The Chinese bl novel „The Reader and Protagonist Definitely Have to Be in True Love“ is one that I only discovered because the other novel that was translated on the side hadn’t that many chapters out yet. I loved it very much at the beginning and I still liked it at the ending even though I wasn’t that thrilled about it anymore.
It’s still a novel I’d recommend reading, though. There is an advantage to this novel, too: It is already completely translated so you can start reading right now. 😉
What is „The Reader and Protagonist Definitely Have to Be in True Love“ about?
This novel is about Du Ze who read a web novel and wrote a not so nice comment in order to help the author get more famous but instead made him change the whole novel and get hated by his readers. Du Ze suffers because of how much the protagonist has to endure now and finally gets the chance to right the things that went wrong because of his comment when he is transported into the world of the novel and meets the novel’s protagonist Xiu.
Alright, so, as someone who loves to read and write I was thrilled when I started reading this novel. Why? Because it connects the original novel Du Ze read, the story of Du Ze himself inside the world of the novel and something called the „black box“ that seems to be something like the voice of the protagonist of the original novel.
The snippets from the original web novel and the black box appear every few chapters and gave the novel a bit more depth, IMO. Unfortunately, they didn’t prevail until the end or at least they seemed to get fewer and fewer with time and my interest in the novel dwindled with their number. It’s not that I didn’t like the novel anymore but I just didn’t find it as interesting as before.
One of my other problems were the characters. I did like Xiu – the protagonist of the original web novel – because he had a backstory that influenced him very much and his actions were always comprehensible to me.
The person I didn’t really like, unfortunately, was Du Ze, the one who is the protagonist of „The Reader and Protagonist Definitely Have to Be in True Love“. At first glance, he seemed like a really interesting protagonist: He is deaf and extremely short-sighted which is something that differentiates him from almost every other character I’ve read about until now.
Unfortunately, that is everything I found distinct about him. He didn’t really seem to have a personality that influences much in the novel. And his impairment that seemed like it could be interesting somehow seemed more like an overly convenient plot-device because his hearing aid somehow always fails at the crucial moment. It was fun the first time but it wasn’t when it happened repeatedly.
I actually lost interest in the novel halfway but still continued on after a while because, well, the overall plot was still good and the world was really detailed.
All in all …
„The Reader and Protagonist Definitely Have to Be in True Love“ is a novel I did like but that didn’t manage to engage me continuously. To me, it felt a little lacking character-wise while I was very much in love with the world building, the overall plot, and the story-telling itself. So, my reading experience with this novel was quite mixed.
I would still recommend giving this novel a try because there are lots of good things about it and quite a few cute scenes you’ll certainly like. 😉