Corner Café

December 24, 2020

Random Ramblings on BL Novels – The 188 Series 188男團系列耽美小説

Filed under: Miscellaneous & TV Shows — SeaDragon @ 10:00 am
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Currently I am in the midst of reading the 188 series of BL novels by Shui Qian Cheng 水千丞. The first time I came across this author was after watching the 2017 bromance TV series, Beloved Enemy 決對爭鋒 at the beginning of this year, later I started to read the BL novel the TV series was adapted from, 針鋒對決. Of course at the time I did not realise it was part of the 188 series, but I did notice that Yuan Yang 原煬 was really a badass in the novel compared to his watered down behaviour in the TV series.

Then during the second BIG lockdown in August, I started to read another BL novel by the same auther, Dragon Blood 龍血, originally known as Foster Father 養父, which is a fantasy tale and I was hooked. Half the time I forgot that it was a BL novel as the main story itself about the life of mercenary soldiers and human injected with dragon blood can turn himself into a half human, half dragon being, was really intriguing. Dragon Blood is not part of the 188 series, so the main protagonist is not a despicable character, LOL… Compared to the dull and sugary sweet university lives of BL TV series, the story in Dragon Blood was fascinating and full of twists. So I began to search for other BL novels by this author.

Finally It’s You 最後是你 – 188 Boys Club 188男團

The next book I read was My Little Poplar 小白楊 just a couple of months ago. It was then I started to notice commenters mentioning the 188 series, but took no notice of it at the time as I have no idea what the 188 was about. Then after I finished that book, I chose to read Additional Heritage 附加遺產 (translated literally as Additional Legacy), and another contemptuous personality as the main protagonist! So I finally decided to check out what the 188 was all about…

Talking about the 188 series, in Chinese it is known as the 188男團 (translated literally as the 188 Boys Club/Group), in fact I should say it is more accurate to translate them as the 188 Bastards, LOL! Why 188? It is because they are all about 188cm in height, and there are 10 novels, so 10 bastards in all. So if you can’t handle storylines with disgusting, criminal behaviours, don’t even consider reading these novels, but if like me, you’re a fan of murder/mystery/suspense dramas and love reading stories with angst, you should be able to handle these types of stories, LOL… I decided to write this post because many of the characters in these 10 novels are related, someone even took the time to draw a relationship chart of these characters, unfortunately it is only in Chinese (sorry, can’t find who did the chart originally, but thank you to that person)…

As I have already read three of these books before I knew of the 188 series, I now want to read the rest of the 188 series at least in the order of their character development’s timeline. I searched and here is what I found. So if you are also planning to read these novels, here’s a beginner’s guide of how to read them in order of timeline according to suggestions online… If you read them randomly, you will get spoilers of the previous book, as I did with Additional Heritage since I read it first which gave away a crucial ending of Niang Niang Qiang.

If you want to start with the captain of the bastards (the most badass character), then it is Shao Qun 邵群 in Niang Niang Qiang 娘娘腔 (translated literally as Sissy Boy), followed by Additional Heritage 附加遺產 (also translated as Additional Legacy), then Winner Takes All 誰把誰當真, then lastly Wife, Children and Warm Bed 老婆孩子熱炕頭 (a.k.a. Uncle Grey and the Eurasian Prince 灰大叔與混血王子) as these four are closely related. (See Jan 31, 2021 update below for first-published dates of each novel.)

The next two books are related, read In Love with an Idiot 你卻愛著一個傻逼 first, then followed by My Little Poplar 小白楊.

Finally, the vice captain of the 188 Bastards (the second most badass character) is Song Juhan 宋居寒 and his main story is in The Years of Intoxication 一醉經年. These four related books are Professional Body Double 職業替身, Beloved Enemy 針鋒對決, The Years of Intoxication 一醉經年, and Flame Armour 火焰戎裝. I think the reading order of these 4 books are not as important as I have seen other fans ordering them in different order of reading. However just a note that Flame Armour is the tenth and the latest of the 188 series, so read this book last. That’s why the couple in Flame Armour is not included in the relationship chart or the image at the top of the page as they were done before Flame Armour was released. Enjoy reading and have a safe and wonderful holiday.

Update January 7, 2021: Two of the 188 novels have now been translated into manga/manhua comics at kuaikanmanhua. The manhua of Winner Takes All 誰把誰當真 was first published on December 1, 2020 as Who Cares and currently at 5 chapters, but on hold at the moment because the artist doing the sketches is sick. The Years of Intoxication 一醉經年 has just started on January 2, 2021 as Drunk in Love and is currently available with 2 chapters and being updated with new chapters every Wednesday.

