Sunday, 19 January 2014

都是狐狸 by 千夜魅罗 (Both are Foxes by Thousand Night Forest Web (Qian Ye Mei Luo)) - Review & Scene Translation (3.5 stars)



    The synopsis I posted at shusheng bar

Her looks surpass this world, her talents are earth shattering, but all these can be deeply hidden by her. Because she knows beauty will not be a blessing, and intelligence is a greater virtue, especially in these ancient times where evil runs abound - so in the eyes of the people in this world she is a woman who is so ugly that ghosts will be afraid of seeing, she is a weak lady who does not know anything.
A sacred decree from the Emperor causes her to marry the renowned Prime Minister Dong Ling (North Hill). Having to face all the disdainful glances and open and hidden attacks from the people around her - she looks at it with cold eyes and a cold smile, all these were not what she wanted - why do women like to make things difficult for other women?
She's the ugly, cowardly, useless delicate lady, Zi Yin Ye (Violet Silver Night), but even more she is the handsome, dashing, amazingly talented Prime Minister Ye Yin!

   To be honest, I struggled for a while before deciding to review this c-novel. While I thought it was fairly well written, I personally felt it was far too long (a total of 121 chapters and 2 epilogues) and it did not meet my minimum of 4 stars to be recommended. On the other hand, I've agreed with Peanuts to add more ancient c-novels to the shusheng bar (haha) and despite its many flaws, it was pretty unique and good enough to make me finish it. 

  Why I said it was pretty unique was because intelligent female leads are more the exception than the norm - and this female lead was really very intelligent, and not the kind of intelligence that you kind of semi-scowl at the author for trying to trick you. She actually travelled back from modern times (but this is not really touched on or dragged so I'm fine with it, because I usually hate the time-travelling trope) and this explains her talent in poetry - she copies poems from famous poets (haha) and her intelligence (because she's much older and experienced than her age belies). 

   The title, Both are Foxes, is used to describe the two main leads. They are both foxes - because they pretend to be sheep (harmless, gentle, guileless) but are actually very crafty, cunning and intelligent! This is a love story bigger than both of them - and part of the joy is to see them out-trick each other and use their wits. The main female lead, Zi Yin Ye, has no interest whatsoever in Ren Feng Yao (the prime minister of the Kingdom of Dong Ling) because he is an extraordinary man. Extraordinary man attracts women like butterflies and all she wants is a man who will love her devotedly and only her.




  Zi Yin Ye was living her quiet simple life in her family, a rich household in the Kingdom of Dong Ling, when she's ordered to marry the Prime Minister of Dong Ling, the handsome "gentle" Ren Feng Yao. She is shocked - because she was the one who created the rumour that she was ugly and hid in the back hut of her household (as she liked the peace and quiet and no one in her household dared disturb her). So, she is forced to marry Ren Feng Yao - not knowing that Ren Feng Yao was irritated by his majesty's order to pick a wife, so he just squashed all the portraits into balls and randomly picked her! 

  Zi Yin Ye creates a scheme to make Ren Feng Yao believe she already has a lover, and he agrees to divorce her after three years. So, they marry but are as good as strangers. However, when one of her good male friend, who is a general in another Kingdom, Dong Zhi, (which has been divided into two), asks her for her help to establish his lord as the King of the combined Dong Zhi, she decides to fake her death. She establishes a new identity in Dong Zhi, a male identity, she becomes Ye Yin - the future prime minister of Dong Zhi! 

   The story is really pretty epic - it's like a romantic version of Romance of the Three Kingdoms (but on a less complex level) and full of many interesting secondary characters. The secondary male lead, Nan Gong Piao, is also a man of many attractions and actually falls for Zi Yin Ye, even though she is a male! Seeing him struggle with his feelings was pure gold. 

   So, I like this c-novel because it has a very intelligent female lead and a very devoted and intelligent male lead (he helps the female lead secretly while she tries and unite Dong Zhi despite being the Prime Minister of a rival kingdom), and I love the trope of female lead pretending to be a guy! It's a novel that needs lots of patience due to the writer's slightly long-winded writing style, but the ending is ultimately satisfying. 

   Can you guess why her male name is 叶隐 Ye Yin - because the Yin means hidden - hiding a Ye, and her female name is 紫银夜 Zi Yin Ye - so she is hiding her female self in this male identity and cleverly announcing it to everyone! Haha, I thought that was quite brilliant. 

   Here's a scene translation of my favourite scene - it gets really good from here on out as Zi Yin Ye fakes her death and Ren Feng Yao comes to the startling realisation that his "wife" is not what she seems - this is where he falls for her too: 

  Zi Yin Ye follows the Emperor's hunting trip with Ren Feng Yao. She rides off with the princess (as she planned) to a cliff and planned to fake her death here.  However, there were disruptions as assassins arrive!

