Qiang Jin Jiu / 将进酒 by TangJiuqing
QiangJinJiu (QJJ) is about two men who at the outset couldn’t be more different, or really from more different circumstances, who are thrust together by the vagaries of politics and fate and find that they have many similarities that bind them together.
Shen Zechuan is the only surviving son of a concubine of a traitor Prince (not royalty prince) who barely survived to adulthood (no thanks in part to our second main character) and is now on the path to bloody revenge on essentially the whole of this empire’s aristocracy.
Xiao Chiye is the youngest son of another country prince, surpremely blessed in physical abilites and the arts of war. His family is responsible for a large part of the nation’s defense and so he is sent to the capital as a sort of hostage for the emperor not to suspect his family of traitorous thoughts as well. This is the worst kind of environment for him, because he grew up on the wide plains and hates the confines of the city,
SZC and XCY’s first meeting does not go well (SZC is imprisoned and already close to death and XCY gives him a kick that is pretty much meant to send him to the underworld) but they both grow up imprisoned by the politics of the capital. SZC hides away for years, before he comes out into public to execute his revenge and at first XCY’s dislike of him holds true, but soon enough the fascination between the two of them leads them to have what is pretty much a one night stand.
From there their relationship develops further and further while the outside world believes them to be on opposing sides. And while the two of them definitely have their own goals, they are an amazing force when combined.
My personal feelings/review:
I really, really like the way this relationship is developed, initially there is so much animosity, but you can tell there’s something else there too and they have sex fairly early on. Afterwards it doesn’t immediately develop into love, but neither can deny that the attraction they feel is real. SZC even goes to a brothel to see if he feels anything when looking at the kind of men/boys to be found there, but they leave him entirely cold and it is only when he is with XCY that he feels that heat.
One thing that I really appreciated was that SZC looks (and mostly acts) like a pretty boy, but he can chop people’s heads off like nobody’s business if he so desires and that’s something that XCY really appreciates about him too. He is ruthless when it comes to reaching his goals, as he needs to be, but if
Furthermore the politics in this novel are insane in the best way, there are so many names you have to remember and so many named characters play an important part down the line.
Another thing I appreciated, which is similar to LSWW, everyone (in their camps) knows XCY and SZC are together and it’s not really commented on beyond the fact that the guards often have to listen to them fucking haha. In the most recent (translated) chapters they have been talking about getting married as well! I don’t think that’s technically a thing in this universe but who’s gonna stop the two of them. They are *such* a great unit together, but they also understand that they have to fulfill their own goals.
The translation is going very fast, currently there’s 110/282 Chapters translated with a new one coming out around every 3 days.
I have no idea if it has a happy ending (if you have spoilers, pls hit me), I could see this ending up either way, but honestly what a ride no matter what.
TL;DR: should you read QJJ?
If you like really intricate plots, tropes like enemies to (devoted) lovers, murder couple, and possibly bringing down all of the aristocracy as a main goal? Yeah, do check it out!
Edit: maybe I should include links too...
English translation here: https://jade-rabbit.net/category/bl/qiangjinjiu/
Original JJWXC link: http://www.jjwxc.net/onebook.php?novelid=3373718
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