Update January 8, 2021: Add the new Qun × Xiu CP song to Niang Niang Qiang 娘娘腔… I think the song was written for the 10th anniversary of the novel…

Love Diary 愛情日記
188 Club “Niang Niang Qiang” QunXiu CP Song 《娘娘腔》群秀原創曲

Update January 31, 2021: Came across these dates the time the first chapter was uploaded for each of the ten novels. So the only difference in reading order I listed above is that Wife, Children and Warm Bed 老婆孩子熱炕頭 was actually the second novel written in the 188 series, but it has the least special appearance of other characters in the novel, so I guess that’s why it can be read as the fourth novel in the Shao Qun 邵群 series… (Update December 28, 2021: Added the date for the eleventh novel…)

2010-09-02 娘娘腔 Niang Niang Qiang / Sissy
2011-02-06 灰大叔與混血王子(老婆孩子熱炕頭) Wife, Children and Warm Bed
2011-08-26 你卻愛著一個傻逼 In Love with an Idiot
2012-08-01 職業替身 Professional Body Double
2012-11-05 針鋒對決 Beloved Enemy
2014-01-01 小白楊 My Little Poplar
2015-02-05 附加遺產 Additional Heritage/Inheritance
2015-10-12 一醉經年 The Years of Intoxication
2016-02-14 誰把誰當真 Winner Takes All / Who Cares
2019-09-26 火焰戎裝 Flame Armour
2021-12-25 頂級掠食者 Alpha Predator

Update August 12, 2021: Apparently 188 novel #11 maybe out end of this year, can’t wait!

Update December 10, 2021: 188 novel #11 will start around Christmas time!

Update December 25, 2021: 188 novel 11 is here! It is called 頂級掠食者 (Alpha Predator). The first two chapters are now available to read! Caution… This is an ABO BL, I’ve read a couple of ABO novels previously, must admit this subgenre of BL is not my favourite type of stories, but I will give this one a try, may like it since it is part of 188, LOL…

By the way, the first 188 novel, Niang Niang Qiang, has been made into manju 漫劇 and is currently being broadcast… Manju is something new, 3-minute-episode manhua drama, which is basically turning existing manhua 漫畫 by additional production into voice+moving drama… ep1-20 >>> latest episodes here

Update December 31, 2021: LOL… OK, I am reading Beyond the Outline currently, but getting a bit bored with the story as it is the sort of novel that you can put down for a few days then pick up with the story a few days later, not the type of story that makes you keep turning the pages and difficult to put down. So I casually went and just thought I would read the introduction of Alpha Predator just to see how it is and then wait for more chapters, maybe when 20-30 chapters are available before I start reading it…. Guess what, without knowing it, I read all 6 chapters that are available at the moment in one go last night… I guess maybe I wasn’t that interested in ABO previously was more about the writing style of the authors rather than the subject of the novels, LOL… A good writer can obviously keep the story interesting even though I thought the subject of ABO is not to my taste but now I can’t help but want to know what happens next in Alpha Predator! Also I still need to keep remembering it is ABO, for example, in the beginning when the MC was reading the document for the ML’s background, it said ML’s immediate family was an omega father and a grandmother (from maternal side), and without thinking too much I thought immediately maybe the ML’s mother was dead or something… Then a couple of minutes later, I had to slap myself, LOL… there was no mother! His omega father was ML’s maternal side and the one who bore the ML, arghhhhhh…. Hahahahaha…
For some of you who may be interested, I came across these birthday portraits of the 10 “bastards (their birthday dates are indicated… Update March 26, 2022: LOL… Did not look carefully, they should be 10 of the protagonists’ birthdays, not just the 10 “bastards”…) and also these sticker illustrations of the cutesy “catified” protagonists from the first 10 novels, the illustrator specified that you can download them for free for PERSONAL use only, and must not be used for commercial money-making purposes… However, without names, I can recognise a few couples only; the one wearing glasses is obviously Gu Qingpei with Yuan Yang from Beloved Enemy, the one holding the microphone is Song Juhan with He Gu from Years of Intoxication, the two wearing military outfits are from My Little Poplar, the one wearing apron is from Wife, Children and Warm Bed (?), the one holding the basketball is from In Love with an Idiot (?), the one wearing earmuffs is Adrian from Additional Heritage, and I can’t find fire-fighter uniform from Flame Armour? The rest I can’t decide who is who, LOL…

Update January 11, 2022: I should have waited before starting to read this new novel, now it is a torture of waiting for one new chapter every weekday, LOL… But one of the bastards from the past 10 novels have made a guest appearance in the newest chapter, chapter 14. As this is an ABO setup, they are now guest appearing in the parallel universe of having ABO characteristics. Can’t wait to see what effect he’ll have on the newest 188 bastard.

