Disclaimer: The rating I’m giving is purely based on my personal enjoyment through Chapter 70.
Disclaimer Part 2: There are many spoilers for later chapters in this review. If you would like to skip over the major plot points I discuss, read only the first paragraph and skip to the second set of asterisks near the end to read the summary of my review.
As many other reviews have stated, there are quite a lot of cliches present throughout the plot of this manhwa (love triangle, backstories, etc.). This is probably the story’s main fault, as it relies on these to a sometimes unrealistic extent to keep the story moving forward. However, despite these, it does not attempt to build an unrealistic relationship out of absolutely nothing (whereas many other comics off of Lezhin have this issue, which makes most of their plots thereafter absurd).
Positives of this story:
-The art of the story suits its tone and dreamy feel at times, although it is a bit simplistic for some.
-The characters have some degree of depth to them. Knowing their backstories (or hints at them) explain quite a lot of their behavior, even if there are some very typical motivators present.
-(Some) of Siwon’s reluctance is expressed very well. It is implied he lived in a conservative household where beliefs of homophobia were instilled in him. This is shown in both his thoughts and actions. He is shown to ask about the potential consequences of his feelings through his dialogue and is not quick to accept that he feels attracted to someone of the same gender.
-Some of the mechanics of the world are interesting. It makes you want to keep learning about hidden lore of the Fate and Envy Stones and how they relate to the given situation that the characters face.
-The dialogue is fitting for the characters, and the use of two languages adds realism to the fact some of the characters know Chinese.
Negatives of this story:
-As I mentioned before, it is saturated with cliches. I will tackle a few individually:
-Love Triangle (or more like a square): This consists of four characters, those being Jinha, Siwon, Lu Xuan Run, and Donghyun. The chances of this happening in a real situation are… less than likely when all centered on one person. The way this is handled takes away some of the realism from the plot.
-Backstories: They pretty much all got the most generic backstories possible. Jinha’s parents were divorced, his mom committed suicide, he was abused, and he ended up moving away from his childhood best friend. Generic. Lu Xuan Run is a spoiled rich boy who’s upset because he finally wasn’t able to get what he wanted and is, consequently, lonely and hurt inside. He also seems to lack a lot of empathy and will do anything to make things go his way. Generic. Siwon wanted to be a comic artist, and his parents didn’t support his dreams. He chose a different path because of this in college. Generic. Oh yeah. Siwon and Jinha are childhood best friends.
-“Damsel-in-Distress”: I’m not really sure what we call the male version of this, but I’ll use this for now. Simply put Siwon’s waiting for his “Knight in shining armor” to come get him off the wondrous private island he’s been trapped on. For other references, please cite whatever folklore you wish.
-The plot steered off-course from where it originally was expected to be. You’d think the plot would be about these stones being used and through the course of many dreams discovering what “events” occurred between Jinha and Siwon (which to me is fine because it lets the plot continue for longer than a few chapters, but it gets very spontaneous from there and loses its quality).
Now, I’m sure more could be said about this rollercoaster, but I think I’ll leave it here for now.
All in all, if you’re a fan of yaoi, you’ll probably like this if you can deal with the characters making some unintelligent decisions and the cliches littered throughout. The layers of drama hold your attention quite well as you wait for each individual conflict to be resolved. If you’re not a loyal fan and have decided to take a chance with this genre, it’s a decent introduction to a good portion of what you can easily find but definitely not the best it has to offer. As such, it is not completely representative of all yaoi/BL.
(I will say to any who are on board for reading this, it does have a few trigger/content warnings, which are along the lines of: child abuse, suicide, drugs [not a huge plot point but still present], sexual content, homophobia, and some curses.)
Personally, it’s an enjoyable read for me as I continue to follow updates on Lezhin, and I hope this review is of use to any potential readers (even with its few spoilers). Enjoy your reading~
Unbiased Rating: 3.5 Stars
Biased Rating: 5 Stars
Settled on: 4 Stars