Could These Novels Be Your New Favorite Drama?

Chaos of Beauty

by Duo Duo Wu


Genre: Historical, Drama, Romance, Intelligent Female Lead, Intelligent Male Lead, Intelligent Secondary Characters, Politics, Beautiful Men, Beautiful Women

This is an extremely well-written novel following many different characters. At its heart, it can be labeled a tragedy although technically it has a happy ending. Being beautiful can be quite a burden to bear, and while that may make some of us roll our eyes, it can never be truer for the female protagonist.

Synopsis: Yao Ying and Yui Gui Wan possess the kind of spellbinding beauty that mesmerizes men and women alike. Ying is like the sun, a 'startling beauty' who puts on a strong front, can seem conceited but underneath it, all is very soft. In contrast, Yui Gui Wan (and the protagonist) is like the moon, with 'peerless elegance' and is more carefree and easygoing. Both give the appearance of strength: Ying is more direct while Gui Wan is more likely to let things roll off her, always smiling, never revealing how she really feels. In the beginning of the novel, both draw an auspicious omen which will impact the story later. It is the kind of omen that predicts a woman will have the greatness of an empress but can suffer a tragic end. One keeps it, one tosses hers away. Ying becomes the favored Imperial Consort to the emperor, while Gui Wan becomes the wife of the Prime Minister. 

On her wedding night, Gui Wan is met by the Prime Minister who gently explains to her that he will be a doting husband; he will spoil her, give her whatever she wants but he will never love her. Then he leaves to visit Consort Ying... (Guess who has a heart). Gui Wan never expects anything from others, and she shrugs this off and decides she will be happy and not let this bother her. She does her utmost to live her life on her terms, but it seems she is fated to become entangled in palace intrigue in spite of her every effort to avoid it. She is so likable (I would count her a good friend if I met her) but not in an annoying way. You can't help but like her, even if you don't want to. But this is a fatal combination with her beauty, and she draws the interest of men, all who love her in different ways, all who walk very different paths and all who have unique relationships with her. Don't get me wrong, this is at its heart a love story between two people, but the impact this woman has on others is interesting.

Comments: What I liked most about this novel is the female lead's quiet strength, her ability to smile even when she did not want to, and the fact there are really no annoying women-hating-women kind of acts. If anything, it showcases care and respect between women even if they are destined to not be friends/allies. Very well written. A carefully crafted drama of people bravely facing their fates no matter how tragic.

Three Lives, Three Worlds, The Pillow Book 

by Tang Qi Gong Zi


Genre: Xianxia, Romance, Drama

Although many of us harbor feelings of anger at the author for her actions regarding this novel's prequel, nevertheless, I still think the Pillow Book deserves to be included, if only because it is a beautifully written novel that contains my all time favorite couple: Dong Hua and Feng Jiu.

Synopsis: Bai Feng Jiu is best known for her icy reserve and being the youngest Queen of the fox tribe. For those intimately acquainted with her, she is known for her impudent and beguiling personality, not her intelligence (she has a lot of heart). Rumors say she once married a mortal and returned changed, donning mourning clothing and insisting that she was a widow who would not marry again. Dong Hua is known as the ancient genius, the most powerful god of existence, an expert on Buddhist Sutras, incapable of feeling and noticing very little. Never say virtue. He inspires fear in others. Over the past 2,000 years, they have brushed past one another.  If not fated to be together, they would not meet. But Dong Hua has never feared or felt anything; the prehistoric hero who united the heavens and was born from nothing, not even fate could inspire fear in him. This novel explores a theme of seemingly impossible chance and changing fate. It follows the main characters through three lives together, much like its prequel, and makes us wonder if the end justifies the means; after all, can love be forced to exist when there is no fate? 

Comments: I liked this more than its prequel. I find the leads to be an unlikely but perfect pairing, and I especially enjoy the dialogue as the male lead is extremely witty. My only complaint is that the novel is not longer (although you may disagree since it is nearly 900 pages long if you combine the two volumes).