Update April 9, 2022: Came across another song which is the accompanying song to Finally It’s You above which is sung by the 10 “bastards”, however this one is sung by their spouses. Interestingly these 10 spouses are collectively known as 家主團 meaning Head-of-the-Household Group, which basically means they all have the final say in each of their pairs, LOL…

Finally It’s Me 最後是我 – 188 Spouses 家主團

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Don’t read the following if you don’t want spoilers…

Although one of the protagonists in these BL novels is always a bastard, they have happy endings, well, the 3 novels that I’ve read have happy endings, since they are BL after all. Also, don’t just focus on the main bastard in each novel as there are enough good, kind-hearted friends who helped each other out that you can feel good about the stories. The plotlines in this series followed the typical drama plot according to the common Chinese saying of 虐妻一時爽,追妻火葬場 – which basically means that you may get a little satisfaction temporarily from treating your (future) wife badly, but you will have to walk through fire to coax her back. So the plotlines are basically the bastard manipulated, used, bullied (in My Little Poplar) or swindled (in Additional Heritage) their future other-half in the beginning, then they started to have feelings towards the one they bullied, but by then the bullied one has distanced themselves from the bastard. Now the bastard has to use all sorts of tricks to win back the heart of the one they bullied, in the process ending up in hospital themselves (most times – the walking through fire part! Reading the comments from fans, it is quite hilarious many fans of this series always can’t wait for the ICU chapters after the torturing first-half of the novels as this is the turning point to the happy ending) due to extreme measures they took to get the bullied one back, LOL… In the end the bullied ones took the upper hand in their relationship!

Update March 26, 2022: Just read Chapter 59 of Alpha Predator, getting exciting now we have jumped forward one year! I still get the feeling that Shen Dai is actually a S-class omega because there was mention of his pheromone gland not developing properly or missing something earlier on, or did I confuse it with another novel? Now it looks like baby Qiu is going to be a S-class alpha since he has not been tested? LOL, Moyu is going to regret everything once he found out, yay… Can’t wait for the next chapter… That senior Bai also sounds like another Li Shuo, yes get a love rival for Moyu… Also just found out someone has already started to translate Alpha Predator over at Novel Updates, so for those of you wanting to read this new novel in English head over there…

Update March 31, 2022: Just read C63, the last couple chapters of Alpha Predator are so angsty, I got up early just to read the new chapter… Now remember what you said, Qu Moyu 🦑 : “If there is one thing I don’t have, that means I don’t need it!”… So why are you doing the paternity test with the son you don’t want in the first place, LOL… You not only have to chase after Shen Dai later, but you will have another obstacle with your own son to get through, this will get very dog-blood later on, can’t wait… Also I haven’t forgotten the two idiots, Qu Cengchen and Shen Qin, waiting for gigantic comeuppance for you two!

Update April 9, 2022: The past week or so, I have been reading another novel called 男主們為什麼都用這種眼神看我 (Why do all the male leads look at me like this) which is also a very new BL novel that was just completed in March, so I was binge reading it and so now I’m a few chapters behind on Alpha Predator. Just to sidetrack a bit, 男主們為什麼都用這種眼神看我 is a very sweet and fluffy story about the protagonist transmigrating into a novel surrounding the filming of a TV dating show, it is the complete opposite to the 188 series so it might suit readers who cannot stand angsty story. To me it is just too sweet but the story itself on the filming of the TV show is engaging enough for me to continue reading it. I was also curious about how the protagonist would transmigrate back into the real world at the end but the writer just totally ignored the fact that the novel started with a transmigration, LOL… OK, back to Alpha Predator, I was reading some comments on Chinese sites of some readers giving negative reviews to the novel because they felt Shen Dai lost his strong character and became weak and lovesick, and how he decided to break the contract and keep the baby after saying he’ll not follow the footsteps of his omega father. However I totally disagree with those comments… First of all this is based on ABO, and there is a destined pairing in the perfect alpha-omega pair, so Shen Dai may be very strong-headed at the beginning, he’s also led by his destined pair who is obviously Qu Moyu. Therefore even with his intellectual side telling him his was an arranged marriage and no more, his unconscious omega animalistic instinct (same reason Moyu needs to be isolated in a safe house when he’s in rut when his animalistic instinct is at its peak and out of his control) within him can lead to him having moments of weakness which explains his moments of fantasy that Moyu may actually loved him (which Moyu did as why else would he acts like a dog everytime he’s near Shen Dai and wanting to sniff his pheromone but Moyu’s too stupid to realise it yet, LOL…). Regarding keeping the baby, it is not his fault getting pregnant, he did not set out to break the marriage contract and get pregnant intentionally after all, they were both played by Qu Chengchen and Shen Qin! After-the-fact is very different to purposely planning it. So after realising his marriage to Moyu is over, and being forced to abort the foetus, I can understand him wanting to keep the baby because it is a very hard decision for a caring person or anyone, to go for abortion. Remember he grew up with only his grandparents by his side, now with only an ailing grandmother and an idiot omega father who is using him (and his alpha father too using him to benefit themselves), it is very understandable he wants and needs another family member to give his unconditional love to… Also his reason for keeping the baby was the polar opposite to his omega father!

