Another year is ending, and we have SO many C-Novels to talk about, yet again. The 2015 Chinese Novel Translations Review done by me and @LucilleLyons had been really successful. So, this time, I’m back with @chairmanlichi to look back at 2016 (coz we have nothin’ better to do anyway. And there’s no place we’d rather be!)
@asianbolt: Yo people! 2016’s done. And I keep thinking that’s another 366 days of my life gone (yep, it was a Leap Year for those of you who don’t remember).
@chairmanlichi: And what a year it was! I still can’t get over the guy who wore a tonga at the Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony *drools*
@ab: Ahem! *coughs* Pardon @cl, guys. She has an incredible bias towards good-looking men. Though, those of you don’t know, you really do have to check out the Tonga guy. He was cute. Okay, back to specifics.
@cl: Yes, specifics i.e. Chinese Novel Translations. What else can I say?! Once again, @hoju slays the fray with Honey Stewed Squid by Mo Bao Fei Bao.
@ab: I love you, @hoju! How are you so awesome?! Never strays from the schedule and is like the English mouthpiece of Mo Bao Fei Bao. Mo Bao Fei Bao simply couldn’t have found a better translator even if she would have searched for one!!! @hoju, if I was not a high school student (which I am, unfortunately), I would have totally made you and your works my PhD Subject! Never mind, though. I would still love to have the honor to take your interview through e-mail!
@cl: Okay, personal translator bias aside, I loved Honey Stewed Squid. There was something that was just so youthful and so innocent about the characters. Pro Gaming is a complicated world, but was made so simple by MFBF. And even the love story was so simply and beautifully written. The story of a girl and a boy who meet at an internet Café and the girl pursues the boy. Cute. The world of Professional Video Gaming was opened to me through this book (never mind Asianbolt, though. She has a very special friend who already introduced her to Gaming. A certain American Bonjwa level player *wink wink*. She’s pathetic, but that’s another issue. But he on the other hand… is a God. Another Honey Stewed Squid on the making?!)
@ab: Ahem *like Dolores Umbridge* I think that’s enough @cl. This isn’t supposed to be personal.
@cl: What?! *blinks innocently* I thought we were supposed to be biased. That’s who we both are: shameless, biased, and unapologetic ramblers.
@ab: Maybe. But, dear Readers, let us assure you that we are doing our best to filter ourselves and come out with a Review that’s as impartial as possible. Though, I’ll admit, it does look like we’re doing a bad job at it. But. We’ll move on.
@cl: Yes. But, this year’s best translator, in our opinion, is @hoju who has successfully completed two novels this year: Together Forever and Honey Stewed Squid.
@ab: The nest book we’re gonna be talkin’ about is Jianghu Road is Curved by Ying Zhao, translated by @xiaoxiaomei. This is the second time she’s featuring in our Reviews, the first time in 2015 Review for the wonderful Chaos of Beauty. I like the projects that she chooses. They’re wacky and political and feature strong female leads.
@cl: Jianghu Road is Curved was an enjoyable read, if at times frustrating. The female lead, Pang Wan is silly but intelligent. Her biggest flaw: she desperately wants a man to fall in love with her and has this thing called a Mary Sue Complex (that Mary Sue shit was so annoying, though!). There are three delectable male leads to choose from. But beware, coz a wrong Ship will leave you all scarred and heartbroken.
@ab: Like me. Why Gu Xi Ju?! WHHHYYYYY?!
@cl: I apologize for her. A major part of her internet bill is lost in Ships that are usually doomed. By the time she realizes, the bill’s a meter long and her Paytm wallet is almost empty. Sad life.
@ab: What good is 5 GB/ month Data Plan for a teenage girl? My Internet Bill woes aside, the next book in line that we found ourselves laughing and crying over was Falling Dreams of Fang Hua by Ye Gu Xie.
@cl: Tragically sweet is what I’d like to call it. We’re tantalized by the lure of a happy ending to the very ending. And it is a happy end, but NOT THE ONE I WANTED.
@ab: Agreed. I didn’t stalk websites every day and night to know that, yes the leads did love each other but were thick headed enough to know about it only in the end. But the journey, boy, the journey is what matters. And what a journey it was: funny, sweet, tear-wrenchingly poignant at times. I do love Fang Hua, a lot though. He was dumb for not confessing to Shao Er all along. But I love him.
@cl: For those of you who don’t know, Falling Dreams of Fang Hua is an online novel set in ancient times. The heroine is a beggar child who’s taken in by a young extremely handsome man who doesn’t know the difference between male and female because he’s actually a Fang Hua Beast. The story deals with how he brings her up and she slowly realizes that she loves him and the truth is that he also loves her but it’s all complicated and blah, blah (because it’s not a story if it’s simple, isn’t it, dear Author?!)
@ab: Despite all its faults and imperfections, Falling Dreams of Fang Hua is just worth it. Moving on, next up is Mister Ostrich by Han Yan. Sweet: this is the word that first comes to my mind when I think of this book. And emotional is the next word.
