On my vacation recently, I forgot to stock up on new Manga. I was in desperate need of a new book, movie or TV series to binge. I have a great love of period dramas of all types, but it had been a while since I had found one that really captured my imagination. In researching this years Chinese New Year, I came across a random post of gorgeous historical Chinese costumes on Tumblr, I was then turned on to the Chinese drama Princess Weiyoung. It is inspired from the novel The Poisonous Daughter (庶女有毒) by Qin Jian.

The story of Princess Weiyoung begins with the Princess of Northern Liang escaping death as her entire family is slaughtered by the Chiyun clan of Northern Wei, her father having been framed for rebelling against the Emperor. She takes on the persona of Li Weiyoung, the estranged illegitimate daughter of the Prime Minister of Northern Wei, in order to infiltrate their clan and take vengeance upon those responsible for the death of her family.

Princess Weiyoung

Although at first it seems like a straight revenge drama, Princess Weiyoung is as much of a love story as it is a Game of Thrones-style battle between clans. Through chance or fate, Li Weiyoung runs into Touba Jun, grandson of the Emperor and widely favored to become the next Emperor himself. Touba Jun finds himself undeniably drawn to Weiyoung, yet their budding relationship is held at bay by the sinister forces of the Chiyun clan, the very clan responsible for killing Weiyoung’s family. To make things even more complicated, the wicked and scheming Chiyun Rou is the wife of the Prime Minister and Weiyoung’s legal mother.

Chiyun Rou wants nothing more than to see her first born daughter, Li Changle, marry Touba Jun and become the next Empress beside him, yet the sudden arrival of her husband’s illegitimate daughter Weiyoung, throws a serious wrench into her plan. As she discovers Touba Jun’s fascination with Weiyoung, Chiyun Rou will stop at nothing to ensure that Weiyoung does not survive long enough to gain his affection, even going so far as to poison herself and frame Weiyoung for trying to murder her.

Fortunately, Weiyoung is not a woman to be messed with. Clever and cunning, Weiyoung dismantles each of their schemes with intelligence and grace. No matter what they throw at her, Weiyoung always figures out a way to make the situation work for her and come out on top and you can’t help but cheer for her. It certainly helps that Weiyoung is a genuinely kind, caring, and generous person. She is loyal to those who befriend her and has a strong sense of justice, not only for herself but for anyone else wronged by the Emperor and the Chiyun clan.

Without giving away any spoilers, I can safely say that I have never cried so many times during a TV series. Although the series can get a bit over the top at times (especially after Weiyoung gets framed for something horrible for the umpteenth time), it is definitely worth sticking it out until the end. A warning: the ending will wreck you! But it is satisfying to see all the evil characters get their just desserts.

If you are looking for an entertaining “Game of Thrones” -like series with an beautiful Chinese cultural setting, amazing costumes, a clever female protagonist you will gladly root for and bad guys you’ll love to hate, check out Princess Weiyoung. The 54-episode series is currently available (subtitled in English) on YouTube.

As always if you are ever in need of a great recommendation, any of our Bookmans locations can help you. We are always happy to offer a new author, movie, graphic novel based on your current likes. Discover something new today just like I did with Princess Weiyoung.