Drama ReviewDramaBlossoms in Adversity Drama Review

"If you are looking for a sweet love story, Blossoms in Adversity drama is not for you."

Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review

  • Title: Blossoms in Adversity
  • Also Known As: 惜花芷, The Story of Hua Zhi, Xi Hua Zhi
  • Director: Chu Yui Bun
  • Cast: Zhang Jing Yi, Hu Yi Tian
  • Screenwriter: He Fang, Luo Xuan
  • Genres: Historical, Family, Business, Romance
  • Episodes: 40
  • Date of Release: April 2, 2024
  • Original Network: Youku
  • Where to Watch: Youku, Viki
  • Adapted from the web novel: “Xi Hua Zhi” by Kong Liu.

Dear readers, while I struggled with the heat and humidity (believe me, living in a tropical country did not always feel like a summer holiday), I managed to watch several dramas in a row. This Blossoms in Adversity drama is one of them. I have mixed feelings for this drama. So you might find some rants as well as praise in this review. Because I always believe that nothing is perfect, but there must be something positive in everything. Anyhow, without further ado, this is the drama review of Blossoms in Adversity. Enjoy!

Blossoms in Adversity Synopsis

Hua Zhi is different from other noble girls in the capital. She doesn’t care about dresses, rogues, or handsome husbands. She loves to read and knows a lot. Since young, Hua Zhi has been traveling around the world with her grandfather and she has seen the world.

The Hua family is a big noble family. It has four branches and the head of the family is Hua Zhi’s grandfather, Hua Yi Zheng. He holds an important position in the court as the Imperial Censor. Hua Zhi is the legitimate granddaughter of Hua Yi Zheng and the eldest daughter of the first branch. For Hua Zhi, Hua Yi Zheng is her closest person. He is her elder, tutor, and she always looked up to him.

Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review - poster

When Hua Yi Zheng was punished by the emperor, the Hua family lost their position and properties, and men were exiled to the north. Their colleagues and relatives closed their doors to them. Even Hua Zhi lost her betrothal.

Having nowhere to go, Hua Zhi and all the women of the Hua family gathered in a small courtyard outside the capital city.

While all the women weeping and worrying about their future, Hua Zhi stood up and went to the city to earn money. She started small as a calligraphy writer and then later expanded her business.

However, it was hard to lead a group of women if nobody listened to you. So Hua Zhi took drastic measures and asked her grandmother to hand out the family head position to her. Only after becoming the head of the family could Hua Zhi lead her elders, siblings, and servants to glory.

Meanwhile, Gu Yan Xi, the Emperor’s nephew, returned to the capital and secretly became the formidable Commander of the Security Bureau. He met Hua Zhi on the street and was impressed by her eloquence and intelligence. Gu Yan Xi, who was supposed to investigate the Hua family, became their helper and even stayed in the family as Mr. Yan. This is a dangerous risky move that could lead him into the emperor’s wrath.

Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review

“I’m not born to hide behind the door.”

This is the sentence that made me like Hua Zhi a lot. I still remember it from the first episode to the very last.

Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review - Hua Zhi
Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review – Hua Zhi

Blossoms in Adversity is a historical drama about women. It mainly focuses on Hua Zhi, a woman who fights for empowerment. There’s also romance and politics, but they’re less important than Hua Zhi’s struggles.

During the ancient time in China, it was widely known that women only had roles in the family. They started as daughters then sisters, became wives, daughters-in-law, and mothers. The final role eventually is as the mother-in-law.

In every role that she had, a woman must listen and obey certain male figures who related to her, which were the father when she was young, her husband when she married, and her sons when she was widowed. This system comes from China’s ancient idea that men are the core of the family. They govern the world while women govern the home.

It was the opposite of today’s gender equality. Hua Zhi’s character is more to my liking because she represents a modern woman who doesn’t resign to her fate. She was the first woman who become the family head while there were still elders around and through her hard work, Hua Zhi managed to steer the family out of danger and poverty by building a business.

The sentence that I mentioned earlier, Hua Zhi believed it and it became an ideal engraved deeply in her bones. For her, women could also accomplish many things like men. They were not born to be a second-class citizen whose only job was to obey men. Hua Zhi was lucky to be born into the educated Hua family and was cherished by Hua Yi Zheng.

