BL (read: boy’s love, aka m2m, aka boy to boy, etc.) novels have been around since forever, but since I am always late in knowing whatever’s going on around me, it was only a few months ago that I did actually decided to download some. Of course, feeling really comfortable and familiar with Japanese stuff, I read the Japanese ones, like Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai.
But then I discovered something new: Chinese BL manhua (and novels).
Manhua (the equivalent of Japanese manga) is a relatively new discovery, at least for me. I have read Hua Hua You Long first, and I immediately fell in love with the breathtaking art. Sucker as I am for fine lines, detailed drawing, breathtaking and beautifully drawn sceneries, and charming (and uber hot) characters, it left me craving for more.
Enter Feng Yu Jia Tian.
Originally a novel (currently ongoing) with a manhua adaptation (also ongoing), Feng Yu Jia Tian is about a 19-year old boy, Feng Ming, who died while saving a boy from being hit by a truck. Luckily, the boy’s father is a medium, capable of sending Feng Ming to another world to live again by inhabiting a recently deceased body, assuming the body’s former identity.
He ends up in an alternate universe, similar to the Tang Dynasty in China, and is now occupying the body of the most beautiful man in that world, the Crowned Prince of Xi Lei (or Xi Rei, depends on whose translation you’re reading), An He. Unfortunately for him, the former Prince is a drunkard, good for nothing, and useless pretty creature that is being “imprisoned” in the palace, and only serves as the Regent King’s plaything (if you know what I mean). Before Feng Ming’s soul took over his body, the real Prince died from falling into the river (or lake?), probably drunk.
The Regent King, Rong Tian, noticing the Prince’s sudden change in personality after the accident, decides that something is amiss. Thinking that he is a spy, he forces Feng Ming to spill out his secrets. Seeing that this Prince is very stubborn and intelligent, he decided to change his interrogation tactics. Instead, he finds the “new” Prince charming and refreshing, and ends up falling for him real hard *squeals*
Things happen, and now Rong Tian already know what his real name is. He was able to prove that he is indeed different from the real Prince, and slowly, using his modern-day knowledge and natural wit, he gained the trust and respect of the people around him, including the ministers and generals, who are now seeing him in a new light. Of course Rong Tian fell more in love with him, determined to keep him safe from harm (and other men who also want Feng Ming for themselves). This is where the adventure starts.
Now on its 30th volume (in Chinese), the English translations, made with love by various people, has been progressing slowly but surely, and is now on volume 14-15.
What I like about this novel is that it’s not simply about the smut and lemons and two men doing it.
One, it has a backstory. Set in (sort-of) ancient China, there are 12 kingdoms in the alternate universe, constantly at war with each other. Since Feng Ming is now acting as the Crown Prince, and Rong Tian is the Regent King, it’s obvious that political duties, palace intrigues, and wars will often get in the way of these two.
You also learn about ancient Chinese customs, literature, and art. Sun Tzu’s Art of War is frequently cited, as well as the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the strategies of Zhuge Liang, and the notoriety of Cao Cao. Also, since Feng Ming is from the modern world, when he is a bind, he often uses simple strategies to get out of the mess, ranging from his knowledge of mathematics, geometry, chemistry, even politics.
Two, you can clearly see Feng Ming’s development as a character. Though he is the uke (aka bottom) in the relationship, he is unlike the stereotypical uke frequently shown in mangas. Well, in the first few chapters it seems that he’s like one–whiny, weak, beautiful, but very fragile–but as the story progresses, his desire to become Rong Tian’s pillar of strength, helping him unify the 12 kingdoms and be the King of Kings, enabled him to take bold steps by himself, instead of relying all the time to Rong Tian.
Three, Rong Tian is so hot, goddammit. He’s the King, he’s soooooooooo handsome, intelligent, and very sweet towards Feng Ming (in short, he’s perfect, because he does not exist in real life. Hahahaha). He is the possessive type, and I like it.
Sigh. I could go on all day, praising this wonderful novel, but alas, my eyes are already heavy. I still have work tomorrow.