I don't know why but in the recent months, I like to read more than watch. I can spend the whole day to read everything but I even can't finish an eps of a series :D. I even feel lazy to watch movie, too. Last time when I watch Million dollar baby (Well, I dun rmb its name well), I slept in the middle, in front of all of my housemates. So recently, I mostly read, don't watch.
What I'm reading? Hehe, I like to read many things at one moment. I can read the materials for my dissertation (well, they are long and =.=) at the same time with some mangas (I only read mangas and maybe manhua or comic, not fond of manhwa) and novels. Cang Hai (沧海) is one of the novels that I'm following, in fact, re-reading.
Actually I finished Cang Hai long time ago so I only can rmb the main concepts. I introduced this novel to a friend and she is reading it. She discussed of it with me and it leads to a fact that I feel interested in the novel again. This time of reading, I blv that I've read it more carefully than last time. That's why I plan to write a review for it so here it is.
Cang hai (Chinese text: 沧海) is a wuxia novel wrote by Feng Ge (凤歌). Feng Ge is listed in one of five new authours of wuxia novel. His works include Cang Hai and Kun Lun (Kun Lun wrote before Cang Hai) as well as an upcoming novel Ling Fei Jing (but it hasn't been released yet). Kun Lun and Cang Hai (and of course Ling Fei Jing) have some relationships as Kun Lun's background happens before Cang Hai and linked to the life of the characters in Cang Hai.
Cang hai, in text, means green sea but its hidden meaning is the change of time (taken from 沧海变桑田). It's about the life of Lu Jian, a poor fishman (he is 16 when the story started). Accidentally, Lu Jian is kidnapped by Ning Bu Kong and has to go with him to Japan. On the road, Ning Bu Kong teaches Lu Jian a kind of kungfu but he only knows that he has becomes Ning Bu Kong's slave after that because the kungfu he learned is 黑天书 (Black book). By learning this kind of kungfu, Lu Jian has special strength but he'll be related to Ning Bu Kong forever. Black book has 4 rules: (1) No owner, no slave - means the slave is related to the owner forever. Owner dies, slave dies. Owner doesn't give "kei" to slave, slave will die, too. But owner can have many slave he wants. (2) Have loan have payment - means the more Lu Jian uses his strength, the more hurt he'll get. (3) Can't never end - Learning Black book one, forever will be bound by Black book. The slave can't run away from it and can die if the owner doesn't give him "kei" again. (4) Father is owner, son is owner. Father is slave, son is slave - the links will run for at least 3 generations of a family). However, Lu Jian would rather die to be slave of Ning Bu Kong anymore. He ran away from Ning Bu Kong with the held of Fish Monk and Fish Monk also helps him to cover 3 important places in his body, can help him to avoid the death in a while. When Lu Jian runs away from Ning Bu Kong, he accidentally involves in the battle between Si Shing and Tung Yao - the two strongest sides in jiang hu. He is put in the jail of Tung Yao, where he meets Kuk Chun - the person that will help him a lot in life. At the same time, Kuk Chun and Lu Jian slowly can find out a huge scheme...
Here is the list of main characters:
1. Lu Jian
2. Kuk Chun
3. Yiu Ching - Lu Jian's lover
4. Ning Bu Kong - Lu Jian's owner
5. Ning Ning - daughter of Ning Bu Kong
6. Shi Yiu Yiu - Kuk Chun's lover
1. The plot
Storyline: I think that Feng Ge has a great plot for Cang hai. The whole story is linked logically and has good explanations for all the arisen issues. The characters are linked well. There is no sudden appearance nor unnecessary events. Of course, there are some small holes in the plot (like the too coincident meeting of Ning Ning and Lu Jian right in the place they need each other) but I can accept it.
Wuxia: The creative of Black fate (黑天劫) is very different to the other wuxia novels. The explanation of hidden pulse in a body is interesting and unique. I've heard about hidden pulse but a kungfu that use hidden pulse, it's the first time.
Background: Feng Ge is also able to make the whole wuxia world of himself, which is a very special points. Still the Jiang hu but not the typical jiang hu that we often see in the novelist that follow Jin Yong. However, some ppl stated that Feng Ge has the feel and the shadow of Jin Yong in his novel, which I partly agree. The characters of Cang hai is somehow very similar to Condor heroes & Return of condor heroes of Jin Yong.
