Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms v Ashes of Love | Chinese Dramas | Observations | Comparison

It’s been a number of weeks since I’ve watched Ashes of Love (香蜜沉沉烬如霜) and I am still obsessed with it. I had the same experience with Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (三生三世十里桃花) . It is clear that dramas based on Xianxia novels (仙侠小说) are my preference.

Xianxia novels are a subset of the Wuxia genre (武俠). Wuxia literally means ‘martial heroes’. The heroes referred to in this genre are usually independent agents who are not tied to any ruling power. They do however have an innate sense of justice, seek to right wrongs and typically possess excellent martial arts skills. Examples of Wuxi dramas are Legend of Fuyao 扶摇, Princess Agents 特工皇妃楚乔传 and The King’s Woman 秦时丽人明月心.

Xianxia novels incorporate elements of fantasy and include magic, demons and ghosts. Within the Xianxia novel genre there are two sub-categories:

  • Cultivation fantasy
  • Mysterious fantasy

I could go into more detail, but will refrain from doing this as the purpose of this post is not to discuss Wuxia dramas as a type of drama (please let me know if you would like a post on this topic) but rather to compare Ashes of Love against Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms — both Cultivation fantasy dramas.

Despite thoroughly enjoying ‘Ashes of Love’, I gave it a 4.5/5 as opposed to the full-marks I gave ‘Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms’. Given the similarities, I wanted to compare the two dramas to determine why I thought ‘Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms’ was the better one.

Ashes

Before I get started, I should mention that there will be spoilers in this post. Further, this comparison will predominately focus on the main/lead characters, how they are explored and portrayed by their respective actors. I readily admit that the CGI used in both dramas is sub-par so I will not be discussing cinematography or the like.

Ten Miles

Now that I’ve set out the scope of the comparison, let’s get started with our lead females —


Bai Qian v Jin Mi — Draw

While I maintain that Ashes of Love is a completely separate story to Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, Jin Mi (portrayed by Yang Zi 杨紫) as a character combines elements of both Bai Qian and Ye Hua’s story.

At the beginning of Ashes of Love, Jin Mi is gullible, impressionable and easily manipulated. This parallels Bai Qian character as Si Yin (her alias while training at Kunlun Shan) and Su Su (her alias in the Mortal Realm).

Jin Mi’s persona takes a sharp turn when she kills Xu Feng and expels the Pershing Pellet. After this milestone event, Jin Mi through guilt and remorse changes — she is less playful, more thoughtful and ultimately willing to sacrifice her life for the sake of others.

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Her story in this respect is more similar to Ye Hua’s. After Ye Hua removes Su Su/ Bai Qian’s eyes — in part contributing to her suicide — he undergoes a character change also fuelled by guilt and regret. He becomes more vulnerable, soft and also more willing to sacrifice himself.

The main difference between Ye Hua and Jin Mi in this story arc was that I found Jin Mi more willing to expressly address her wrong. In other words, she was a lot more forthcoming as oppose to Ye Hua who only openly admitted that he did something wrong after Bai Qian regained her memories.

There is an argument that Jin Mi should be more willing to admit her wrong because she intentionally harmed Xu Feng whereas Ye Hua was only trying to protect Su Su/Bai Qian not harm her. I accept this argument but still appreciated Jin Mi express admission and her efforts in trying to redeem herself.

Bai Qian/Su Su/Si Yin (portrayed by Yang Mi 杨幂) growth story was less obvious. She did slightly change/mature after Mo Yuan’s sacrifice/death and again after Su Su’s death/Bai Qian’s rebirth. However, despite the occurrence of these very significant events, Bai Qian continued to be: stubborn (to a fault), a little cold and have trouble with open and honest communication.

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Writing candidly, I believe the lack of character change seen in Bai Qian is also attributable to Yang Mi’s acting skills. While I really enjoyed watching Yang Mi’s portrayal of Bai Qian in Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, Yang Zi is a better actress. Yang Zi is a lot more expressive which made her portrayal of the lead female better.

Notwithstanding the above, I must admit that I preferred the strength in Bai Qian character. Jin Mi despite going through a lot of hardship was still heavily reliant on the strong men in her life (whether it was Runyu, Puchi or Dan Zhu) whereas Bai Qian not only becomes strong (attaining High God status) but also resourceful. Episodes 30 (the reunion episode of Bai Qian and Ye Hua) and 54 (Bai Qian takes her eyes back from Su Jin) are great examples of Bai Qian wit, resourcefully and strength.

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For the reasons above, I thought the lead females were tied. I definitely ‘liked’ Jin Mi’s character more  but ‘admired’ Bai Qian more. Further, Jin Mi growth story is balanced out by Bai Qian’s strength.


Ye Hua v Xu Feng — Ye Hua wins

Before I state my reasons for choosing Ye Hua (portrayed by Mark Chao 趙又廷) in this category, I must say that I am a Deng Lun邓伦 fan. Since Princess Agents 特工皇妃楚乔传 he has been one of my favourite actors.

