It took years for season 2 of the donghua to be released. When it finally came out last year after the delays and the waiting game, I was let down. The first half was okay, the second half not so much. Each episode felt like it was dragged out. The only saving grace of the series was the HuaLian scenes in the Ghost City. HuaLian flirting with each other gave me life. /chefskiss.

Thanks to a disappointing season 2, I got myself to read the entire system albeit accidentally.

Summary from the back of the book:

The Touch of a Hand, a Roll of the Dice

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.

This volume contains the last quarter of the 1st volume of the Chinese release and the 1st half of the 2nd volume. So this is a mix of the present Xie Lian and his past as the prince of Xian Le before his 1st ascension.

Picking up from where Volume 1 left off, Xie Lian (XL) is once again back to the Heavenly Realm, still very much avoided by the other officials. As the heavens meet to talk about the recent involvements of Junior Pei and Banyue, Xie Lian becomes the target of General Pei’s taunts, specifically XL’s relationship with San Lang. Things would have turned ugly for XL if not for the intervention of Jun Wu. Instead of punishments, he tasks XL to investigate the Ghost City for a lost god.

Xie Lian gives off the teacher’s pet vibe what with Jun Wu giving him all the access and favor. Finally, Jun Wu! (iykyk) The other officials are annoying, especially Mu Qing. I know he has a sob backstory. Still. Despite the misgivings of others, XL finds a friend in the Wind Master. He’s non-judgy, super sociable, and has a good head above his shoulders. XL could benefit from having a friend who wants nothing but his friendship.

I’m probably sounding like a broken record now, but the Ghost City arc is my favorite. While the city is chock full of crassness, the ghosts are free and honest. Unlike the Heavenly Realm where insults are hidden behind pleasantries and enemies act as friends. Also, the Ghost City is where the 2nd (or is it 3rd?) meet cute of HuaLian! I tell you, those scenes are to die for. Hua Cheng goes all out in his flirting in front of everyone, and Xie Lian just lets him.

The latter half of the book is all seriousness starting from meeting Qi Rong. I forgot that the guy is nuts. I both love and hate him. Hate him because he is annoying. Love him because once you get used to his irritating personality, you’ll just find him absurd, maybe roll your eyes, then move on. With his connection to Xie Lian, XL’s pandora’s box is bound to be yanked open. This is the part I’m most worried about because it’s going to hurt. But at this point, it’s just a backstory of the young prince of Xian Le and how he meets the kid who brings nothing but unluckiness. The knives parts have to wait in volume 3.

Lines about or spoken by Hua Cheng:

Those who hadn’t already died by his hand probably all died of outrage.

Hua Cheng continued (to the heavenly officials), “I don’t know if you missed me, but I haven’t thought about any of you at all.”

Hua Cheng, walking in front of him (XL), said, “If you want to see me, it won’t matter what you roll. I will appear.”

Feng Xin a.k.a Wind Master talking about HuaLian:

“You guys weren’t even playing properly; you were feeling up his hands, and he was feeling up yours. What kind of new method was that?”

I don’t really like Qi Rong, but I agree with him on this one.

“That’s the kind of person my good cousin is, a saint who can’t have sand in his eyes, always doing shit that hurts both others and himself; he wants to please both sides but succeeds with neither.”

Siiiigh. Xie Lian…

“I don’t want to see anyone go through what I’ve already had enough of.”

Series: Heaven Official’s Blessing (Tian Guan Ci Fu)

Written by: Mo Xiang Tong Xiu (墨香铜臭)

Translation: Suika and Pengie

Cover Art: 日出的小太陽 (tai3_3)

Interior Art: ZeldaCW

Available at: JJWXC (Chinese), Seven Seas Danmei (English)

Volumes (English): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8


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