Huo Xiaohui. A harmful power contained within her body. Daughter of the prime minister. She has an open, straightforward temperament, although easily angered. In the eighteen years since she was born, she has spent all her days wreaking havoc on people and bringing her little dog along with her to do it. As a result, the feng shui of the Prime Minister Manor is affected.
The most corrupt official in the current government, Huo Yuan, has hired countless fortune-tellers, but most of them are merely scamming a bite to eat. A wave of their writing brush and they will claim there exists a special talisman or magical instrument, allowing them to swindle their way through, and they declare that this instrument must be quickly acquired and taken to the young miss.
And so, in the Prime Minister’s Manor, the servants have a saying: each time the master hires a fortune-teller, the manor’s third young miss will gain an unexpected fortune. If it can be said that the wealth of the Prime Minister Manor can challenge that of the country’s treasury, then the Warm Winter Pavilion in the manor’s western garden could be considered the imperial city of the manor.
However, good things do not last forever. One day, a fortune-teller named Jian Jia Shi appears in the capital city, Yongjing. This person appears to be honest, educated, and sharply intelligent as well as cultured and refined. In reality, he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He and Miss Huo are forever at odds, always in conflict with one another. He tricks her into leaving the Prime Minister Manor into a joyful journey that takes them travelling all the land.
[Ebook] [Tiểu giang sơn]
First off, although I translated the official summary of the book, let me say that, besides the last paragraph, it really doesn’t capture what the story is about.
Huo Xiaohui: Our female lead, daughter of the wealthiest and most corrupt government official, is introduced as the young, mischievous, trouble-making miss that you often see in ancient dramas. Her body hosts a sort of “air” or “power” that is harmful to her and will take her life before her 20th birthday (I think… the details are fuzzy) Her family has spent all her life hiring fortune-tellers, magicians, and the sort to try to find a way to save her, and that is how she meets Jian Jia Shi, who we quickly realize is more than meets the eye. She is a very likable female lead. She is fun, has a mind of her own and a little naïve to the world at first but she matures through the story – a very likable character.
Li Chenyan: Intelligent, warm, cultured, a skilled fighter. He first appears in the story as the fortune-teller, Jian Jia Shi, but we quickly learn that there is much more to his identity than just that. Much, much more… His bickering with Huo Xiaohui is fun and cute, but we can see how right from the start, she holds a special place in his heart.
Li Chenyan takes Huo Xiaohui out to travel the lands in search of a way to cure her. Along the way, they befriend several people. The story describes their adventures and the development of friendships and, of course, romance and then slowly reveals that there is more to everyone in this band of friends than meets the eye.
This novel is not really well known, but it is well written and very enjoyable. It starts out very light-hearted, so it is easy to get into it. If fantasy is your thing, magical elements are woven into the story but they do not take center stage. In fact, the beginning of this novel almost feels Guo Jing and Huang Rong-like as they first traveled around jianghu. The tone gets more serious, although not heavy, further into the novel as we learn more about the political situation of this fictional Ying Dynasty.
The author is very good at setting that light atmosphere and you easily read along, then suddenly, she will drop a touching moment on you before quickly retreating back into the light-hearted tone again. Near the end of the story, she had me sobbing like a baby. Thank goodness it turned out to be a happy ending! (You may feel like the “magical elements” were whipped out too easily to create the happy ending,.. but to me, oh well! I need a happy ending to my stories.)
Wuxia-like feel in some parts, although I would never categorize this as wuxia. Some fantasy and magic involved, although it is only sprinkled here and there. Some political elements that are nicely woven into the plot. Well thought out plot, quality writing style. I like!
Thanks Hoju! What a lovely review. Am going to put this on my reading list!
Hi hoju! Sounds like a sweet novel. Anyway do you remember Mo Bao Fei Bao? I read 2 more of her novels and one of it is so awesome! It feels like Just One Smile Is Very Alluring. Do read it!
decembi, come chat after you are done. 🙂
cloudandsea, yes! I just managed to move on from Together Forever. Which novel are you talking about? I just put her 一生一世美人骨 on my ipad to read.
Hi hoju! It’s called 很想很想你 😀 She has another novel regarding an uncle (not blood related. just female lead’s best friend’s uncle) getting together with the female lead. But actually their age difference is only 8 years. I find it amazing how she can write such sensitive theme like uncle-kid and teacher-student relationship and make me accept it. I do read some of such novels but to be able to tackle two of means that she is really pretty good. 🙂
After your exam, your must post the book bcos Xinn will eat it up in no time bcos she has fetish for uncle, lol.
Thanks, cloudandsea. Downloaded and into my ipad. I have not read One Smile is Very Alluring yet (*gasp*), so I’ll finish that one and start on your recommendation. I’ll let you know what I think after I’m done. But yes, Mo Bao Fei Bao did such a good job. I really dislike teacher-student love stories and she completely me won me over on Together Forever, so I will happily pick up another one of her novels. 🙂
Rah… I finally finished this book. While I enjoyed it on the whole, I found it difficult to follow some parts. Most of the political claptrap flew over my head. I was just reading it for the interactions between the main band of characters. And the title is so apt for this book…
While I like Chen Yan and Xiao Hui…
the best thing about this books is Ku Li and Ying Chang Qi. OMG. I ABSOLUTELY ADORE THEM. From the moment YCQ “persuaded” Ku Li to stay in the palace as his guard, I’m like, I want MOAR. I was so happy when I realised that they got their own extra/epilogue. AND SO CUTE too. I absolutely loved how YCQ is a super fox but where Ku Li is concerned, he’s a toothless tiger. And Ku Li, she’s an awesome female character in her own right, but when they’re together. Absolutely love them. This is one of those rare times that I ship a second couple more than the OTP.[/end spoiler]
Yay! I’m glad someone gave Chen Xiao Zhi a try. I really admire her writing. You can tell she has thought through her fictional empire, which, by the way, is carried into other novels. (I read Leng Feng aka Dragon and Phoenix, which still has the Ying family in power… )
I was fully on the OTP ship, although I do like Ku Li and Ying Changqi as well. I was touched by Li Chenyan in the epilogues when I found out how long he had actually loved Xiaohui without her even knowing. The official imperial records of the great banquet and how many times he glanced around looking for her or thoughts wandered was so sweet.
I made it to chapter 13 before I gave up – most of the words went over my head and I could no longer visualize the scenes in my head. This book is a wake up call to me that my chinese is not up to par although I do hope to continue reading where I left off one day as the characters sounded interesting. There was a rich, well-educated miss whose life is endangered because of the bad “qi” in her body, an ex-general who sounded more cheesy than your average fortune-teller, a strong-willed orphan who turned her back to prostitution no matter how hard life was… too bad I have to take a break for now.
holy crap i totally know what you mean…. thats what happened to me for lan ying bi yue. i would read a paragraph, know what each word meant by itself, but have no idea what the paragraph was describing…. total wake up call…. glad im not the only one feeling it. 🙂
lets be crappy at chinese together!