@cl: Yet, you gotta give it to the author for weaving out a story between two childhood friends, one of whom is disabled. It has to be difficult, considering the societal prejudice even in the setting of the book when it comes to relationships relating to the disabled. But the entire plot has this feel-good vibes coming out with the female protagonist standing up several times for the disabled hero, who isn’t a pushover himself either.
@ab: If you look at the numbers, 2016 has been quite a good year for love stories featuring the disabled. Newcomers DHH Translations has done two short stories regarding this genre: Simulcasting Love by Shui Fu Shen Qing and Will You Stay With Me. There’re short and very very feel-good. Once you’re done with em’, you’ll find a smile on your face.
@cl: I second that. We won’t discuss the plot here as they’re short stories anyway, and to discuss would be to spoil the whole experience of reading these cute little stories. But do and read them. Instant happiness guaranteed (To some perverted folks out there, no, there aren’t any X-Rated scenes in them just because I said Instant happiness).
@ab: *cringes* @cl, none of us are straight-laced here, but could you please filter that double-entrende tendency of yours? This is a PG-13 Post. Or at least, we’re trying to be one.
@cl: Pfft. But, whatever. You’re the Don. You get to command.
@ab: Meh. Anyway, back to the issue. Next in line is Caught In My Own Trap by Piao A Xi which, frankly, disappointed me a bit. The start was so strong but it just fizzled out somewhere in the middle, getting too draggy and at points very irritating. Again, I won’t discuss much of the plot here except the bottom line because the rest of the plot is really just a way to fill up space. It’s a story about two people (as usual). The boy was saved by the girl’s father who died in the process. So the boy takes up the girl as his responsibility but ends up falling in love with her.
@cl: Now, that was well and good for us. No issues there. But did that have to include Noble idiocy from both parties? I mean, honestly?! It’s love. Not the bubonic pox or whatever (dunno, if that exists. Pardon me.)
@ab: Meh. But Caught In Own Trap was good, all in all. Worth a read. A special applause for @mhyru as I understand it’s her first Translation Job and she’s great work.
@cl: Next up in the line is Still Not Wanting To Forget by Mo Bao Fei Bao. Damn. I guess I’m becoming a hardcore MFBF Fan. And as long as Good-Samaritan-Translators out there are willing to indulge me, I’ll be one hell of a happy fangirl.
@ab: Special mention of Translator @serena should be made. She’s done fantastic work. The book she chose was a winner anyway, and even the quality of the translations were good. The story of a boy and girl who met on the internet and fell in love before getting separated and meeting again was simply beautiful.
@cl: It’s the Reunion-Love Genre @ab! They never go wrong. Every book in that genre is by default a hit.
@ab: LOL. Anyway, the year 2016 has been great for Modern Chinese Novels. However, the Ancients took a hit, especially compared to the results we’ve had last year.
@cl: Yeah. But the quality of the limited translations, too, is undeniable. For instance, I liked Mistaken Marriage Match: Mysteries in The Imperial Harem by Qian Lu. Hats off to @zazazunnie for the phenomenal work that she’s done. Honestly, the plot seemed very complex to me, but I just couldn’t put my iPad down.
@ab: Not counting the number of times I frankly wanted to pummel the male lead, Yan Hong Tian, to death, I enjoyed the book. I just hope that @sian on the other end of the spectrum quickly hands me the final cookie of Record of Washed Grievances (prequel) as well. I love the MMM novels as a group. Theyre so awesome.
@cl: Another silver lining was that Gu Fang Bu Zhi Shang was done! All the three volumes!!! *does happy dance* And I LOVED THEM!!!!!!!!
@ab: Gahhhhh! I LOVE THEM TOO!!!!!!!!!!! Plain awesomeness is what I like to describe ‘em as. Bai Ping Ting is the epitome of Femme Fatale. And we love her.
@cl: There were great short stories that came out this year too!
@ab: Yep. For instance, When I Met You by Shui Fu Shen Qing. A lovely story about a disabled man finding love. And You Owe Me Your Draft by Li Muo Cuo, which was downright hilarious yet resoundingly sweet towards the end (We love you @decembi! Come back!)
@cl: And the historical guys have Your Humble Servant is Guilty by Sui Yu Er An to drool upon. @peanuts, you know how to choose projects, girl. ❤
@ab: And we REALLY REALLY REALLY hope that Lost You Forever will be completed at least in 2017. I mean, it’s been hanging there since, what, an year?! (@ockoala, I hope you can hear us! *prays*)
@cl: There were some project drops and some hiatuses, and they hurt a lot. But, we still believe in the power of a translator to make us happy. That belief, that hope makes us keep visiting their websites over 20 times a day and increase the footlength of our Internet Bills. But, we still BELIEVE.
@ab: And yes, we’re thankful for all the effort that you guys put into every project of yours. We know and love you for the care to detail that you guys undertake, your tireless work, and the love you have for us readers. We really love you, yunno. Just wanted you guys to know.
@cl & @ab: With this note, we want to end by saying a very big Thank You to our faithful readers and translators for being there with us. And we hope that with the entry of 2017, and with each passing year, the number of these translations improve and us fans get more to binge on!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!!!!
THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS. ❤