chiếc bật lửa và váy công chúa tập 1

115 reviews

October 29, 2021

There are lots of contemporary romance trang web novels out there, but this is definitely going to lớn be the most memorable read for a long time.

Twentine's writing brought the ups and downs of uni to lớn life. The flutterings of the heart for that first romance, the dread during an exam which we don't feel prepared for, the politics between researchers and students, it all came alive for mạ.

I love the protagonists, they have their flaws, and I'm drawn to lớn them for it.
Zhu Yun grew up with parents who demanded nothing less than vãn perfection from her grades, her personality, her actions. We mostly see the overcontrolling attitude from her mother, who even incited bullying of a middle school friend of ZY's just because she did not approve of her background. The opinions of ZY's father were not shown as much, but they always had weight when it mattered. As a result, she is drawn to lớn what is different to lớn her usual; she is irrevocably drawn by that one blond guy with the shit as attitude...

Li Xun is the cool blond hair-dyeing rebel (this part 1 story is phối in the mid-2000s with scene subculture). He had a difficult childhood (mother died of cancer when he was 6, complicated situation with his birth father's family) but his IT skills shine through. As the gaokao science dux, he's the textbook example of 'don't judge a book by its cover.' His selfish, uncaring, arrogant personality will be off-putting for many readers, but I find these characteristics refreshing from all the male leads I've read (maybe I'm a bit lượt thích ZY lmao) Of course, he has a soft side, but he's too arrogant to lớn let it show. He will go to lớn the ends of the world just to lớn make ZY smile, but he won't ever tell her that - f***ing pride.

Twentine writes the budding romance between ZY and LX sánh beautifully. From the first sparks of interest to lớn the first flutters of the heart, then all the little moments where they both bởi little things for each other just because they're in each other's hearts without knowing it...

When you read chapter 28 and understand the meaning behind this book's title - calms down racing heartbeat

We get the story from Zhu Yun's perspective, she sees herself as the knight in shining armour, author's mô tả tìm kiếm is rather dramatic but that is her perspective:

I have my king
I am his most loyal subject
I am willing to lớn raise the battle flag for him
and willing to lớn fight to lớn the death on the battlefield for him

But if vice versa, I'm certain it would be Li Xun as the loyal subject to lớn his princess in the beautiful princess dress. Their romance isn't perfect, but it feels awfully realistic, and that's what makes this book sánh wonderful.

Unfortunately, it's not a fairytale ending straight away, rather quite a bad turn for LX, but this book is only part 1, sánh their proper ending is in part 2!!

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November 3, 2023

Book: 0.5*
TV Series: 3.5*

I lượt thích the 36-episode Chinese drama series starring Chen Feiyu and Zhang Jangyi in main roles of Li Xin & Zhu Yun that first aired in 2022 (and is currently re-airing on Youku & available on Youtube), sánh decided to lớn read the 2 books (The Lighter and Princess Gown – Book 1: Barren Grasslands and Book 2: Eternal Fire). I am mystified how such a dễ thương and tragic script with great music & relatable characters & excellent chemistry between the leads in Alibaba/Youku Series was created out of these deadwood characters.


The drama speaks of class differences, social stigmas, personality clashes & betrayals, corporate exploitation & ability to lớn bởi good via technology, apart from a cracking romance (and chemistry) that continues over the course of 7-8 years. It is about being brave personally & professionally, going against the grain & not selling out. It even ends on a note of non-traditional ‘family’ replacing the conditional tư vấn of real family. It is also an allegory of a system that tries to lớn label talented people negatively just because they aren’t born in the ‘right’ neighborhood or with ‘right’ parents or bởi not have ‘socially acceptable’ behavior or have a criminal past, especially as teenagers, & how that 'accident of birth' or 'bad luck' is supposed to lớn determine the rest of their lives & choices.

Li Xun’s achievements (despite his background, imperfections, mistakes & legal troubles) are remarkable & make him a pioneering visionary as opposed to lớn the play-it-safe Gao & Zhang. His supreme belief in himself is contagious. On the other hand, Zhu Yun is a smart, brilliant, brave & passionate woman who chooses to lớn have her own path, career, love & life than vãn the one phối for her by her parents & societal expectations.

So while this is not a run-of-the-mill bad boy-good girl J-K-C trope-filled drama, but Li Xun & Zhu Yun of the books are different from the ones shown in the series.

Both books are written from the perspective of Zhu Yun & whatever we find out about everyone else is through her, which limits the book's ability to lớn connect to lớn her & the characters, & to lớn even empathize with the twist, while the TV series had no such device problem. I think it was more balanced than vãn the book.


Zhu Yun narrates everything that happens, but she is not the focus of this book: it is Li Xun.