Despite Deng Lun being one of my favourties, I think Mark Chao truly outperformed Deng Lun in his role as lead male. In both dramas, Ye Hua and Xu Feng (as lead males) were:

  • unsurpassed in ‘fighting abilities’;
  • Crown Princes;
  • just and fair in manner and demeanour;
  • self-sacrificing; and
  • really, truly in love with the lead female.

Their similarities do not end there but Mark Chao’s portrayal of this archetype was so much more emotive.

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The emotion and passion he felt toward Bai Qian was so much more apparent when compared with Xu Feng toward Jin Mi. At times, Xu Feng’s love for Jin Mi was more like sibling love (at one point he did also think they were siblings).  Further, given Jin Mi’s child like behavious (particularly at the beginning of the drama,) I still cannot understand how Xu Feng fell madly in love for Jin Mi in the first place.

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After watching Ashes of Love and then re-watching Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, a very noticeable difference between the two was Mark Chao’s facial expression compared to Deng Lun’s. The nuanced change in his expression effectively communicated the various feelings Ye Hua was experiencing whether it was grief, joy or relief.

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It is because of Mark Chao’s truly outstanding portrayal of Ye Hua/Mo Yuan that the love story was so much more powerful. While I thought Xu Feng and Jin Mi were a great pairing, they could not compete (in my view of course) with Ye Hua and Bai Qian.


Li Jing v Run Yu — Run Yu wins

This was no contest. Run Yu (portrayed by Luo Yunxi 罗云熙) was an infinitely better second male lead. He was the ever-sympathetic villain, the second lead who deserved better and the character who finally redeemed himself.

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Li Jing (portrayed by Vin Zhang  张彬彬) on the other hand was the pitiful villain/second lead who was easily manipulated and always let his womanizing ways get the better of him.

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I prefer Vin Zhang dramas (Love O2O 微微一笑很倾城, Pretty Li Hui Zhen 漂亮的李慧珍 and The Kings Woman 秦时丽人明月心) and think he is a good actor but I just could not get on board with his character. Bai Qian was correct in her criticism of him — that he is the type of man that always wants what he cannot have. Once he gets it, he bores easily and moves on (ladies, beware of such men)…

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Run Yu was a good guy gone bad (and not even that bad) as a result of difficult circumstances. However even during his ‘bad’ phase of scheming and ascending to power he always tried his best to protect Jin Mi.


Su Jin v Sui He — Sui He wins

This category is won by the character who was not as annoying. It was tight contest. Su Jin and Sui He effectively had the same ‘backstory’ — they’re both orphans, were raised by the Empress (Ye Hua and Xu Feng’s mothers respectively) and were completely besotted with their adopted brother…

Su Jin had no redeeming qualities — she was constantly scheming, completely disregarded the consequence of her actions and her obsession with Ye Hua was a complete mystery.

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While Sui He was just as conniving as Su Jin, I understood her obsession with Xu Feng better. And even though she killed Jin Mi’s father and step-mother (framing Xu Feng in the process) she did also did also try and help Xu Feng where she could (in the mortal realm and in bringing him back). Accordingly, in this category Sui He from Ashes of Love wins.

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Original Soundtracks — Draw

Both original soundtracks were exceptional and deserved a mention. I heard the soundtrack 凉凉 (see below) before I had watched Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms and was from them enchanted with the drama.

The soundtracks to Ashes of Love were a lot grander with strong beats and electric sounds. The inclusion of modern sounds against the classical type singing seemed appropriate in circumstances where the main cast of Ashes of Love were a lot younger than in Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms.

While I listened (and still listen) to both soundtracks on repeat, for those who need to work/think while listening to background music I recommend the OST to Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms. It is a lot softer, lighter and upbeat.

For a solid power walk to and from places, I would recommend the soundtrack to Ashes of Love. Not only does it take you to a different world (the world of Ashes of Love) but it is electrifying and energizing.


Ending — Draw

We have another draw but this time not in a good way. I found both endings disappointing.

Both dramas seemed to have peaked a couple of episodes before the end and then nose-dived.  I don’t attribute the nose dive to the simplistic happy endings — which is what we got in both dramas — as I am all about happy endings. The endings just seemed incomplete.

For example, Ye Hua and Bai Qian literally talked about getting married since episode 12 (of 58) however we got no wedding… how does that make sense?

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With Ashes of Love, I really felt like Jin Mi and Xu Feng didn’t get any closure. The last few episodes of Jin Mi were of her still thinking Xu Feng hated her. Xu Feng on the other hand was mopping about and regretting that he hadn’t thanked or acknowledged Jin Mi.

It was possible for the characters to get appropriate closure in Ashes of Love, I mean Xu Feng had an episode long chat with Runyu about all that had happened to them. Jin Mi also had a moment with Runyu where they could acknowledge each other and the past.

But Xu Feng and Jin Mi did not have any of this – they neither talked things through or acknowledged what they had gone through for the sake of each other. I found this extremely disappointing.

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Overall Assessment

If all categories were equal, Ashes of Love would have scored higher. Alas, they are not and I am resolute that Ten Miles of Love is the better drama. After, going through each of the above categories I can now (with certainty) pin it down to Mark Chao’s performance as Ye Hua/Mo Yuan.