However, Cang hai is kinda draggy. The storyline in the middle is slow and if Feng Ge can cut out some parts, it would be more fast pace and get the reader to follow the storyline easier. He also has a very big fault: Like to tell story. Men! Listen to Tian Bik to explain the fourth rule of Black book: 3 chapters. Wan Qi Chung's explanation: 4 chapters. What Wah Seung Seung said about hidden pulse: 3 chapters. Too long! Too draggy! Too many informations. In fact, it can be shortened a bit. Feng Ge should learn the skill to write long but not draggy from Xiao Jian.
Besides, the love in Cang hai is also boring. I can't understand what make Kuk Chun love Shi Yiu Yiu. Just because she is his childhood friend? And the love of Lu Jian and Yiu Ching is also boring! Actually bored to death. I'd rather read about Fei Ching - Tian Bik - Yu Chiu than Lu Jian and Yiu Ching. Lolz, I have to bear Shi Yiu Yiu because I love Kuk Chun, but Lu Jian isn't my fave, so the love of Lu Yiu - bye! Feng Ge is like that. The love life in his book is not his strength. Always.
Feng Ge is a good novelist, no doubt. The way he "plays" with words shows that he has talents. However the way of writing also has some resemble points to Jin Yong! I can smell some Jin Yong's reference in Cang hai. I take them as a deduced point for Cang hai. But comparing him to other young wuxia novelists, Feng Ge is definitely one in the top. I blv that only the "truly hurt" novels of Cang Yue and the beautiful writing skill of Xiao Jian can compare with Feng Ge.
3. The character
The main character in Cang hai is Lu Jian - obviously. He has the ok look, slow but good characteristic, always think for others before himself. Well, basically, he is a good person. That's... all :P. All about Lu Jian. He somehow reminds me of Guo Jing in Jin Yong's novel Condor heroes. But the life of Lu Jian is way harder than Guo Jing :D. At least Guo Jing isn't slave of anyone and not always be scared by an upcoming death. So in fact, I don't have many things to say about Lu Jian.
Kuk Chun, on the other hand, is my most favourite character. And I blv he is also the character in the heart of many ppl, too. Can say that Kuk Chun is actually the heart of Cang hai, not Lu Jian. I think at first, Feng Ge only wants Kuk Chun to be a supporting character but the more he wrote, the more he was interested in Kuk Chun. So why Kuk Chun is loved? First, we must understand a little about him. He is the only son of the owner of Tung Jao. He is smart, very smart. He can have anything he wants. But he isn't the type of person that want to stay in a place for a long while. He likes to smile (when he was small, he is called Kuk Smile), likes to talk, like to help friends. He admits he isn't a guanzi, he is a xiaoyan. He laughed at the stupid scholars that only can obey what books say. He doesn't want to learn kungfu but accidentally has kungfu. He is very rich, even hold the ring of Money god in hand - that means he can have all the money from the merchants if want. He is smart, can make all the dangerous events become peaceful. He said that he is the type that having money in hand but not putting money on head. Money can't blind him. Fame can't blind him. Power can't blind him. He is too bright, but he isn't arrogant. Even Lu Jian himself can't recognize that he leans on Kuk Chun more and more all the time. Without Kuk Chun, Lu Jian is useless. If not Kuk Chun, Lu Jian dies many times. But Kuk Chun doesn't count anything. He helps Lu Jian without caring for any benefit back. Certainly, he sees the golden heart and honest of Lu Jian so he decides to help him (without knowing that Lu Jian is actually his brother of same mom). Kuk Chun is a person like this. Among many treasures - kungfu, money, power, he chooses a map of the world and then, leave everything behind and go to the sea.The last scene is very clear: Lu Jian runs after the ship of Kuk Chun, try to catch it but can't. Only the song Kuk Chun sings before he goes is there. Lu Jian is running after what? Even he doesn't know. Maybe deep in his heart, he wannabe Kuk Chun, but can't. At the moment Kuk Chun appears, he steals all the lights.
Some ppl say Kuk Chun is similar to Yang Guo. I totally disagree! Yang Guo can't have a heart of freedom like Kuk Chun. Yang Guo tried to be a wanderer, tried to act like he didn't care for anything. But no, he cared. He cared for the views of other ppl, and he wanted to fight against these views. Yang Guo can't admit that he is a guanzi wannabe. Kuk Chun has some similar characters with Yang Guo, but he is way higher. He is the type of person that Yang Guo always wants to become, but can't. But Kuk Chun is still real. He still has emotions and mistakes. He doesn't need to be fake. Although he knows Wan Qi Chung is a baddie, an enemy, but he is still his sifu, still a person that he respects. The fight of Kuk Chun and Wan Qi Chung is very real.