   Ren Feng Yao walks to Zi Yin Ye's side and slowly carries her up. He softly says, "Are you ok?"

  The assassins were already captured and the surroundings were silent. Big tears fell out of Zi Yin Ye's eyes and she sobbed, "I... I was really afraid!" No matter what, she must continue to act. 

  Prince Ping had already walked away to check on the assassin situation and Ren Feng Yao carefully carried Zi Yin Ye up. He comforted her, "Don't worry, everything is ok."

  Zi Yin Ye let Ren Feng Yao carried her up, and after a pause gently pushed him away, moving back a few steps. "Noble husband, your wife is ok."

  The two of them were already near the edge of the cliff. With this back step by Zi Yin Ye, she was now at the edge. A gush of wind blew, and Zi Yin Ye's hair flew, her skirt gently lifted up, as if she was going to be swept away by the wind. Ren Feng Yao hurried said, "Step forward, behind you is the cliff edge!"

  "Ah," Zi Yin Ye softly said, but the mouth under her shawl has started to lift. Zi Yin Ye took a step forward, and Lin Zhong's arrow which had already been prepared came straight towards her direction. Zi Yin Ye did not make another cry, and her body followed the arrow's force and she fell behind the cliff edge. Ren Feng Yao was stunned, when he came to his senses and reached out to grab Zi Yin Ye, it was too late. She had already fallen down the cliff. 

  A cold wind blew up from the cliff edge, and blew away Zi Yin Ye's white shawl. An extremely beautiful face that carried a soft smile hit straight into Ren Feng Yao's eyes. 

  He grabbed the white shawl which had been blown up by the wind, and stood dazedly at the cliff edge, his mind completely blank. That face was not the indescribably ugly face he had seen before... but.... That face truly matched her eyes, that beautiful face was her real face! That face carried a smile. She did not have a frightened face but she was smiling! Ren Feng Yao tightly gripped both his fist, all these came too quickly for him to defend, all these were out of his expectations. 

  "Senior?"

  When Leng Can Xin quickly came, he saw Zi Yin Ye fell down the cliff, and Ren Feng Yao dazedly standing at the cliff edge, he did not know what Ren Feng Yao was thinking, but he must be feeling guilty. 

  "Send the command down for people to search the river below! I want to see her if she is alive, I want to see her corpse if she is dead!" Ren Feng Yao placed the white shawl into his bosom and commanded the soldiers around him. 

  Ren Feng Yao's voice was low with gritted teeth. Leng Can Xin was stunned, was Senior so affected by the death of Zi Yin Ye? He asked, "Senior you..."

   "Can Xin, I want you to investigate something, carefully investigate!" Ren Feng Yao ordered Leng Can Xin. After seeing Leng Can Xin's astonishment, a playful smile arose on Ren Feng Yao's face, "In this world, the people who can fool me aren't many." 



And thus, the duel between them began. 

46 comments:

  1. Thanks for this review. You know, just by reading your blog, my mind travels to so many places.
    I visualize and imagine a lot of things ^^
    I adore strong and intelligent female lead, it seems like it's pretty rare.
    How did she time-travel? o_O Just by having a white shawl, she was ugly? How did they end up together? 'Cause she is working for a rival kingdom.
    How and when did she fall for the male lead?
    What are your conditions for a novel to at least have 4 stars?

    Little Red

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    1. Dear Little Red :)

      I always enjoy your comments and questions! It makes me think a lot about the novel. Haha. I'm glad it helps you visualise!

      Same! I love strong and intelligent female leads when they are written well :)

      1) The time travelling aspect was never stated by the author! She just woke up one day in the body of 6 year old Zi Yin Ye.
      2) Oh, she usually just hid her face behind a white shawl. But during one banquet, when she knew one of the Emperor's concubine wanted to expose her face to the world (she thought Zi Yin Ye was ugly), she prepared an ugly face mask beforehand so everyone thought they were ugly.
      3) Through the endless scheming and wooing of Ren Feng Yao :) Haha!
      4) She was emotionally affected by the male lead from the start, but only really fell for him in the second part.
      5) I think a part of it is the level of addiction! The 4.5 to 5 stars novels are close to perfection for me and considered the top of the bunch! 4 stars is when they are flaws, but it's still very readable and enjoyable. For 3.5 stars, the characters are usually good but the plot is vvv slow and I tend to skip chapters.

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    2. Thanks for answering so fast ! ^^
      Can I add that I love that your post ends with "And thus, the duel between them began." It's an invitation to read *-* (or to dream for me lol)

      1) Ho that's strange. Kinda just "BAM here I am" But it's a relief it's not developed 'cause there's so many time travel novel.
      2) So smart of her! During the banquet, did the male lead saw her fake ugly face?
      4) Ho, so I guess the second part is the best part ! xD
      5) When you're addicted, do you read a novel straight from the beginning to the end?

