Monday, 30 December 2013

落花时节又逢君 by 蜀客 (When Spring Ends, I'll Meet You Again by Shu Ke)

       I decided to read this after seeing Peanut's blog entryI think out of all the ancient c-novels I've read so far, this c-novel has probably the most debatable "happy ending". I thought this would just be a "filler" read, when you feel like reading something but don't want something too great or overwhelming as it becomes too addictive and paralyses the other parts of your life. But, this was incredibly addictive and I could not put it down till - I finished it.

    Hong Ning, is a red camellia sprite, who falls in love with Jin Xiu, one of the greatest gods in heaven. He was the former king of Central Heaven, but was demoted to be the Flower God temporarily, before he ascends again to his rightful place. In front of everyone, she announces that she wants to be his queen, and so he tells her to "cultivate" and become a god.

   In his heart, he knows the gap between him and Hong Ning is too wide (because he can only marry the gods of the royal bloodlines) - but he thinks that cultivation for Hong Ning and becoming a god will be good for her regardless. So, this starts their fate.

   In order to become a minor god, Hong Ning goes to the mortal world to pass a trial. There, she meets Gong Zi, an extremely rich handsome nobleman, who longs in his heart for someone to give him true love. She becomes a red camellia flower in his field which is about to be removed - so she takes human form at night and pleads with him to spare the field. She recognises that Gong Zi is not happy despite having all the material wealth he could ever want - Gong Zi thinks he has finally found someone who knows him, and promises to spare the field if she appears before him every night and gives him her heart.

  Hong Ning tells Gong Zi that she likes someone else already - but Gong Zi says he only wants a few decades, because he is human and won't live so long. She can fall for her god after he is dead. Lots happen in between - Hong Ning realises that she could never be Jin Xiu's queen and she feels tricked, another flower deity pretends to be her and meets Gong Zi - making Hong Ning think that Gong Zi did not really love her - Hong Ning's trial comes and Gong Zi sacrifices his life for her.

   Hong Ning realises that it was a trick by a flower deity - which Jin Xiu did not reveal, hoping she will stop the foolishness of feelings and focus on cultivation to be a god. She's incredibly devastated by Gong Zi's sacrifice and asks Jin Xiu to turn her into a mortal so she can repay Gong Zi's sacrifice.

   This starts everything - Jin Xiu to fulfill Hong Ning's wish - has to experience divine punishment (which Hong Ning does not know) and he takes great pains to give her some precious water from some spring so that she has the chance to cultivate to become a god again. Hong Ning goes through ten lifetimes in the world - in one lifetime, she marries Gong Zi and returns his sacrifice (<3).


   In three other lifetimes, Bai Leng, the son of another great god, falls for her and protects her. In this lifetime as Hong Ning, she is extremely shocked and mortified when Bai Leng sacrifices his entire essence for her (she was being attacked by a fox god). Bai Leng knew that Hong Ning was his "trial" but rather than letting her get hurt, he chooses to sacrifice himself instead.

   I love Bai Leng - he too (as compared to Jin Xiu) had the potential to become a great god, but he chose instead to love Hong Ning despite their differences, despite the gaps. He took out his internal essence and made it into a bracelet for her to wear - so he would be notified everytime she is in trouble immediately.

   The interesting part about this C-novel is that it is as philosophical as it is romantic - Jin Xiu tries to convince Hong Ning to cultivate to become a god, because only when you become a god, you can have love that is forever. However, Hong Ning takes another view - that humans in their cycles of reincarnation, have another kind of forever. She does not understand why people must give up their feelings to become a god in order to have "forever" - because aren't they killing their love in order to get a chance to experience that love forever?

   Jin Xiu always talks about Heaven's Fate - but to her, there are only choices and heaven in its greatness has a response to any choice. She cannot understand how in a situation when two brother sprites/demons have a chance to pass a trial to become a god - and only one is "fated" to become a god - how can heaven deem it right for one to pass without caring for his brother? The story questions about principles, about emotions, about loyalty - and how love can force one to do things against those principles.