Falling Dreams of Fang Hua 

by Ye Guxie


Genre: Romance, Historical, Melodrama, Fantasy, Historical, Tragedy, Comedy

Synopsis: The story essentially follows an orphan who is adopted by a beautiful stranger, who is not human but a beast ‘Fang Hua’. The novel begins as a comedy as her guardian is an extremely gifted medicine maker but is utterly ignorant when it comes to understanding humans. In fact, he is convinced that she is a boy to the point that when she enters puberty he is worried that she has caught some kind of illness. The novel becomes serious later as outside forces destroy their quiet life. The novel technically has a happy ending but it is detailed in a footnote at the end of the novel’s last chapter. It has multiple arcs but is not very long.

Comments: This novel is actually quite funny, and it was easy for me to overlook the controversial relationship (between a foster parent and woman who was once his foster child) because the male lead is extremely innocent and oblivious. Because of the controversial relationship, there are very little romantic scenes. My only complaint is the happy-ending-footnote. This novel is very popular on the web.

Eight Treasures Trousseau 

by Yue Xia Die Ying


Genres: Romance, Time Travel, Drama

Synopsis: This novel follows Xian Junwang, our female lead, and Yi’an Marquis House. The entire city feels pity for the young master because Xian is said to be extremely hideous, and thus never goes out. In reality, she is extremely beautiful and is deeply loved by her family. She is also an actress from the present who traveled through time and lives in this body. But that is not the focus of the story. The female lead is an extremely lazy daughter who enjoys being waited on but is at the same time gracious and polite. She just wants an easy life with no difficulties and is loved by her family (a rarity in the novel universe, where the female character seems to be loathed by her family). She doesn’t really encounter difficulties until she meets the young lord. He is polite, caring, supportive (happy to have an attractive wife). They are mutually supportive/in love as they navigate both married and political life. 

Comments: I have not finished the novel (108 chapters) but I found the writing to be refreshing. The internet is flooded with time travel novels, with over-the-top strong female leads who are either assassins or cops that are sort of smug, in your face defiant (like trying to prove something). This girl just wants to live an easy life but she isn’t annoying or weak. She’s smart.

Heavy Sweetness Ash Like Frost 

by Dian Xian

Image result for heavy sweetness ash-like frost drama

Genre: Xanxia, Comedy, Romance, Tragedy

Synopsis (from In the prehistoric times, the 200,000 years of Tian Yuan, the flower deity Zi Fen dies after giving birth to a daughter. Before she passed, she fed her daughter the Unfeeling Pill, ordered her subordinates to keep the girl’s birth story a secret and to imprison her within Shui Jing for ten thousand years. The girl’s name is Jin Mi.

Four thousand years later, the Heavenly Emperor’s second son, the Phoenix Fire Deity was entrapped by someone and mistakenly entered Shui Jing. He was saved by the ignorant Jin Mi. After living together for a hundred years, the Fire Deity gradually developed feelings for Jin Mi. Who would have thought that he would be attracted to Jin Mi?

In between the Heavenly World and the Devil World, there is an immeasurably deep River of Forgetfulness, where the war between the Fire Deity and Night Deity finally erupts.

Comments: I’ll be honest: I liked this novel in the beginning but I eventually dropped it. However, I included it because I could easily see it being made into a drama. Maybe I will pick it up again. Honestly, I am not sure if this has already been adapted or is in the process of being adapted. This novel is extremely popular on the web.

Honorable Mention

The Demon King/The Parting of Orchid and Cang

by Jiu Lu Fei Jang


Genre: Romance, Dark Humor, Cunning Male Lead, Innocent Female Lead, Character Growth, Dumb-to-Smart Female Lead, Sharing Bodies, Xianxia, Historical

Synopsis: The Evil Demon King is resurrected but through a series of comical (and unfortunate) events he winds up sharing his body with a girl, Little Orchid. The Demon King is as powerful and ruthless as Little Orchid is weak and innocent. Sharing a body, she refuses to vacate until he can provide a new body for her. Until then, she can use one-half of the body, he the other. What follows is an interesting series of events as Little Orchid steadily grows, becoming more capable and a good negotiator as she must compromise with the (very evil) demon king. In addition to this, the demons following him steadily become convinced he is extremely mad because he constantly talks to himself. This novel is still being translated and is more of a dark comedy and I assume the romance comes later.

