Thursday, March 07, 2024

Remnants of Filth vol. 3 by Rou Bao Bu Chi Rou: review

5/5 stars on Goodreads

Remnants of Filth vol 3 by Rou Bao Bu Chi Rou

Volume 3 of Remnants of Filth offered a heartbreak after a heartbreak. I’ll try to review it without great spoilers, but continue at your own discretion.

The story picks up on the burial mountain where Mo Xi is paying respects to his father. Gu Mang, feeling the need to show Mo Xi that he can become a good person again, sets to ask forgiveness in front of all ten thousand graves on the burial mountain. This even though Mo Xi tells him that no matter how good he becomes, he’ll be executed in the end.

And Mo Xi is right: people aren’t swayed by Gu Mang’s show of humility. Things might have continued like they have so far, with Mo Xi frustrated with Gu Mang, whose memory remains poor, but then Yue Chenqing goes missing. The emperor orders Mo Xi to go rescue him with his Fourth Uncle Murong Chui and half-brother Jiang Yexue, and Gu Mang has to come along too. It’s an uncomfortable journey, as Murong Chui and Jiang Yexue don’t get along at all, and Gu Mang remembers some of the more embarrassing things.

They locate Yue Chenqing to an island of bat demons, but the rescue mission goes sideways. In the heat of the battle, Gu Mang and Mo Xi have a chance to observe the events of the past, namely the moment Gu Mang decides to defect.

It’s a revelation in many ways to Mo Xi. He learns things about Gu Mang he had been too young to understand at the time, and gets some insight into why Gu Mang defected, though he has now more questions than before. And he realises exactly how the emperor sees Gu Mang and what his role in Gu Mang’s defection was. All of it is heartbreaking; more so, because Mo Xi has no way to help Gu Mang or console him.

Mo Xi is greatly shaken by what he learns, but since the battle is on, he has no time to reflect. Gu Mang is changed too. But not back to the man Mo Xi knew before. The final heartbreak comes when Mo Xi finally gathers courage to ask Gu Mang if he ever loved him. The book ends before we get the answer. It’ll be an agony to wait for the next volume.

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