Update April 13, 2022: Caught up to C72, Moyu is still so dense, LOL… However the one bright spot is baby Qiu’s reaction whenever Moyu is near, he starts howling in fear! However he is quiet and happy with Shen Dai’s friends, his grandma (Moyu’s mother), and great grandma (Shen Dai’s grandmother)… Also there is a mistake in C72 – Moyu said he asked at the hotel’s front desk as to Shen Dai’s whereabouts, but Shen Dai has moved in with Cheng Zimei temporarily by then and no longer at the hotel, LOL… I thought Moyu has Shen Dai tailed, afraid he might disappear, hence finding out he’s in the hospital…

Update April 15, 2022: Got up early to read C74 and arghhh, it’s delay for 24 hours just as we are at the point when Moyu was just about to click and realize all the stupid things he had done! But why do I get the feeling that Moyu’s father is about to cause trouble, he doesn’t know about the baby yet but I’m afraid what he will do once he finds out especially if it turns out baby Qiu is S-class (?) alpha! Maybe this is how Moyu will end up in hospital trying to protect Shen Dai and their son from his father, haha…

Update April 18, 2022: I thought Moyu was about to come to his senses a couple chapters before, but no, he’s digging his own hole deeper and deeper… Be careful you will find it more and more difficult to climb out… But hey the more angst now, the more satisfying the ending will be! I think Shen Dai will do a Li Chengxiu, with a baby instead of a dog, and disappear to another city and not telling anyone, LOL…

Update April 21, 2022: Just read C78… Oh, Moyu, Moyu, did you get muddled by your own cuttlefish ink? There’s a huge difference between possession and love! Wake up please, and don’t torture Shen Dai anymore… First of all, break off your engagement quick smart before anything else, geeeez…

Update April 22, 2022: OK, I’ll give a merit point to Moyu for accepting the child he didn’t want in the first place so quickly before knowing what class alpha baby Qiu is, although at first it was more of a pride and jealousy issue that baby Qiu is using another alpha’s pheromone, LOL… Now Moyu’s father knows about the baby, I wonder what will happen on Shen Dai side with his alpha father, will there be a tussle for the baby, since all indication points to the baby being the top class alpha!

Update April 27, 2022: Hmm, how did Qu Shen know that baby Qiu is A-class alpha? Did Moyu lie to his father since he hasn’t tested QiuQiu yet and it was only a couple of days ago that he asked the nanny to secretly extract the gland secretion in order to find out QiuQiu’s alpha rank. Oh, just you wait, Qu Shen! Maybe the grown up S-class (?) alpha QiuQiu will reject your insincere charity of using the Qu surname and just continue to use Shen 沈 surname instead, that will be a big slap on your face, LOL…

Update May 1, 2022: So the next chapter will be released on Wednesday night/Thursday morning as Shui Qiancheng is having writer’s block and she will use these few days’ break to smooth/iron out upcoming plotlines… I fear we are at the stage of the calm before the storm, more big angst is waiting for us, LOL… However if you are looking for something to watch in the meantime, I can recommend a wonderful UK series on Netflix, Heartstopper, it is the most wholesome, heart-warming and very sweet but not sickly, BL series ever! In my mind it is already the best series to come out this year, up there on top with Cherry Magic as the best feel-good BL series ever! So if you have not heard of it yet, please go watch it, you won’t regret it!

