Fans of the epic Chinese fantasy series ‘The Untamed’ will be happy to hear that the first volume of the official, uncensored English translation of the novel by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu is now available. The book has been given the somewhat unromantic title of Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation. I am not sure how many volumes are planned, but this first volume covers chapters 1 through 32, and includes a long appendix with handy information about the characters, the language, and Daoist Chinese cultivation magic.

Mo Dao Zu Shi began as a 113-chapter serialized web novel in China. The story is an old-fashioned romance, of the how-long-can-you-keep-the-two-of-them-apart variety, between two young men who practice different forms of cultivation magic. It has been extremely popular, spawning an on-line manhua (Chinese graphic novel) and three seasons of an animated series, all of which have been translated only by fans. Word has spread worldwide through thousands of fanfic stories on An Archive of Our Own. This is the first official and edited English translation.

Compared to the 50-episode live-action drama, the book is unexpectedly light hearted. The two guys are adorable, and there’s none of the weight of tragedy that hangs over ‘The Untamed’ from the very beginning. The seeds of later sorrows are there, however, so it’s likely that the story will turn darker in later volumes. The story that is unfolding underneath the romance is a compelling martial arts fantasy almost as complex as ‘Game of Thrones’ though, sadly, not as well written. I found it lots of fun to read, but I am a huge fan of ‘The Untamed,’ and am likely biased.

Mo Dao Zu Shi, Volume One, trade paperback, $19.99


Mo Dao Zu Shi, translated by Suika — No Comments

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