Mark Chao truly pushed Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms forward. His emotive performance and chemistry with Yang Mi were not replicated in Ashes of Love. While I really like Deng Lun as an actor, watching his performance was just not as good as watching Mark Chao.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

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40 Comments

  1. I haven’t watched all episodes of Ashes of love. Tried few episodes and then dropped it as I was not hooked. I loved Eternal love and the main lead there sure is one of the best chinese actor. I love that drama too. It was an easy watch and I didn’t mind the no. of episodes.

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  2. I could not agree with you more! It’s like you put my thoughts into words perfectly. While in many ways I liked many of the secondary characters better in Ashes of Love, Ye Hua still has me thinking Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms was the better drama over-all. Saying that, I love them both so much, it’s difficult to decide which would be the winner!

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    1. I really enjoyed “The Story of Minglan” and “I will never let you go” – they are a bit different from AoL and TMPB but both are very good. I will be reviewing them hopefully in the next month if you wanted to check them out 🙂

      Just as a a bit of background to help you decide: “The Story of Minglan” is a lot more historical and on the same wavelength as “Story of Yanxi Palace” and the main couple is really great to watch (they recently got married in real life!).

      “I will never let you go” is a romantic comedy/fantasy – it’s a lot more light than both AoL and TMPB and quite fun to watch.

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  3. I prefer ashes of love..run yu was an unforgettable character and played so well by leo. his story and how and why he went dark pierces the heart..he should have gotten it all

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  4. I might have to give eternal love another try. I think I’m too biased on Ashes of love. The first few minutes of Ashes of love, I was hooked. But with eternal love, even after the 3rd episode, it was still boring for me. Maybe I wasn’t familiar with the actors but I didn’t see any chemistry between the leads. It was also hard for me to figure out which was the male lead. But seems like I’ll have to give the drama another try.

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  5. I’m currently watching Ashes of Love and while I’m finally starting to enjoy it now, I was hooked on Ten Miles from the first episode. While I can certainly see the character growth in JinMi, I still find myself struggling with actually liking her. Her level of naivety is at such level that it gets very old and annoying fast whereas I appreciated that Bai Qian while definitely experiencing character growth, didn’t do a 180. I liked that she had flaws and didn’t become perfect and I definitely appreciates her strength like you said.
    At this point, I’m really not on board with the love story. I feel like this going to be another drama where I think the second lead is the one who really deserved the girl. I’m just not feeling any chemistry between her and XuFeng. His “love” for her almost comes across more to me like he just can’t let RunYu have this one thing he wants. And that’s what gets old for me, the lead is mocking or downright mean towards the female lead and yet she still falls madly in love with him despite having the genuinely kind and caring second lead right in front of her the whole time. I’d really love to find a drama where the second lead gets the girl and arrogant lead comes up empty.
    I will say, although I haven’t gotten there, that it sounds like the endings of the villains is far more satisfying than in most dramas. That’s another aspect that often bothers me in dramas is the villains who have done truly horrible things getting a slap on the wrist or being given an easy death. It always bother me in Ten Miles that the emperor never received any punishment for what he did.
    Anyways, I apologize for the ridiculously long comment, but thanks for your thoughts and your review of Ashes!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think Xu Feng is attracted to Jin Mi’s goofy joy. I also don’t think he had any romantic interest in her at first and basically took her to Heaven as a prank. In a way, Xu Feng is less mature than he seems at first. He acts like he’s all grown up but there’s so much he doesn’t know. He can lord it over Jin Mi because she was kept utterly ignorant in the water droplet. (Water mirror? Well? Whatever it is.)

      Run Yu and Jin Mi do start to develop affection for each other and it’s the same in the novel. But, as time goes on, Run Yu lets other, darker emotions kill that affection. It bothers me how much people get attached to Run Yu as the better choice when he lies to and manipulates Jin Mi and her family.

      When the enovel came out, the author took some criticism that XF starts to show romantic interest in JM after taking off her hairpin which disguised her appearance, implying he was only attracted to her beauty. The author took this criticism to heart and wrote some additional material to try to address this.

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  6. Ashes of love was the first C drama I had ever watched. I was hooked on it for the first 20 or so episodes, but then at some point I had started to dislike Xufeng’s character. It may be because I’m a bit biased, but I did want the main pairing to be Jinmi and Runyu, as Runyu’s patience and overall disposition at the beginning was more attractive than Xufeng’s. I was also sympathetic with the events that happened with Runyu that made him do a 180 and turned him into an antagonist. I stopped this drama at ep 49 when I really couldn’t take it anymore (when I found out that Xufeng wasn’t really dead yet lol) but I’m wondering if I should continue it? The side story with the Demon princess and Mu Ci also wasn’t interesting and so I skipped a lot of those parts.
    Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms was the second c drama I’d ever watched. I definitely had high hopes, and I surely was not disappointed! Like you said, I definitely do agree that Mark Chao’s performance was what made Ten Miles really stand out from Ashes. And the chemistry was also very different.
    Anyway, after watching a couple of C dramas, I still haven’t found one that surpasses what I feel for Ten Miles. Maybe Nirvana in Fire, but that just made me downright depressed in the end lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely continue – my favourite part of the Ashes was the final arc 💕 the only drama after TMPB that really stood out for me with ‘Story it Ming Lan’ – it’s 73 episodes (which requires dedication) but I really loved every episode.