When Hua Zhi was young, Hua Yi Zheng took her everywhere as his pageboy. He taught her many things during their journey. With her first-hand experience, Hua Zhi’s knowledge is better than that of any young man or woman in the capital who spent a fortune to hire tutors.

So, I assume you could understand why this drama is so appealing to me. 😉

Blossoms in Adversity not only attracts me with the powerful story but also the beautiful faces of Zhang Jing Yi and Hu Yi Tian. I know I was shallow for liking beautiful faces. But watching Cdrama is my favorite pastime activity, and I enjoy watching beautiful faces illuminate my night.

I’m sure many will understand. I usually praise Hu Yi Tian, like in his dramas See You Again or A Love So Beautiful. This time, it’s the opposite. I don’t think Blossoms in Adversity is Hu Yi Tian’s best drama. Anyhow, this is just my opinion. Many have different opinions because Blossoms in Adversity has been on the Youku app list for a long time.

I have both praise and criticism for this drama. I dislike Hu Yi Tian’s appearance, but I like the idea of women’s empowerment in the drama. However, I also found several things that annoyed me.

In my humble opinion, some actors were only good for one kind of drama theme. Whether it’s a modern-day story or a historical one, he or she might have a peculiar appearance that only fit for some era. Hu Yi Tian is the best example. He looked dashing in suits, high school uniforms, tracksuits, or just in casual T-shirts and jeans.

But he looked less attractive in ancient costumes. And I am sure he knew it too because, from his long, impressive filmography, Hu Yi Tian only has two ancient period dramas.

Hu Yi Tian is handsome and his model figure is stunning. In Blossoms in Adversity, Hu Yi Tian also looked gorgeous in historical costume, especially when he wore the special uniform for the Commander of the Security Bureau. However, I saw him like he looked out of place. I feel that his modern aura is incompatible with the role of ancient people.

I was also disappointed by the character development in this story. I was amazed by Hua Zhi’s strength at first, but I didn’t see many changes in her character. She was as strong, calm, rational, and stubborn as she was in the first episode. The women and Gu Yan Xi had more development. Unfortunately, the men of Hua’s family remained the same. The characters only changed a little. Probably because they have a limited amount of screen time.

Hua Zhi’s character was too powerful. She might be the most powerful female protagonist in all the dramas I’ve seen in 2024. Hua Zhi was fearless, even when climbing a mast during a storm or facing the Security Bureau Commander who wore a scary Halloween mask. She’s similar to Hua Yi Zheng.

But Hua Yi Zheng is an old man, honed by tens of years of experience, and was trained to face the emperor on a daily basis. Meanwhile, Hua Zhi is only a young girl. She might have wandered the world, but during that time she still lived under her grandfather’s protection. Hua Zhi’s calmness seemed too much for me.

Through 40 episodes, I also see many things that I like. For instance, the mature and modern relationship between Hua Zhi and Gu Yan Xi. Unlike any other ancient drama, Hua Zhi and Gu Yan Xi understand each other well. They communicate clearly and don’t misunderstand each other.

Sometimes Gu Yan Xi disappears for a while due to his missions. But it didn’t matter to Hua Zhi because she believed in him. There’s no third party except for Shen Qi, who has no standing in Hua Zhi’s heart. The dynasty wasn’t as strict as in other dramas. Gu Yan Xi and Hua Zhi often walked together hand in hand or she leaned on his arm, just like a modern couple. And nobody said anything or pointed their finger at them.

The drama started slowly. It focused on Hua Zhi supporting his family. There were some royal stories, but nothing much. Mostly about Gu Yan Xi and his uncle. Then the sixth prince appeared, and the story started to move faster. By the 30th episode, I felt like I was on a fast-moving rollercoaster.

If you like a drama with lots of comedy, you’ll be disappointed. Blossoms in Adversity is a serious drama. There’s some comedy, mainly from Gu Yan Xi’s subordinate and Hua Zhi’s maidservants, but it’s only enough to make me smile.

The ending of this drama is obviously a happy ending. There is no shocking plot twist. However, the way the author solved the problems surprised me. I was like, “Really? It could be solved like that?”.😱

The Wardrobes

Blossoms in Adversity’s costumes are good, but I don’t see anything special. Hua Zhi’s hairstyle is refreshing because she doesn’t stick to one style. Sometimes her hair was down, sometimes in a high bun, and sometimes a mix of the two. And honestly, this one is a bit unflattering. I kept thinking that Hua Zhi had some kind of tail in the back of her head. 😑

Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review - The Wardrobes
Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review – The Wardrobes

The makeup is thick or maybe the filter is too strong. I couldn’t tell. But a poreless dry skin with no oil seemed everywhere nowadays. It looks like Zhao Li Ying’s makeup in The Legend of Shen Li. She looked good but unreal.

