Has anyone else read the books? I'm most of the way through the books that have been translated. 

But the plots pretty noticeably different, where do you think they're going to go with it? Do you think they're going to keep changing it? Or do you think its to make things clear for people who haven't watched the books?  

Books were so much better. 
The problem with the drama was that they never advertised their changes, or even hinted the changes to the plot, until the first episode came out. 
There were a lot of changes that they had justifications for, but inevitably changed the whole tone and style of the story. There were also a lot of changes they couldn't justify. 
And then there was the two unwelcome original character additions that trespassed into the iron triangle friendship of WuXie, Pangzi and QiLing, which infuriated a lot of people (me included). 

If the had warned us and made it clear from the get-go how different this would be, perhaps fans would have actually enjoyed it as an alternate universe thing, or just as a separate series/story. Unfortunately, they implied that they would be loyal to the books, hyping up the fans expectations, and as a result, when the book readers watched the first ep, they screamed for bloody murder. This felt like betrayal. 

At least some good memes came out of the hate spammage on weibo that followed for days after.

But I'm curious to know your perspective as someone who read the books first. What do you think of the changes that they made?
That's true that the books are much better than the dramas/ movies and I read all of those. But, most of the movies/ dramas now, are adaption of the books. I think it's hard to keep identically the dramas to books.
We could watch like more than 200 episodes on dramas.... Movies it will be over 3-4 hours watching, or more....