Drama ReviewChinese Romance Drama ReviewsBack From The Brink Drama Review

"Take your time, because Back From the Brink drama deserves to be enjoyed slowly. "

Back From The Brink Drama Review

  • Title: Back From the Brink
  • Also Known As: 护心Hu Xin, Heart Protection, Protect your Heart
  • Director: Sam Ho, Zeng Xiao Yu
  • Casts: Hou Ming hao, Zhou Ye, Yang Rong, Riley Wang, Chen Xin Yu
  • Screenwriter: Wang Ruo Ke, Hong Wan Ling
  • Genres: Romance, Fantasy, Wuxia
  • Country: China
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 40
  • Release date: May 9, 2023
  • Original Network: Youku
  • Where To Watch: Youku, Viki
  • Adapted from the novel: Hu Xin by Jiu Lu Fei Xiang

Hello dear readers… have you watched Till The End of The Moon drama? Well, after the drama was over, Youku released another fantasy-historical drama, which was Back From The Brink. It is one of the Chinese Dramas Premier in May 2023. The story was good and I am sure you’ll gonna loved this Back From the Brink drama. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s go!

Back From the Brink Synopsis

Tianyao, the Dragon King, fell in love with Su Ying, a Daoist from Guanchan Sect. However, his sincere feeling was unrequited. On their wedding day, Su Ying determined to kill Tianyao and took the dragon’s Heart Protecting Scale. The scale could be forged into armor, and Su Ying wanted to give the Armor to her true beloved one.

Weakened by the stab, Tianyao tried hard to protect his scale. He chose to send the scale away to an unknown place rather than let her have it. Tianyao and Su Ying have a fierce fight, but Tianyao was already weak. Since he no longer has the Heart Protection Scale, Tianyao was easily defeated. Thus Su Ying scattered Tianyao’s dragon body into five different places and seal it for eternity.

The Heart Protection scale flew towards the sky and all the way to the Obsidian River. Coincidentally, on that cold night, a mother set her daughter afloat on the river. She no longer could take care of her. The infant had a congenital heart disease and she would not live for a long time. That night, the Heart Protection Scale found another heart that needs its protection.

Twenty years later, the sick infant had turned into a lively girl named Yanhui. She was a disciple at Chenxing Mountain under the tutelage of Ling Xiao. Yanhui was a kind girl. The years of living on the street had taught her how to survive with her streetwise attitude. However, her rebellious nature and compassion for spirit creatures made her kicked out of the Chenxing Mountain.

Back From The Brink Drama Review - Yanhui and Tianyao
Back From The Brink Drama Review – Yanhui and Tianyao

Yanhui and the reborn Tianyao crossed paths in a small town. Tianyao could sense his Heart Protection Scale was on Yanhui and he needed her to reassemble his body and regain his power. He would do all that it takes to get revenge against Su Ying. So Tianyao followed her when Yanhui hunted a snake spirit for the sake of the prize money.

Their relationship started badly, but after their adventurous journey started. Yanhui and Tianyao starting to build a better relationship and it deepening over time. From Yanhui’s endless efforts to help him, Tianyao learned that trust can be built again after a betrayal and love can bloom again if you met the one. But the far they go, the closest they were to the big mystery that is bound to Yanhui and her true origin. Will their relationship survive the tribulation? Or would they surrender to fate?

Back From the Brink Review

Dear readers, 2023 seemed going to be a busy year for me. My watch list was long and it was full of many promising dramas. I just hope I had all the time to watch them and the dramas were as promising as the synopsis. Because I was often disappointed and had to drop the drama that I thought was good. And don’t forget that I choose drama based on my preferences.

I am a romance junkie and loved to see beautiful faces. Most of my review was romance drama, but some of them were not. And if I wrote a review of a different kind of genre, I’m sure that the drama was more than just a good drama. Don’t forget to check it out…😉

Back From The Brink drama was a story about love, trust, and betrayal. A tale about the two sides of love. Love would conquer hardship and heal a wounded heart. On the other hand, love could consume your heart and become your obsession, just like what happened to Su Ying.

