- Title: The Starry Love
- Also Known As: 星落凝成糖, Love When the Stars Fall, Xing Luo Ning Cheng Tang
- Director: Chu Yui Bun
- Casts: Chen Xing Xu, Li Landy, Luke Chen, He Xuan Lin
- Screenwriter: Ma Jia
- Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Comedy
- Country: China
- Type: Drama
- Episodes: 40
- Year: April 2023
- Original Network: Youku, JSTV, ZJTV
- Where to Watch: Youku, Viki
Dear readers… here is another review of the new historical drama, The Starry Love. It is one of the Must Watch Historical and Fantasy Chinese dramas 2023 list. I had a good time binge-watching this drama. So I wanted to share my opinion about The Starry Love with you all. So are you ready? Let’s start! Happy reading!
The Starry Love Synopsis
At the beginning of time, the life of every creature of the four realms was given by purity and impurity. However, Chaos wished to destroy the world. The Immortals of Heavenly realms risked their lives to fight and sealed Chaos in Guixu.
But the sacred tree of Dongqiu nourished itself with Chaos and grew a twin flower. The flower was special because it could absorb both purity and impurity. It also became the key to the Guixu. The four realms; Heavenly realms, Void realms, Beast realm, and Human realm, worked together to raze the tree and destroy the twin flower.
Yet, the twin flower’s essence survived. And 10.000 years later, the essence reincarnated into the bodies of twin princesses born in the Human realm.
The older princess was Li Guang Qing Kui and the younger one was Li Guang Ye Tan. When Qing Kui was born, the sky filled with auspicious signs. But when Ye Tan was born, it was an ominous sign that filled the sky. Ever since they lived different fates.
Qing Kui was living a very good and pampered life. She received all the best stuff and was treated with the utmost care and respect. She was also betrothed to Shao Dian You Qin of the Heavenly realm. Meanwhile, Ye Tan suffered from rejection, humiliation, and abandonment from their father and all the people at the palace. Ye Tan was bound to be the Crown Princess of the Void Realm.
Shao Dian You Qin was the Empyrean King of the Heavenly Realm. He was a 2,700 years old immortal who possessed the strongest power in the realm and had been preparing to seal the Guixu throughout his long life. Shao Dian You Qin was a serious and reserved person.
Meanwhile, the Void tyrant had 3 sons, Wu Dai, Ding Yun, and Chao Feng. The Tyrant had not decided who would be the successor to the throne. Therefore, whoever managed to inherit the throne would marry Ye Tan.
Although Ye Tan and Qing Kui lived different lives, their sisterhood bonding never wavered. They secretly cared and helped each other and tried so hard not to implicate one another. Ye Tan and Qing Kui managed to live for 18 years and grew into two beautiful sisters.
Qing Kui had prepared to be the Empyrean Empress, she was a gentle person with medical skills. Ye Tan on the contrary was a person who resorted to violence every time she encountered trouble. She had prepared for the harsh life of the Crown Princess of the Void realm.
On Ye Tan and Qing Kui’s wedding day, the Third Prince of the Void realm, Chao Feng swapped them. Ye Tan was taken to the Heavenly realm and Qing Kui was sent to the Void realm. Fate made fun of them. The gentle Qing Kui must face the harsh life of the Void realm. Meanwhile, the Heavenly realm must welcome the troublesome Ye Tan.
Both sisters tried to adapt to their new roles. Slowly but surely they lived up to the expectation of their new position, and at the same time accepted their fated love. Ye Tan realized that she had fallen in love with the serious You Qin while Qing Kui had long depended on the cunning Chao Feng. Ye Tan and Qing Kui also had to prepare themselves when they had to be involved in the war against Chaos.
The Starry Love Review
The Starry Love was the last part of The Honey Trilogy after Ashes of Love and Skate Into Love. I have watched Ashes of Love before, I liked the visuals but the story was a bit draggy. It was super long (63 episodes) but I was kinda bored watching it. And I did not watch Skate Into Love. I don’t know why, but I did not feel attracted to it. However, those dramas did not seem to be connected, so you could watch all of them separately.