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  7. Hi! I’m a newby in CDramas, began with Ming Lan in Youtube and just finished Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms last week on Netflix. I’m totally in love with them both, and it’s impressive how while reading your blog I found a perfect reflection of most of my impressions about them! Can’t wait for more! Thank you!

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  8. Hi – I am a relative newly as well. I have watched a few CDramas. I read your comparisons and I agree with everything. I like Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms better and it is really all because of Mark Chao. I found watching both that I like all of the secondary characters much better in Ashes of Love. They are more defined and more interesting than the main love story. In the end I find I rewatch TMoPB just for Ye Hua and A-Li. I haven’t really felt the need to rewatch Ashes of Love. Thanks for the review.

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  9. Hello! Very detailed and interesting post! I enjoyed reading it and hope I can share my view here as well. 🙂

    [Please note that my sharing will contain spoilers so for those who have not watched either… SPOILERS ALERT.]

    I watched Eternal Love/Ten Miles of Peach Blossom first (last year I think?) and rewatched it a couple of weeks back. Then I went on to watch Ashes of Love because I once saw a poll of most of the recent Chinese dramas and Ashes of Love won significantly (second in place was Eternal Love/TMOPB which had only two-third of Ashes of Love’s votes) and that got me curious. I agree with most of what you’ve written, especially about Mark Chao’s portrayal of Ye Hua and I also preferred Yang Zi’s acting over Yang Mi’s (both actresses were good; just the former more so for me than the latter). When I first finished Eternal Love/TMOPB, I was so amazed by it and to me, it was by far the best Chinese drama. I even went on to read the novel (so thankful that I can read Chinese) and felt that the drama surpassed the novel in the completeness of the story. The whole drama was so good to me.

    However, when I rewatched Eternal Love/TMOPB, there were some glaring issues that stood out to me and made me wonder, and it mostly revolved around the people from the Heavenly Realm. For the longest time I wondered how the Heavenly King got to his position when his powers have never been shown to be great, and his sons, Ye Hua’s mum, and Su Jin all felt pretty useless to me, as fighters or even their personality. Why are they in reign when they can hardly defend themselves? This isn’t a typical 宫廷剧 (Gong Ting show); these are immortals with supposedly such strong powers. On the other hand, Yang Mi’s Bai Qian and her family are all amazingly powerful (all 上神s, or High Gods). Too powerful, in fact, that made the show too lopsided. It led to Bai Qian and Bai Feng Jiu getting away with everything they did in the Heavenly Realm, especially the part where Bai Feng Jiu stole the lamp “just for fun”. It’s almost like they are untouchable just because of Bai Qian’s status. I would believe this “logic” for once or even twice, but when they kept repeating that it felt like they were pushing this “logic” a tad too far.

    On the other hand, Ashes of Love had pretty good power distribution. The Heavenly King and Queen were indeed the strongest. They showed it a couple of times and didn’t push this fact too far that it became “yeah yeah we get it”. Sui He’s opening fight with the Flower Realm’s acting leader also showed why she’s the Bird Clan’s leader and that she is quite powerful.

    Another thing I really liked about Ashes of Love is that no one was really fully good or evil. People made certain decisions because of what they went through. Xu Feng’s mother’s experiences with his father (the Heavenly King) and the numerous times he cheated on her led to her power hunger in some ways. Sui He did make sacrifices for Xu Feng (compared to Su Jin for Ye Hua), but her love for him blinded her to kill. (Side note but I liked that they showed the issues she faced back in her own clan as well.) Was Jin Mi purely good? Just because of a dream she lost her faith and trust in Xu Feng and killed him. All these added depth to the characters which I sometimes find lacking in TMOPB (like we were just made to dislike the Heavenly King, Su Jin, Le Xu with no reasons apart from them being antagonistic towards the leads).

    I know you said the CGI was sub-par so you wouldn’t compare it but I did feel that the CGIs and fight scenes for Ashes of Love were significantly better than TMOPB. I loved watching the various fight scenes in Ashes of Love, especially between Xu Feng and Run Yu during the wedding and the final battle at Wang Chuan River. I found the fighting scenes very well-choreographed and the CGIs of their powers complemented the scenes well.

    TMOPB had a tighter storyline (which I liked) while Ashes of Love felt a bit slow and at times the same scenarios kept repeating, maybe it was to give room for character development, I’m not sure.

    Music wise I preferred TMOPB’s over Ashes of Love’s. The lyrics of the songs for both were beautiful, but TMOPB’s songs spoke to me more.

