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1/2 Prince Novel - a pleasant surprise

 Thursday, July 1, 2010

    Lately I've been busy reading manga and I've stumbled upon 1/2 Prince, a manhua (the Chinese equivalent of the Japanese manga) about computer gaming. The synopsis is mainly like this: in the year 2100, the creators of computer games have discovered a way to make gaming even more realistic then it already was. Thus, Second Life was born - a computer game with 99% realism rate. The main character of the story is a girl named Feng Lan who, after having a fight with her brother regarding her gaming methods (meaning, her brother accused her of using male players to level-up), decided to start playing Second Life and use her own power to level-up thus proving to her brother that she is capable of doing so without anyone's help. However, Feng Lan enters the game 5 minutes prior to its official release worldwide and the creators of the game decide to offer her anything she wants as a prize for being the first Second Life player ever. Instead of choosing a rare item or something else, Feng Lan requests to become a male in the game. She is given permission and so the adventure of the worrior elf Prince (Feng Lan's Second Life identity) begins.
     After struggling for quite a few times to read the first chapters of the manhua, I finally got into it and , eventually, I found out about the existence of a novel. The manhua was actually inspired by the novel, but I didn't expect much form it, thinking that the manhua was probably more interesting. No such thing! Just like in the manhua's case, the result was pleasantly surprising. The novel sucked me in from the very first chapter and, even though the manhua is 100% loyal to the novel's plot, I felt that the novel is 10 times better!
       1/2 Prince novel is written by Yu Wo, an author that was unknown to me until now. Yu Wo's style is absolutely breathtakingly humorous and fresh, her characters seem to have a life of their own and the reader slowly starts understanding them and loving them  more and more as the story progresses.
      The best part is that, in comparison to the manhua, the novel is, undoubtedly, more complex, the humour has a unique feeling to it and is far more developed then in the manhua, where you miss many of the hinted funny moments. And, let me add, if you haven't already figured it out, humour is an extremely important part of the series. It may actually be the fundamental part.
      Another plus of this great novel is the way the main character was built. Unlike the majority of female characters we see in manga, Feng Lan is a very strong character with a unique personality. Though not a tomboy, she appears to be very kin on fighting in the virtual life and she is so passionate about it that she even ends up earning the title of Blood Elf. In real life, Feng Lan is a girl like any other and she never resorts to physical violence (the most she can do is threaten her brother with not feeding him) and her love for blood in the gaming world derives form a very simplistic thing: her passion for cooking. Every time Prince sees a game monster he (she) imagines chopping him like she does when cooking dinner. As a result, Prince is never afraid of monsters. All he has to do is chop them, after all. Interesting person, right?
     And last but not least, because I kept the best part for the end, is the romance. Yes, incredible, but true: this story not only has fighting, adventure and virtual reality involved, but also a steamy romance plot. Since Prince is the most handsome player in Second Life, romance would actually be unavoidable, but what is he to do when Wicked, a talented elf warrior, turns out to be Feng Lan childhood friend who has loved her for 8 years and finds out Prince's true identity? Moreover, Prince's greatest admirer, the demon bard Gui, who tricked Prince into thinking he was gay, ends up falling in love with him, but he turns out to be Feng Lan's literature professor. In the end, Prince suffers a "terrible fate" as more and more people who know "him" in real life, find out who he really is and he's forced to beg them all to keep the secret. The question that keeps nagging me though is: will Feng Lan be forced to choose between Wicked and Gui? Well, I think we'll have to keep on reading to find that out, though I have my suspicions...      
      In conclusion, I wholeheartedly recommend this very original and funny novel. You can read the novel online for free, translated with the author's permission by the team Prince Revolution!, who are doing a wonderful job translating this project. Go to their website
     The team also translates the novel "The Legend of Sun Knight" written by the same author, which is an exceptional read as well and I'll probably write about it in the future.
      I look forward to this group's future projects.


Anonymous,  November 27, 2011 at 12:39 AM  

1/2 prince is taiwanese. not chinese.
yeah. that's it.

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