逆袭 Counter Attack by 柴鸡蛋
Chinese online novel here. UPDATE: English translations now available: First 17 chapters here and remaining chapters here.
Original novel of web-drama, Falling in Love with a Rival.
“When I left you, it wasn’t because I was materialistic.”
“He doesn’t love me. I already broke up with him.”
“You knew? I didn’t know you were still so concerned about me…”
“I know because he and I are now a couple.”
This is a story about how a poor loser turned into a tall, handsome and rich guy and snatched his ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend away.
[Warning: This book contains explicit scenes of a homosexual couple.]
I chanced upon the drama Counterattack: Falling in Love with a Rival while watching I Love You As a Man on youtube. Honestly, the web-drama was convoluted. I see attempts at trying to intertwine the novel into the drama but honestly, 8 episodes of 20 minutes each is not enough for a book with 279 chapters. The storyline was very unclear, and it doesn’t help that some scenes are cut so it’s even harder to understand the flow of the story. Maybe this is why I felt like the novel is a hundred times better when I started reading it.
There is a redeeming point of the drama though – cute actors. And when I say cute, I mean behind-the-scenes cute. The actors provide excellent fan-service. The two gay couples which the story revolves around act like a couple in behind-the-scene videos and during fan meets even though they are straight. The secondary couple is cute, but they drew the line pretty clear whereas the main couple is making fans really believe that there is a high possibility of them really getting together one day. Some even claim that the one of the male leads ‘rented a drama set to woo a lover’. I love watching the behind-the-scenes/fan meets/interview videos because the way they are acting are exactly how Chi Cheng and Wu Suowei, the two main characters in the novel, behave.
At 279 chapters and about 10 add-on chapters, this took me quite a long while to read. I spent about 7 days, at least 6 hours a day and more than 10 hours for 3 days, to finish reading it. It was a crazy marathon, wherever I went, I read. While I’m travelling, in-between classes, during breaks, when I’m queueing, during meals, before I sleep… All the time. It was really addictive. The storyline was very clear and well pieced. There are many details mentioned in front that are developed fully towards the end. You might suddenly be rewarded with a arc that provides more insight on certain actions or feelings mentioned in previous chapters and it’s a very pleasant feeling that makes you want to finish reading at one go.
The protagonist of this story is Wu Qiqiao, who changed his name to Wu Suowei (Literal meaning: it doesn’t matter/whatever) after a bad breakup with his girlfriend of 7 years. During this breakup period (which is extremely funny, complete with suicide attempts and mastering the skill of breaking a brick with his forehead), Wu Suowei met his ‘mentor’ – Jiang Xiaoshuai – a doctor who would go on to be his best buddy and most trusted friend. Meanwhile, Guo Chengyu is a rich 2nd generation who found an interest in Jiang Xiaoshuai. Hence, he fake illnesses all the time in order to find excuses to visit Jiang Xiaoshuai’s clinic. That’s 3 of the main characters already.
The last main character is Chi Cheng, the current boyfriend of Wu Suowei’s ex-girlfriend. In a bid for revenge, Wu Suowei decides to make Chi Cheng fall in love with him before dumping Chi Cheng so he can take revenge on both his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. And hence, the story of Jiang Xiaoshuai helping Wu Suowei snatch Chi Cheng begins…
Another fact – Chi Cheng and Guo Chengyu were childhood friends and used to be best buds until a misunderstanding between them occurred, turning them into frenemies. This is why I say the story is well connected, so many little details are actually linked and the backstories are clearly covered throughout the novel. There are many story arcs throughout the whole story that I love. Those in the beginning are extremely funny as we see how Wu Suowei tries to attract Chi Cheng, the middle part is cute as we see the two falling in love for real + our secondary couple (Guo Chengyu and Jiang Xiao Shuai) gets together, and in the end, it’s extremely touching as Chi Cheng does everything he can to make Wu Suowei feel like he has family (the arc about the nephews is like the cutest and funniest thing ever!) while Wu Suowei gives up everything he has for Chi Cheng.
The romantic relationships are not the only selling point of this novel. I love the bromance between Chi Cheng and Guo Chengyu. They know each other so well and are concerned with each other all these years even when they became ‘enemies’ over a misunderstanding. The bromance between Wu Suowei and Jiang Xiaoshuai is also strong because they have become each other’s pillar of strength. The mere presence of one is already support to the other. In some way, they act as each other’s family members.
Chi Cheng and Guo Chengyu are both cruel, heartless playboys but meeting Wu Suowei and Jiang Xiaoshuai respectively have changed their life. And it’s really sweet to see how they changed to become like normal people. Especially Chi Cheng who learns how to care for people.
One thing about this novel is that it’s written with Beijing slang. Even native chinese readers might not understand the meaning of many of the terms (just like me) unless you are familiar with Beijing’s way of speech. But it’s repeated so often, you will eventually get the meaning of these terms. This is also why I liked the novel a lot, it makes me feel like I’m really reading a story in an authentic China setting.
Recommended: if you just want a good novel to marathon! Interesting storyline, tight-knitted plot development, black humour and unexpected sweetness. Characters are exaggerated and occasionally hard to relate to but still a good read overall. There are a lot of explicit scenes though, so do take note.