Comments: I included this as an honorable mention because the story may be difficult to execute in a drama. I would be interested to see if someone could do it though.

Comments (58)

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  • Reply
    asinensis Apr 26, 2017

    Great article! I would love to see a drama adaptation of The Pillow talk novel.

  • Reply
    AdeNike Apr 25, 2017 - edited

    Have you read 'The Virtuous Wife' or 'Husband, Be A Gentleman'? Both books would make such good dramas.

    I wanted to give Chaos of Beauty a shot, but I don't think I will be able to come to terms with some of its plot and direction story wise. I'm patiently waiting for Eight Treasures Trousseau to be translated. Once it's complete, imma pounce on it XDD

    For some weird reasons, I always thought Peach Blossoms and Pillow Book were the same books *facepalm* lol!!

    BTW, any particular reason for dropping Heavy Sweetness Ash Like Frost?

    • Reply
      Jordan Apr 25, 2017

      Bwahaahaha I liked your 'facepalm' oh I think I started to be a virtuous wife but got caught up in a drama. it is very popular and well liked. I haven't heard of 'husband, be a gentleman' but I will check it out and Chaos of Beauty is more of a melodrama in a lot of ways. I wasn't sure if her character would be popular since so many novels seem to emphasize characters that are more direct and impudent (that is meant as a positive although some characters are annoyingly arrogant)

      I dropped Heavy Sweetness Ash Like Frost because the pacing was slow and I wasn't overly fond of the male lead. I thought the pacing was slow, the male lead too dense and his possessiveness wasn't very subtle--more and more I am leaning towards elegant or subtle male leads (not necessarily the same for my female leads) however that is a tendency not a rule--I really liked the male lead in Chaos of Beauty he was kind of an antihero in a lot of regards if only because he was so power hungry and struggled with picking love over power---I don't think my answer makes a lot of sense though so sorry about that...

    • Reply
      Jordan Apr 25, 2017

      You know a lot of people have been posting books they like I was thinking of writing another article mentioning some of these books. The more the merrier :)

    • Reply
      amourexdile Apr 25, 2017

      I would love it if you did. I didn't realize that there were so many translations available or I would have started reading these novels a long time ago. Thank you for the awesome article. :)

    • Reply
      AdeNike Apr 27, 2017

      You should get back to it!!! It's pretty good.

      Sharing other recommended books is a good idea. Are you only looking into wuxia, historical, xianxia books or both that are modern C-novels?

    • Reply
      Jordan May 3, 2017

      No preference. As long as they are romance :)

  • Reply
    jia Apr 25, 2017

    Three lives, three words, the pillow book seems like another season for three miles of peach blossoms

  • Reply
    KatySarang_TGeyes Apr 24, 2017

    Solomons perjury is a book and it's an amazing drama!

  • Reply
    RaquelLeite Apr 24, 2017 - edited

    Good article! Heavy Sweetness Ash Like Frost looks interesting :)

  • Reply
    Imzadi Apr 23, 2017

    The Story of "The Demon King/The Parting of Orchid and Cang" and the shared body brings flashbacks Steve Martin movie "All of Me".

  • Reply
    MysteryMel-Bookish Apr 22, 2017

    Fantastic article Jordan. Thank you!

  • Reply
    sagwao_o Apr 21, 2017 - edited

    Does someone know if there are translated version of the novels in English?

    • Reply
      BeKaiLLe Apr 22, 2017 - edited

      (sheshungbar translations) Has Chaos of Beauty, falling dreams of Fanghua, Pillow book , if you are interested in reading (TEN MILES OF PEACH BLOSSOM) You will aslo find in this site.
      I don't know about the others but i suggest you check out the translators,The site has links to books they have translated or currently translating. Check out their blogs. They might have this books in their list of previous works.
      Hope you have fun because i love this site and i am currently reading Genius Doctor: Black Belly Miss.