Li Xun (李峋) is a poor, village-background (land of ‘fish and rice’) IT genius with a fractured family: his father Li Chengbo is a farmer with a wife and kids who turns to lớn ‘foreign trade business’ and then opens a factory where his future wife (Xun’s mother) works as a laborer; the father loses his business, and turns into an alcoholic but is still alive; the mother is beautiful but dies of cancer during Li Xun’s teenage years. During her lifetime she is called a ‘whore’ and Li Xun a ‘bastard’ by Chengbo’s first wife. Li Xun has 3 half-brothers who bully him and beat him, and one half-sister Li Lan. The half-brothers get good education while Li Lan does not. She cares for Li Xun and even spends money on him. She cares for his mother too, cooking porridge for her, when she becomes ill. He borrows money from her to lớn dye his hair blonde to lớn show he’ll never yield or surrender to lớn anyone, and will always go against the tide. Li Lan is important to lớn Li Xun and he tries to lớn bởi the best for her. Her demise at the over of Book 1 is the catalyst that breaks Li Xun mentally, and his cold exterior explodes, leaving his life and future in shambles.


In college, he is a fearless, ice-cold, quiet, hard-working, socially and emotionally distant, mentally tough, extremely good-looking, blonde-dyed, 19 year old with a high opinion of himself and his abilities. He comes to lớn college as the No. 1 scorer in all provinces. He plays the field (Cui Xiangjun aka Juliet and Liu Sisi) and rubs his fellow students the wrong way but doesn’t let anything get in the way of his goal (which is to lớn bởi practical industry work, earning money and gaining real experience instead of wasting time in following college schedules and text books). He wants to lớn be financially stable and wants to lớn create an integrated mạng internet medical system. He walks alone because he is essentially on his own and knows no one will ‘rescue’ him if he gets into trouble (unlike ‘Princess’ Zhu Yun).

In the book, he is insufferable & unfathomable. A robotic bad boy. Maddeningly Uncommunicative. Probably written to lớn indicate a hard exterior due to lớn tough background & his inherent non-conformist nature, but he comes across as a wooden & mysterious person & stays that way throughout. And the lighter is for his perpetual smoking habit (& not for any emotional reason as in the series). He calls Zhu Yun 'princess' (because she’s a pampered, fragile, spirited upper class girl).

The TV series did a much better job humanizing Li Xun by showing various facets of his personality for e.g. he's very much a lone wolf, beating a drum to lớn his own path, but is sincere & craves loyalty & deserves sympathy. He does care about people & work, while maintaining the aloof, proud/arrogant & unapologetic exterior. You root for his win. He starts to lớn change & open up because of his interactions with Zhu Yun.


Zhu Yun (朱韵) is an 18 year timid virgin (what else can a J-K-C heroine be?) from a rich, well-connected family, protected by overbearing parents who she acts out against by smoking behind their backs. Even her enrollment in college in computer science is because of her mother, who wants her to lớn pursue it, and not because Zhu Yun has any particular interest in it. That changes when she meets and interacts with Li Xun whose ‘practical industrial work base’ in college becomes a diễn đàn for students to lớn learn real-world challenges developing and offering software solutions to lớn companies. She discovers she likes programming and Li Xun. Obsessed is the operative word here, since she likes him without any rhyme or reason, other than vãn the fact that he’s a handsome genius and she wants to lớn be with him. All of their conversations are monosyllabic & telepathic, it seems, because Zhu Yun infers his actions all the way (to the bed). He’s inconsiderate towards her during her first time having sex. I was left scratching my head as to lớn what she sees in him beyond the physical attraction, because she followed HIM around, 'enchanted', not the other way around, and he never initiates any conversation or interest in her. She thinks he has opened up a new world, a new way of thinking and being, to lớn her, and made her brave. She starts living with him.

She rebels against the parents slightly when they object to lớn the relationship but still can’t tell her parents or Li Xun off over anything & remains timid (a bit unsure of herself) through-out the book. She comes across as a sour, angry, sad and frustrated, sacrificial lamb kind of person, rebelling against her parents as a tantrum.

I did not lượt thích her or Li Xun in the book.