The Casts and Crews

Chu Yui Bun is a big name. This director has lots of good dramas. I’ve watched most of his dramas and they’re all worth watching. Have you seen Ashes of Love, Eternal Love of Dream, Skate Into Love, The Long Ballad, The Blue Whisper, or Story of Kunning Palace? Chu Yui Bun created all of those dramas. Blossoms in Adversity also won me over. The visuals are great. The sets are beautiful and well-made. The fighting scenes were realistic. Mr. Chu, great job!

Zhang Jing Yi and Hu Yi Tian were young and talented actors. They had good acting skills and were famous. However, I still feel the same way when I watch Zhang Jing Yi’s drama Bright Eyes in the Dark. I did not feel the strong chemistry between Zhang Jing Yi and Hu Yi Tian even after the drama ended. As a person, both of them have outstanding looks and they match each other. But you could feel that something was missing in their scenes together.

Hu Yi Tian’s acting is also a bit stiff. I could barely discern the emotions in his face. At first, I was suspicious that it might be because his makeup was too thick, or maybe they used too much filter on his face.

Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review - poster 2

But maybe the main problem was because Hu Yi Tian was too good at portraying Gu Yan Xi’s cold nature. Anyway, I still did not feel that this was Hu Yi Tian’s best role. Although I was disappointed with his expression, Hu Yi Tian was impressive in the fight scenes. 👍

Although Zhang Jing Yi and Hu Yi Tian did not have strong chemistry, it does not mean that the second couple did not have it as well. Bian Cheng and Lu Yu Xiao, who played Shen Huan and Shao Yao, impressed me with their chemistry and compatibility. They both played childish characters. Shen Huan is the spoiled younger brother of Shen Qi, while Shao Yao is the younger sister of Gu Yan Xi.

Shao Yao is a very smart girl, but she grew up in an unfortunate environment that led to her mental instability. Whenever they appear in a scene together, I feel like they steal the show.

I can’t believe Lu Yu Xiao used to be Shangguan Qian, the killer in My Journey to You. She was good in that drama and this one too.

The Story

It all started with the cruel and corrupt Security Bureau. This is also the reason why Hua Yi Zheng was sent into exile by the emperor. He told the emperor that the Security Bureau had disregarded the law and caused panic throughout the country. He also criticizes the emperor for not thinking of the state and the common people, for not choosing the crown prince decisively, and for causing dissension among the court officials.

The emperor hates to be criticized, especially in front of his subjects. He hated Hua Yi Zheng because he dared to speak the truth and defy him. The female members of the Hua family escaped punishment because the Empress Dowager spared them. This was the only thing she could do to protect her friend Lin Wan. Gu Yan Xi also helped the Hua family by letting them leave with two carriages.

Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review - poster 3

That was just the beginning, later Gu Yan Xi often helped Hua Zhi and her family in many ways. It was obvious that Gu Yan Xi was impressed by Hua Zhi and also respected Hua Yi Zheng for his righteousness.

From the beginning, I knew that the emperor was not a good person. He is selfish and petty. He did not like being criticized, so he sent Hua Zhi’s grandfather into exile. At first, I didn’t understand why the emperor chose to treat Gu Yan Xi better than his own sons.

The emperor was kind to him and wanted Gu Yan Xi to come often and accompany him to dinner. However, as the story progressed, I came to understand the reason why the emperor was so kind to him, and it all stemmed from his paranoia.

The emperor did not trust his own sons and treated them as his rivals who wanted to usurp his throne. He trusted Gu Yan Xi because he was not listed as the heir to the throne. Therefore, his love for Gu Yan Xi is more sincere. Gu Yan Xi cared for him more than Prince Ling because Gu Yan Xi could feel the emperor’s love was better than his own father.

The women of the Hua family gave me a headache at first. They used to live a pampered life, so they were spoiled, proud, selfish, and conceited. When Hua Zhi was severely beaten by Prince Xian because of the silver that her mother and Madam Qi sewed on the coats for their husband, I really wanted to slap those madams’ heads. Not to mention when the whole family (except Hua Zhi and Mr. Zhong) were cheated by Hua Yi Zheng’s former disciple and lost all their precious belongings.

