Heaven Official's Blessing (Novel)

Alt title: Tian Guan Ci Fu (Novel)

Vol: 5; Ch: 244
2017 - 2018
4.628 out of 5 from 1,185 votes
Rank #83
Heaven Official's Blessing (Novel)

Born the crown prince of a prosperous kingdom, Xie Lian was renowned for his beauty, strength, and purity. His years of dedicated study and noble deeds allowed him to ascend to godhood. But those who rise may also fall, and fall he does--cast from the heavens and banished to the world below. Eight hundred years after his mortal life, Xie Lian has ascended to godhood for the third time, angering most of the gods in the process. To repay his debts, he is sent to the Mortal Realm to hunt down violent ghosts and troublemaking spirits who prey on the living. Along his travels, he meets the fascinating and brilliant San Lang, a young man with whom he feels an instant connection. Yet San Lang is clearly more than he appears... What mysteries lie behind that carefree smile?

Source: Seven Seas

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Spoilers and unpopular/critical opinions ahead! Beware!I tried to like this, I really did, but this novel really makes me frustrated. It clearly has so much potential, but so much of that potential was wasted on pandering romance and shallow caricatures of main characters. Overall 1.5-2 stars because it gets worse the more you think about it.CHARACTERS:1. The main character, Xie Lian was wildly bland and boring. He is presented as the kindest, purest, most selfless person in the world, but really he was just a bland white lotus. With Xie Lian, his personality can be described in just a sentence or so, while the author's other two MC's (Wei Wuxian and Shen Qingqiu) are both charming, funny, and deep with their own motivations. Xie Lian just walks around in the story with no purpose and he says that he wants to help the common people, but he really hasn't done that! He's barely helped anyone at all, and those times he did help people are quickly followed by flirting with the ML and forgetting all about the people he was supposed to help. Honestly, in the past, Xie Lian was also the biggest jerk ever. He gave up his own friends and family's well being for his own sense of justice and was stubborn to a fault and refused to listen. What's worse is that none of these flaws are actually addressed, and the story just lets him roll with it and never actually calls him out on it. If you want to see all the reasons why he's a poorly written character, check out this reddit post: https://www. reddit. com/r/MXTX/comments/j2l9ye/why_xl_is_a_poorly_written_character_in_my_opinion/ 2. The ML, Hua Cheng, is equally as bad. He is extremely shallow and such a static character, with his development in the present times being nonexistent and his development from the past to the present being wholly nonsensical. His personality is very cliche and his motivations and thoughts are left entirely up to the reader's imagination, which significantly reduces character depth. He could've been such a great character, a ghost king who rules over hell and is morally grey, but instead he is dumbed down to a Xie Lian fanboy. Everything about him not related to Xie Lian is thrown at us in a few paragraphs if at all, and what little motivation and thoughts about him we do get always fall flat. [Like apparently this guy saved him once, and he fell in love with him and became devoted to him for 800 years? Like people get saved all the time and we don't see them going 800 years and 3 deaths for a guy they've barely talked to] Also, he is wildly unlikable. Of course, this is purely subjective, but he is irritatingly smug and lords over literally everyone he meets. It doesn't help that he's an insufferable Mary Sue with an endless array of powers, intelligent as hell and knows literally everything, really good at painting, sculpting, woodworking, and on top of that the richest, most powerful, most handsome, and most charismatic man in the book. His biggest flaw is supposed to be his insecurity and inferiority complex, but that barely ever comes up and 90% of the time he is arrogant and smug. More information on why he's badly written here:https://www. reddit. com/r/MXTX/comments/iskkp5/why_hc_is_a_bad_character_in_my_opinion/ 3. The side characters in my opinion are written far better, but obviously quite underdeveloped. They are all three dimensional and have their own thoughts, emotions, and feelings as well as a believable backstory, but so many of them are quickly offed to make way for the main couple, some of them not only not becoming better, but actually getting quite a whole lot worse. Qi Rong, who was supposed to be super strong demon that is one of the 4 great evils becomes a comedic relief gremlin who just shows up for some comedy and then leaves. Feng Xin and Mu Qing, the MC's childhood caretakers disappear for like 100 chapters after we're given their backstories and then once they reappear, they don't do anything either. Shi Qingxuan, who in my opinion is by far the best character in the book, has his arc left open with no ending at all, only to be forgotten about for 80+ chapters only to reappear completely the same with no character growth at all. All of this is because the main couple take up so much of the book, and the rest of the side characters and their character growth is sabotaged for the author's ego so that the main couple can look better and get more screen time. 4. I lost interest in the story pretty quickly due to the bland characters and their out of place romance and how unlikable they were. A lot of this novel was very surface level, and it's pretty on paper, but when you think about the characters a bit longer, the more bland and shallow they become. PLOT:1. The plot was... There was no plot. It was just a collection of monster of the day arcs that aimlessly meander about and then everything returns to the status quo once they return to Xie Lian's temple/home. Obviously books 4 and 5 were a lot more to my taste because the writing was a lot more concise and the pacing was less slow and pointless, as well as actually incorporating fantasy elements and shaking up the status quo. However, the other 3 books, especially books 1 and 2 had way too much fan service, pointless romance, and plot lines that don't go anywhere and don't contribute to the story. 