Sunday, October 8, 2023

REVIEW: Heaven Official's Blessing: Tian Guan Ci Fu, Vol. 2 (book) by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, translated by Suika & Pengie, illustrations by ZeldaCW

Heaven Official Blessing is a Chinese danmei (m/m) novel. I bought my copy of this volume new.


Xie Lian, accompanied by Lord Wind Master, is sent to Ghost City by Jun Wu, to look into the whereabouts of a missing heavenly official who put out a distress signal in the area. This puts Xie Lian in Hua Cheng's domain and gives him a chance to finally see Hua Cheng's true form. In the process of protecting another heavenly official, Xie Lian accidentally reveals a dark secret he never intended anyone to learn about.

However, things are not what they seem, and in order to ensure that the truth is revealed, Hua Cheng steps in. After that, we get a lengthy flashback to Xie Lian's younger days, before his first ascension, when he was loved by everyone and rescued a street urchin from falling to his death.

Storywise, this felt more scattered than the first volume - this is very much the next entry in a serial story. For me, it worked because I adored the characters who got the most on-page time. I'll happily read any scene involving Xie Lian and Hua Cheng just spending time together, and this particular volume had some great moments between the two of them - Hua Cheng teaching Xie Lian to roll dice, Hua Cheng gifting Xie Lian a whole armory, Eming being adorable around Xie Lian. Then there was Shi Qingxuan, the Wind Master, who was delightful and a great new friend for Xie Lian. 

I had completely forgotten about the accusations against Xie Lian and was initially shocked when he confessed - but of course Xie Lian would never, certainly not for the reason he stated, so I applauded when Hua Cheng stepped in to put things right, even against Xie Lian's wishes. This particular volume introduced Qi Rong, the Night-Touring Green Lantern, who I'd also forgotten a lot about, aside from the fact that he was just plain awful. He easily earned himself the title of "most punchable face in the volume."

I'm never as wild about MXTX's flashback scenes as I am the scenes in the present, although the flashback in this particular volume at least wasn't of the deeply depressing variety (yet). It was interesting seeing how Feng Xin and Mu Qing interacted with Xie Lian back when they were his servants and he was a prince. And of course there was Honghong-er, who might not make quite the same impression on a brand-new reader of this series but who made my heart clench.

I can't remember what comes next in the series, but I'm looking forward to reading it all the same.


Character and name guide, glossary, black-and-white illustrations throughout, and two full-color illustrations at the start (one the cover image, and the other completely new).

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