    For the dialogue (script?), the words used in Ashes of Love felt more powerful, be it in day-to-day conversations or the idioms that they threw at each other. I like languages, so seeing Chinese used so beautifully in these Wuxia/Xianxia dramas often brings delight to my face. One line that really nailed it for me was when Xu Feng asked, “Have you ever loved me?” and Jin Mi replied, “Never”. It felt a lot more powerful in Chinese and that scene really pierced my heart. Another part was the conversation between Xu Feng and Run Yu after he had tamed the demon in Run Yu’s body at the end. “我错了,我们都错了。我算错了开始,而你算错了结局。” “不是错过,是过错。一个算字,便是情之大忌。从头到尾,你并非算错,只是我从未算过罢了。” Perhaps it’s the play on the words, perhaps it’s the language and the way the actors delivered it, but I found the conversations really captivating and added to the depth of the characters. The English subtitles for these lines aren’t able to bring the meaning out as well as the original Chinese phrasing.

    Overall, yes, both were good with outstanding casts, and I would rewatch both in a heartbeat. But in entirety, I personally felt that Ashes of Love was better than TMOPB.

    Frankly, I didn’t think that was possible at all initially. 🙂

    Thank you for reading my uber long comment! I didn’t expect to write that long oops.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for your detailing your thoughts – such.a.good.read!

      I particularly loved reading your insights and take on the different characters – I would love to hear your thoughts on other Cdramas that I’ve reviewed ❤ !

      Like

    2. This was really well written. I agree with you. I love how in Ashes of Love, the characters are grey. It really makes one think that someone is not just born as a villain, their circumstances and their life events made them like that. I like the fact that I am also able to sympathize with the villains. I like how they didn’t make the hero and heroine all white but grey.

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  10. For me TMOPB was 1000x better than “ashes of love”. I could never feel the chemistry between Jin min & Xu feng, and the Second lead runyu had better presence and plot in comparison to Xu feng who was struggling to play the role of warrior god, I don’t know why but I felt like the actor who played xu feng couldn’t bring that Superior & mature presence his character demanded from him & looked liked he was tired/sleepy through out the drama.

    But in TMOPB not just the main leads but side character also had an amazing development and chemistry ex: donghua & Feng jiu! The acting skills was lot better compared to “ashes of love”

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  11. (Long reply coming through)
    Ten miles of peach blossoms over Ashes of Love. During the first part of AoL i actually shipped Jin Mi and Xu Feng but as it went on I really couldn’t feel their chemistry. I liked their bantering but I really couldn’t tell why Xu Feng liked Jin Mi and vice versa. I didn’t really like their relationship in Jin Mi’s mortal trial arc (which i think was supposed to be the main development for their relationship since everything after that was problems for them) because it felt more like he was giving her surprises to win her over. There weren’t really any struggles where we get to see how the main leads support each other or how they communicate, he just gives her presents. And Deng Lun didn’t really look that passionate or in love with her throughout the entire series. I couldn’t feel any emotional connection between Jin Mi and Xu Feng because I don’t really see a lot of Xu Feng’s character or personal story. He’s just the virtuous slightly arrogant but nice prince. I shipped them at the start because I could see how his arrogant personality affected their interactions, but after a while his character seemed to revolve around liking Jin Mi. Run Yu’s character was so much more in-depth and I preferred the more friendly and calm relationship between Jin Mi and Run Yu, that didn’t constantly have to go through a 360 degree emotional loop. I could also actually understand why Run Yu liked Jin Mi.

    Something that also annoyed me so much about Xu Feng was that he never stood up to his mother. The heavenly empress just got on my nerves throughout the entire show, way more than Sui He. She killed Jin Mi’s mother, tried to kill Jin Mi, murdered Su Li’s clan and killed Rou Rou. But Xu Feng barely tries to get his mother to stop. And that just made him come off as such a weak male lead to me. Run Yu fought for what he wanted and defended Jin Mi or Su Li’s people. I can’t really see how much Xu Feng loves Jin Mi if he’s willing to sacrifice himself but can’t even protect her against the main person trying to harm her. I ended up wanting Jin Mi to be with Run Yu so that reduced the enjoyment of AoL a lot for me. I feel like in Ten Miles there was a lot more of Ye Hua’s sacrifice for Bai Qian, the efforts he put in to bring Su Su back etc. which made me really appreciate their relationship and how much he loves her. Plus Li Jing was an absolute no as a male lead so Ye Hua didn’t have any competition.

    I think the villains in AoL were a lot more well-rounded, I could understand the Emperor’s need to marry the Empress to consolidate power while having someone else he was in love with (though I still hate him for it, especially how he just lets the Empress roam free and do whatever she wants). I could understand Tu Yao’s pains of constantly having her husband betray her, but I still hate her for taking it out on the women because she didn’t have the guts to deal with her husband, as well as the murder of Su Li’s tribe. I get how maintaining power and being on the throne can result in their immoral actions though. I liked Sui He’s character sometimes. Then she went and murdered Jin Mi’s completely innocent parents. I don’t think Sui He’s punishment was enough, I really don’t. Meanwhile I’m so angry someone didn’t slap Le Xu during the last few episodes while she was blaming Bai Qian for everything Ye Hua did when it was Ye Hua’s choice and Bai Qian was probably the only thing that brought him happiness.