I had a very good laugh watching The Starry Love. I thought it would be such a boring thing since the story plot seemed ordinary. Or probably because I just watched Romance of a Twin Flower drama, prior to this. And my impression of Romance of a Twin Flower was not too good.
So, I subconsciously thought that this one would be the same. But, wrong! I was definitely wrong! This drama troupe might be ordinary, but the way they put the comedy was quite out of the box. My favorite one was when Ye Tan was sooo hungry when she was in the Heavenly realm.
The immortals only feasted on pure air to satisfy their hunger. But she was a human being who needed something real to eat. So she got crazy when she saw a bull in the palace. In no time the bull had turned into a hotpot meal. And when it was revealed that the bull was not some ordinary bull, instead it was a divine bull that belonged to You Qin. I was dying with laughter.
There was something special about this drama. Usually, in a serious fantasy drama, the male lead would be a close-to-perfection type. Either he was a very serious person who would fight for the good such as Ye Hua in Eternal Love: Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms drama, or the straight evil such as Tantai Jin in Till The End of The Moon drama. They were handsome and full of prowess.
Yes, they had shortcomings but their shortcomings was the kind of trait that we could accept without complaint. But You Qin was different. I have never seen a good male lead who was handsome and full of prowess, yet he had a shortcoming such as cowardice and greed for money…🤣
And Ye Tan… as a female lead who was quite smart, she would do anything to help her loved ones. When she had to pay for the material damages that La Mu caused, she needed money. When I thought that Ye Tan would do some kind of demon-hunting things to raise money (just like Yan Hui from Back From The Brink did), she did otherwise. Ye Tan went back to her home and stole everything from her father’s palace. 🤣 This drama was such an entertainment for my bleak week…👍
When it comes to choosing a drama, other than the story, I used to pay attention to the actors, the director, or the screenwriter. The director of The Starry Love was Chu Yui Bun. He was a veteran director who had produced many good dramas such as The Blue Whisper, The Long Ballad, Eternal Love of Dream, and the other two dramas of The Honey Trilogy: Ashes of Love and Skate Into Love. And Ma Jia, the screenwriter was also the one who wrote Ashes of Love and Skate Into Love.
Both of them also worked together in the trilogy and I must say, compared to Ashes of Love, I was more fond of The Starry Love. And probably I should watch the other one, Skate Into Love, as well. What do you think, dear readers? Should I?
Anyhow… I had a hard time deciding who was the real star of this drama, Chen Xing Xu or Li Landy. Chen Xing Xu portrayed 5 different characters in this drama. Chen Xing Xu’s You Qin was a serious and stiff person. But when he became Wen Ren, his expression was softer and his smile was gentler. And he exuded a flirtatious aura.
He succeeded in portraying different characters of You Qin. However, Li Landy did a good job as the noisy and annoying Ye Tan. I like to see how she played with her eyes. It seemed that you could see the twinkling in her eyes, every time she thought of a naughty idea.
Meanwhile, I would choose Luke Chen over He Xuan Lin because his acting was more interesting than He Xuan Lin. As the ambitious and cunning Chao Feng, Luke Chen was able to show us how double-faced Chao Feng was. He would pretend to be a good person while his head was calculating his next move.
There was something special about the twin princess. Although they were twins, Ye Tan and Qing Kui did not have any similarities in their appearance. And since they were different, we could see the two of them as two different individuals despite their twin status. Because, can you imagine how boring and ordinary the drama was if Ye Tan was another version of Qing Kui who was dressed in a black dress? So I really like them to be different.
The chemistry between the four main leads was also good. I like the sisterhood bonding between Ye Tan and Qing Kui. Li Landy and He Xuan Lin could pull out the older sister-younger sister act very nicely. Kudos to them!
Historical dramas would always be my favorite genre because I always enjoy beautiful costumes and visuals. Although not all the sets in this drama met my expectations, overall it was satisfying enough for me. Some of them were so-so but the other was good. I like the set in Heavenly Palace and Human Palace.
But I was not fond of the Void realm because the people lived in dark-colored palaces and caves. Although the CGI was passable, I have seen a drama with better CGI. But the other aspect such as the shooting angle and lighting was pretty good. I was not fond of the coloring because The Starry Love had a dark tone while I prefer lighter-tone pictures.
