The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System (Ren Zha Fanpai Zijiu Xitong) by  Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiù (墨香铜臭)

Half-demon Luo Binghe rose from humble beginnings and a tortured past to become unrivaled in strength and beauty. With his harem of over three hundred wives, and dominion over both the human and demonic realms, he is truly the most powerful protagonist—in a trashy web novel series!

At least, that’s what Shen Yuan, online alias “Peerless Cucumber,” believes as he finishes reading the final chapter in Proud Immortal Demon Way. But when a combination of rage and a poor meal choice leads to his death, Shen Yuan finds himself reborn into the world of the web novel, in the body of Shen Qingqiu—the beautiful but cruel teacher to a young Luo Binghe. Although as Shen Qingqiu, he now has incredible power and abilities as a cultivator, he’s destined to be horrifically punished for crimes against the protagonist, so this new Shen Qingqiu has only one course of action: get into Luo Binghe’s good graces before the young man’s rise to power. That’s the only way he’ll escape the awful fate of a true scum villain!

*****

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss. All thoughts are my own.

Review:

At long last, MXTX’s three series are officially published in English! This is a long-awaited moment for me and I’m so so happy the broader Western sphere gets an accessible copy of these books! I first read the fan-translation of SVSSS from Black Box Translations back in 2020 after falling down the MXTX rabbit hole and I believe it’s the same team behind the official translation. As a heads up, this review is being written from the perspective of someone who’s already familiar with the entire story, but will not contain spoilers.

With Scum Villain, it’s impossible to start without talking about the absolutely absurd cast of characters. Firstly we have our protagonist, Shen Yuan, trashy harem webnovel enthusiast and man who dies and transmigrates to the body of our ‘villain’, Shen Qinqiu (SQQ). SQQ is really the lifeblood of this book. His snarky commentary, absolute done-ness with the idiocy of certain characters, and his love/hate relationship with the AI System that’s thrust him into this world are just a hilarious perspective to the reader in this otherwise slightly terrifying experience. I remember loving the jokes in my original read-through, but I think the extra rounds of editing this version has gone through just makes them hit so much harder.

And of course, we have the rest of our cast. Our to-be love interest and male protagonist, Luo Binghe, pre-blackening. The pure-lotus-like manner of Binghe in this book one is going to make the events of the later books hit so much harder(this isn’t a spoiler, SQQ explains the plot of the webnovel he transmigrates to in like, the first chapter). Also my personal favorite of this series, Liu Qingge, man who really just wants to hit things with his sword and is conflicted by the personality gap of this new SQQ.

Of course, the plot of this book itself is wild. SQQ is transmigrated into what he fully acknowledges is a pretty garbage novel. The characters are one-dimensional, plot holes are everywhere and there’s more magical items then grains of sand on a beach. Personally, I thought this just made SQQ’s interactions in this world all the funnier, especially when you know that as his decisions cause the story to deviate further and further from it’s original path, the characters do start to slowly gain more depth and personality.

Scum Villain was originally written as a serial webnovel instead of a traditional style novel, so the pacing might come off a little odd to readers with the series of plot arcs. Just think TV instead of movie. I think the translators and the editors at Seven Seas chose a really good spot to end book one. The translation is fairly heavy on the anachronism usage but it makes sense with SQQ’s modern tongue. I haven’t read the original Chinese text, so I can’t comment on the accuracy of the translation, but I can say that compared to the fan TL, the extra editing has significantly improved the grammar and flow.

Of course, as this is MXTX’s first novel, the book is not without its flaws. This first book in particular tends to lean very info-dumpy thanks to SQQ’s ongoing narration. I believe it improves as the story goes on and SQQ can’t predict the coming events as easily. While the actions scenes are fairly numerous, the action itself tends to be confined to solitary paragraphs. There’s a mini-tournament arc around halfway through the book and I was surprised to see that some of the fights were summarized in a single paragraph or two.

Overall, I rate this book a 4.5/5. I’m so so so excited that MXTX’s works are finally getting released to a broader Western audience and Scum Villain is a fascinating blend of parody and surprisingly dark events. The translation is excellent and the humor had me rolling.


While waiting for the second book, remember to check out the other adaptions of Scum Villain!

Being a scum villain fan is suffering


r/Fantasy 2021-22 Bingo Squares:

  • Set in Asia (hard mode)
  • Published in 2021 (hard mode)
  • Debut Novel

Publication Date: 14 December 2021
Publisher: Seven Seas Danmei
Format: eBook, ARC
Pages: 352
Word Count: N/A
ISBN: 164827921X 
Buy It Here: Amazon | Google Books | Barnes and Nobles | Goodreads

3 thoughts on “The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System (Ren Zha Fanpai Zijiu Xitong) by  Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiù (墨香铜臭)

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