Before she was framed and thrown into prison, Chu Qiao (楚乔) was a special agent of unit 11. After she escaped, she sacrificed herself to save the unit. She was then reborn into the body of a 8 year old slave who had just died after being thrown into a pit to be a human shooting target. Chu Qiao managed to survive from a second death with the help of Yan Bei’s hostage,Yan Xun (燕洵), who was a “guest” to the royal family to ensure the loyalty of Yan Bei’s lord. This favor was returned, when the Yan Xun’s father was executed. Since then, she was bound to him and spent years locked in the palace as his maid, teacher, ally, and friend as she helped him gain power to rebel, which was something Chu Qiao’s original owner, Zhuge Yue (诸葛玥) was not so happy about.
Zhuge Yue, a son from one of the most powerful families in Xia (the country Chu Qiao was reborn in). He was the cruel owner who didn’t care for her or the lives of the slaves he threw into a pit to entertain other powerful guests. Yet, he did started to care for her, and even promoted her to be his most important servant. His feelings for her didn’t diminish when she betrayed him, or when she spent years by Yan Xun’s side, or when she was part of the rebellion.
There is a Fan made MV that is actually really well made here.
Ah~ Where do I begin with this series? Some of you might have already figured out just how much I love this series because I NAMED THIS BLOG AFTER IT. Is it my favorite?…Hmmm, I can’t really be sure. Since this book, I’ve read many others that I loved and always re-read, but this one is special. It was this book that really got me addicted to Chinese web novels. After this one, I had to find more to fill that hole it left me. I tried to find other time-traveling-special-service-agents (jeeze, that’s a mouthful), and while I did managed to find a few more golden eggs, none of them could really take this one’s place. The many emotions I went through, keeps making me think about this novel. 11 Chù Tègōng Huáng Fēi is a must read. It has a beautiful romance (*cough* and beautiful men *cough*), heart-wrenching betrayals, the occasional comedy, and writing full of raw emotions. The emotions it made me go through not only makes me incapable of re-reading it, but also would never let me forget it. I know there are many out there that hates the time-traveling genre (…which I love >_<), but really, give this book a try.
The characters, besides Chu Qiao who was really twenty-seven, in the beginning of the book all started at a young age. Thus, there was a lot of developing they could and did went through. I can’t mention much without spoiling things, but lets just say, the changes were done well and naturally. The way the characters turn out the way they did made sense to me.
Chu Qiao was the only one that didn’t seem to change much. In the beginning she had a sense of justice but was not above using deadly means to get what she wants. However, she still had a strong sense of a moral code and was really actually a pretty nice person. This made others want to follow her as well as creates conflicts with her and those around her. It was also what bounded her with Yan Xun and conflicted feelings she felt about Zhuge Yue.
Close to the ending, I get the sense that she was just tired. Though she will be more than willing to pick up the sword and fight for her people, Chu Qiao really just wanted a peaceful life and the freedom to do what she wanted. Don’t get me wrong, Chu Qiao doesn’t want to just be a wife waiting for her husband, but a partner to stand side by side with that person. It’s just that, she would prefer that both her and her family wouldn’t have to be put in thrilling, but dangerous situations.
I will say the main reason Chu Qiao did not change much is because she already went through a whole bunch of tabulations. Maybe I’m making excuses, but I never felt exasperated (some of the cheesy speeches made me roll my eyes now and then) with her as I did with other time-traveling heroines. She didn’t feel like the Mary Sue character the time-traveling genre tends to have. I also felt that Chu Qiao didn’t need to change much. She was never being unreasonable or un-relatable. The changes that did happen were very small, but made sense for someone of her age and experience. Chu Qiao was a special service agent who was a loyal, strong, cunning military leader, and at times ruthless assassin. In her new life, she was doing those very same things. So, if she were to change, I would actually be more confused.
The story kept me interested from the beginning to the end. I wanted to know what would happen. Who Chu Qiao would end up with was one of them, but there were many other scenes that kept me on the edge of the seat, excited or worried for what was to come. I would say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything.
The writing wasn’t perfect. I wanted to laugh at some cheesy or over the top parts. However, it was also the writing that held my heart and squeezed it throughout the novel. The author really knows how to make you feel for both the minor and major characters. When I did a quick search of her, I noticed this book was a series, the other two are about her two friends. Those two had much more obvious writing flaws, so I could tell that this book was an improvement of the two.
Personal Enjoyment: 5/5 (I would put more, but…)
Overall: 17/20 || Read: 1 time
e-book: Chinese(There some comments between the main story and extras)/English || Audiobook: One Reader
Please or please do not continue reading unless you actually finished the book. I usually don’t mind people reading spoilers, but for this one, it will really lessen the experience if you know what will happen! If you must know whether or not the ending is happy, sad, or open ended, it will be mentioned before the rant. Go ahead and read it, but please stop before the rant.