The costumes were pretty. Usually, historical/period/costume drama had one theme or design. You could see this in Love Like the Galaxy drama. The characters in the drama wore the same robe design, either it was the emperor or the common people. But fantasy drama was always my favorite.
There were many different kinds of designs for the characters. The people of the Human realms would wear a more casual design compared to the people of the Heavenly realm. The people from the Void realm seemed like they were a Goth community with their dark-colored robes with leather details. And they seemed to wear armor wherever they go. The Beast realm consisted of free-spirited characters. They would wear clothes that were compatible with their individual characteristics. For example, Man Man.
As an active bird spirit (and noisy too), she wore short pants instead of a long gown. And Di Lan Jue wore many accessories in his colorful clothes. A very fitting ensemble for someone who had a theatrical character. Even though his beast form was a white puppy…😅
The headdress was good although nothing was special about it. But I take note that Qing Kui wore the same kind of headband just like Ji Man wore in Romance of a Twin Flower. Is this a coincidence or is it premeditated since both of the drama had the same troupe: twin girls got swapped on something. 🤷♀️
Proverbs say that teamwork makes the dream work. The Starry Love was not only about the director, scriptwriter, and actors. There were many people involved in a drama or movie production. It was too bad that I could not read Chinese, so I could not read the credit title in every Chinese drama that I watch.
Those people also contributed a lot so we, viewers, could sit back and enjoy their hard-works. And those dramas had been helping me a lot through my days, whether it was good or bad. They made me laugh and cry at the same time. So kudos to the production teams!👍
The main lead in this drama was Ye Tan and You Qin. But You Qin had the most complicated life because he had 5 personages; the serious You Qin, La Mu (Fiery), Mei You Qing (Heartless), Wen Ren, and the brand new You Qing. It was said 5 personages because the personality of You Qin before his soul was destroyed and after his revival was totally different.
However, although Ye Tan and You Qin’s romance was dominating the whole drama, the most heart-wrenching story was Qing Kui and Chao Feng’s romance. It was full of misunderstandings. Mostly because Qing Kui was a naïve person, very gentle and very kind person. And she must deal with the cunning and ambitious Chao Feng.
There was also another pair couple, Di Lan Jue and Ziwu. But the story was just an add-on. Sort of story diversion so we, viewers, was not too bored with Ye Tan and Qing Kui’s love stories. Although it was pretty cute, I did not feel too excited about it.
The journey of Ye Tan and her friends started when You Qin’s soul was destroyed. When an immortal died, he/she could be revived if there were still a piece of their soul left in the world. Fortunately, You Qin still had his soul shards at the Land of Mystery. A secluded place inside the Heavenly realm that was created by You Qin.
The soul shard itself was a glass ball that contained the discarded emotion from You Qin. He did it to himself, so You Qin could be an immortal who was devoid of emotion. He become a very detached and indifferent person because he did not have any emotion left inside him. All the glass balls were placed inside the Land of Mystery. And without You Qin, nobody could enter the Land of Mystery.
However, Ye Tan was able to enter the Land of Mystery because You Qin left his iridescent eyes inside Ye Tan’s body. Ye Tan only managed to save three soul shards. But, those shards were accidentally scattered in the Human realm. Ye Tan must find all of the soul shards and make them fall in love with her at the same time.
Thus, Ye Tan started her journey accompanied by Man Man, Qing Heng, Ziwu, and Di Lan Jue. For Ye Tan, the journey to find You Qin’s soul shards was about karma. Just like “You reap what you sow”. “What goes around comes around”. “Karma has no menu, you get served what you deserve”. There were many phrases about karma, and the point was you should pay for everything you had done. And so did Ye Tan.
When Ye Tan found the first soul shard was a fire demon called La Mu (Fiery). She was burdened with material debt to the villagers due to the material damage caused by La Mu. It was the same situation when Ye Tan made You Qin repay the immortals in the Heavenly realm because Ye Tan stole their treasures and turned them into food. Yes… that included You Qin’s priceless divine bull. This was Ye Tan’s first karma to repay.
The second karma was when Ye Tan met the second soul shard, Mei You Qing. He was the emotion that You Qin felt when Ye Tan played mahjong with the immortals in the Heavenly realm and cheated all their valuable treasures. Back then, You Qin lured Ye Tan with food that she had to pay for with the valuable treasures.