   On the other hand, Jin Xiu also shows her through memories and illusions that humans  will forget - they cannot remember what happen in their past lives. But Hong Ning has the perfect answer for it - I don't care about my past life, my future life, I only care about this life.

   I love Hong Ning because she is a principled woman - full of love, loyalty and intelligence. She is a woman of decision. She deserved to be loved by so many men - and most rewardingly, she always tried her best to repay them for their sacrifices and kindness.

   At the end of it all, memory played the greatest role. Jin Xiu could not withstand being forgotten by Hong Ning - Bai Leng in the end forgot Hong Ning after sacrificing his entire essence - and Hong Ning heeding Bai Leng's father's words did not pursue him to regain his memory of her.

   But it was clear from the start that Hong Ning loved Jin Xiu the most. Everyone else - was a repayment. 心动却不是爱。 The heart is moved but this is not love. 

   And Jin Xiu, Jin Xiu loved Hong Ning. He was an old and regal god. He probably thought love was something behind him already. But love turned out to be her, agonising him for ten lifetimes, until in this lifetime, he sacrificed himself for her.

    They were splashed by the griffin's blood, thus their fate will be entwined through all lifetimes.

   As the red camellia sprite, as the flower god, as Hong Ning, as Jin Xiu, they could not be together. But in all future selves, they will be.

     I wanted you to be immortal, but you made me mortal instead.


  1. As always an interesting book and I love your choice of image. Dong Xuan is gorgeous.^^
    I have some questions about this book and I hope you can help me to better understand :
    - How did Jin Xiu fell for Hong Ning?
    - If he chooses to be mortal, then every new lifetime he'll forget about her right? But griffon's blood will make it that they're fated to be together forever?
    - What is exactly "a trial"? From 3L3W TMPB, it was taking "thunder" or being in great danger. But how did Gong Zi died? Because he was human?
    - A god can turn into a mortal, Is the opposite possible?

    Little Red

    1. Sure! Yes, omg Dong Xuan is so incredibly beautiful.

      I think it was a slow thing - she caught his interest by being so bold and daring in proclaiming she wanted to be his queen. She also spent some time cultivating in the flower palace and he started to like her purity and boldness. But, he never admitted to the truth of his feelings till much later. It was a love that grew out of 10 lifetimes!

      Yes, he will forget. But the griffin blood makes them fated to be together forever :)

      The trial is kind of a test for the immortals to gain rank and cultivation - it's kind of a test by heaven? Because as Hong Ning pointed out - become a god is unnatural, so one has to pass trials. For Gong Zi, I think it was a boulder haha but I'm not sure now... or maybe a hurricane. I can't quite rmb now! Haha

      Yes! It's possible, but you need to have the right frame of mind, cultivation and fate. For eg, Hong Ning's master was a priest who cultivated for hundreds of years and managed to become a small deity.

    2. Yeah you did answer ! ^^ Thank you a lot. You gave me a better insight to understand this story. I think I like the ending ^^

      Little Red

    3. Welcome! :) Always happy to help! The ending is happy because it really fits the overarching structure and theme of the story - which is I think - what would you choose to do regardless of your fate? I think it suggests that one cannot control your fate, but one can choose to pursue one's happiness (regardless of whether it is satisfied or not). It's quite rare for a xianxia (god mortal) novel to emphasize on human agency and choice, so for that I really enjoyed it :)

  2. Ho I forgot to add a question. Did you read Chong Zi? I think they are "kinda" similar. Just from the synopsis xD
    Also, I'm sorry if my english is not very clear sometimes or not grammatically correct. It's not my primary language. ^^'

    Little Red

    1. Not yet! Peanuts told me that it's similar :) and it's on my to read list!

      Your english is great! What's your primary language actually?

    2. How many books do you have in your read list? I'm curious.
      Do you prefer historical books? modern books? Happy ending or sad one?

