New martial arts drama The Flame's Daughter has a unique take on romance. Unlike the usual OTP (One True Pairing) formula that fans seek to see fulfilled, the central character loves all three of the men who love her. If you were the storyteller, which one of these enigmatic suitors would you choose for the beautiful woman who was born with a secret? Who will win love's duel against destiny?

<Spoilers Alert> I have watched 6 episodes of the new series.

The drama captured our attention right from the start, with a stunning panoramic view that zeroed in on the staggering Yin Xue (Vic Chou) who was carrying a woman, visibly near-death and trudging through deep snow. His white robe contrasted sharply with the red blood dripping from her wounds.

He eventually reached his mentor for help, but was later was told that she'd died, leaving behind a wish for him to study the righteous path once again, where it would take him 100 years to regain his powers. He agreed so that he would be able see her again one day.

The next scene cuts to a beautiful young woman, who looks exactly like the woman who had died previously. The vibrant young woman was wandering bright-eyed through the bustling capital city of Luoyang. Inexplicably, she applies to work as a maid at the famous Blossoms House of courtesans who serve the rich and powerful.

She is not meant to work as a maid for long, as we learn that she has a powerful friend; a royal prince. It turns out that she is the 19-year-old Lie Ru Ge (Dilraba Dilmurat), whose father leads the martial arts clan that is based at the Flame Villa. She is at the house of questionable repute to learn why her fiance, Zhan Feng (Zhang Bin Bin), has betrayed her for another courtesan.

That Ru Ge and Zhan Feng are played by the same star pair who exuded intense chemistry from the popular The King's Woman is the obvious attraction for this drama. However, Zhan Feng will be met with strong competition in the form of the handsome and mysterious Yin Xue (Vic Chou). Is he the same Yin Xue from the first scene? What about her? Is she the reincarnation of the woman who had died?

The fact that Vic Chou is the top-billed star probably means Yin Xue is the fated soulmate for Ru Ge, but their path to love is clearly paved with many thorns. However, even if Zhang Bin Bin doesn't get his woman again, his presence commands eyeballs whenever he appears on the screen.

The start of the drama was somewhat confusing to me, because I couldn't figure out if the first scene was recalling a distant past or predicting a tragic future. Then I remembered that I was confused originally by Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms. It took a couple of tries, but I soon fell irresistibly in love with the most popular and beloved fantasy romance in recent years. What I'm trying to say is that I'm going to be patient to see how this story develops, particularly since it's based on a famous novel by a popular novelist who goes by the pen name Ming Xiao Xi.

Many of the actors also come from Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms and the same producer for that production is now behind The Flame's Daughter. (It would actually be an interesting quiz to see how many faces you recognize.) The main difference is that The Flame's Daughter is not a fantasy romance. It's more of a martial arts romance full of passionate revenge, palace intrigue, and suspenseful mystery. The characters still fly around (helped by invisible wires and special effects) to engage in tension-filled martial arts fights. There is one evil antagonist who remains hidden and is the origin of our leading characters' heartache.

Beyond the main leads' romantic struggles, the side romances are actually very appealing. For instance, will the adorable Lei Jing Hong (Zhang He) of the Thunderbreak Sect fall in love with his bickering opponent Dao Li Xiang (Da Si)?

I am also particularly intrigued by Yu Zi Han, the royal prince who loves Ru Ge quietly from afar. He is intelligent and wise but feels inadequate because of his disabilities. He and Ru Ge form a strong bond as best friends. Although Ru Ge wants to marry Zhan Feng, she cares deeply for Yu Zi Han and is probably in love with him without her full realization. With the appearance of Yin Xue, Ru Ge also finds an irresistible connection with him.

We go back to my initial question: Will Ru Ge be able to choose whom she truly loves? Will destiny give her the choice? And, how will her birth secret come into play?

I look forward to traveling this journey with The Flame's Daughter.


The Flame's Daughter - 烈火如歌

Starring Dilraba Dilmurat and Zhang Bin Bin (Vin Zhang)

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Read about the drama's romantic characters with their fascinating names.

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