He did it to make Ye Tan taste her own medicine (ie. to do the same bad thing that Ye Tan did to others). The emotion that You Qin felt back then turned into Mei You Qing, a person who was greedy for wealth and will do anything for money and gold. Just like what Ye Tan used to be on a mahjong table…😅
It was Man Man who made Ye Tan realized that her greed had made You Qin turned into Mei You Qing. And after several interactions with him, Ye Tan regretted everything she had done back in the Heavenly realm. Because everything she did had its retribution…😁
There were some plot twists in The Starry Love. The Heavenly Emperor, aka You Qin’s father, did not want him to be revived when You Qin’s soul dispersed in the first place. However, many people in the Heavenly realm had another opinion. They helped Ye Tan to break out of her confinement and pretended not to see her when she stealthily went to the Land of Mystery.
And there was another person who seemed to be nice, but secretly held a grudge over the people in four realms. She would be the catalyst of the destruction at the end of the drama. But fret not readers, The Starry Love had an open ending. Even though I wanted a happy ending for them, an open ending was better than a sad ending.
The Casts and Characters
Li Landy as Li Guang Ye Tan
Ye Tan was a rebellious, willful, lively, brazen, and cunning person. She grew up alone since she was born. The ominous sign that welcomed her on her birthday made the people believe that she was a jinx. Everybody avoided her and she was also abandoned by her father, Li Guang Yang or Emperor Tun.
Humiliation had become her everyday menu. Even the palace maids looked down on her. The only person who accompanied her in her small world was a bird spirit from the Beast realm, Man Man.
Ye Tan pretended to not care about Qing Kui. Because their father would scold Qing Kui if he found them together. He thought that Ye Tan would bring a bad influence on his favorite daughter. Although Ye Tan seemed to hate her father very much, she still had a soft spot for him. After all, Ye Tan only yearned for love. She was not a hateful person.
Ye Tan had prepared herself to be a Void Crown Princess. She learned martial arts and was able to perform some magic. Her nature was suitable for the harsh environment of the Void realm. So you could imagine how frustrated You Qin was when he had to deal with a troublesome future consort. 🤣
Ye Tan never realized that You Qin had occupied a corner of her heart. She was always angry at him and even called him Heartless. But when You Qin jumped into Guixu, she showed worry and fear in her eyes.
And when the Heavenly Emperor refused to revive You Qin, she was the first to speak up and offended the Emperor. Ye Tan started to consider La Mu, Heartless, and Wen Ren’s feelings when she saw how heartbroken Qing Kui was when Chao Feng left her. When the selfish Ye Tan started to consider others’ feelings, it meant that her heart was starting to accept others’ presence.
Chen Xing Xu as Shao Dian You Qin (and his other personalities)
You Qin was an unemotional person. He was rigid, stubborn, very logical, and an excellent strategist. When he was a child, he offered himself to be the one who shouldered the burden of repairing Guixu because his siblings were too young. Since then he was promoted to Empyrean rank, titled Xuan Shang. He learned in solitude for 1,500 years.
At the age of 2,700, he finished his study and obtained an Imperfect Celestial Body. You Qin did not agree with his father’s arrangement about marrying Princess Qing Kui. He thought that if something happened at Guixu and he had to sacrifice himself, Qing Kui would be a widow. However, the Emperor refused his plea.
On the wedding day, You Qin and Ye Tan must walk on the Love Bridge, an invisible bridge in the Heavenly realm that was set up to test the fate of a couple. Ye Tan was scared and hung onto him. In the middle of the bridge, You Qin was surprised because the bridge appeared underneath their shoes. It was a sign that they were fated to be together.
You Qin was shocked but he believed it, but Ye Tan thought the bridge was malfunctioning since she was not the real Qing Kui. You Qin did not seem to care for Ye Tan. But in reality, he always thought about her and tried to help her get through her difficulties in the Heavenly realm.
La Mu was the first soul shard of You Qin. He was called a fire demon by the villagers and he could produce magical fire from his hand. La Mu was fidgety, clumsy, and stubborn, but kind. When Ye Tan asked him to leave the village, he refused because La Mu was protecting the villager from the Nanming Lihuo Fire.
