Rating: 4.75 stars
Buy Link:
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Length: Novel

 

This is the last installment in the Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation series and contains the final confrontation for Jin Guangyao in the Guanyin Temple, as well as a handful of extra stories taking place both during and after the events of the book. It’s no secret that Jin Guangyao killed Nie Mingjue, torturing him to death and then mutilating his body, having his father raped to death, orchestrating the death of his cousin and half brother, killing his own son, and so, so much more … so there’s not much of a grand reveal or secret twist here. Instead, the focus of the book is on the characters and how this information has affected them.

For Lan Xichen, this man was his sworn brother, a trusted friend. For Jin Ling, this was his uncle who raised him, who gave him a puppy when the boy had no friends. For Jiang Cheng, this was an ally, someone who supported him, gave him access to the only living relative he had left, someone he respected. And as Jin Guangyao is cornered, he’s spilling everyone else’s secrets out too, doing his best to hurt and wound to enable himself to escape. However, in the middle of all of this is Wei Wuxian, who has just realized his feelings for Lan Wangji, and proudly and happily confessed — in front of everyone with a wire around his neck, held hostage against Lan Wangji’s good behavior — how he really, really did want to sleep with Lan Wangji, and not in the platonic way.

I believe the author deliberately wrote the characters to be foils for and mirrors of each other, and it shows. Jin Guangyao and Nie Huaisang are both men who rely upon their wits rather than their cultivation skills. Wei Wuxian and Xue Yang are both demonic cultivators with the ability to raise the dead. Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng are both men who loved Wei Wuxian, but only one of whom stands by him, now. It shows up again and again, this comparison and contrast of generational trauma, the burden of societal expectation and whether you believe the ends justify the means … or are defined by them.

For the story, it’s a solid five stars, but the extras are not as good. The sex scenes (which include Wei Wuxian’s rape kink and breeding kink, a horrifying lack of lube, voyeurism, underage sex, and inappropriate usage of a sword) are not the best. I think it’s in part due to the cultural differences of a Chinese author writing for a Chinese audience, having to skirt censorship, and then that having to be translated to English, and also … it’s just not well written. Honestly, the Incense Burner chapters aren’t necessary reading if you’re not interested in them, as they are there mostly for the fan service. Villainous Friends shows the relationship between Jin Guangyao and Xue Yang, further cementing just how wonderful of a villain Jin Guangyao is — one of my all time favorites. The others feature Wei Wuxian, Lan Wangji, and the juniors on Night Hunts and are great fun. There is also a sweet story about a young, besotted, and confused Lan Wangji trying to hunt down some lotus seeds and a moment in Lotus Pier between a young Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng taking place before the Sunshot Campaign.

If you have enjoyed the book, consider trying the live action series “The Untamed” on Netflix, or the animated version, Mo Dao Zu Shi, the series’ Chinese name, produced by Tencent. This is the series that really got me into danmei and is one of my top ten danmei series of all time. And now I’m off to go re-read the the story again.