The only thing that I can't understand in Kuk Chun is Yiu Shi Shi. Yiu Shi Shi loves Kuk Chun, of course. Yiu Ching can't love Kuk Chun because they are too similar, haha. Yiu Ching calls Kuk Chun "ugly fox" but she still admires his smart. However, Yiu Ching's heart is full of Lu Jian. Yiu Shi Shi, loves Kuk Chun from the beginning. But when he is betrayed and put in the jail, Yiu Shi Shi, didn't do anything. The only thing she did for him is: He dies she dies. He is imprisoned, she'll stay alone forever. She loves him so much. But what in Yiu Shi Shi that can touch Kuk Chun? Nothing! I even feel that Kuk Ping'Er has more characteristic than Yiu Shi Shi. To compare the love, Kuk Ping'Er's love is no less than Yiu Shi Shi. To choose between the two girls, I'd rather Kuk Ping'Er. But Feng Ge forces Kuk Chun to be with Yiu Shi Shi, no way to help. A little, I think Kuk Chun is cruel to Ping'Er. Why he never considered her? Just because she is daughter of his step-mother (no blood relationship). I doubt that Kuk Chun dun know about Ping'Er's love to him. Maybe, he never thought of Ping'Er as a lover, so this is the reason. In Kuk Chun's mind, Yiu Shi Shi is his lover, and that's it.
Another female character is Yiu Ching. Yiu Ching is like Wang Rong in Condor heroes, but a villain version. Yiu Ching has a selfish heart. She only treats herself and Lu Jian well and doesn't care for anyone else. I don't like Yiu Ching, but admit that she is a direct person. Haha, I think that Yiu Ching is suitable for the entertainment industry, if she lives in the modern life, lolz.
Uhm, Lu Jian has 2 love interests (fact is 3 but Ah Shi - sister of Oda Nobunaga - no you don't read wrong, Cang hai really has Oda Nobunaga, lolz - is just appeared a little in the first part of Canghai), one is Yiu Ching, another is Ning Ning. I like Ning Ning more than Yiu Ching. Ning Ning's characteristic is less crazy than Yiu Ching. She is .. uhm... a good girl. Her sad past is one reason for me to feel for her. But I think Ning Ning's one way ticket to the love is the main reason. She loves Lu Jian, but stupid Lu Jian doesn't know. Poor Ning Ning.
Fei Ching - Tian Bik - Yu Chiu, these supporting characters gain my interest. They are in a very complicated triangle love. Fei Ching loves Tian Bik, but Tian Bik loves Yu Chiu. Yu Chiu also loves Tian Bik but he can't quit his kungfu (which not allow him to do xxx). Whenever Tian Bik wants to push him by getting close to Fei Ching, Yu Chiu gets mad and fights with Fei Ching. Fei Ching - Yu Chiu, they hates each other but deep inside, they are friends, very close friends. The fight of Fei Ching and Yu Chiu is always interesting. First they fight in very serious mode, then they turn to kids. However, they end up so sad. I cried at the first time I wrote about their ending. I like them all.
Uhm, indeed that in Cang hai, I have a lot of favourite characters (best is of course Kuk Chun - he is my most favourite character in all the books I've ever read!) and some so-so characters. I don't think that I can list them all so I only have glimpse of them above. Read Cang hai yourself and maybe you will find your favourites among the rest of characters.
Conclusion: To read or not
Highly recommend the book to you. Ignore some faults, Cang hai is still a very good book. Like Huang Yi mentioned: 'Feng Ge is like a Feng (phoenix), don't appear is ok, but once appear, will gain big applause'. I like Cang hai, and hope you will also feel it.
Read the book online: http://book.kanunu.org/wuxia/201102/1726.html
Note: The cover I posted here is Kuk Chun's :). He is describer in the novel as a handsome guy :D. If in BL mode, I'll pair him with Jik Xi (a character that I don't mention here but I blv is suitable for Kuk Chun, better than both of Yiu Shi Shi and Kuk Ping'Er). Haha, but I think if in BL mode, Kuk Chun will choose Lu Jian :P. And so does Lu Jian. Oh well, that's all of my YY.