2. The past plot line, or the flashbacks were pretty interesting, except for how b*tchy the MC was. Book 2 has a lot of important information and some action, but a lot of it was boring fluff that didn't really contribute to the story other than introducing the villain and showing how XL and HC met. The rest, we're literally told already and there's no new information. Book 4 was supposed to be suffering heavy, and I agree that the character development was alright, but it was too brooding and oppressive. In the end, I just stopped feeling bad for Xie Lian because of how bad the story was trying to make you feel for him. I was not invested in him, and although he was significantly more deep in this book than in the other 4, the bad logic is still there. [you wanna kill people but then someone gives you a bamboo hat and you're all sunshine and rainbows again?] The suffering is excessive in my opinion, and although it's supposed to provide contrast to the romance, it just feels done in poor taste. seriously, 20 chapters straight of suffering is not necessary, and the pacing and tone suffers because of this. The flashbacks really don't contribute too much to XL or HC's character development, but is just there to be angsty and cryp*rn. 3. The final battle was the most unbelievable thing I've ever read. All the gods got together and the first part seemed pretty epic as we got to see all the side characters finally showcase their powers.... Until the MC and ML show up. The MC and ML show up, and instantly the background extras—excuse me I mean side characters, go back into hibernation as the main couple show off how cool and powerful they are. And then we get to the final confrontation, which has our MC, ML, and MC's two friends face off against literally the most powerful being in the freaking universe. I thought it would be a tense fight scene with lots of close calls, but I was so disappointed. Instead the ML is so OP that he breaks the spells binding MC's powers, and MC becomes so overpowered and slams the big boss into the wall with the power of love while his two friends just stand there doing nothing. 4. A lot of what happens in the flashback is directly Xie Lian's fault, but the book never seems to register it? I won't go into detail on this point since it's already covered in the first Reddit thread, but basically because of XL's s*upidity and refusal to listen to anyone else, the people around him suffer. WRITING:1. The writing wasn't great. It was very choppy and as I said previously, very monotonous and monster-of-the-day. Yes there were great scenes which got to me, but most of it was really boring and descriptions and dialogue dragged on and on with no end, and with the bland MC, it wasn't even interesting such as the dialogue in MDZS was. Side arcs were introduced with no warning and ended with no warning, leaving the reader wondering "Why was that even there in the first place if it was just going to be forgotten about?" 2. The water demon/wind god arc. The opening and most of the middle of this arc was extremely good, the logic and mystery was written well, and Shi Qingxuan's (the wind god) antics were funny. But after the big reveal and the tense climax, the story just... stops. Like it's literally forgotten about. [The MC gets dragged out by his all powerful lover, they romance some more, and forget all about Shi Qingxuan who is literally left in the hands of the second or third most powerful demon ever who is also his mortal enemy] 3. The incessant flirting really got on my nerves. The tension and tone of the entire story got completely ruined because of the MC and ML flirting and the MC blushing and giggling while the ML teases him and everyone else is literally fighting for their lives. This felt very fan-service like, and it felt like the author stopped trying and just fed us dog food after an emotionally taxing arc so that she wouldn't have to close out the arc properly, completely destroying the tone. Speaking of the tone, the tone whiplash was just... wow. You're fed fluff and romance during or after a high tensity and highly emotional scene with no connection at all, and you're just supposed to accept it instead of wondering what's happening to the characters you actually care about. 4. Romance and side arcs quite disconnected from the story. Quite frankly, most of this book is just romance with the plot and characters put in second place because "lOOk hOw CuTe the COuPLe iS!" You could literally take out all the side arcs and the story would literally be no different. The romance overtakes the entire plot and becomes the main point of the story. With her other two books, the romance is like the icing on the cake. With this book, the icing overtakes the cake and becomes the cake. 5. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons I was uninterested through most of the book was due to the lack of tension and suspense. The flashbacks were better in the sense that Xie Lian was helpless and couldn't figure anything out, which was why he was just as likely to get hurt as anyone, making the stakes significantly higher. But in the present, with the existence of Hua Cheng, that tension is completely gone. This is because HC knows basically all there is to know, and what he doesn't know he can figure out in seconds. Additionally, he is super powerful to the point that anything that can harm XL can be one shot K.O'ed by him. At this point the conflict becomes trivial to the point where I'm just asking "why are we solving this mystery anyways when HC can just blast it into oblivion?" 6. The fact that HC does the bare minimum in arcs frustrates me. If you're going to include a character with powers that will basically deem any threat against them null, then actually use them at least! HC's apathy does not feel like a coherent part of his character, but an excuse for MXTX to drag out plot lines and make things unnecessarily long and winded. Additionally, his apathy is contradictory. On one hand, he is super overprotective of XL and wants to make sure he won't get hurt a single bit, but on the other hand, he has this advanced ideology of the 21st century that he believes XL is capable so won't constrain him as much. If anything, they should start out with HC as this overprotective follower and have a dysfunctional relationship, and end up with XL teaching HC that he is able to do things and doesn't mind doing them, and that HC can live a life outside of him as well. That would've introduced some narrative stakes and romantic tension, but no, MXTX just had to make these characters perfect in every way. ROMANCE:1. The logic is so flawed here. The reason that HC started loving XL is literally because Xie Lian saved him once as a child and therefore he will devote his entire life to XL, not caring about literally anything else. The reason that XL started loving HC is even more so. The thing is someone like say Shi Qingxuan has done every bit as much for XL as HC has, but we don't see XL fall in love with SQX, do we? HC literally listens to him talk and XL falls in love with him, and although it does make sense due to XL being lonely for 800 years, how low the bar is set really bothers me. 2. The constant blue-balling was annoying. At some point, the ignorant MC became annoying and self indulgent instead of cute, and having it be drawn out over nearly 200 chapters makes it even worse. The MC is supposed to be super intelligent, but he literally misses all of the super obvious hints the ML drops at him, which is so weird. 3. It felt like MXTX (the author) went overboard on the romance here. Like she tried way too hard to the point where it was obvious she wanted to make this "the most romantic CP ever". The aesthetics went so overboard with butterflies and flowers as romantic themes, thousands of lanterns, the red string of fate (which didn't even do anything in the actual story), poetry, etc. 4. The romance could almost be described as kind of creepy. Like the ML obsesses over the MC for 800 years, isolating himself from the world and not taking any side of the story besides MC's is supposed to be romantic, but it really isn't. The ML carves thousands of statues of the MC, which is sweet in a way, but also really, really creepy. To quote someone from NovelUpdates who put it 100x better than I could:" They don't feel like equal lovers, HC obviously worships XL to an unbelievably amazing degree while XL only knew he existed from only a while ago (Is this obsession? Stalker-ish? I know his stalker-ish tendencies are usually played for laughs, but realistically?) HC very very very rarely calls XL by his given name but with GeGe or CrownPrince, dude has a name you know. I know you feel lower than XL, but seriously man, the guy's your life partner. HC would destroy the world if XL said to. He'd probably try to talk to XL first, confirm things, but if at the end XL really does want it, HC would do it. He lives for XL, he has no other reason to do something aside for XL. No reason to say NO for himself. They're not equals in which one wanna do something bad, the other would stop him because they have their own convictions. You can't tell me one only lives for one person's sake, will do anything for that guy, and has no attachments in the world aside from that guy, is a healthy person. It may seem romantic, but when you actually think about it, it becomes uncomfortable." 5. The romance was really cheesy. There were some powerful moments, but it was mostly flirting and "he fell on top of me" or "he needs mouth to mouth". Most of it was just the ML flirting with the MC, which you may like if you like this kind of stuff, but I really didn't enjoy it.Overall, I was desperate to love this novel, but I couldn't because of the shallow characters, unlikable main pair, and the constant abandonment of great plot lines in favor of the shallow romance. It felt like MXTX was constantly trying to one-up MDZS in angst, drama, and romance, but at the same time it felt like she didn't know what to do with the characters and world, and therefore fed us fan service and took the easy way out. This review is purely subjective, and if you want to read this go ahead, but I'll be seeing myself out. 

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