      Little Red

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    3. Dear Little Red,

      The comment came at a good timing :). Aww thanks a lot! I'm still trying to find my own style in reviewing!

      2) Yes, he did. It was quite sweet, as he was unaffected by her ugly looks and went to held her hand. Her cold heart was slightly touched by this chivalrous gesture. I liked that the male lead is a man who focuses on inner beauty.
      4) Haha! Yes, the really good parts are when the female lead and male lead are together - when they are not, the story sags.
      5) Straight as in one whole sitting? I usually read a novel in one go. Haha. But this novel was so long, I had to split it into two nights.

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    4. Dear Decembi *-* I think you have a good style :)

      2) Hooo first time that I'm hearing that oO He's quite cool!
      4) Ouch, must be hard to read parts when they're not together.
      5)Yes. One Go?! You're a fast reader aren't you?
      I have another question : does she know how to fight? Is she a great strategist? Is the male lead also in these cases?
      And a second question (sorry): It's a happy ending. How? What happen in the end?

      I terribly curious. ^^"
      Little Red

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    5. Aww thank you!

      5) Yes, quite fast. But much faster with modern novels. :)
      Yes, she has some basic martial arts, but nothing too great. She is skilled with qing gong (light arts) - which is basically flying, etc. She's a very good strategist. The male lead has powerful martial arts and brains.

      In the end, both the female lead and male lead fake their deaths so they can lead peaceful lives away from the battles of the kingdoms. But, to maintain the peace between the kingdoms, they will send their children :) Haha!

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    6. Hi again!
      So she can fly? Is it the reason why in your excerpt she could jump without being afraid?
      Oww cute ending ^^ Hahaha sending their children xD
      I can't wait to read your next post.
      Little Red

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    7. It's a martial art technique called Qing Gong (see this wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qinggong). Yes, that is why she could fake her death :).

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  2. Why these sounds sooo good! It's reallly sad that I cant read or understand the language! All c-novels have a better story line thn the books tht i hv read so far.so jealous of u all...
    fbutter

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    1. Oh what books have you been reading? Ancient c-novels tend to build on chinese mythology and legends, so there's a rich history behind it, and also it's probably more novel if you haven't come across it before because not much of it has ever been translated into another language. But, I'm sure there are rich stories in all traditions :)

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  3. Is there an English translation for this? I'm getting a headache trying to read all these characters :P

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    1. I don't think so....sigh

      Little Red

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  4. can u d tis translation please

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    1. Hello! I'm afraid that Both are Foxes is too long a book for me to ever pick it up as a official translation project. But if you have a specific scene in mind, I might be able to translate it. :)

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    2. how about the ending part????

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    3. I will take the request in consideration! My backlog of translation is pretty long but I will see what I can do ;)

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  5. hi decembi , i read your review from ssb and know you from peanuts too:) i was wonder if i can ask you the ending of the story? i try google translate but too hard but i find use google translate the ending but not really sure:) is she ending with her first husband? haha thanks decembi

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    1. Hello! :) Sure, happy to help.

      *SPOILER*
      Ren Feng Yao secretly helps Zi Yin Ye achieve her goal of unifying Dong Zhi and woos her! :) They fall in love again and get married <3 They live happily ever after, both retiring from the world of palace politics by faking their deaths.

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    2. argghh thanks decembi:) oh i think they have kids ,is it daughter and son? i think the daughter meet a man and say something to him ,i was wonder who is this man?anyway thank u very much :) haha its ok not read all as long know the end lol.

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    3. I think they have a daughter and two sons. It's very cute, whenever the various countries want to start war, they will send out their kids to "resolve" the issue. Zi Yin Ye wanted to matchmake her daughter, so in "revenge", the daughter went to find the second male lead and offered to bring him to where her parents stayed so Zi Yin Ye would be too busy to try and matchmake her!

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    4. haha Zi Yin Ye want matchmake her daughter :) thank u so much decembi, i want know more but better no haha ,otherwise you not have time to translate other novels :) i will check other novel and ask the ending hihi:)

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    5. Hahaha Hanny, you are more than welcome. Feel free to ask more questions if you really like, I will try to answer as best as I can. :)

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  6. thanks decembi:) too bad this novel too long and i can't read chinese :( so there is nothing i can do the google translation too hard to understand hehe at least i get some point of the ending:) now im reading gentleman free-floating cloud :) and will read some other your translation :) ah maybe when you have time someday you can tell me what happen to the daughter and sons, do they find love too:D or the novel not tell anything ? but no need hurry :)kiitos:)

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    1. Yes, I agree, this novel is really too long! There was only a short epilogue about their daughter and sons - too young to have any romance! :) Heehee. Although Zi Yin Ye wants to matchmake her son with the daughter of her good friend, the general! Lol. If you like this style of books, I would recommend the Emperor's strategy. :)

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    2. thanks decembi for another spoiler lol:) yes i already read your translation emperor strategy and already finish read all few days ago :) by the way are you from sg decembi?

