Wuxia Novels: An Introduction 📜

Hi there! So, yeah i’ve been away for a long time. I was at home for the first few months (vacation, you know~) then I started training for work afterwards and I haven’t watched any anime until just recently! Can you imagine that? Sucks to not have a strong internet connection in the countryside. You’d wait a long time to load an episode and i’m a person who hates waiting so to pass the time, I tried looking for other things to do and know what I found? (english-translated) Wuxia Novels! Have you ever tried reading Chinese novels? If yes, ever heard of wuxia? Well, today this post will be dedicated to chinese novels, particularly the wuxia genre.

Wǔxiá is one of the most popular among the many genres of Chinese literature. According to Wiki, wuxia is composed of the word wu (martial/military/armed) and xia (honorable/chivalrous/hero). Combined, it means ‘martial heroes’ which pertain to the protagonists of these particular novels.

Wuxia is like the combination of fantasy, romance and historical genres of literature. It is fantasy in a way that it involves magic powers, supernatural beings or monsters, etc. Romance is there in almost (or maybe all) wuxia novels. Some main characters even have multiple wives/love interests like ‘harem’ in Japanese literature. Heroines in wuxia are often not the damsel-in-distress kind of female. They are often those who can stand side by side with the MC when it comes to strength. Sometimes they can even be stronger than the MC. It adds a lot of impact to the story since the primary audience of these novels are males. And i like it coz there’s a sense of equality in them. However, it is important to note that most of these novels has mature and explicit content. Massacre, indiscriminate killings or sometimes sexual acts and things bloody and gory can be seen on this novels so beware. It is also historical as most stories were set to be like ancient China. Well, as someone who loves historical setting, wuxia novels were perfect for me. 😉

The stories of wuxia novels focus on the protagonist’s (usually male) martial arts cultivation journey along with their adventures and experiences. They’d usually join a sect or are already in a sect and seeks to further improve their martial arts.

Martial arts practitioners use an inner spiritual energy called qì or ch’i in their attacks and defense during battles. Oftentimes, the MC wields a weapon like a sword, saber, staff, spear or bow and arrow (or more than one of these) imbued with their qi and dao. [Dao means ‘the (right) way.’ For example, the sword dao is ‘the way of the sword’ or something like that and it is also something that is cultivated.] Some even use unconventional weapons like musical instruments, fans, ink brushes, etc. Aside from martial arts and weapons, they can also use qinggong, a martial arts technique that gives them the ability to hover in the air or fly, run over water’s surface, jump over tall walls or swiftly move over long distances in a short period of time. All of these along with the MC’s talent (which most of them has a lot of), and sometimes thru some sort of cultivation manual, determines how his training will progress.

There are different series of events in these novels that make the story so much more interesting. There are cases like in romance Chinese novels where the protagonist came from the future or an entirely different dimension and got dragged into the world where martial artists rule. Some MCs are already powerful among their peers at the start of the story while some are weaklings or just an ordinary person that somehow got a powerful artifact or something that’d help in their cultivation. Others are driven by revenge, finding missing family members or loved ones or just their pursuit of the grand dao. It is pretty common for them to have experiences like battling their enemies (often those with higher levels of cultivation than them but they’ll defeat them anyway 💪), near-death experiences (they’ll either escape by themselves or get saved by another powerful expert) and encountering fortuitius events (that can make them power up). It ends with the MC being a powerful existence honed by his many experiences and tribulations and becoming feared and respected by many. 

So, interested yet?

Here are some of the wuxia novels that i’d like to recommend: (click on the picture for the summary and other details)

  • Emperor’s Domination

Author: Yanbi Xiaosheng (厌笔萧生)


  • Sovereign of the Three Realms

Author: Li Tian (犁天)

  • Martial God Asura

Author: Kindhearted Bee / Shan Liang de Mi Feng (善良的蜜蜂)

  •  Coiling Dragon (Panlong)

Author: I Eat Tomatoes / Wo Chi Xi Hong Shi (我吃西红柿)

  • The Great Ruler

Author: Heavenly Silkworm Potato / Tian Can Tu Dou (天蚕土豆)

Because of the growing popularity of wuxia novels, some of them are already adapted into manhuas. Panlong and The Great Ruler listed above, Tales of Demon and Gods, Battle through the Heavens (Doupo Cangqiong) and Wu Dong Qian Kun are just some of them. Does some of these sound familiar to you? You may check them out too. ☺

Anyway if you’re interested, you may visit these websites for more English-translated wuxia novels to read: 👇

<I’d also like to extend my thanks to those hardworking translators who made reading these chinese novels possible. A million thanks guys!>

Nevertheless, what i’ve read is just a drop in the ocean. There’s still a lot of wuxia novels waiting for my love and attention. Still, i’d be happy to share my interests with you all so feel free to ask me if you have questions regarding this topic. Thanks for reading! 😊🤗


<The pictures used in this post are not mine.  I edited the featured photo but credit goes to their respective owners.>


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