This xianxia drama was unexpectedly amazing. It was funny, romantic, and full of adventure. Yanhui had to embark on a long, arduous, and dangerous journey to help Tianyao reclaim everything that belong to him, his real body, real identity, and real life. And during the journey, she was not the only one who find love inside her rebellious heart. Tianyao also regains the trust and love he once lost due to a betrayal.

Back From The Brink was an adaptation of a novel titled Hu Xin or Heart Protection. The author was Hong Wan Lin also known as Jiu Lu Fei Xiang. And she was also the author of Blue Whisper, Love Between Fairy and Devil, the upcoming Si Ming, and also Shansheng, Wangchuan Wu Shan (If you speak Indonesia, my writing partner The Dewi has written a very good Indonesian translation of this book. You should read it, trust me!).

Hong Wan Lin wrote amazing xianxia novels and I do not doubt Back From The Brink story. I haven’t got the chance to read the whole novel, in English translation of course…😅. Yet, I did a quick skimming at it and although it was a bit different, I find it acceptable.

You see… most of the drama adapted from books had differences from the real story. Because you could not take all the chapters from the book and turned them into scenes on your screen. And the biggest problem was the varying degree of similarity on it. It could be only “slightly different” OR “very different that I could not see any similarity between the novel and the drama. They better write a new novel about it.”-kind of differences. The best example was Romance of a Twin Flower drama. You could read my rant in the review.

Anyhow, I was quite satisfied with this drama. Probably because the author was also involved in this drama as a screenwriter together with Wang Ruo Ke, who wrote the 2021 drama, Fluorish in Time. This drama was a novel adaptation as well. And according to Google, the rating was quite good. Our directors, Sam Ho and Zeng Xiao Yu were veterans. Sam Ho was the one behind the famous drama, The Mystic Nine as well as Killer and Healer. While Zeng Xiao Yu was the one behind And The Winner is Love.

Our main lead, the one that impress me much was Riley Wang. Don’t get me wrong, Hou Ming Hao was very good looking and he looked perfectly fit with Zhou Ye. However, in my opinion, Riley Wang’s acting was far more interesting. His character was a lively yet annoying Bai Xiao Sheng. While Hou Ming Hao’s character was the cold and strong Tianyao.

Therefore, Bai Xiao Sheng would have more emotions expressed on his face and Hou Ming Hao was just… cold. Hou Ming Hao might need to work on his cold aura first. His presence as the main lead did not strong enough to dominate the screen.

I rarely watched Zhou Ye’s drama. The first was Word of Honor and the second one was Back From The Brink. Right now, I did not have many things to say about Zhou Ye. She worked so well as Yanhui, the bubbly and rebellious girl. The character seemed natural to her. If someday I watch her acting as a gloomy and sad character, I might get confused.

Back From The Brink Drama Review - poster

Yang Rong’s beautiful face was somewhat familiar to me. It turned out she used to act at The Palace Season 2: The Lock Pearl Screen. Back then I was just getting familiar with Cdramaland. Bu Bu Jin Xing and The Palace series were on my watchlist. Therefore, I still have some lingering memories of those dramas, including Yang Rong. But I remembered her clearly on Marvellous Woman. It’s a well-written drama that you should not miss.

The last main role was Chen Xin Yu. I remembered her clearly because she act in one of my old-time favorite dramas, Rule The World, starring Raymond Lam and Tina Tang. Chen Xin Yu act as Ulanara Abahai, one of Nurhaci’s consort who deeply hates Dong Ge (Tina Tang). And I resent her character in the drama. She also act in Princess Silver, but her role as Ulanara Abahai was embedded in my mind. I like her role in Back From The Brink as Xian Ge. She was kind and her relationship with Yanhui was cute.

And I was happy to see the face of Ken Chang. My favorite phoenix, Zhe Yan, is on the Eternal Love: Ten Miles of Peach Blossom drama. He still looked as good as in the Eternal Love. Although I was excited about his role, I’m a bit disappointed with Ling Xiao’s characters in this drama. However, it did not reduce my excitement though.

