TBR Challenge Review: The Rebirth of the Malicious Empress of Military Lineage (重生之将门毒后) by Qian Shan Cha Ke (千山茶客)

The Rebirth of the Malicious Empress of Military Lineage (重生之将门毒后) by Qian Shan Cha Ke (千山茶客)
Historical romance published in 2014

The Rebirth of the Malicious Empress of Military Lineage by Qian Shan Cha Ke book cover - it depicts a painted image of a woman and the title written in Chinese charactersThe di daughter of military lineage, pure, amiable, quiet and yielding, foolishly in love with Prince Ding, throwing oneself to the role of a wife. After assisting (a ruler) for six years, she finally became the empress. Accompanying him to fight for supremacy, to expand the country’s territory, taking risk to be a hostage in another country, after returning five years later, there was no place for her in the Inner Palace.

The beauty in Prince Ding’s arms smiled brightly, “Older sister, the country is stabilized and you should retire.” Her daughter had met with a violent death and son the Crown Prince was deposed. The Shen family who had sacrifice themselves for the country, not one of them were lucky enough to escape. In one dynasty everything was overturned, her clan had perished and she needed to mourn for her children! Shen Miao never thought that as a married couple who went through trials and tribulations and mutually assisting one another was just a joke to him!

He said, “Seeing that you have followed *Zhen for twenty years, I will grant you with an intact corpse. Thank me for my kindness.” Under the three meters of white silk, Shen Miao made a malicious vow: In the time to come, she will take part in each and everyone’s end!

Upon rebirth, she returned to the time when she was fourteen, where the tragedy had yet to occur, her family was still alive and she was still the pure, amiable, quiet, and yielding di daughter of military lineage. Relatives hiding a black heart, elder and younger cousins are ruthless and malicious, the new Yiniang is like a tiger watching its prey and the disreputable man that wants to repeat events?

Family must be protected, the huge enmity must be avenged, the Imperial seat of the country must also be part of the trophy. In this lifetime, let’s see who can beat the others! But that little marquis from the Xie family, the arrogant and obstinate spear carrying youth, stood at her side and proudly said, “it’s just the fall of the Imperial power. Remember this, the world belongs to you. You– Belong to me!” – Summary taken and lightly edited from Chubby Cheeks Thoughts.

So November’s TBR “prompt” was “Once Upon a Time” and … why not Ancient China?  I have found my new most favorite romance hero ever. Xie Jing Xing (XJX) can’t be discussed too much without spoilers, but it’s him. I loved him so much. If you’ve visited the blog at all you know I’ve only been reviewing Chinese dramas this year – because it’s mostly the only media I’ve been consuming. However for whatever reason I got the urge to try to read the source material of an upcoming drama, and I was hooked. This book was my second read by the author, but I’m currently on my fifth book by her. I’m crushed I’ve blown through her backlist. Not only have cdramas been my jam this year, but specifically rebirth and revenge stories. Heavy focus on the revenge. This book brought me such joy. This is a pretty niche genre, and of course it requires some suspension of disbelief, but … what novel doesn’t?

For our setting, I’m pretty sure the dynasty is made up, and to be honest I didn’t really care about the country or the other made up ones. (Or not made up ones? I recognize most the dynasties but definitely don’t know the order other than Qin being the first official and Qing being the last – but anyway.)  Shen Miao (SM) is our heroine and she is a delight. In case it wasn’t clear, our heroine became the empress in her first life, but was betrayed and died a horribly tragic death. She’s in her thirties when she dies, and comes back to life as her fourteen year old self. Imagine getting a redo in life, and knowing essentially everything that will happen. She’s also ready to take out all her enemies, and make sure the people who wronged her in the past pay the price. SM had to learn a lot of tough lessons her first life, and she’s more than happy to put everything to good use this time around. The title calls her malicious, but I really didn’t think she was – she’s not only addressing the wrongs in her past life, to be honest in this life she’s often reacting to the scheming people are doing against her. Strong “fuck around and find out.” (Incidentally, “di” means legitimate child it’s a label/status thing – her mother is the legal wife of her father. At the time a lot of men had multiple wives/concubines – and the child of a concubine would be a “shu” child, generally with less status, unable to inherit, etc. Although of course 😒 girls generally couldn’t inherit anyway. But that’s another issue.)

As I said, Xie Jing Xing (XJX) is my new favorite hero. It takes him a bit to fall in love, but once he’s in love he is committed. I love me a smitten hero. He’s incredibly smart, talented, powerful, and capable. … And rich. Rich AF. He casually gives SM about $5 million dollars worth of jewelry which all just so happens to be secret weapons too. I mean come on. How can you not love that? He also has a pet white tiger cub that he names after the heroine’s “pet name.” His martial arts skills are unparalleled, and he gives zero fucks about authority. XJX has his mission, but he’s always willing to lend SM a hand. He’s so supportive and there were very few times I was mad at him, and that’s impressive since this book is long. If you read it you might scream at the list of betrothal gifts too.

The length might be a bit intimidating, but it’s worth it. There might be some cultural clashes or holes, but I think that’s part of the fun. I was pretty comfortable with it because this translation is great, and of course I’m more familiar with the genre/culture than the average American bear. I was also so pleased to have a proper fully translated version – it’s the only book I’ve read by Qian Shan Cha Ke that has one/that I was able to find.

This book was such a satisfying read. You know what’s going to happen, only you don’t. It’s impressively engaging, and each step is important and makes sense. The characters are also great – one of XJX’s subordinates was a total chaos muppet and I loved him. I felt like this book was the one written to be most like a drama/adapted into a drama. (In fact I know at least two of the author’s books either have already been adapted or are currently filming.) Seeing evil people punished for their terrible deeds brought a smile to my face.

I laughed, I cried, I screamed. There was one part that had me legitimately upset. It’s not often a book gets a reader to that level of engagement. I can definitely see myself re-reading this book as well. I’m obsessed with this genre (rebirth/revenge romances) and while I told myself no more translated novels … I’m already looking for more. I’m pretty sure this was a web/self published novel, but source material is iffy, and being unable to read most of it – plus the page(s) I’ve found have no dates, I’m just going with what I was able to cobble together.

I also want to shout out the translator and editors. While it wasn’t perfect (especially the editor at the ~end), it was still very well done and translating is not something I could even dream of doing. Their commentary amused me too, and I’m actually considering reading the other completed novel they posted.

Grade: A

You can read the novel here. And they also take donations – links are on their website sidebar. I really hope more of you read this book and I’d love to discuss it with you!

*Zhen in the blurb is how an emperor would refer to himself, it’s a bit like the “royal we.” An emperor would never use the word “I.”

2 thoughts on “TBR Challenge Review: The Rebirth of the Malicious Empress of Military Lineage (重生之将门毒后) by Qian Shan Cha Ke (千山茶客)

    1. Limecello Post author

      LOLOL it definitely was like reading a drama! Apparently this book has (also) been optioned! Heh – don’t envy whoever is part of the project though cuz there have been readers all over the world and I know people will have STRONG opinions!

      Reply

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