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…

2010-09-02 娘娘腔 Niang Niang Qiang
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

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

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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!

5 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


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