This drama would give you enough satisfaction to watch. The comedy was enough, the romance was sweet and I like the way Yanhui and Tianyao communicate. They were like a modern couple. I’ve watched countless cdrama about lovers where one of them was inferior and needed to be protected all the time by the partner. But in this drama, I was shocked.

At the beginning of this drama, we could see that Tianyao was stronger than Yanhui. Moreover, Yanhui’s ability was weaker than her peers at Chengxin Mountain. At the beginning of the drama, I thought that Yanhui would be like Xiao Lan Hua and Tianyao would be like Dongfang Qingcang. So, I was a bit dumbfounded when Tianyao was revealed to be far weaker than Yanhui. But when he became stronger, Yanhui got stronger as well. This couple was loyal, supportive, and protective toward each other. And I looooveeeee it!

There were many subplots in the drama. There were also many characters that sometimes I forget their names and roles. You would find yourself easily immersed in this complicated story. The adventure was quite exciting and the return of certain characters surely make me gnash my teeth.

The Cinematography

Back From The Brink indulge you with many beautiful faces and good sets. Although I am not too fond of the costume, I would not comment about it, since there were things that make me more disappointed: the CGI. Dang, I was stunned to see the dragon because it was supposed to be the great dragon king, but I did not feel the greatness.

The spirit’s heads in the first episode were a good addition to the comedy. My high hopes for the CGI were shattered after I saw Tianyao’s jade-green horns on his head. It did not look like a horn that held so much power. And when Yanhui rode the dragon I was crying. And don’t forget about the monsters too…😭😭

Then I learned that this drama’s production budget was lower compared to its predecessor, Till The End of The Moon. So, I try to make peace with my inner self and keep telling myself to stop the rant about CGI. There were more things to praise about this drama. I should stop talking about the weird and cheap CGI design.

But let me add one more comment, did you feel that Ling Xiao’s geomantic compass on episode 35 reminded you of Ghostbuster’s ghost trap? 😁

The costume, on the other hand, somehow could be praised. The motives of the dresses and robes were beautiful and the color was vibrant too. They use many ombre and gradient fabrics. I was awed by it. The design might not be the thing I am fond of, especially Yanhui’s first dress when she had just been expelled from Chengxin Mountain. The asymmetrical top was too modern in design. There was nothing special with the headdress. Although they were made exquisitely, they were casual and without too much intricate design.

Back From The Brink Drama Review - poster 3

But some of the accessories were disappointing. For example, was Tianyao’s sword. 😭

Did you feel familiar with Tongluo Village? Because I did. This village set also appeared in the final episode of Love Like The Galaxy. You might not remember the houses, but the long wooden bridge at the entrance of the village was an unforgettable sight.

I was fond of the way the directors shoot the fight scenes. The fast-moving camera added a more dramatic effect to the scenes. The music and lighting also emphasize the atmosphere and emotions. And don’t forget about the OST. The opening song has already occupied a part of my mind rent-free…

The Story

Back From The Bring story pace was slow at the beginning. It feel like 45 minutes was a very long time. But then the pace was quickened in the middle of the drama. I have to increase my focus because there were many new characters and the story had become more complicated. But the excitement was also escalating.

The tale started when Tianyao, the Dragon King was killed on his wedding day. His supposed-to-be spouse, Su Ying, used the wedding event to catch Tianyao unguard and stabbed him. When he was still shocked, Su Ying use her power to attack him mercilessly.

Tianyao saw how the happiness of Luochon Valley’s small elves turned into desperation when they tried to catch Tianyao’s scales that flew away from his body. When he was on the verge of death, Tianyao felt anger, hatred, frustration, and helplessness welled up inside him. Those feelings were carved deeply in his mind and bones for years.

Back From The Brink Drama Review - poster 5

The story later told that the Heart Protection Scale had found another heart to protect. And it was Yanhui’s heart. She was born with a congenital heart disease. But the scales protect her until 20 years later. For the first 10 years of her life, Yanhui lived on the street. Her wishes were to have a family, a warm place to live, and food to eat.