    I loved the tragedy of how Su Su became hurt and lost her faith in her relationship with Ye Hua. It’s absolutely beautiful. I got spoilers for both the plots of Ten Miles and AoL so I already knew Jin Mi was going to kill Xu Feng. I don’t think I can really give a fair judgement for this part.

    I really liked Jin Mi’s character arc but I also really loved Bai Qian’s character so that’s probably a tie for me. Something quite annoying for me is the fact that as much as they say the war between the Demon Realm and Heaven Realm was inevitable, it was undoubtedly started or at least pushed forward because of Jin Mi. So as much as I think it’s admirable, I also think it was a bit natural that Jin Mi would use her life to end the war. I’m sure everyone with the power to end it would’ve done so, plus she’s part of the reason it started. I’m just not sure it’s as noble a sacrifice as everyone makes it out to be.

    I think the lines in AoL were a lot deeper than Ten Miles, but the emotions presented in Ten Miles (mostly through Ye Hua) were a lot better. I still remember when Luo Ling’s master was talking about how saving an injured tiger would lead to other animals being killed and how only saving a million lives would be considered a mercy. And Run Yu’s line about how if something’s not meant to be his, he can’t get it. Good stuff.

    Side note: Mu Ci and Liu Ying’s relationship was the most annoying thing. Jin Mi might’ve forgiven Mu Ci for killing Rou Rou but I haven’t. Mu Ci’s character was confusing. Maybe I missed something in between but how did Mu Ci get saved by Tu Yao?? And Mu Ci said that he served Tu Yao out of gratitude. So he decided to help out in killing innocent people out of gratitude. No questions asked. Their relationship just felt like a few cliches thrown together that would appear sporadically. I really liked Dong Hua and Feng Jiu’s relationship, though by the end I was kinda annoyed about how Feng Jiu was just really miserable and would do the most stupid things for him. I’m not sure carving Dong Hua’s name on that rock will work with that penknife of hers.

    I know it’s to make way for AoL s2 but I find it ironic how Xu Feng says Run Yu can’t just use the throne for whatever he wants and abdicate when he wants to but does the same thing to stay the mortal world with Jin Mi.

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    1. Hello! Saw your comment and thought you raised quite a few good points, especially about the villians in AoL being more well-rounded. I guess this affirms the point that nothing is fully black and white (good and bad) but that there are many grey areas in the world (Jin Min mentioned this as she was planting Peng Yu and talking to Yan You in the Flower Realm). People in the Heavenly Realm may not necessarily be pure-hearted and good, while those in the Demon Realm may not be evil.

      Yes, agree that Jin Mi is sort of the catalyst for the war between the Heavenly Realm and Demon Realm, but I think her act was still noble in that she did not have the intention to cause the war, yet the war still started and she used her own life to stop it. Also, I don’t think she is really the cause of it, and that’s the sad and ridiculous part. It was just a convenient excuse to use her as a reason. Xu Feng mentioned this right before the war, after Jin Mi woke up and tried to explain that she didn’t know Run Yu had plans for war. Jin Mi, right before she died, in her thoughts also said that she found it absurd that she’s used as an excuse to start a war. During his battle with Run Yu, Xu Feng asked why Run Yu time and again wanted to kill him, and Run Yu’s response had nothing to do with Jin Mi, but that Run Yu felt Xu Feng shouldn’t have lived at all. His hatred for Xu Feng had more to do with what Tu Yao did to his mother and clan and all the years of suffering he went through growing up under Tu Yao. Xu Feng’s anger at Run Yu was also because of how Run Yu dishonoured his parents and used Jin Mi to kill him. It seems more to me that the war is inevitable because of the mistakes all their parents made, rather than Jin Mi herself. Yet Jin Mi seems to be the only sensible one to know that the war must be stopped, and sacrificed herself. That, to me, is really noble.

      Xu Feng did stand up against his mother – the scene where he deflected Tu Yao’s powers and lied that Jin Mi was pregnant. However, he didn’t push things too far or go beyond that probably for the same reason Ye Hua in TMOPB never really stood up to the Heavenly King and his own parents – to respect and honour their elders, a virtue that Chinese imbue in their kids from very very young. It may seem silly but that is really the case (even now, I believe). It is disrespectful to go against your parents because of 养育之恩 (they raised you up). It is partly also that Xu Feng never really believed his mother was so evil (who would believe that of their own mother? Especially when she has always been so kind and loving towards him). And this, they mentioned in the drama and even Xu Feng admitted, is his flaw. He failed to see where his parents had fallen short.

      Deng Lun can’t fight Mark Chao as an actor, that I have to agree haha. At times it felt like Mark Chao was carrying the show of TMOPB, because of how 2D the villians are.

      Run Yu’s character is more in-depth because they added the depth to him with all the extra backstory etc. (and I did feel that they neglected Xu Feng’s character arc because of it).

      I actually appreciated how Xu Feng’s love for Jin Mi was a slow growth, not a sudden fall head over heels kind. They spent hundred over years together at the start when she was his “page boy”, and it was during this period that Xu Feng developed his feelings towards her. I think it just didn’t feel that long to us ‘cos to us it’s a matter of a few episodes haha.