      Thank you =3 My primary language is french ^^

      Little Red

    3. Oh, I have many many many books on my to read list. Haha. I've one window open with tons of tabs! For eg there are the v popular ones like Chong Zi, Hua Yu Xin, Who Conquers the World (ok I can't rmb the exact title haha), etc which I'm saving to read properly one day. And, then I have lots of fluff recommendations I got from shusheng bar (but I tend not to finish them haha).

      My preference is ancient novels, esp with fantasy. But they are the hardest to read :(. So I mix them up!

      Wow, french is such a beautiful and hard language to learn. I always wanted to learn it because I adore the Little Prince :)

      I've just landed in HK and there's a lot of admin and stuff to settle, so cross fingers I can get the rest of the summaries up soon <3

    4. I hope you'll read them someday. I heard about these popular books and *sigh* I so wish I could read them all! xD Shushengbar and Hui3r's website are my best sources.

      I can't imagine how ancient novels are difficult to read but I also prefer them to modern ones ^^

      You think so? I've never read Le Petit Prince but it's on my list. It' a highly recommended book I think.
      I hope one day you'll be able to learn french!
      I think english a beautiful language too and very easy to learn ^^
      My biggest regret is that I don't know chinese. I try to learn it by myself and it seems like such a poetic language. But very difficult to learn. Well then, every language is difficult to learn hu.

      I hope everything will be fine for you in HK =3
      I'll wait patiently for your updates. ^^

      Little Red

    5. I agree! Shushengbar and Hui3r and peanut's blog are my favourites :)

      They are difficult because most of the chinese words aren't commonly used, or are made up! So, one has to go check what they mean sometimes, and sometimes they use chinese mythology that I'm not familiar with. Most ancient fantasy c-novels have their own mythology and world-building, so one has to grapple with those rules too!

      Oh you should! I love Le Petit Prince (it sounds so good in french heh). :) I hope to learn too! But french is pretty hard with all the feminine and masculine nouns haha! Yes, chinese is quite hard since there are so many characters! When you are young, you really just start by memorising!

      Thank you! I've been shopping for necessities and groceries, and figuring out my new workplace! I'm also a bit insomniac at this new home! I'm working on it :)

    6. Urgh so difficult yet so interesting. It's like when I read a new fantasy book. Many things are new and strange. But chinese mythology is pretty vast. ^^

      Ok! I'll borrow this book from a good friend. He agreed already.
      Yeah feminine and masculine nouns and so many tenses! ( too much, 12 to 15 I think) and so many many other things.
      French language is quite monotone compared to Chinese which have 4 tones. There's also no alphabet. I'm not so young anymore so my memory is not really good. Sigh xD

      Ho, I hope you'll take care of your health. Being insomniac is awful! Take your time hihi =3

      Little Red

    7. Ah, I agree! I love fantasy series <3 the escapism and feeling of being immersed in a whole new universe never fails to please me.

      Yay! I hope you enjoy it. Cantonese has 8 tones! Hahaha!

      Thank you. Also, I just updated the summaries. Hope you will enjoy it <3

  3. i started on the audiobook. Then I gave up. Now I might have to start it again...

    1. I found the second half of the book much better than the first half, because Shu Ke dragged it quite a bit when clearly all the good stuff were in the later part!

  4. I've read the reviews and short translatations... Do you know if anyone is translating this novel? It sounds sooo good and I would love to read it!

    1. Hello unforgetableme! It's a lovely book ;) but I don't know of anyone translating it yet!

    2. That's a bummer. I was super excited for this book. Anyway, this is on a totally different side note, but I'm relatively new to C-novels. I've been a C-drama fan for years, but I've decided to start reading novels. I'm a big xianxia and wuxia fan. So, if you know of any novels that have strong female protagonists and a solid storyline, then please recommend some for me! ^_^

    3. Ooh do check out my recommendations page and the translation page at shushengbar! A good completed English translation of a xianxia novel is hamster's ten thousand miles of peach blossom. Another great one is The Pillow Book ;)

  5. Is there a tv series that is based on this book?