REVIEW: The Scum Villain’s Self Saving System by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu

Shen Yuan is reborn into a young man and scum villain destined to die, Shen Qingqiu. But it must be known that the original Shen Qingqiu was sliced alive by his disciple, Luo Binghe, into a human stick! A human stick! He wants to prove – even scum villains can live, and live coolly at that!

It’s also the story of a small white flower who later became a black flower attacking a scholarly, scum villain type. This is the story of a master and disciple’s everyday unknowing, very strange, dog-blood process of falling in love. It’s also a scum villain’s firsthand account of the male protagonist turning from a small white sheep into an overbearing black king, sort of story……

Warnings: Extremely Graphic Violence, dubcon, some homophobic attitudes

Category: M/M

The Scum Villain’s Self Saving System is a Chinese comedy/parody danmei novel that satirizes both the harem and xianxia genres. Shen Yuan is so perturbed by the plotholes and lack of consistency in the novel he’s just finished, Proud Immortal Demon Way, that he dies of shock and is reincarnated into the story he had just finished reading as one of the scummy villains in the novel. Since he knows that this villain’s fate is not a good one, he works to change the story but accidentally makes the main character, Luo Binghe, fall in love with him instead, rendering what was once a straight harem book into a danmei book. It’s very comedic in tone, very meta and fourth wall breaking as the character is self aware about being inside of a novel, and yet still manages to get incredibly dramatic, violent and dark at times. It is by the same author as Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, and as an earlier work by this author it covers at times similar themes while being incredibly different in tone and plot.

The writing in Scum Villain is much, much more comedic and silly than in Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation. As the protagonist is self aware about being inside of a rather poorly written novel, there is a lot of tongue and cheek homages to the genres of Proud Immortal Demon Way. It had me in stitches throughout the entire thing, laughing at the antics and the absurdity of the situations that Shen Qingqui finds himself in as well as the arguments he has with the meta “System” that governs his progress through the world of the novel. All of these are absolutely hilarious. It also manages to dip into some seriously heavy drama and very dark subject matter that makes for an incredibly engaging read.

However, I will say that I think the plot tended to drag towards the end; the author could probably have shaved the book down by around 10-15 chapters. While it’s shorter than Grandmaster, Grandmaster never quite felt like it was padding time the way that Scum Villain does nearing the epic climax. It also makes a little too much use of Bad Communication As Plot Device For Angst for my own personal tastes; a lot of the issues the characters face might have easily been solved with honest conversations, which is something that can drive me rather up the wall.

I adored both main characters in Scum Villain so very much. Shen Qingqui is relatable and hilarious, and I had a blast following the story in his POV. Luo Binghe is also one of the most adorable and perplexing romantic interest characters I have ever come across. He’s so incredibly wooby you can’t help but think of him as a cutie, but he switches easily to being sadistic, overbearing and violent. The result is a character that you can’t really emotionally pin down and you’re left going back and forth between loving him and being terrified of him, which is amazing. The slowly growing relationship between the two of them is both hilariously comedic and also heart breakingly angsty so I thoroughly enjoyed that.

The side characters are a little less interesting, except for the author of the ‘original’ novel itself, who has also been reincarnated into the book as one of the side characters. His moments are fantastic and I absolutely loved it every single time he showed up.

There are a few layers to the worldbuilding here. Firstly, of course, is the fantasy xianxia setting of Proud Immortal Demon Way, the novel Shen Qingqui is reincarnated into. The world of Proud Immortal Demon Way is a sweeping fantasy realm where various sects live on the mountain peaks ruled by Peak Lord cultivators. It’s similar to the world of Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, except a little less rich; Shen Qingqui makes a note early on that the author of Proud Immortal Demon Way never bothered to properly research how to set up a xianxia setting, and so its world feels a little smaller, a little lackluster based on the limited amount of travel, the minimal political upheaval, and the rather silly naming conventions for things. Shen Qingqui spends a lot of time roasting the author for this.

The second layer is the meta layer; the System that pulls Shen Qingqui into the fictional world, gives him quests, and assigns him points based on his meeting of the stories standards, much like in a video game. It’s an incredibly well thought through setting in that respect; a character self aware about his position within a not very well written novel is a brilliant concept. There’s something really meta and transformative, too, about a book that had originally been in a genre designed to be titillating to a straight male audience being changed into a genre meant to be titillating to a female and LGBT audience.

There’s absolutely no doubt about this; Scum Villain as a novel is much hornier than Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation. Although it’s sexual scenes are few and far between (it is, in this author’s style, a slow burn that doesn’t consummate until the end) it’s got a lot of instances of sexual tension, sexual references and innuendos, and sexual-adjacent kink situations. Despite it’s very comedic tone, this novel explores quite a bit of a darker sexuality in it, including almost noncon, implied necrophilia, codependancy and torture. Luo Binghe fluctuates between being a shy blushing maiden and being an incredibly sadistic aggressor and it’s a stunningly beautiful kind of lover’s pursuit story. Props to the author for not shying away from writing very dark desires and obsessive love here, this is truly a fantastic piece for yandere fans.

Altogether The Scum Villain’s Self Saving System is one of the most unique novels I have ever read. It’s funny, it’s dark, it’s meta, and it’s kinky. If you like parody, irreverent humour, innuendos and really kinky situations this will not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and loved the concepts and the characters to pieces.

Have you read The Scum Villain’s Self Saving System? Let me know what you thought by leaving me a comment!

5 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Scum Villain’s Self Saving System by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu

  1. SVSSS is her first novel that’s why the plot tend to drag towards the end but it’s understandable. SVSS has a special place in my heart because out of her 3 Novels, Shen Qingqui/Shen Yuan is the only Shou/Uke that I can easily relate to.


  2. I agreeeee. Most people did not really enjoy SVSS because according to them, it isn’t as “good” as MDZS. But I beg to differ. The two (and even HOB as the 3rd novel) are very different from each other in terms of plotlines. I think most people didn’t enjoy SVSS because of its parodic approach, but that exactly what the novel stand out.

    Since then first time I’ve read SVSS up until now, this has become one of my favorite danmei novel out there. SVSS is even my comfort novel bc I recently finished 2HA and reading SVSS brought me out from depression.

    All in all, I loooooove SVSS. I loveee Luo Binghe, and I love Shen Qingqiu ❤


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