Books

《他会不会去跳江?》by 长烟 – Why this is a great book for learning Chinese

Author长烟
First Released2018
Source长佩文学 (FREE)
Length42 chapters + 4 extras
Total Characters56,500
Unique Characters2,000
GenreDanmei, Historical, Romance, Comedy
DifficultyUpper Intermediate

As a fan of Chinese historical fiction, I am always keen to read short webnovels in order to find suitable material for aspiring fellow fans. And this webnovel didn’t disappoint. It’s a great free Chinese webnovel for inexperienced readers and fans of the Chinese historical fiction genre.

This short and fast-paced webnovel is filled with cuteness, fluffiness, decent backstories and a good amount of character development. With only around ~56k characters in total, it’s definitely worth a try.

Synopsis

A cute, mostly fluffy, story about the love between a military general and a court minister. Their unexpected love started after an accidental encounter, but the general soon discovers it wasn’t an unexpected accident.

The Reading Experience

The primary setting is a fabricated Chinese historical period with no obvious indication of which dynasty the inspiration was taken from, so you can see this as a “generic historical” setting.

The story centres around the military general and a court minister with minimal involvement of side characters and subplots. The plot mainly revolves around the everyday personal lives of these two characters, with only a few small scenes related to their roles as members of the court.

Given the minimal significance of the imperial court in this romance focus story, any prior understanding or familiarity with the workings of the court is not necessary. I feel that completely disregarding the roles of the mentioned ministers will not hinder this web novel’s comprehensiveness.

The main narrative unfolds through the events of the present day and the recollections of the past. I felt that this was not executed particularly well in the writing and relied on the extra line breaks used to format this webnovel to assist in navigating the change. Having read another webnovel by the same author, 《心上人来看我的坟头草》, which also featured a similar narrative style, I suspect that this might be a preferred writing style for the author. Therefore, for the optimal experience reading, I recommend reading this directly on 长佩文学 to reduce confusion and improve comprehension.

Are the extras worth reading?

I usually don’t read extras unless I particularly love the characters or feel that there could be a better closure to all the plot lines, but I did read the two extra stories for this web novel. Sadly, they were disappointing and weren’t my cup of tea.

Difficulty for a Chinese learner

This may not be the most extraordinary novel ever written, but it is one of the best novels for historical beginners I have come across. For now, I would consider this novel as a direct step up to 《小九》 by 许半仙, which is a brilliant historical beginner-friendly novel. If you haven’t read 《小九》 by 许半仙, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Here are reasons why this is a brilliant beginner-friendly Chinese historical webnovel:

  • Minimal descriptions
  • Short chapters (~1K)
  • Medium historical flavour in the dialogues – perfect for learning words and sentence structures
  • Two scenes were a bit more challenging but nothing an AI translator can’t handle if you need that additional help

As I mentioned previously regarding the narration style, I highly recommend you read this webnovel on directly on 长佩文学.

Final Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed 《他会不会去跳江?》by 长烟 and would recommend this to learners of varying Chinese levels. It’s short, fun, cute and light-hearted (mostly). For only a total of ~56k characters, there’s not much more you could ask for.

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