BOOK REVIEW: Little Mushroom/ Xiao Mogu/ 小蘑菇 by Yi Shi Si Zhou/ 一十四洲

Synopsis

“Until the day humanity falls.”

In the year 2020, Earth’s magnetic poles disappeared and humankind was nearly wiped out by cosmic radiation. Within the span of a hundred years, living creatures began to mutate and devour each other while the remaining humans, numbering in the tens of thousands, struggled bitterly in their man-made bases.

In the Abyss, home to the mutated xenogenics, there lived a sentient little mushroom. Because it had been nourished by the blood and flesh of the deceased human An Ze, not only did it take on a similar-looking human form, but a similar name as well: An Zhe.

An Zhe is determined to go to the human base to search for his spore, which had been harvested by humans. Once there, however, he faces the omnipresent risk of discovery and certain death as he tries to keep his non-human nature hidden from the Judges, whose responsibility is to inspect for and eliminate xenogenics like himself. And of all the Judges, Colonel Lu Feng is the most perceptive and merciless–as soon as he determines that someone is a xenogenic, he will execute that person on the spot.

But An Zhe’s mutation goes undetected by Lu Feng’s eyes, and so a tale of humans and xenogenics unfolds…

Chapters: 84 and 9 extras (web novel)

Page Count: Volume 1 – 402 pages and Volume 2 – 396 pages

It also has an audio drama and upcoming manhua.

Review

It is one of the most beautiful novels I’ve ever read. Set in a post apocalyptic dystopian world, it’s about An Zhe, a little mushroom’s search for his spore.

It’s shorter than the other danmei I’ve read and so incredibly well written. Everything introduced has a purpose and it’s amazing to see all the connections at the end. Shisi’s brain! There’s also some interesting physics stuff about magnetics fields which I never expected!!

I love An Zhe is the main POV character because it’s fascinating to see the world from a mushroom’s perspective. I love him so much!! I just want to wrap him up and protect him from everything. He’s so curious about everything and wants to learn to be a better “human.”

Lu Feng is the judge, the executioner who kills everyone who’s infected and the world hates him for it. You might not like him in the beginning but he is absolutely precious. Honestly him teasing An Zhe and getting on his nerves is one of my favourite parts in the novel.

“He is just…a little mushroom.” A simple line that will cause so much pain.

I love how all the characters (even the short lived ones) are so well developed. It’s a world where humans are infected left and right, so don’t get too attached to all the characters. It’s also about greater good and the price to pay to survive as a species. The Rose Declaration part in this book made me feel all sorts of way. Is it worth it to lose all that you are to make sure humanity survives?

I’ve had so much fun reading it and I couldn’t put it down, no wonder it has won awards. I’ve been in a weird slump for some time and I’m glad Little Mushroom brought me so much joy. I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for a short (for danmei) sci-fi dystopian novel with soft romance and brilliant writing and characterisation.

Links: Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Audio drama

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