She took food off the street to fill her stomach. Yanhui’s favorite food was baozi because it was the only food that could fill her hunger at that time. Yanhui lived alone until Ling Xiao found her and took her to Chenxing Mountain. Yanhui was a smart girl. Yet, she could not unlock her mind’s eye. Therefore her level was stuck as a one-star disciple, while her peers have become four-star disciples. Later in the drama, it would be revealed why she could not use her mind eye.

When he met Yanhui, Tianyao could sense his Heart Protection Scale. He could feel it when Yanhui accidentally releases his power at the Spirit prison. But it was after she walked passed by, Tianyao could sense the scale on her and decided to follow Yanhui. Knowing that Yanhui was a Daoist, Tianyao saw an opportunity to break the seal at the lake and obtain his dragon bones.

Tianyao did not have any intention besides using Yanhui’s blood to break the seal on his dragon bones. He was shocked when Granma Xiao held his wedding with Yanhui. The reason why he had an emotional outburst was because he remembered the pain he had during his wedding to Su Ying.

Yanhui’s feeling for Tianyao was sincere. She wished to help him because she knew that without Tianyaou’s Heart Protection Scale, she would not live long. Tianyao’s scale gave her a second chance to live. Slowly the gratitude turned into a much deeper feeling. She had the urge to help and protect him. And it was all because love was already there, carved deep in her heart.

The same thing goes for Tianyao. Although he was badly hurt by Su Ying’s betrayal, he feel the need to be with her and the determination to protect her. And because he could sense the Heart Protection Scale on her, he always knew when she needed him the most.

But every relationship has its own hardship. When Tianyao had to choose between his people and Yanhui, he fall into a dilemma. Tianyao had always been burdened by the guilty feeling because of what happened twenty years ago. So, he had to choose his people and hurt Yanhui. But in the end, he was left with guilty feelings toward Yanhui. Thankfully, even though it took a long time, the matter could be solved by the two of them.

Another love tribulation that this couple had to encounter was when Tianyao turned into a dragon egg. Yanhui focused to take care of the egg and when Tianyao was reborn with no memories of his past, she tried every possible way to make him remember. She took him to Tongluo Village where they first meet. And her effort paid off. When they left the village, Tianyao remembered everything.

Tianyao and Yanhui’s relationship was full of twist and turn. And it was soo sweet to see how strong the love embedded into their hearts. They tried to protect each other and were ready to sacrifice their self. However, the communication between them was one thing that I admired. It was such a delight to see the interaction between them.

Another thing that I paid attention to was the master-disciple relationship between Ling Xiao and Yanhui. Ling Xiao was loyal to his sect, he abided by the rule and listened to his master’s words. It was a painful thing to see when their relationship broke. Back then, Ling Xiao had to sacrifice his master-disciple relationship for the sake of the sect.

Although he did try his best to protect Yanhui, it was not enough. Yanhui was still hurt and some people tried to kill her when she was weak. The feeling of being abandoned by the family was a thorn in Yanhui’s heart due to her painful past. So when Ling Xiao choose to help the sect, her heart broke.

The worst example of love was the love that Su Ying had for General Lu. She thought because she loved him, therefore he should be hers. She did treat him well. But the abuse was emotional. Suying forced him to remember their relationship and forcefully took his wife, Yunxi, and in the end killed her. Su Ying was an example of a frightening ex-girlfriend who could not move on. We might find her character in a thriller novel where the mistress tortures the wife because she wanted the man. Well, did you agree with me, dear readers?

The sweetest relationship falls between Xian Ge and Feng Qian Shuo. They might start badly, but their cute interaction won my appreciation.

Back From The Brink ended with a happy ending. Although it was somehow painful to watch, Tianyao and Yanhui finally found the peaceful lives they always wanted to have. You can read the detail of it in Back From the Brink ending explained post.

The Characters

Tianyao (played by Hou Ming)

As a millennium dragon spirit and the dragon king from Luochun Valley, Tianyao’s innate power was the strongest in the spirit world. However, he was not the kind of person who was bad and cruel. It was the exact opposite. He was a naïve person and was easy to trust others. Therefore, Su Ying could betray him and he never saw it coming.