    • Reply
      Jordan Apr 22, 2017

      Black Belly Miss is funny.....and LONG

    • Reply
      sagwao_o Apr 22, 2017

      Thx ! I will check out :)

    • Reply
      BeKaiLLe Apr 24, 2017

      i thought so too but i get so happy when i see a lot of translated updates. The way she does her revenge is just awesome.

  • Reply
    bibi Apr 21, 2017 - edited

    Falling Dreams of Fang Hua is the most awkward book ever, and not just because of the father-doughter relationship!
    And Queen of No.11 Agent 11 is a good book, but still underhyped drama, and have censored time-travel. I'm wainting for this one!

    • Reply
      Jordan Apr 21, 2017

      I haven't queen of no. 11 but I am looking forward to it. There are just so many time travels with cops or assassins...

  • Reply
    lily_b Apr 21, 2017

    What a good idea for an article! It's good to see c-dramas getting some attention. I haven't read any of these novels but I think all of them could be good dramas. Especially the first one, I like how you describe it. Maybe I'll read it! I never thought about reading Chinese novels online so thanks for the idea. :)

  • Reply
    Rin Apr 21, 2017 - edited

    I'm not really a guzhuang person when it comes to both novels and dramas, but I'm here speaking for Dong Feng (Hello OP who also seems like an equally a big fan of Dong Hua/Feng Jiu!!)

    More than wanting Dilraba and Vengo in the drama adaptation of Pillow Book - since their characters and story in the Eternal Love drama have totally deviated from their supposed novel spinoff - I'm dying for a sequel of their existing story from Eternal Love!

    Because of the nature of the two versions, wouldn't Pillow Book's Dong Feng be different in spirit from Eternal Love's despite the same name/character and all? - just my opinion, of course.

    (That's also because of hearing about the general sentiment that Pillow Book isn't that great to start with either? And not forgetting the plagiarism scandals will just get the actors flamed even more than they already have - Sorry I have to bring this up again like the party pooper I am - I know different people see this differently, but such a matter is still typically frowned upon - and we'll all prefer that the things we love don't get involved with it as much as possible.)

    Nice article, nevertheless~ Will probably check out some along the way, because I got more interested in the guzhuang fantasies/xianxia etc after Eternal Love.

    • Reply
      Rin Apr 21, 2017 - edited

      We are TOTALLY the same on that level of passion for DH/FJ, I can swear to you. (Sad that there are not many of us.)

      Hahaha~ but frankly, it does seem rather impossible practically speaking.

      I seriously believe that DH/FJ's ending in Eternal Love was pretty open tbh. And DH/FJ fanfics have furthermore proven to me that there are a million ways to resolve their canon drama ending. There is so much potential and it kills me - I just want to scream at the writer to do something about it.

      Not really, I read on a lot of Chinese sources that the writer is in question of plagiarism in general. And there are works listed as the source of plagiarism of Pillow Book. I respect how you perceive the matter - I see your rationale. Personally, as a creative, I hate to see plagiarists thriving. But I also acknowledge there's still a difference between the drama and the book which leaves some room for debate on how to treat the drama. And it just sucks, in my opinion, that one of my all-time favourite pairings have to be affiliated to it (despite the drama version of them which is the one I truly love actually being more or less an original).

    • Reply
      Jordan Apr 21, 2017

      where are these fanfics??? why have I not heard of them? point me in their direction--I must read them! The amount of potential is HUGE like, why did he give her a map? What is the meaning behind that? He said 'you'll know what to do with it when you open it' SO MANY QUESTIONS! No answers...

    • Reply
      Rin Apr 21, 2017
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      Jordan Apr 21, 2017
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      Rin Apr 21, 2017

      Damn right.

  • Reply
    Rouzmary Apr 21, 2017 - edited

    Oooooh you're right, these would make interesting/good dramas! Sadly, of these I've only read the pillow books, but now will try to find these others as well ^^

    Chaos of Beauty - it would be great because it doesn't have the females being villainous and plotting against each other, that's so rare!

