“They say, after every painful ending, a new beginning is promised. She never expected that she would get a chance to have a new beginning as well. And she got her new beginning when she woke up in this body five years ago. But even after spending five years in this body, she couldn’t bring herself to call it her own. However, she was on the pursuit of making his life hers.” (Imperfect Desires, Chapter Two)
After facing vicious hatred online, actress Chen Xiu jumps off her balcony. She is surprised to wake up alive, but quickly discovers that she has awoken in the body of another woman. Though at first a shock, she has down her best to adapt to her new life, an initially difficult process since she was not reborn with memories of the body’s former soul. She has now lived in the body of Bai Xiu for five years, determined to move on and create a fresh start of happiness. In her new life, Chen Xiu possesses an amazing friend, an incredible job, and dreams of independence.
While out with her friend Nora, Chen Xiu bumps into Dylan, who happens to be the CEO of her company. Of course, she doesn’t realize that when she insults him and kicks him in the groin. When she is promoted to the position of Executive Assistant, Dylan and Chen Xiu will be thrown together day and night, solving problems and throwing insults at one another. Despite the assumptions of his best friend Darren, Dylan wasn’t interested in Chen Xiu. At least, not at first.
As Dylan, Chen Xiu, and Darren are thrown together, the transmigrated young woman will discover that second chances often come with unexpected twists.
“She found his euphonious voice pleasing to the ears but his words didn’t feel that pleasing at all. One could call him a cupcake filled with hot spices. No matter how visually pleasing he was, he’d certainly burn people with that tongue of his. With these thoughts romancing in her mind, she finally closed her eyes and lost herself to the dreamland.” (Imperfect Desires, Chapter Eighteen)
Chen Xiu finds the idea of rebirth silly, even though she has experienced it herself. This self-awareness is actually pretty uncommon in the genre of transmigration. What’s more, Chen Xiu was born without the preexisting memories of Bai Xiu, something that rarely occurs in this genre. Chen Xiu works hard to make up for the fact that she now inhabits the body of another person, believing that she may have robbed Bai Xiu of her life. In Imperfect Desires, the main character focuses a great deal more on her transmigration than other characters in this genre, working hard to justify her second chance at life.
Romance characters, when transmigrated, are normally reborn into their own body. This transmigration brings them to their own past, allowing them a second chance at love or a new desire to take revenge on those who wronged them. In this contemporary romance, Chen Xiu’s transmigration experience is unique, illustrated when she watches the news coverage of her suicide from her new body. Like the transmigrated male leads of the fantasy genre, Chen Xiu will live a second life in a body that is not originally her own, though she does not have the benefit of pre-existing memories to ease her transition.
I loved how focused Chen Xiu is on her career. She rules over her subordinates with an iron fist, expecting quality work in a timely manner. She does not expect anyone to work harder than her, but that does not mean that they can slack off. Imperfect Desires is not afraid to have a powerful business woman as a main character. Though it may appear as a step up in the business world, Chen Xiu does not want to leave her department to become the executive assistant of the CEO. She disdains this “babysitting” position and would prefer to work hard in a position that is entirely hers. Even though her coworkers call her the “Heartless Witch”, this novel does not treat Chen Xiu with disdain because she enjoys her work. This story does not shy away from a career driven female protagonist and this choice is to the benefit of the story on a whole.
The story seems to position both Dylan and Darren as potential love interests for Chen Xiu. While Dylan and Chen Xiu have the typical romance meet-cute, Darren does not remain on the sidelines of the story as the love interest’s friend. Instead of having a clear plot progression, Imperfect Desires teases the reader with potential love interests, dividing the loyalties of the audience between two men.
The writing, though relatively smooth, was unimpressive. There is nothing in the prose that grabs the attention of the reader. This is seen in the unfortunate repetition of the word “cough”. Anytime a character feels even slightly uncomfortable, shocked, surprised, etc., the author supplies a “cough”. With no descriptive language showing me what is occurring, this “cough” quickly becomes an exhaustingly boring and unnecessary feature of the novel. This is a minor complainant, but one that is difficult to ignore once noticed.
Overall, Imperfect Desires was an interesting and unique take on the transmigration genre. The transmigration of Chen Xiu and her reaction to her rebirth make this story stand out in the best way possible. With two potential love interests and almost four hundred chapters, Imperfect Desires is a perfectly adequate romance that requires little investment from its readers.