Back From The Brink Drama Review - Tianyao (played by Hou Ming)
Back From The Brink Drama Review – Tianyao (played by Hou Ming)

But the hardship made Tianyao realize his weakness. His emotional scar made him a cold and detached person. He no longer trust people and love was a taboo for him. Tianyaou was burned with regrets, hatred, and anger. He felt that he was responsible for what happened twenty years ago. He shouldered the burden for years and it made his heart slowly frozen.

Tianyao thought that he should never love again. He even tried to sever his feelings. However, the small elves of Luochun Valley told him that he should not do that. What happened back then was not his responsibility.

Tianyao used to refuse Yanhui’s feelings but then he accepted her because he knew that this time, the love that he felt was a sincere feeling. And he knew that he also loved her because he felt that he wanted and needed to protect her. His sword was the witness. Even after he lost his memories, Tianyao could regain the lost memories every time he was with Yanhui.

Tianyao had a friend, Chan Lan from Qingqiu. He was Zhu Li’s uncle. They used to be a good friend before Tianyao disappeared twenty years.

Yanhui (played by Zhou Ye)

As an orphan, Yanhui’s streetwise was self-taught. She was cunning, stubborn, and a little bit selfish. Her love for money was evident. Yanhui had been living in poverty for years. She knew very well that money was an important thing to survive in this world. But the most important thing in the world for Yanhui was baozi. Her love of baozi was more evident than money. She worked hard to earn money because she wanted to buy enough baozi for her to eat.

Back From The Brink Drama Review - Yanhui (played by Zhou Ye)
Back From The Brink Drama Review – Yanhui (played by Zhou Ye)

Yanhui had a sad memory regarding Baozi. She used to see a family of three laughing on the street. Because the father gave the daughter a tanghulu, she throw away the baozi in her hand. Thus Yanhui picked up the discarded babies and ate them with relish. When she was at Chenxing Mountain, aside from her master’s tutelage, she was grateful that she could eat baozi to her full. Something that she longed for after she left the mountain.

Only writing these 2 paragraphs of baozi made me hungry because I love baozi with chicken filling.

Yanhui was an independent woman. She always looked up to people with respect and she had a strong sense of justice. She knew how to protect everybody dear to her. Not only Tianyao but someone like Grandma Xiao as well. Yanhui loved her master because he was like a father to her. When she was expelled from Chenxing Mountain, Yanhui was angry at Ling Xiao. yet she still kowtowed to him before she leave.

Her feelings for Tianyao were a new thing for Yanhui. Tianyao was a very handsome man, and I believe she was already mesmerized by him when she was taken to Tongluo Village. The sight of him surrounded by sunlight was enough to make her stunned. After she was exposed to the fox charm and accidentally fell in love with Tianyao, Yanhui realized that the weird feeling she had was love. Yanhui never loved anyone else but Tianyao. But her interaction with Bai Xiao Sheng was enough to make Tianyao burn with jealousy.

Her past was mysterious. The reason why she could not unlock her mind’s eye was because it was sealed by Master Qing Guang. The Master had his own reason to do that, even Ling Xiao, did not know the reason.

Bai Xiao Sheng (played by Riley Wang)

He was another person with a mysterious background. Although he was bubbly, funny (most of the comedy came from him), and looked harmless, he hid a secret motive toward Yanhui and Tianyao. Bai Xiao Sheng went all over the world to find a pair of Daoist and monster who could help him to retrieve the Ghostly Eulogy in Qingqiu.

Back From The Brink Drama Review - Bai Xiao Sheng (played by Riley Wang)
Back From The Brink Drama Review – Bai Xiao Sheng (played by Riley Wang)

After Yanhui had a fallout with Tianyao, Bai Xiao Sheng and Yanhui pretended to be a lover so he could obtain the treasure. The guardian of the eulogy would give them a series of questions to prove that they were a couple. So Bai Xiao Sheng and Yanhui worked hard and memorize the questions and answers. Yet, they failed to answer the last question. Although they could answer all the previous questions their heart was not aligned to answer the last one.

Bai Xiao Sheng had tremendous power. He was a dark practitioner who used dark aura as his power. He came from a shadow clan and could make use of his shadow just like Peter Pan did. He could infiltrate a place without being noticed and could hide well under the shadow of others.

