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Novel Rec List: Male Lead Grovels before the Main Character

[Last updated on March 10, 2021]

This is a recommendation list of danmei novels containing the trope where the scum male lead gong begs for forgiveness from the abused main character shou. It’s dog-blood and melodramatic. The plots are often predictable, but nevertheless, enjoyable. You can find yourself screaming and cursing at the ML, while crying and wanting to protect the MC.

Most of the novels on this list are found on NovelUpdates. Some, however, don’t have a translation yet, but they’re easy to read through MTL.

Novels are loosely ranked based on…

  • Substance – How substantial the conflict in the relationship is
  • Coherency – How every scene ties up together and is not just there for angst’s sake
  • Reader Satisfaction – How satisfying the groveling of the male lead is
  • Plot Quality – How compelling and convincing the story is. Novels are judged as dog-blood novels, but with style~
  • Character Development – How MC’s character develops while separated from ML, and how ML changes when they’re back together.
  • Pay-off Value – How satisfied (or leaves you wanting for more) the novel makes you feel after reading

I say “loosely ranked,” because I can’t really have one definite ranking for them. They may all be dog-blood, but even dog-blood comes in different themes and genres. For that, novels will also have individual star ratings, which is based on a novel’s quality on its own, and not in regards to how they’re ranked in the list.

Expect some content warnings on all of the novels. I won’t list them here, so you’ll have to check them yourself on NovelUpdates or scour for them on MTL sites.

Lastly, this post is quite long, so I had to divide it into pages. Don’t forget to go to the next page when you reach the end! Now without any further ado, let’s get on with the list~

book cover
唇诺
5/5

Summary

Hei Nuo has been unloved his whole life, so he keeps to himself and never dares ask for anything. But then Shi Yan comes along and drags him out of his shell, exposing Hei Nuo to both warm sunshine and fierce rain.

Review

The protagonist goes through a lot of things. We get too see him break, see his character tempered and see him come out from it all, alive and stronger. And this is why I stand by this novel, regardless of the negative reviews on NU. Hei Nuo’s character development is really admirable.

As for the male lead, Shi Yan, I honestly don’t like him for Hei Nuo. Hei Nuo is too good and deserves someone better. However, I have to admit, the interaction between them is quite interesting, especially in volume 2 when they

Spoiler
… start playing mind games with each other. They know each other so well that they could manipulate the other.
book cover
解除婚约后,渣攻对白天鹅真香了
3.7/5

Summary

Alpha He Mingfeng didn’t know if he loved the noble, omega beauty Shen Liangyue or if he was just with him out of habit. He also didn’t know if his engagement with him were shackles or something out of fate. Having divorced parents, He Mingfeng didn’t want to make a mistake by tying the knot too fast.

While in the military, He Mingfeng meets Chu Fei, an omega pretending to be an alpha. He finds the young omega cute and becomes close to him, while Shen Liangyue can only painfully watch as his beloved walks further away from him.

Review

This novel is such an emotional ride from start to finish. I remember reading the whole story in one night while liveblogging and screaming about it in Grim’s Discord server.

The gong, He Mingfeng, is the annoying kind of scum gong who keeps saying that he and the other party are “just friends” while continuing to treat the guy as someone more than friends. I would much rather he outright cheat instead of pretending to be benevolent, for at least, that way, Shen Liangyue can straight up tear him down.

Shen Liangyue, on the other hand, is so pitiful. He reminds me of Chu WanNing from 2HA, for he also thinks he’s inferior even though he’s not. He keeps comparing himself to the more manly Chu Fei and starts seeing his own strengths as shortcomings.

This novel made me feel a lot of things, and although it’s not perfect, it has undoubtedly become one of my all-time favorites. Before you read, though, I advise reading The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, because the author makes a lot of references to it.

years of intoxication book cover
一醉經年 | Novel part of 188*
4.5/5

*188 – A collection of inter-related dog-blood novels by Shui Qian Cheng (水千丞), so-called because the average height of the gongs is 188cm.