In the TV series though, Zhu Yun is a revelation, far from the whiny, coy, wallflower cosmetic-laden and designer-dressed damsels that are usually featured in C-K dramas or J-mangas or in this Book 1. She is a determined, competitive, playful and thoughtful human being. You can clearly see what she sees in Li Xun and what she wants out of her career. It is clear that she is inspired by her own interest in the IT field, his fearless nature & independent intellect & unconventional nature of his goal, and wants to lớn be part of the change-makers, trail blazers, once-in-a-generation do-gooders. Li Xun shows interest in her: they work, flirt, play, seamlessly. She and Li Xun have a warm, intriguing, goal-oriented attraction and romance, & they look damn dễ thương doing anything together. He is a loving boyfriend & she is a dreamboat. Unlike usual J-K-C drama leads & tropes, there was no 'manhandling', they did not frivolously hố out in restaurants, clubs, ferris wheels and festivals, buy each other expensive gifts, or make grand romantic gestures. In fact, the simplicity of their lives, & interest in each other was infectious to lớn watch. After a 3-year relationship, when he takes her to lớn see a tall building, I half-expected a stupid proposal scene (which was shot but thankfully deleted from the aired series), because he uses that opportunity to lớn tell her that he envisions L&P's name appearing on that building in the future, sánh the proposal isn't really about her or himself but what they can accomplish together. He's a serious, meaningful person. Yes, he doesn't communicate well, while she is outspoken, but he does include her in his plans. She is obviously more in love with him than vãn he is with her, and it does seem lượt thích she's not as important to lớn him as his mission of work (or revenge) is. But I did not see any 'sacrifices' from the Zhu Yun or 'red flags' from Li Xun in series episodes that cover events from Book 1.

However, in the book, there are plenty of red flags & weird behaviors from both, making her parents appear reasonable & protective at first.


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Her parents are well-settled ‘intellectuals’ and think Li Xun is a bad seed with a bad past (“some things are brought up from the roots” says the mother), a blemished nobody who is a social climbing gold digger, a schemer & a bad influence who has pursued Zhu Yun & made her disobedient. She clashes with them & rebels more in the book than vãn in the TV series.

[In Ep.21, at meet-the-parents lunch, which doesn't occur in the book, Li Xun's purpose is to lớn aggravate them (by turning it into a business meeting) & to lớn later on make it an excuse to lớn break up with Zhu Yun, while the parents are insensitive & condescending to lớn him throughout even without provocation, because they think he's inferior to lớn them & for their daughter. Especially the mother (the principal who threw him out of high school) thinks he is 'taking revenge on HER by hooking up with Zhu Yun!!!' And she gets worse in Ep.36! Unlike them, Li Xun is never hypocritical in words or actions].

They refuse to lớn acknowledge Li Xun's potential, refusing to lớn give him a break. They are just focussed on their daughter having the 'right' attitude, 'right' image, 'right' boy, 'right' people, 'right' degree, 'right' job, 'right' neighborhood, etc. I understood their point of view. It's just a shame they didn't see how happy their daughter was with the 'unsuitable' guy or be proud of what she accomplishes on her own.

Li Xun forms a company L&P with Zhu Yun and Gao Jianhong for developing an internet-based medical system that integrates symptoms, diagnosis and medicines between all Chinese hospitals. [In the series, he forms L&P only with Zhu Yun]. This is an ambitious passion project of his that will certainly provide less profits than vãn being in e-commerce or gaming industry but he does it anyway, and she fully supports it. There's something pure and noble about what Li Xun tries to lớn accomplish with L & Phường and I think it resonated with her (but the fact that she is head over heals in love with him probably played a part too in her decision to lớn be with him and work in L & Phường instead of pursuing higher studies).


Gao Jianhong and Fang Zhijing are 2 people who propel the story towards revenge and redemption in Book 2. In Book 1, Gao is a student who is good but not good enough or as great as Li Xun, and is part of Li Xun’s core team alongwith Zhu Yun working on software projects for companies (and later on part of L & P). He often feels slighted or left out or diminished by Li Xun’s hatchet-job dictatorial leadership. Li Xun has no team-building ability and is secretive. He just wants followers. This creates quiet resentment in Gao who will turn into a major villain in Book 2, alongwith Fang Zhijing.

Fang Zhijing is a former school-mate of Zhu Yun’s whom she blames for the suicide of her friend Liu Xiaoyan. She still wears the necklace gifted by Liu. Zhijing is taking part in a computer security competition and Zhu Yun forcefully asks Li Xun to lớn take part too sánh that Zhijing can be beaten in the competition.

After losing to lớn Li Xun and to lớn get even with him in another competition, Fang Zhijing misguides his sister Li Lan who has arrived to lớn the thành phố for an operation and is being taken care of by Li Xun. Because of Fang's misdirection, Li Lan gets lost out in the cold, gets hypothermia, dies in hospital later on. [In the series, Li Lan is his actual older sister and the stupidest person. She irritated mạ to lớn no end].

Fang Zhijing faces no legal repercussions because he's not 'directly responsible' for Li Lan's death. Since Li Xun wants to lớn take violent revenge against him, he distances himself from Zhu Yun, handing over the reins of L & Phường to lớn Gao. These 3 solitary decisions by him will have life-changing consequences for all of them.

