Why did I love this book?
This is the first book in the Mó Dào Zǔ Shī series, which inspired the television series The Untamed as well as two animated series. For an English language reader, like myself, the book was a fabulous introduction to the vast world of Chinese Xianxia and Danmei novels. I loved the fact that it’s not only illustrated but includes a glossary and guides that explain any unfamiliar terms. (For example, the term cultivation in the book title doesn’t refer to farming but martial arts and spiritual practices. Thank you awesome glossary!)
When the story kicked off with the protagonist — Wei Wuxian, a widely condemned master of demonic cultivation — already dead, I’ll admit I was a little puzzled as to where the story was going. Hilariously enough, Wei Wuxian echoed my thoughts, waking up dismayed to find himself brought back to life in the body of an ill-treated youth. His amused and inventive tone won me over right away.
But best of all, Wei Wuxian isn’t alone on the quest to resolve the mystery surrounding his death and revival. He’s joined by Lan Wangji, a reserved, refined, and deadly swordsman who brings out the very best and worst of Wei Wuxian’s playfully irreverent nature. Lan Wangji’s many pained silences manage to speak volumes and the few scenes of him drunk had me laughing out loud.
It’s the dynamics between the two of them that absolutely hooked me on this series. They’re a deeply romantic, breathtakingly courageous, and hilarious couple.