Although he did not show it, Bai Xiao Sheng slowly fall in love with Yanhui. He showed a helpless and broken heart expression when he saw Yanhui confessing her feelings to Tianyao. He looked like a happy person and a smile always radiated his face. But in reality, he hides pains and loneliness behind those radiant smiles.

Su Ying (played by Yang Rong)

Su Ying looked like a harmless and kind woman. But in reality, she was a selfish and spiteful person. Su Ying’s love for Lu Mu Sheng had developed into a crazy obsession. As a Daoist who had huge power and an important position in the world, Su Ying should have realized that with great power comes great responsibility. Yet, it was too bad she was not a Spiderman who was sensible and kind. Su Ying was a villain through and through.

Back From The Brink Drama Review - Su Ying (played by Yang Rong)
Back From The Brink Drama Review – Su Ying (played by Yang Rong)

Su Ying met Lu Mu Shen when he was young. He helped and save when she was in a dire situation. They parted ways and meet again when he had become a general. Su Ying wanted to take Tianyao’s Heart Protecting Scale for him to use and made armor out of Tianyao’s dragon scales also for him. However, Lu Mu Shen forget about her and married a nine-tailed fox, the Princess of Qingqiu, Yunxi. He forgets about his life as a powerful general and life a scholarly life.

Su Ying’s love turned into an obsession. She took Lu Mu Sheng and prisoned him at her house. She also kidnapped his wife and eventually killed her. But when Lu Mu Sheng’s life slowly withered away, she became panicked because the only way to keep him alive was with the Heart Protection Scale. So she made many attempts to capture Tianyao, so she could have the scale.

Su Ying did not have many family members and beloved person in this world. She only had one sister, Ling Fei, and Lu Mu Sheng. Even though she was surrounded by her disciple and many people regarded her as an important person, her life was lonely.

Xian Ge (played by Chen Xin Yu)

Xian Ge was the owner of Wangyu Tower in Yongzhou City. She was Yanhui’s bestfriend. Although she looked weak, Xian Ge was a sharp and brave person. Her relationship with Yanhui was strong and she did not hesitate to help her.

Back From The Brink Drama Review - Xian Ge (played by Chen Xin Yu)
Back From The Brink Drama Review – Xian Ge (played by Chen Xin Yu)

Xian Ge had 12 familiars working at her Wangyu Tower. All of them signed a pact to be hers. Yet, Xian Ge treats them with respect. They were not her slave but companion. She taught them how to live in the human world and how to fend for themselves. And those familiars loved and respect her greatly.

When all of them were trapped in Yongzhou underground together with other spirits, Xian Ge released all her familiars and destroyed their contract. The last order she gave them was “to survive”. After all the familiars leave Yongzhou, they would be free men.

The Young Master of the Tianxiang Workshop, Feng Qian Shuo, has fallen in love with Xian Ge. But even though Xian Ge also had feelings for him, she knew that they could not be together. Feng Qian Shuo always tried to make her admit her feelings for him. Every time he took a concubine, he always invite her to the ceremony.

I know it was such a weird thing to express your love. Trying to make someone jealous was the lowliest trick in the relationship, ever. Even though I also did it once or twice. But, hey… everybody made mistakes right?

The Conclusion

Back From the Brink was a fantasy drama that you should not miss. The visuals might not be as good as its predecessors, Till The End of The Moon drama. But the real power of this drama was in its well-written story. It tells you the story of love, betrayal, obsession, and hatred. The story was awesome, the cast was amazing, the dialogue was entertaining, and the visual was… not bad. I am surely going to watch this drama again because it was worth it.

I have a good time watching the drama. And I am sure you would too. Take your time, because this Back From the Brink drama deserves to be enjoyed slowly. Every episode was full of excitement, so make sure that you had enough time and focus for them. And lastly, don’t forget to pile up your snack and make sure that you were ready to lose your beauty sleep over this drama.

Happy watching!

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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"Take your time, because Back From the Brink drama deserves to be enjoyed slowly. "Back From The Brink Drama Review
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