proof that we seek. AND IT’S DIABETES-INFESTED AF! (≧艸≦*)
If Feiyi would’ve been this wishy-washy guy that pretended nothing was wrong, and YunXi forgiving him easily, that I wouldn’t bear! But lo, he was depicted, and very much so, as this unmoved ice block. It might not be justification enough for some, but you’d still understand where he’s coming from. ｡ﾟ(TヮT)ﾟ｡ Author is smart. Feh.
Moreover, now that I think back on it, the husband being out of the picture in the first part, it’s actually a brilliant manoeuvre. With YunXi being left alone to fend for herself, the readers get to witness and appreciate the depth of her character, her brilliance, and how she isn’t as helpless as how others thought her to be.
First off, she’s faced with the biases of the people against her. Next, the pretentious people who call themselves her allies. She has to, time and time again, prove to them just how well she can stand on her own, and, despite having to use her husband’s name, think of countermeasures to protect herself by herself — with nothing more than her knowledge and her wits!
Both the Empress, and Empress Dowager, disliked her and only wished to use her as pawn, her family doesn’t care about her, her mother-in-law wanted someone else for a daughter, her husband is apathetic towards her… all in all, it isn’t like HBAG, or DOP, or Enchantress, who got solid backing from powerful people.
YunXi is, personality-wise, a realistic MC and isn’t portrayed as some overpowered female lead like most, in a sense that, even with her pretty face and newly-discovered expertise in poison and medicine, it wasn’t until later when she’d convince the general population to side with her.
Every brief happy ends of this novel is born from hard work and quick thinking on her part. The slow development fitted this novel perfectly. And I liked it very much!
Now, those defined, let’s tie the knot together, shall we?
There were a lot of misunderstandings between the two at the first part of this novel — with YunXi being prejudiced against Feiyi, thinking of him only helping her to save the family’s reputation, and Feiyi not helping in this by staying true to his character, i.e. the character of being ice-cold and equally ignorant of a woman’s heart. Pride and Prejudice, anyone?
However, starting from occasionally recognising her talents and guts, to helping her because of a deal, to helping her out of his own, to staying more in the house, to letting her hug him because they were travelling by him ‘flying,’ to letting her hug him because she was scared, to being sensitive to her needs, to being the one initiating all that in general… throughout the story, I find their romantic development consistent, realistic, and logical.
Also note again how Feiyi particularly disliked being touched by anyone, and being too ‘serious’ to be distracted, and level-headed’ to be troubled by others’ affairs. How many times had the general public subtly commented on how different he acted with his wife? I lost count.
The two characters were logical to a fault, and is prolly another thing that I find cute in this development. YunXi is physically attracted to Feiyi, yes. I mean, who wouldn’t be? With him being the only male described multiple times as a being sculpted by the gods themselves, despite being an ice block. 。+゜(*´>ヮ<｀*)。+゜ Nevertheless, she doesn't let herself be carried away, and giving in, by just that. Feiyi, being the ice block that he is (and yes, like the novel, I'll also keep on describing him here as an ice block), wouldn't allow himself be influenced easily by a woman's whims and beauty either.
In the end, when these two give in, BAM! HAHAHAHAHA That's enough sugar to power me up for a day or two.
Now, let’s head to the other side of the spectrum and examine it.
PGC isn’t just about romance. Author wasn’t idle in generating plot twists, and defining schemes either. In fact, in most part, this story focuses on the uncovering of secrets, and political mishaps the characters have to face.
So, while we wait for another development of the romance part, we delve into the mysteries of this universe, and its characters.
As mentioned, this novel has a lot of plot twists, schemings, and very very very unreasonable characters that you wish you could slap, and slap them really really hard, in real life. But, of course, YunXi would always find a way to turn the tables against them. And nope, without taking away the reader’s thrill whilst she face these problems.
In the end, all those evil people will get what they deserve.
There are also a lot of secrets, and shocking truths here. How a branch actually belonged to a different tree. Feck, okay, that was a poorly written metaphor. But if you get it…….. (TヮT) And other stuffs like that here and there.
Overall, PGC has an interesting universe, with all its interesting and fresh characters. If there is one thing I prolly (dislike?) found out of place here, it’d only be YunXi’s detox system. When it was first introduced, really, I was like WTF IS THIS?! And on multiple occasion, for a long time, really rejected the idea of it. It’s the only logic that I really don’t find logical.
Then again, considering the importance given to it, it just kinda grew on me, and I basically just started ignoring it (I still can’t bear recognising it), and considered it as something really necessary. Still, it’s weird though.
Anywaay, those are my thoughts on PGC. Really, if your tastes are in line with mine, it’s something that you definitely must not miss.
To wrap it up, the two main leads are loveable af! The characters, particularly MC is NOT OP, and in fact realistic (except for her detox system lol). And the development… myged, it’s basically the most that I love about this. ・(*´艸｀*)・:*:・It isn’t instant like most romance out there, so you really get to witness firsthand how it developed, and appreciate the connection and chemistry of these two. b(￣▽￣*d)
If you wish to read it, you can go here for the Chinese raws, or here for the English translations. It’s completed, with 1,370 chapters, and the translations well on their 101st as of March 26, UTC+08:00. XDD
Also, before I forget, AGAIN PLEASE DO NOT FORGET TO THANK THE PEOPLE BEHIND THIS WORK! The author, and esp. the translators for their hard work. :> I hope you guys have fun reading. (￣ε￣〃)ｂ