Book reviews

Book Review: A Slight Smile is Very Charming By Gu Man

bookcover-weiwei

“What is it that makes a man fall in love with a woman at first sight? Appearance? Aura? Wealth? NO.

When campus prince and gaming expert, student Xiao Nai first saw Bei Wei Wei, what made him fall in love was not her extraordinary beauty, but her slim and slender fingers that were flying across the keyboard and her calm and composed manner! Embarrassing, no?

At the same time, gaming expert Bei Wei Wei, at this time and place was on the computer, methodically commanding a guild war, and won a perfect and glorious victory despite being at a disadvantage, and was completely unaware that cupid was nearby. Soon after basketball player, swimmer, all-around excellent student, and game company president, Xiao Nai, uses both tactics on and offline to get to this beauty’s heart. Therefore, this romance slowly blossomed.” 

So this is the first Chinese novel that I have ever read. Come to think of it, unless it was a book required for school, I don’t think I have ever read a translated novel. I first found out about this book because I stumbled across the TV series one day on YouTube. I saw it had good ratings and lots of comments and people recommending it so I did my own little research on it. I then found out that it was a novel that also has a movie adaptation as well. I chose to read the novel first and if I liked it enough, I would move on to the movie and TV series.

Short version:

I enjoyed this book. It is a pure romance and was a light and fluffy read with no real drama. It’s a perfect book to pass the time or relieve some stress. The main characters are easy to like if you enjoy reading about people with absolutely no flaws and it’s fun to delve a bit into the gaming world. I recommend this to read as a break between long series if needed or as a stress reliever. Or if you’re just into cute, fluffy, lovey dovey romance.

Long version:

This was a book outside of my usual picks. This novel has a focus on video games which is waaay outside of my comfort zone (specifically online multiple player role playing gaming stuff. There is an acronym for this but idk what it is). I am not a gamer and when I found out that there was going to be a focus on gaming I was almost a bit put off by it but I read it anyway because…idk I wanted to try something new. I’m glad I did though because it was such a cute story.

The book starts off with Bei Wei Wei playing the game and this is how we get to know her and the gaming world. The first third or so of the book we are literally in the game with Bei Wei Wei and are able to learn a few rules of the game, gaming terminology, and how the game world looks/what’s so great about it. We are introduced to other characters in this game world that we end up meeting later on in person as well. I thought all of this was cool and liked that the gaming terminology was not too hard to grasp onto. However, after around the first 3 or so chapters, I was tired of the game world and just wanted the main characters to meet already. I wanted to return to “real life”.

Bei Wei Wei can be seen as your typical college girl: She doesn’t come from a family with truckloads upon truckloads of money, she works just as hard as anyone else (possibly harder since she is in the Computer Science faculty) and she likes to get lost in her own personal hobbies; hers just so happens to be playing video games in her free time. One thing I wasn’t really expecting was the author to make her so pretty; she was supposed to be this classy, beautiful bombshell with curves and long legs and was considered the Top Beauty in the school of Computer Science. Here in the states there is definitely a stereotype for video game nerds: short, scrawny, covered in acne, socially awkward, and overall just lacking in many areas. I like that this author didn’t stick to that. Who knows, in China, that just may not be a thing. Although I liked that she was a pretty gamer science nerd, I felt that the author made her too physically perfect. As I mentioned earlier, there were ZERO flaws. This goes for Xiao Nai as well.

Xiao Nai, who is the other main character and love interest, comes off very arrogant, cold, and aloof but at the same time he is actually romantic, understanding, and passionate. He was also supposed to be tall, elegant, and otherworldly handsome. To top it off he is rich (by his own doing. He does not come from a family of money), he is the top gaming expert in the game world, he is the campus hottie, and he owns his own business. Like I said before: super perfect, with zero flaws. I won’t lie, Xiao Nai was definitely my type of guy but I do wish he had some type of flaw.

The story itself was just a simple love story, in my opinion. Boy sees girl, boy and girl finally meet, boy and girl fall in love, the end. There was no real drama to the story and anything that could have turned into drama was easily taken care of and cast away. There is no love triangle, no fights (except in the game), and no real climax. It’s just a relaxing fluffy read and no more. It was so lighthearted and fun and I liked the characters. Even the majority of the supporting characters were likable. Their personalities were distinctive so you knew who was who even if you couldn’t remember their names (again, this was a novel translated from Chinese so they all have Chinese names which can be difficult for some).

I also enjoyed the authors writing style. It was simple yet many moments were quite poetic, even when we were in the gaming world. There were a few steamy scenes between the two main characters and it was written in a way that when I got done reading the passage, I said to myself “Well dang! I need to experience a kiss like that!” lol. It was not raunchy and smutty or anything like that. It was well done and left me wondering how those scenes would transfer to the screen. I have only seen a small handful of shows from China (from Asia in general) and usually, any and all intimate scenes make me squirm. They are so unbearably awkward and I suffer from extreme secondhand embarrassment while watching so I sometimes skip them lol.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It is a perfect lighthearted Summer read. It was fun and I would read it again. This book has a type of aesthetic to it and since I don’t really know how to put it into words, I will post pictures of my thoughts and the way I felt while reading this book:

I give this book a 3 out of 5 stars and would recommend to anyone who likes cute romance and a lack of drama. Just simple and clean fun!

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