I gritted my teeth and yelled, “Serves you right, ladies!”😛

It was Hua Zhi’s fourth uncle who saved the Hua family in the end. Hua Ping Yang told Hua Zhi that he had buried 18 jars of dowry wine for her. With Gu Yan Xi’s help, she dug them all up and pawned a total of 17 jars to the wine shop. She left one jar for Gu Yan Xi as a thank-you gift. However, since Hua Zhi did not believe in her aunts, she decided to manage the money herself. This money became Hua Zhi’s venture capital.

The journey of the Hua family is destined to be hard. Hua Zhi’s challenges to earn millions of moneys to save the men of the Hua family are not easy. The aunts and cousins also have their share of hardships. But everyone has tried to achieve their dream and choose their own path. Hua Zhi’s cousins have learned that the only person they can rely on is themselves. And many of them have to learn this the hard way.

The seriousness of this drama was lightened a bit by the sweet romance between Shao Yao and She Huan. Shao Yao, who was childish and naive, is such a sweetheart. Her cuteness is overloaded, and her way of thinking is such an amusement, especially her creative way of revenge. I could not believe that this lovely young lady could hold a grudge in her heart.

Shao Yao and Shen Huan started as enemies. Their relationship deepened, but then Shen Huan’s family stood in the way. The Shen family’s elders were hypocritical, especially Shen Huan’s grandfather, father, and mother. I disliked them for being selfish and conceited.

Shen Huan’s father and grandfather worked as officials and regarded themselves as the pillar of the family. Therefore, their life are more precious than others in the family. They did not hesitate to ask Shen Huan to give up his life for them. When I thought about how they asked Shen Huan to do this, I was angry.😤

I respect Hua Zhi’s cousin, Hua Qing, who married an old man named Sun. I thought she was only after wealth and comfort, but she had a bigger dream: to be the master of the family. She deals with the concubines quite well and in the end, she provides help for the Hua family.

They said that true friends are tested in adversity. In Hua Zhi’s case, she found her true family after the disaster struck. Hua Zhi and the whole family members of the Hua family learned it the hard way.

Patience is a virtue as it took a long time for Hua Zhi and the Hua family to return home. The redeemed money that they earn through hard work also starts to pile up. They were close to freedom and happiness. when Hua Zhi and the Hua family once again must face the emperor’s wrath.

The Characters

Hua Zhi (played by Zhang Jing Yi)

As a girl who was born in the ancient era, Hua Zhi is carefree, broad-minded, and thinks like a modern woman. Hua Zhi didn’t like other girls who spent their days in the pavilion learning to play the qin or dance. She likes the library best. There she can spend hours reading and studying. She’s into astrology and business.

Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review - Hua Zhi (played by Zhang Jing Yi)
Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review – Hua Zhi (played by Zhang Jing Yi)

Hua Zhi knows what she wants. She did not believe in supernatural things like reading the stars to predict someone’s fortune or misfortune. She is calm and logical like her grandfather, Hua Yi Zheng.

Because Hua Zhi believed in equality. She set all the concubines and maids in the Hua family free. She gave them the freedom to choose whether they could stay as employees or leave as free people.

Hua Zhi is straightforward in love. She shows her feelings for Gu Yan Xi openly. She gave him a multi-coloured string to ward off evil spirits. This showed that Hua Zhi cared for him. However, on the contrary, Hua Zhi hides her feelings from her family. When she was heartbroken, she didn’t say anything to them. Only her actions of brushing everything off make the elders worry about her.

Gu Yan Xi (played by Hu Yi Tian)

Gu Yan Xi is a low-profile royal family member. Not many knew his appearance, therefore he could hide his real identity well. His father is Lord Ling. However, he was raised by the emperor and became the emperor’s favourite nephew. Gu Yan Xi’s position in the emperor’s heart surpassed his cousins. The princes secretly envied Gu Yan Xi’s relationship with the emperor.

Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review - Gu Yan Xi (played by Hu Yi Tian)
Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review – Gu Yan Xi (played by Hu Yi Tian)

As a military man, Gu Yan Xi is stern, strict, disciplined, and cold by nature. He only shows his kind nature towards several people, Hua Zhi, Shao Yao, the emperor, and his stepmother. Gu Yan Xi spent his teenage years in the military barracks, Gu Yan Xi left the capital and entrusted his sister in the hands of his father and his stepmother, Xiao. Gu Yan Xi’s mother died in a fire which almost killed Shao Yao as well.