Li Xun beats up Fang Zhijing, blinding him in one eye as revenge for what was done to lớn his half-sister. [In the TV series, I felt that apart from his grief at losing the most important person in his life yet again, without being able to lớn help her, just lượt thích he was unable to lớn protect his father and mother, he was also acting out violently against injustice of rich people getting away with things & not being held accountable under law. You also feel bad for him because he finally had money & influence to lớn help his sister & her son but couldn't because she died].

Fang Zhijing’s parents are government officials who run rẩy a successful truyền thông chiến dịch against Li Xun where he’s categorized as ‘wild’, ‘criminal’, and ‘debauched’.

Li Xun goes to lớn jail for 8 years, destroying his bright future through sheer stupidity (or as he will explain in Book 2: because no one was there to lớn pull him up). He does not appeal, telling the judge that Fang deserved to lớn die.

Zhu Yun’s mortified parents try to lớn talk some sense into her about the unsuitability of Li Xun. She does not accept their opinion but does go abroad for higher studies because her mother wants her to lớn. This is the cliffhanger that Book 1 ends on.

[I google translated the Chinese language book directly, as given on zhenhunxiaoshuodotcom, though an English-translated option is available on mtlnoveldotcom which I think is hard to lớn understand and not very well-translated.].



- “你看他那身打扮,头发染成什么样,像话么?”母亲心平气和地跟朱韵讲,“虽然年轻人追求个性,但凡事都有个度。我整个学校都走过了,没见一个人是他这个样子.......要跟大家和平相处,不要搞特殊化,那些跳脱集体的人,永远步履维艰。”
"Look at how he's dressed and his hair is dyed. Does it look right?" his mother calmly told Zhu Yun, "Although young people pursue individuality, everything has its own limits. I've been through the whole school, and I haven't seen a person lượt thích this......We must live in peace with everyone and don't be special. Those who break away from the collective will always have difficulty."

- 她不知该如何形容那时的心情,那是她第一次接受到有别于这个家庭的另外一种情感关系。


[Li Lan] didn't know how to lớn describe her feelings at that time. It was the first time she had accepted another emotional relationship that was different from this family.

Like a fiery flame, pure and incomparable, burning nowhere to lớn escape.
(Like a blazing flame, it is sánh pure that it burns people with nowhere to lớn hide.)

- 朱韵知道在这样的场合里,人的感想难免会有夸张的成分,可她真的有种感觉——她这��生的披肝沥胆和心无旁骛,都将奉献给这个人。
Zhu Yun knew that on such an occasion, people's feelings would inevitably be exaggerated, but she really had a feeling that all her hard work and focus in this life would be dedicated to lớn this person.

- 从那时起,她渐渐不再害怕。
This dream allowed her to lớn experience an eternal love, or in other words, an eternal freedom.

- 所有事,都只有在最开始的时候,才是它原本的样子,越往后,就越偏离。
All things, only at the beginning, have their original size, and the further they go, the more they diverge.

- 朱韵紧紧抱着他的身体,她自己也出了很多汗,宾馆的小床被他摇得一颤一颤,身下的床单也皱在一起。
Zhu Yun hugged his toàn thân tightly, and she was sweating a lot. The small bed in the khách sạn shook as he shook it, and the sheets underneath her were wrinkled. Many random images flashed through her mind, including the air conditioner remote control on the table, the shirts balled up on the ground, the crooked stool, and the specks of dust on the window sill illuminated by the moonlight…

- 过了一会,他抬起一条胳膊,手掌贴上她的脸颊。
After a while, he raised an arm and put his palm against her cheek.
"Princess..." His voice was hoarse and low after having fun, and Zhu Yun heard a spine-tingling sexiness in it.



Ep. 2-23 feature contents of Book 1. The excellent series retains just the facade and nuts and bolts of the original book, retaining a few plot holes & loopholes, while choosing to lớn change quite a bit from the book, especially the characters of Li Xun and Zhu Yun, who are deeper than vãn the cardboard manga-like version presented in the books. Chen Feiyu’s Xun is far from a robot, he's a purposeful and loving boyfriend to lớn Zang Jangyi’s Yun who is a blazing light, warm and smart, curious and forward-thinking. The chemistry is sánh natural, from casual banter to lớn attraction to lớn the hugs and kisses to lớn arguments and break-up, that it doesn’t feel lượt thích acting at all, which tells you how much hard work was done by the entire team to lớn make them believable. The rest of the cast is spot-on too (especially actors playing Gao, Ren Di, Professor Old Lin, and Zhu Yun’s parents, all were excellent). The work-oriented setting lifts the story from a run-of-the-mill, teenage-to-adulthood fantasy romance to lớn something relatable. OST, BGM and tuy vậy choice is incredible, perfect & loop-worthy awesome. Key scenes are beautifully shot, sound-mixed and have repeat value. I liked the TV series.

I recommend skipping the book altogether.

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