Why You Should Be Reading Chang Ge Xing
So what is Chang Ge Xing?
Chang Ge Xing is a Chinese webcomic by Xia Da that is also published in magazines in China and Japan.
It is set during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) in China and Central Asia and follows the adventures of Li Chang Ge, a princess of the ruling Li family, who sets out on a quest for revenge after her uncle kills her family and usurps the throne.
Okay, that’s neat. Now why should I read it?
Alright, here goes. First of all….
Chang Ge Xing weaves a wonderful story about revenge, personal growth, and the effect history can have on the people living in it. The writing holds a deep compassion for its characters and for people in general. Both the protagonists and antagonists are multi-layered characters with valid goals and points-of-view.
Xia Da is a goddess of plotting. The storyline travels its way across China and Central Asia with twists and turns that are entirely unexpected, but also clear and well-executed. Chang Ge’s journey has an excellent mix of adventure, action, character drama, and intrigue.
Li Chang Ge:
Chang Ge is a competent badass with the mind of a political chess-master. More importantly, however, she is human and thus very capable of both triumph and failure. Aspects of her personality (such as her skill at lying and keeping track of multiple identities) can be both the key to her success and her most fatal flaw.
She is above all else a (covertly) compassionate person.
Sun is a general of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate (think central Asian nomadic kingdom) and the adopted son of the Great Khan. He is a straight-forward, loyal guy with a deep dislike of intrigue. Sun starts off as basically a jerk (large active armies are rarely enlightened places), but grows into a thoughtful, mature person.
He likes to make impulsive decisions, to the distress of his subordinates.
Mimi is a young Uighur woman who Chang Ge saves from execution. She hides a tragic past behind her care-free demeanor. There is more to this gal than meets the eye.
Also she and Chang Ge are kind of a thing.
Mujin is Ashina Sun’s very put-upon subordinate. He is very organized and observant. He and Sun have known each other since they were kids.
Qin is an old trickster who pledges himself to Chang Ge’s cause. He has served in shadows of many lords over the course of his life.
She is the renowned mistress of a Daoist temple that Chang Ge visits. She is very wise and acts as a mentor towards Chang Ge.
Ashina She Er:
He is a clever general in the Turkish army and the nephew of the Great Khan. She Er intends connive and manipulate his way to the Turkish throne. He and Sun are enemies.
Li Shimin/Emperor Taizong:
Li Shimin is Chang Ge’s uncle and the object her revenge.
There are also a whole bunch more characters that I could wax poetic about, but I’m trying to keep this post at an acceptable length.
The art in this series is incredible. It’s super detailed and lovely.
Seriously, Xia Da must have sold her soul to attain this kind of talent. She is a god-level artist.
Chang Ge takes place in the background of real historical events such as the Xuanwu gate incident and the uighur/khitan/xueyantuo rebellion against the Turks in 627. The series pays close attention to historical accuracy in both plot and setting. Actual historical figures are included in the narrative alongside the fictional characters.
At the same time, Xia Da knows how to balance fiction vs. fact. She keeps the conflicts clear and concise while also throwing the occasional bone to history nerds such as myself.