The fifth book: #5 The Water Margin (Outlaws of the Marsh)
That was an interesting read. The book felt more readable than some earlier works, certainly with less formulaic sentence structure as seen in, say, Arabian Nights, or the more historical focus of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
Instead, the 100 chapter epic has some strong characters, at times somewhat stereotypical, but actually quite well developed. They are also, however, involved, in more interesting adventures, with a lot of action elements and stories, and clearly written for entertainment.
The novel started getting better as I got further into it. The introduction stories, bringing the characters together, last for the first half, and are mixed quality - depending on how well the character was defined and what uses he had. When the band has gathered and goes out, however, the stories become more fun, and while the battles near the end get more repetitive, there's a great number of more interesting stories in betwee