      Also, the symbolism of Huan Di Hairpin. The Hairpin showed its prowess 3 times in the show, once when Xu Feng threw it out to protect Jin Mi against Qiong Qi at the Heavenly Realm, second at the Empress’ birthday celebration, and lastly in the Demon Realm. Each time the Hairpin appeared, its protection of Jin Mi grew even stronger and more complete than before, ending with the last one where it became a full-fledge pair of wings that enveloped Jin Mi. It’s a symbolism of the growth of Xu Feng’s love for Jin Mi.

      As for Mu Ci, I don’t think it’s just out of gratitude that he served Tu Yao. He needed her to control the blood-sucking parasites within him, and only she could control it. She also promised that if Jin Mi died, he could reunite with Liu Ying. That sounds pretty big a motive for him to do whatever she wanted.

      Xu Feng’s line to Run Yu was because Run Yu fought to get the throne, and he even caused the soldiers to go against each other and split loyalty within the “kingdom”. Then after which he got the very same soldiers who went against Xu Feng to support him again. It degrades their loyalty and makes a mess of the kingdom. Xu Feng, as a mortal ruler, killed himself to be with Jin Mi, but it was after he finally ended the war and took care of his people. He didn’t confuse his people by passing his throne to his enemy after he had fun being a ruler. I believe that’s what he was getting at.

      I hope I presented an alternative viewpoint to what you stated! I do respect your take on the show (I love both TMOPB and AoL) and find the points you raised interesting!

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      1. Wow that bit at the end about how Xu Feng took care of his kingdom whereas Run Yu walks away. I always thought the confrontation between the brothers was so powerful when Xu Feng straight up tells him, “So you get everything you wanted, make a mess of it, and walk away? Has there ever been such a good deal?” But I missed that bit about how he conducted himself in the mortal realm. AoL is based on a really beautiful novel and much of the material added actually enhances the story. Wow, this really underlines who Xu Feng is as a character. Thank you for pointing this out.

        (Btw, I think Sui He killing her father in the mortal realm was one of the more tragic turns in the series, and the fact that she then learns nothing from it except becoming more embittered is very sad as well.)

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  12. I watched Ashes of Love after reading your review and later on Eternal Love after reading this post. I must say I absolutely agree with most of your comparisons. I have no opinion regarding the second male leads but I’m more biased towards Li Jing probably due to his remorse for betraying Ah Yin. I find it really satisfying every time I see him reminisce about the past and I kind of wished for an alternate universe where they both end up together. As for Runyu, I have nothing but negative feelings and I felt that despite his rationale for his actions, he deserves no sympathy. To be honest, I felt really scared watching how he behaved in the episodes after the wedding. His controlling and toxic nature really made me hate him that I skipped through most of his parts.

    And by the way, after reading your detailed review of Ashes of Love I was expecting to find another detailed review of Eternal Love (before I started watching it so I would know what to expect). Even though I loved Ashes of Love, I felt that Eternal Love was the better drama in terms of its plot and characters. At least for Eternal Love I didn’t have to be frustrated over the naivety of Jin Mi (I don’t care even if it’s due to the Yuan Dan) for dozens of episodes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts 💗 my Eternal Love post was my very first blog post ever. I’ve slowly been refining and trying to get better at putting together detailed posts that provide maximum utility.

      Hopefully, you’ll have a look at my other posts – I welcome and really appreciate all feedback ❤️

      Like

  13. While Ashes of Love has an amazing plot (I really love the novel version) of which the protagonists pulled off really well with their great acting skills, I don’t know why I still prefer Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms.
    Actually, I’m at awe with Yang Zi, she really did the pulled off the character as Jin Mi (either innocent or serious or melancholic Jin Mi), especially the confrontation episode with Night God, 😭 I really felt her sorrow and disappointment, it was REALLY GOOD!! (I really cried a lot in that ep.)
    BUT, I DON’T KNOW WHY? why?.. I still like TMoPB more! 😭 Am I the only one feeling this? For me, AoL rates 4.4 while TMoPB is 4.8.

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  14. I thoroughly love your reviews. You always hit the nail on the head. Mark Chao’s(Ye Hua) acting made Eternal Love/TMOPB the spectacular show that it is. He was able to emote what he was feeling without saying a word. If Mark Chao wasn’t the lead actor, I don’t think Eternal Love would have thrived as much as it did. He was PHENOMENAL.
    Ashes of Love was okay but I was not moved by their love. It felt a little bit superficial as opposed to Ye Hua and Bai Qian’s love that had depth, again thanks to Mark Chao for making us feel the love. I enjoyed Yáng Mi’s acting but I preferred her prowess in Legend of Fuyao-I love strong female leads. However, till this day, Eternal Love is still my favorite Asian drama all thanks to Mark Chao. If he is in a movie, I’ll definitely watch it.