Mei You Qing was the second soul shard. Ye Tan called him Heartless. He was obsessed with wealth. Heartless was stingy, cowardly, and cunning. Aside from working as an assassin from The Assassin Hall, Heartless also worked many kinds of job that paid him money. He was a hard-working person. After he fell in love with Ye Tan, Heartless passed his time writing romantic novels.
Wen Ren was the third soul shard. He was a gentle and considerate man. Ye Tan believed in an instant that Wen Ren had fallen in love with her. But later she learned that Wen Ren was an infamous womanizer. Wen Ren ran a restaurant that also served as a gallery. He sold his paintings and poems.
After all the soul shards were combined, You Qin was revived back to life. He took Ye Tan and returned to the Heavenly realm. The new You Qin’s personality was more lively and no longer unemotional. Although he still possessed his old knowledge, this new You Qin could be seen as a young immortal who was hopelessly in love with Ye Tan.
He Xuan Lin as Li Guang Qing Kui
Qing Kui was a gentle and lovable princess. She was kind, considerate, and was a talented doctor. She was born under an auspicious sign. Therefore, her life was the complete opposite of Ye Tan’s. Everybody treated her with the utmost respect and care. She got all the best things, wore the best clothes, and ate the best food. Although her father forbade her from spending time with Ye Tan, Qing Kui always secretly went to Ye Tan’s palace or send her food and stuff.
As special twins, Qing Kui and Ye Tan shared a close bond. They could feel each other’s pain. That was the reason why Ye Tan was very careful with herself because she was afraid Qing Kui would feel pain if she was injured. And Qing Kui also did the same because she thought Ye Tan was afraid of pain.
When Qing Kui arrived at the Void realm, she was afraid of the people and the environment. The Void people were cruel. Living in the Void realm was a harsh experience for the delicate Qing Kui. However, Chao Feng always protected her, even though he did it for his own sake. And slowly but surely, Qing Kui fell in love with his “kindness” and handsome appearance.
Luke Chen as Chao Feng
Chao Feng was the third son of the Void Tyrant. He was smart, cunning, and powerful. However, he hid his prowess under the pretense of being a stupid but loyal follower of Wu Dai, the first prince. Chao Feng was a prince but he did not have a good life. He and his mother, Consort Xue, was suppressed by the Empress and lived a life worse than a servant.
Chao Feng was determined to be the ruler of the Void realm because he held a grudge against his father, the Void Tyrant, and the Empress for annihilating his mother’s tribe.
Qing Kui believed that Ding Yun was the one who swapped the brides. But in reality, it was Chao Feng who did it. He had to do that because Ye Tan had witnessed his murder attempt at Wu Dai. And he was afraid if Ye Tan went to the Void realm as the Crown Princess, she would reveal his secret. The heartless Chao Feng slowly felt his heart melt at Qing Kui’s kindness. Qing Kui was willing to protect him although she was weaker than him.
When Ye Tan and the others were searching for the soul shard, Chao Feng had to break up with Qing Kui. He did it because he thought it was the best way to protect Qing Kui from Ding Yun and the Empress. However, after Qing Kui left, Chao Feng cried because his heart was broken into pieces.
At first, I was a bit hesitant to watch The Starry Love drama amidst its hype. But when I watched the first episode, my hesitation vanished. This drama was good and most importantly, the story was well-written. The comedy would make you laugh and the death would make you cry. The story did not disappoint me. I feel my days binge-watching this drama were well spent.
I would recommend this drama to all of you who was looking for some rom-com drama. You would fall in love with the characters and the visuals. The story would make you want to rewatch the drama again and again. The Starry Love would be a good choice for a long relaxing weekend. I said long because you might want to watch this drama in one swoop.
Unfortunately, this was a 40 episodes drama, so you would need at least 4 days to watch it. Some of you might want to skip the episodes and want to know how The Starry Love drama ended. Is it happy or bad ending? Well, you can read it in The Starry Love ending explained post.
Well, dear readers, do not forget to stack up your snack and drinks next to your chair and be prepared for an exciting journey with The Starry Love. Happy watching!