Gu Yan Xi was impressed by Hua Zhi since the first time they met. And because of that, he secretly helped the Hua family when they were raided and sent to the small courtyard outside the town.

Since then, he kept on helping her by secretly doing something (like helping Hua Zhi find a teacher for her brother and cousin) or openly appearing (as Mr. Yan, of course) when she was alone outside the government office after she was badly beaten by the constables. Gu Yan Xi’s feelings for Hua Zhi gradually deepened and never wavered ever since.

Shen Qi (played by Caesar Wu)

Shen Qi is the eldest grandson of the Shen Family. He is the one who was engaged to Hua Zhi in the first place. He is a righteous scholar but is too soft-hearted and weak. He was burdened by the expectations of his family, especially his grandfather, father, and mother. Shen Qi had been forced to study since he was young, unlike his carefree brother, Shen Huan.

Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review - Shen Qi (played by Caesar Wu)
Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review – Shen Qi (played by Caesar Wu)

When Shen Qi met Hua Zhi for the first time, just like Gu Yan Xi, he was stunned by her beauty and impressed by her intelligence. Since then, he had been waiting for their wedding day with anticipation only to have his heart shattered when his parents decided to cancel the engagement.

Gu Shao Yao (played by Lu Yu Xiao)

Gu Shao Yao, or known as Shao Yao, is Gu Yan Xi’s younger sister. When their mother’s room was on fire, Shao Yao was there too. Mrs. Gu managed to save Shao Yao, but not herself. Since then, Shao Yao has been traumatized, and it has taken a toll on her mental stability.

Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review - Gu Shao Yao (played by Lu Yu Xiao)
Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review – Gu Shao Yao (played by Lu Yu Xiao)

Hua Zhi found her wandering the street alone. And when Shao Yao could not tell her where she lived, Hua Zhi took her back home. Since then, Shao Yao has lived with the Hua family. Shao Yao who has always been abandoned by her father and lived alone in a locked courtyard, feels the warmth of a family since she came for the first time. She even cried because of the overwhelming feeling. Being with the Hua family is a life-turning event for her.

Shao Yao is a talented doctor. During her isolation time, she read many medical books. It was unknown why she was only attracted to medical matters. Probably because the only thing she often encounters is the doctors and their medicine. The only thing that Prince Ling and his wife did right was to provide her with an endless stream of medical books and herbs for Shao Yao’s experiment.

Shen Huan (played by Bian Cheng)

Shen Huan is the second son of the Shen family. He is a carefree and spoiled young boy. Unlike his brother, Shen Qi who always studies, Shen Huan’s parents never force him to read books. He spends his day wandering the town with a group of idle young masters.

Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review - Shen Huan (played by Bian Cheng)
Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review – Shen Huan (played by Bian Cheng)

Although he looks happy with them, with his limited knowledge, Shen Huan was often bullied by his peers. He was left to pay their expenses and often provoked to start a fight. But one thing that makes him stand out among them is his kind heart. Unlike their parents, the Shen siblings have a kind heart and a clear mind.

The Conclusion

Blossoms in Adversity is about Hua Zhi’s journey to glory after her family was hit by disaster. This drama is focused more on Hua Zhi’s effort to support and protect her family rather than her love life with Gu Yan Xi. So, if you are looking for a sweet love story, this drama would bring you to disappointment.

However, if you were the kind who loved family drama, business drama, or mature love story. This one might be for you. And trust me, this drama would make you wish that there were more than 24 hours a day, so you could binge-watch all 40 episodes in one swoop. Which I did not advise you to do so. Or else, you would be swallowing the expensive eye cream instead of applying it to your tote-bag-sized eye bag.

Well dear readers, after you read all my chattering about Blossoms in Adversity, have you made up your mind to choose this drama? If you were curious about the ending, please check out my Ending Explained post for this one. Thank you for stopping by. I’ll see you in the next post. Ciao!

Iya Moyya
Iya Moyya
"A Chinese drama and movie lover for the past 5 years. I contemplate everything, everyday" - Do you like my writing? You can support me by clicking this donation link: Buy Me A Coffee ☕️, thank you!


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"If you are looking for a sweet love story, Blossoms in Adversity drama is not for you."Blossoms in Adversity Drama Review
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