I started reading Peerless a couple months ago, very excited to do so, because I’d liked Thousand Autumns quite a lot and absolutely LOVED The Fourteenth Year of Chenghua (despite a not great translation). And well… the thing is… am starting Book 3 (Chapter 70) and I’m just not that excited about it. And I really wish it wasn’t that way.
I suspect my biggest issue is I don’t really like Cui Buqu that much, or find him particularly interesting at this point. Like yes, weak and sickly but is actually super powerful and very smart, but I just don’t find his personality engaging? I liked both Shen Qiao and Tang Fan very much, on the other hand. Shen Qiao in particular, because of what happens at the start of Thousand Autumns, is in a situation somewhat similar to Cui Buqu’s (weak body, might very well die), but I find the exploration of his inner life so interesting, while Cui Buqu is just kind of… not that interesting to me yet.
And then there’s the main ship. Look, I love a good slap slap kiss story, I love ships that start out with the two people in question getting under each other’s skin and irritating the fuck out of each other, but with this one… I just don’t see the sparks at this point. Yes, they both acknowledge the other is beautiful. Yes, they PRETEND to be a couple sometimes, but I don’t get, so far, anything that tells me there is tension because of hidden desires. I absolutely buy that Feng Xiao is starting to feel an attraction (and I like Feng Xiao more than Cui Buqu, there is that), but so far… not doing it for me.
Of course, I know I’m not even halfway through the book yet, and I keep reading because I did love Meng Xi Shi’s other two books that I’ve read, but I’d really like to start getting excited about this story, its characters, and their relationship. Here’s hoping it happens soonish.