Saturday 22 January 2022

Book Review: Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation Vol. 1 by Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiù

Title: Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation Vol. 1
Author: Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiu
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Publication Date: 2021
Pages: 392
Bought Copy

Wei Wuxian was once one of the most powerful men of his generation, a talented and clever young cultivator who harnessed martial arts and spirituality into powerful abilities. But when the horrors of war led him to seek more power through demonic cultivation, the world's respect for his abilities turned to fear, and his death was celebrated throughout the land.

Years later, he awakens in the body of an aggrieved young man who sacrifices his soul so that Wei Wuxian can exact revenge on his behalf. Though granted a second life, Wei Wuxian is not free from his first, nor the mysteries that appear before him now. Yet this time, he'll face it all with the righteous and esteemed Lan Wangji at his side, another powerful cultivator whose unwavering dedication and shared memories of their past will help shine a light on the dark truths that surround them.


I first came to this story through the TV adaptation, The Untamed. I was keen to read the original story, but hesitated to buy this at first, having seen some reviews trashing the translation. In the end, I decided to give it a try, and I have to say it's not as bad as I'd expected from those comments. Yes, there are times the text feels a little awkward, either from the effort to Westernise or from what reads like a too-literal translation. However, this wasn't so problematic that it spoilt my enjoyment of the story. You read this book for the fun plot and characters, not with any expectation of award-winning prose, and as such this was an enjoyable read which transported me back to moments I remembered and loved from the TV series. The glossary and notes at the back provided some useful cultural context, and the illustrations that featured throughout the story were lovely. I will definitely keep reading through the rest of the five-volume series.

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