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  15. Overall Ten Miles is better than Ashes of Love, Agree!
    The top reason is maturity displayed by Ye Hua, his consistency, passion, responsibility and loyalty.
    Bai Qian overall is still better than Jin Mi. Reasons are again, a more matured actress, touching and ability to bring out the qualities of “shang Xian” and impeccable chemistry with male Lead Ye Hua. Somehow, the chemistry between Xu Feng and Jin mI is ‘child like’ could be attributed to younger actors at work.
    The endings for both are truly fleeting and should give more meat to substantiate…
    Finally, time to give some thumbs up for Ashes of love supporting leads The princess Liu Ying and her lover Mo Li- performance are overlooked. Their excellent chemistry far surpassed that of leads and have made the scenes so warm and sweet and memorable! This is not found in ten miles 🙂

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  16. I liked ashes of Love better because the characters were so much more dimensional and the plot moved faster. The TMOPB plot was so slow that I was waiting for the 58th episode to drag on by.
    We have differing opinions in the portrayal of lead male, as I thought Ye Hua/Mo Yuan’s actor Mark Chao was not emotive enough. I also didn’t like how easily Bai Qian fell for Ye Hua, seemingly out of nowhere. She was such a strong, powerful character but all the sudden she went crazy for a man?
    in AoL, XuFeng and JinMi had a side story in the mortal realm which was really gratifying and pieced together the story for Jin Mi’s love for Phoenix. I also really, really liked Deng Lun’s acting, even though I am not his fan. I felt so much more chemistry between Yang Zi and Deng Lun compared to YangMi and Mark Chao.

    Like

  17. Loved your review of TMoPB &AoL!
    I think my favorite is TMoPB.
    I totally fell in love with Mark Chao/YeHua! His face showed his emotions so well. He really did a great job in portraying YeHua!
    I also really enjoyed AOL. I am watching it a second time .
    What other similar dramas would you recommend ?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I may be wrong but I think the director and script deserve real props for TMPL. While Mark is a very good actor, he was exceptional in TMPL. This must be due to the script and director. He is good in other movies or shows but he is phenomenal in TMPL. I think the director was able to draw every inch of what we could not see in other roles from him in this one.

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  19. “With Ashes of Love, I really felt like Jin Mi and Xu Feng didn’t get any closure.”

    This is my biggest beef with the drama. The author of the original novel wrote an ending and epilogue that does give emotional closure but the director/writer of the TV series decided to be more edgy or modern or something and leave on this jagged note then fast forward to Jinmi as this wistful mom which was not all that satisfying. Dian Xian wrote this very funny interlude about Jinmi’s anxieties about becoming a mother which I absolutely love and she also wrote this beautiful part in that last scene (with Bai Lu and Run Yu) where Xu Feng later asks Jin Mi why she doesn’t ask him for lingli and it shows with just a few lines how much they love each other and how much Jin Mi has learned about love and life. What a shame they cut that out for “Time Hall” scenes with cheap animation that we were definitely clamoring for (not).

    Overall I prefer AOL because most of the characters in Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms just don’t go through enough character development. JM, XF, and RY go through amazing character development during the story and it was so engaging for me. Si Yin and Bai Qian almost seem like two different people, the former dumb and impulsive as fuck, the other is like this cynical middle aged fox lady. Btw, I think the actress deserves more credit. Look at how she moves in the fox den, how her head hangs off her neck, like she really is a fox spirit. However, there wasn’t enough subtlety in her reaction to Chao’s character. She starts acting like a child even though she has this back story with Li Jing that should make her older and wiser. Li Jing sucks, he never changes at all in 70,000 years. Lame. The plot or macguffin I should say because it hardly rises to the level of a plot was kind of disappointing. Jin Mi’s sacrifice was so much more meaningful because she is willing to let go of attachments and her life to save people that she’s never met. Ye Hua is still the macho dude who keeps his own counsel at the end. Why couldn’t BQ and YH seal the bell together? Matter of fact, why the fuck does that bell exist? Yikes.

    One more annoying detail with 10MPB is that after I thought maybe the writers forgot about it, they finally bring home the thread with YH being the golden lotus. But they never give MY and YH a good scene together. Also there are hints at first that YH has memories of that time but they don’t give closure on that. Instead, we get the (to me) disappointing reveal that MY was indeed carrying a torch for Si Yin.

    There’s just too much inconsistent characterization and things that are dropped. Like the son who is there when convenient and forgotten about when convenient. Or the Heavenly Emperor not really being a fully fleshed out character.

    One thing I did like about the drama is that Ye Hua’s upbringing reminded me of the upbringing of Queen Victoria. She was raised very strictly in isolation and had to study all the time. She only had paper dolls as playmates. It ended up having a mixed result, she got involved in government when the trend had been for monarchs to retire more and more from these affairs, but she became so attached to her husband that when he died young she went into mourning for the rest of her life and withdrew from affairs. So, it makes sense to me that Ye Hua is so cold, withdrawn, but also so invested in this single attachment with Su Su to the detriment of his position and obligations.

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  20. I love your comparison!! I cannot help but feel the same about the male lead. I love both dramas but so disappointed Deng Lun couldn’t portray better. Especially the part where Xi Feng finally found out what Jin Minhave sacrificed for him. That scene is the turning part! But it was not portrayed with a strong impact 😣. While Ye Hua have given a much strongly impression; I really like his acting! 💕💕

    Like

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