    3W3L The Pillow Book - Of course I'm 100% rooting for The Pillow Books to be adapted to drama with Dilmurat Dilraba & Gao Vengo retaining their roles! They totally stole the show in Eternal Love! And reading about them in the novel, yeah, same as you, I loved them more than Yehua & Bai Qian, impossible not to cuz we get to see Donghua's pov

    Falling Dreams of Fang Hua - might be interesting

    Eight Treasures Trousseau - a female lead that wants to live a carefree life, that'd be nice to see

    Heavy Sweetness Ash Like Frost - my kind of story, nuff said :D

    The Demon King/The Parting of Orchid and Cang - this might be rather hilarious :D

  • Reply
    yoorin21 Apr 21, 2017

    Wow! Thank you for this post. I loved reading Chinese novels ever since my high school days and recently a lot of novels have been adapted into Chinese dramas so I'm so happy =D I feel like the quality of Chinese dramas are only getting better and better.

  • Reply
    Mighty_Brosia Apr 20, 2017 - edited

    wow... I love chinese historical dramas... :) can't go back in korean drama right now. coz there's so many great c-historical dramas out there that I only discovered last month.. :) I hope they can adopt those novel... :)

    • Reply
      krystalsoojungs Apr 21, 2017 - edited

      totally agree! I feel that a lot of kdramas are repetitive, which is why I almost exclusively watch Chinese dramas now (but also the fact that I am very fluent in Chinese so it makes watching cdramas more interesting and relatable and the fact that I don't have to consistently fear that something was lost in translation)
      although I quite liked Descendants of the Sun lol
      in my opinion, chinese historical dramas are much better than korean historical dramas but modern kdramas are slightly better than modern cdramas

    • Reply
      Jordan Apr 21, 2017

      so it isn't just me Kdrams do feel a little redundant--it seems like they are always shipping the same 'type' of people and there are no actors that stand out; they all try to act the same (or maybe I am just dumb) Cdramas def. have more interesting plots (at least the historical I don't watch modern dramas often--the female leads are almost so cute I can't stand it).....and I wish I understood Chinese because some things just don't translate very well :(

    • Reply
      krystalsoojungs Apr 21, 2017 - edited

      you are so right!! it seems that the ships are all very similar (for ex the couple from weightlifting fairy and the strong woman one seems very similar LOL) and I feel like the acting isn't very diversified in korea, like everyone has overrexaggerated emotions and facial expressions which makes for weird acting imo LOL, but that might be because the dramas are similar to each other so the actors will naturally act similar.

      I do however think that modern cdramas are a bit more lacking, because if you look at the really popular cdramas, a great majority of them are historical LOL. Like if you look at the list of dramas that passed 10 billion views online, the only modern cdramas on the list are Ode to Joy (I really liked this one), To Be a Better Man, Love O2O, and My Sunshine while the other 15 dramas on the list are all historical LOL

      It's sad that a lot of international fans found Age of Youth better than Ode to Joy and thought OTJ copied AOY when in fact OTJ aired earlier AND the OTJ novels were written years before. They have similar premises, but OTJ has 5 different woman of different ages whereas all the women from AOY are university students. I personally believe OTJ is much more realistic (probs because I'm Chinese and a lot of their lives/ideas/beliefs are very relatable) and I read the novels which were extremely well-written and thought out.

      wow this is a long comment lol but I def feel that overall cdramas and cnovels are much more worth my time XD

    • Reply
      Jordan Apr 22, 2017

      I know you said speak Chinese--do you have any suggestions for someone who wants to learn? I can't think of anything other than maybe enrolling in a class I wish I could be a self taught genius using just a phone app but it is so different from English....

    • Reply
      krystalsoojungs Apr 24, 2017 - edited

      hmm that's an extremely hard question to answer haha

      I think if you're not natively Chinese or knew some Chinese before, than it might be best to enroll in a class because a solid foundation is very important for learning Chinese and is quite hard to learn on your own without proper guidance, simply because Chinese is a very complicated second language to learn.

  • Reply
    rainruma Apr 20, 2017

    Wonderful idea for an article... hope you write more :)

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