Happy or Mixed ending
Frankly, I never had such a hard time deciding between the two. Chu Qiao was happy and married the man she loves (the one I shipped), but the path to that ending was very difficult and heartbreaking. The ending couldn’t get rid of the heavy bitter-sweet feels I had (and still have) after reading the last few words — even if those last words were filled with happiness.
Uggghhh, Yan Xun why, whyyyyy, whyyyyyyyy must you turn to the dark side! Okay, I know and understand (though I don’t approve of the reasons) the reasoning behind his actions, but boy did he made me both mad and upset for him. Chu Qiao was with him when he had nothing, when he could have died at any moment, yet he never completely trusted her. He doubted her, when he should have known that she of all people would never betray him. But noooooo, he must push her further and further away until she finally couldn’t take it anymore, and left him. That’s right, folks-who-didn’t-read-the-book-and-ignored-my-warning, Chu Qiao doesn’t end up with him. There was a foreboding foreshadowing near the beginning of novel that hinted that they were not going to end up together. I tried to ignore it, because I originally shipped them, but in the end, the warning came true.
He is one of the major reasons I left this book with heavy feelings, despite loving the guy she ends up with, Zhuge Yue. I could never really hate him, I’m just frustrated with him, as well as pity him. The pity comes from the fact that Chu Qiao could have really ended up with him. She accepted quite a few of his horrendous actions (a bit too quickly in fact, which made me sometimes believe, she was partly responsible for how he turned out the way he did), but he never stopped stabbing at the faith she had for him. The very moment he decided to use her to get to Zhuge Yue, was the final straw for her and me. I had already gave up on the ship the moment he left his people to die at Yan Bei to fight Xia. That action should be more impactful, and don’t get me wrong, it was, but for some reason, it didn’t hurt me or Chu Qiao as much as the moment he used Chu Qiao as bait. Maybe it’s because he eventually came back when he received the news that Chu Qiao refuse to leave and let Yan Bei fall. Or maybe it’s because all his actions added up together led to this one being unacceptable.
Despite jumping ships, the author never stopped twisting the dagger she placed in my heart. It was so much more painful knowing how happy they could have been together if he had trusted her and listened to her reasonable pleas. In the end, he not only got back his fiefdom, he also managed to make his own country (I think he got some of it or all of the land from Xia, the facts are a bit fuzzy), but he was never truly happy. Before she (the concubine) found out, fought and destroyed her face, Yan Xun made a maid at his palace his favorite concubine, despite everyone being against it, all because she resembled Chu Qiao. Yan Xun might not have thought he was unhappy, but towards the end, he met Chu Qiao again after many years. When he turned his back to her and walked away, her name was being repeated in his mind over and over. He comforted himself, saying that she was just another woman, which can’t be compared to an entire kingdom. However the pain was there. Yan Xun lost the girl.
I suppose it’s one of those “the beauty or the kingdom” questions, and though normally I would totally be understanding to those choosing the kingdom (I mean think about all those lives that would be endangered if they gave up) and really hate it when the girl is conflicted with it, but Zhuge Yue really changed me around on that topic. He was faced with that same conflict, and when Chu Qiao asked him why he came back to save her, Zhuge Yue replied with a simple answer (paraphrasing here):
“A country, I can go back to conquer it again later, but once you are gone, I will never be able to get you back”
And this is why I love Zhuge Yue so much. He would never leave his people to die like Yan Xun did. He never stopped loving and caring for Chu Qiao. He gave her his trust, heart, protection, and freedom. Yes, he was a cruel bastard in the beginning, but he changed — he grew up into a better person and leader.
However, despite being firmly on the Zhuge Yue ship, Yan Xun will always leave me with a heavy heart. He was all alone in the end. So I really can’t stop pitying him. It doesn’t help that he could have met someone else. The queen he had, was someone he didn’t like and even hated, but we the readers knew that she was the best-friend and ally Yan Xun kept writing letters to. However, because she used another person’s name, and was indirectly involved with that person’s death, Yan Xun believed she caused his best-friend’s death. She was a strong and amazing ruler, but also just as lonely as Yan Xun, and just as deeply in loved with Yan Xun as he was to Chu Qiao. Frankly, she was wasted on him, and in the end, she died, and Yan Xun never found out his best-friend was by his side.
I don’t believe this bitter-sweet book would be less bitter if Chu Qiao stayed with Yan Xun, because I really like Zhuge Yue. There were other guys vying for Chu Qiao, and my heart ached for them too. Even though they never really hurt Chu Qiao, none of them made me feel as upset as Yan Xun did.