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    3. Wow, you are fast! Yes, I'm from Singapore :)

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    4. haha im from jkt (ind) but now live in Finland sometime i go to sg too , too bad you already move to hk:) anyway nice to meet you here:)

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    5. Wow! Finland sounds terrific! I was away in HK for a while, but I've returned to Spore :)

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  7. So enthralled by this novel yet so sad that it is so long that good translators like you cant take it on...........what an intrepid heroine and hero...........most dramas that are shown most have feather brained heroines.....I now realised that C dramas oft times do not keep to the storyline in books and that in C novels there are quite a number of smart heroines and they are my fave.

    Thanks for the review tho.......yet I feel like gnashing my teeth as I cant sink my teeth into this novel.

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    1. Hello! It's a pity this novel has not been picked up for translation. It could be that it's fun to read but a horror to translate. ♡ i hope you enjoy the other projects on my blog and even my own stories :)

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  8. Hi Decembi,

    Could you give me the link to the audiobook for this novel as I have clicked on to the link but it just directed me to the home page as I would like to try my maiden hand at listening and reading the translation via google translate and it does not show up in my search using pinyin.

    Appreciate your assistance. Thanks

    Appreciate

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    1. Hello! Just to check as I also saw ur post on ssb, do you want a link to an audiobook or a link to the chinese novel? I can't provide audiobook links because I don't listen to them but I can try and find another c book link if you are interested.

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  9. Hi may I know If you have any other c novel recommendation I am currently starting this c novel but I have finished gentleman free floating cloud and I truly love it. I have also finished reading mistaken marriage book 1 and book 2. These r my first c novel and I am so loving it so hope that there will be more books like the above three for me to read. Thanks

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    1. There are many awesome c novels! You are just starting out and I envy all the wonderful books you will get to read for the first time. For a full list, check out my tab on Recommendations and Reviews on the main web bar!

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  10. Hi decembi c thank you for ur recommendations r they all happy ending cause I only like happy ending.

    Secondly I am a slower reader since I have only just started can u tell me how did the female lead realise that she loves the male lead and when did she realised it.

    Also when did the male,lead start to fall in love with the female lead.

    Thanks

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    1. Hello! I label all the titles - HE for happy ending. I think almost all the recommendations are happy ending, except those marked ME (mixed) and SE (sad ending).

      I can't remember exactly now, but I think it's when the female lead saw how smart the male lead could be... probably halfway in the novel. For the male, I think he fell in love at the moment I translated above actually - when he realised she out-witted him!

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    2. Hi Decembi C

      Thank you for your recommendation. I will start on your list after I have finished this book.

      Totally love the male lead Ren Feng Yao he loved her so much in that he can give her the freedom to spread her wings but at the same time he also protected her by doing away all the threats to her...

      By the way may I ask is there any other novel that is like gentleman free floating cloud. Love the male lead too and the female lead.

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    3. I really agree. Ren Feng Yao is an very intelligent male lead, worthy of our female lead <3

      Hmmm Both are Foxes is actually one of the more similar novels to Gentleman Free Floating Cloud, where both characters are humourous and cunning. The King is Here is AWESOME as well <3

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  11. Dear Decembi C

    thank you so much for your summary and your view totally love it.

    By the way May I know why is Ren Feng Yao so weak as in he is always having fainting spell.


    and also when did Zhi Ying Ye realise that she loves Ren Feng Yao and when did he realise that he loves her?


    May I know the reason why you only give this book a 3.5 star?

    So looking forward to your reply soon.

    Thanks you regards

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    1. Why is Ren Feng Yao so weak? Hahaha, sorry, but I really don't recall this!

      I answered the love question above!

      Oh, I gave this book 3.5 stars because the plot was quite convoluted and there were draggy parts. thus that pulled down the rating a bit :)

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    2. Thank you Decembi C

      So does Ren Feng Yao has any martial art skill?

      Sorry just need to ask can't wait to finish the book I am only in to chapter 19 the part where she faked her own death.

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  12. Hi, do you know if anyone is currently translating this novel? Me and my friends run this website called kakkokaritranslations.com (previously japanesemafialady.wordpress.com) and someone asked if we could translate it. I don't want to steal based off of other people's work and I've been searching but this is as close as I've gotten to an actual translation. Thanks! (PS I saw someone comment that they want strong female lead, we have a story with a strong female lead called Stunning Edge plis check us out :D)

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    1. Hi Buzz, I don't know if anyone is translating this story. Feel free to translate this novel. I only translated one scene :)

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  13. Hi Buzz,

    Since no one is translating this novel, plzzz pick it up for translation. We non Chinese readers would love to continue reading it.

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