Summary

He Gu has loved Song Juhan for seven years. Even when Song Juhan would sleep around with others, he, like a man intoxicated, has always stayed by his side. Only when Song Juhan puts him through the most unbearable hell does He Gu finally sober up and leave. But this time, Song Juhan won’t let him go.

Review

In the 188 Collection, Years of Intoxication is my all-time favorite. It has everything you want in a dog-blood novel—unrequited love, an MC who likes to torture himself, and a “cheating” ML. How angsty it is through most of the story is also how gratifying it is at the end. I’m all here for seeing He Gu becoming more independent without Song Juhan, and Song Juhan learning to treat He Gu better when he realizes he has fallen in love with him.

Moreover, Song Juhan is my favorite gong here. He’s a bastard, yes, but he’s also quite dumb when you think about it. It took him so long to understand his own feelings. As a reader, I feel like eating popcorn when it’s in his POV. It’s like watching him ride a train that’s about to crash, and while you’re laughing about it and jeering that he deserves it, you can’t help but also want to fling him out of the train.

book cover
激情过后
3.9/5

Summary

Li Yuehe and Chen Yuan have been together for ten years, and they’ve even had a child together (through surrogacy). The two may seem like the perfect, loving couple, but each actually have their own concerns they find it hard to talk to the other.

When Li Yuehe finds Chen Yuan growing closer to someone else, jealousy bubbles up within him, but at the same time, he admonishes himself for being unreasonable.

Chen Yuan, on the other hand, feels like Li Yuehe doesn’t love him that much. Li Yuehe is always calm and composed, and it seems like he doesn’t care for Chen Yuan at all. So when Chen Yuan receives such unabashed affection from a new rising star in the same company, he can’t help but be tempted.

Review

This. This is the most heart-wrenching, panic attack-inducing, and depressing novel in this list. You know slowburn? Think of that, but with angst, not romance. You know things are gonna fall apart, and there’s nothing you can do about it but watch it crumble little by little.

I could not stand the angst here at all. I skipped several chapters on the “slowburn” part of the story and instead dived right into the knives. Short-term pain is always better than the long-term.

Rest assured, though, that it’s a happy ending, and the resolution was also done well. It was very emotional and a big breath of relief as the heart rising to my throat finally settles down.

book cover
附加遗产 | 188
3.9/5

Another novel in the 188 collection. This one is in the same universe as Sissy and Who Takes Who Seriously. Although Additional Inheritance comes first chronologically, it was published after Sissy. Three-quarters into the story, the novel also spoils the ending of Sissy, so I really advise reading the latter first.

Summary

Wen Xiaohui suddenly found out that his adoptive sister had died. Not only that, she also left a large inheritance and made him the legal guardian of her child, Luo Yi.

When Wen Xiaohui took in Luo Yi, he thought the boy was just an ordinary high schooler. Little did he know that Luo Yi is not at all what he seems to be.

Review

This actually didn’t read so melodramatic in the beginning. Of all the novels here, the plot of Additional Inheritance is also the most compelling. I feel like I could lump it in with other top-tier angsty danmei like Flying Gulls Never Land, even though it’s nowhere near as dark as that one.

However, come the second half of the story, it falls into the typical dog-blood trope of shou running away and gong chasing him back. I don’t usually mind this, but in Additional Inheritance, the chasing parts just feel like a drag. Maybe because the pacing was slow, or maybe because the author made it a point to include whole scenes of Sissy in the third quarter of the story. I’ve already read Sissy, so reading those parts just feel boring. Maybe other 188 fans found it exciting, but for me, it was a waste of time.

Plot-wise, though, it’s great. There are some parts that need some refining, but overall, it’s great. Wen Xiaohui is also an amazing character. I like how honest and straightforward he is. Luo Yi is equally interesting as well, and the author really justified his personality well.

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Lizonka
I love reading and talking about danmei, and I hope to one day write an original BL story set in my own country.

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