Update May 15, 2022: Finally C92 & 93 look like the turning point has started! The second previous 188 has also made a guest appearance, Yu Fengcheng from My Little Poplar… Moyu has entered the hospital, though not in ICU, LOL… and baby Qiu has now been confirmed as a S-class alpha, but the angst from the side characters are also waiting for us, what will Moyu’s father do once he found out about baby Qiu’s real alpha status? What will Shen Dai’s alpha father do? I’m also waiting for karma to slap on the face of Qu Chengchen and Shen Qin, LOL…

Update May 24, 2022: Ahhh… C98, Moyu being the romantic devil, LOL… Let’s talk about Shen Dai’s pheromone, 曇花 (tanhua) which is commonly called Queen of the Night in English, or its scientific name is Epiphyllum oxypetalum. It is a type of jungle cacti with beautiful white flowers that bloom at night and fade in the morning. It is the shooting star of the plant world because it only reveals its most beautiful and fragrant moment in the middle of the night! Below are two time lapse videos of the flower blooming…

Update May 27, 2022: Tsk, tsk, tsk… C101, so Moyu just blurted out “my wife” on the phone while holding baby Qiu with one hand and in front of Shen Dai so naturally as if they are one big happy family! Did you forget you are still divorced? Just wait till Shen Dai finds out you went behind his back to test baby Qiu’s alpha status! I’m also very suspicious of You Baiyue’s motive in getting close to Shen Dai, although he did mention something that changes the meaning of the novel title as in the person who can control a S-class alpha is actually the most powerful person, meaning Shen Dai is that person! Also I’m laughing so hard at the nickname fans have given 尤柏悅 You Baiyue which is 牛百葉 (niubaiye) meaning beef tripe, LOL… So now we already have 瞿末予 Qu Moyu’s nickname which is 墨魚 (moyu = cuttlefish 🦑), and 沈岱 Shen Dai’s nickname is 聖代 (shengdai = sundae 🍦 , the ice cream dessert).

18 Comments »

  1. hi thanks for the info. i simply love work of Shui Qian Cheng and have read few of it. currently m reading additional heritage but translation quality so bad at wattapad that its taking out pleasure of reading. can u suggest some good quality English translation links of Shui Qian Cheng work

    Comment by nyxzane — February 19, 2021 @ 6:53 am | Reply

    • I’m reading the original Chinese novels, but I did check out some of the English translated versions. I think the best one is at Novel Updates. The only problem is that most of Shui Qian Cheng novels are still being translated with only a few chapters, so not many completed translations yet.

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 19, 2021 @ 7:49 am | Reply

  2. Wow, I love how you organized all the information. I appreciate it and will be bookmarking this page for sure. This author can really write angsty and make me cry a bucket.
    I love some of the books and can’t wait to start fresh now that I know the order. Thanks a lot!🙏

    Comment by Britener — March 26, 2021 @ 3:41 pm | Reply

  3. so I’m not the only one who like the novels of this author, yeah eventhough they’re bastards who in common do some huge mistakes but! all are happy ending 🙂

    Comment by sarah — August 25, 2021 @ 4:35 am | Reply

  4. I can really recommend the audio dramas!! I finished the one for Sissy, you can find it on missevan.com. Also, the mini movies are sooo great. All big name actors. This is the one for Sissy. https://m.weibo.cn/status/IjNaIC7PI?jumpfrom=weibocom#&video. Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo from the Untamed are in other mini movies (not as a pair though).

    Comment by Lea — January 21, 2022 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  5. Ahh thank you for this post! I have recently became obsessed with this author and their works. I really hope one day that this entire series is translated officially. I’ve tried getting a weibo acct to read Alpha Predator as mtl, but I am too dumb to get around the phone verification (or it’s blocked in my country).

    Comment by Sitkaspruce — January 24, 2022 @ 12:07 pm | Reply

  6. I was a fan of beloved enemy drama and novel but i just found out of this 188 clic , i’m now starting to read some of them like sissy and additional inheritance . And i must say so far Shao Qun deserve the ultimate scum title, Yanyang is waaay better compared to him

    Comment by ShiraAi (Arashihonou) — March 21, 2022 @ 4:12 pm | Reply

    • Haha, yes Shao Qun and Song Juhan are the two most despicable characters but the two novels are also the most satisfying to read in terms of turnarounds in the second half of the novels. The other 8 188s are not as bad, they just don’t know how to love. So far I’m up to about 50 chapters in the eleventh novel, and Qu Moyu is not the most hated character yet but two other side characters are even worst, LOL.

      Comment by SeaDragon — March 21, 2022 @ 7:20 pm | Reply

  7. thank you for the information..i little bit scared to translate it.. i stop at the chapter 40.. and still waiting your review [spoiler] for the dog blood and happy(?) moment in nex chapter..

    Comment by yong yashaan — April 7, 2022 @ 7:17 am | Reply

  8. Please can someone provide with any site from where i can read Alpha Predator. I really want to read it. I cant login to weibo as its not available in my country

    Comment by Laiba — April 14, 2022 @ 12:56 am | Reply


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