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ElDorado rated it
Against the Gods
May 26, 2016
Status: c350
Typical wish fulfilment bullcrap full of overwrought descriptions of jade like beauties and repetitive justifications of the self-insert protagonist's modus operandi. At least the writing is average and not as dreary as MW.
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ElDorado rated it
Warlock of the Magus World
June 25, 2016
Status: c23
Horrible execution, typical premise (with a few add-ons of its own).

LOL the MC is nothing like a scientist- a true scientist would try to delve into the depths of magic research while caring little about power. He's simply a pragmatist with more self-preservation instincts than most of the hot-blooded, rash protagonists of this genre. Another deduction: AI chip which somehow followed his soul after reincarnation into new life. No, just no. Someone who can't write well shouldn't mix 'science' with magic, that's just adding oil to the fire. All it... more>> does it show stats and give advice on choices he is making. Final point. MC just flat-out has zero personality. Sure, be cold-blooded and ruthless. But there's simply nothing that stands out about him. He might as well be 'Villager A+no qualms about killing+pragmatism'. <<less
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ElDorado rated it
Martial God Asura
May 28, 2016
Status: c2200
This was the second xuanhuan I ever read after finishing 斗破苍穹, and it will always hold a special place in my heart despite its very obvious flaws. As with many webnovels of this genre, Martial God Asura indulges in the tropes/cliches that often seem nonsensical or overdone. These tropes include 'arrogant young masters', invincible plot armor, treasure collecting, jade-like beauties, harem, 'relationships started by r*pe', 'mysterious powerful background that prevents the protagonist from being with parents', 'one against the world', 'the Chosen One' (MC is destined to rise above the... more>> heavens and become godlike). However, what sets MGA apart from other eastern fantasy webnovels is how it uses those tropes and cliches. They are almost always used at the right moments and provide quick, hot-blooded action, a rapid-fire pace (not much time spent on boring events like training montage or treasure collecting), and high doses of justice porn that just keeps the reader reading. No matter how dull or one-dimensional that young master/sect elder which offended the MC is, the act of getting retribution and its heavy-handedness keeps fight scenes high on octane. Although in the long term the story seems to be going in circles with each arc just being slightly modified versions of previous arcs just with different characters/antagonists, there is an underlying plot- the protagonist wants to reunite with both of his parents. And doing so requires going through hordes of antagonists. Nothing new about this, most xianxia/xuanhuan are like this. These webnovels aren't meant to be shining examples of high literature, and going by pure entertainment factor, MGA, at least for me, wins over 99% of xuanhuan out there.

Besides, where else would I read about a guy who is lovable to his pals but absolutely genocidal to anyone who crosses him? He never makes excuses for what he does nor justifies his actions, but remains true to his bloodthirsty warrior nature. Unlike other MC's, Chu Feng lives his life with the 'all or nothing' motto of these fantasy worlds where power reigns supreme. Either go balls deep or go home. <<less
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Very contrived, full of useless plot.

500 chapters that could be shortened into less than half that number, as each chapter is around 1100 words. Heroine could pretty much lose the assassin backstory and still be the same (she acts nowhere like an assassin). Also, her revenge is just really petty (instead of ending lives fast and cleanly when she can, as a mothafking ASSASSIN should), she likes to play around and get bitten. In fact she's pretty dumb.

All the regular xianxia lucky cheats just don't seem to help her much...... more>> or it could be the fact that she barely spends any time at all cultivating, instead trying to get involved with politics of nobility- hanging around with the major clan heirs, playing their word games. Seriously, why give her these cheats if she doesn't use them? Actually, why write this story with a xianxia background at all?

One more thing. The prince NL obviously shows a lot of care for her and is willing to invite her to live in his palace where she is safe (to cultivate and get strong). But no, she must cling to her 'pride' and 'modesty' and stay at her father's clan home, where everyone hates her and takes actions to bully her. Illogical and stupid. Besides, where is this false modesty/pride of hers coming from? Scared that people will talk behind her back if she goes live with the prince pre-maritally? FFS you brainless twit, you were an ASSASSIN from the 21st Century, a time where ideals of modesty are far different.

Dropped this because MC straight up doesn't have a clue. <<less
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ElDorado rated it
I Shall Seal the Heavens
May 31, 2016
Status: c694
A blooming flower amidst piles of cow dung; clouds compared to mud; simply put, the difference between Heaven and Earth.

我欲封天 is a true standout among the myriad titles of 'immortal hero' and 'eastern fantasy' webnovels out there. Rather than having the concept of 'face' (a common aspect of asian cultures) as its central, overarching metaphor, ISSTH brings out the best of this genre and holds the precepts of 'Dao' or 'the Way' at its heart. It is about one man's journey through life, fighting against Heaven's Will and even the... more>> whole world while he's at it. Where many titles focus on the protagonist gaining as much 'face' as possible through scenarios such as martial tournaments, auctions, offending various clans and young masters, ISSTH focuses on the character of Meng Hao, his experiences, emotions and interactions with the world. The worldbuilding here is superb, building layer upon layer as more gets revealed with each chapter. There is a lot of foreshadowing and linkage between plot devices that can appear a hundred chapters apart. Deus ex machina does not show up here. Everything -whether it be the collecting of treasures and legacies or the actions of antagonist- plays heavily on the ideas of karma, fate/destiny, and luck- which Meng Hao holds in spades. The plot armor that he wears is well-explained and nothing seems out of place. Because of careful, detailed buildups, battles are magnificent and moving, and emotional scenes aplenty. For those who want comedy, I present to you Lord 3rd and Lord 5th respectively. They are the funniest sidekicks a main character could ever have or want, whether the two of them realize it or not.

A pet peeve I have about most xianxia is a common cliche. Protagonists are almost always able to hit harder than their current league and bring down opponents 2 or even 3 full realms higher than them (looking at you, ATG). And this is after the author goes on and on about how the differences between realms are like heaven and earth. This doesn't occur with Meng Hao. Even with all of his legacies, treasures and special skills, he can at most beat opponents half a realm higher than himself or become undefeated within a realm (ex. When he was early Nascent Soul he couldn't beat some at early Spirit Severing, much less great circle of Nascent Soul).

If there is one criticism I have, it is the lack of attention paid to side characters besides the parrot and the meat jelly. Although their backstories are well known, Meng Hao's human friends and female-of-interest do not get much screen time- it's all about the MC and his journey. Still, I think ISSTH deserves five stars for standing above and beyond its peers. <<less
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ElDorado rated it
True Martial World
May 26, 2016
Status: c425
Fast updates, good translation, nothing to complain about on the English side of things. There are some comedic moments such as the dao of brick. I would give this a three if not for the tendency of the author to put in filler (repeating previous knowledge, redundancy in descriptions which aren't very descriptive) in almost every chapter. Too many times we are told 'this and that' about what MC is doing without actually being shown. The main character is also not very compelling and the only times I am rooting... more>> for him is when the antagonist is a truly disgusting person by any standard (shentu nantian). Trash talk from arrogant 'young masters' is abundant and there are several arcs where nothing happens (picking herbs arc; lin family arc). Plot holes show up (example shown in earlier review). Antagonists underestimate MC, and events happen just so MC can demonstrate his 'talent' to the world.

There is also the glaring deus ex machina that is so common in these eastern fantasy novels - the transmigration factor where MC is transported from modern day world to cultivation world. The plot device has only one purpose - to give a cheat to the MC, along with starting him off in a position of low social status so he can show off like a peac*ck as his 'talent' and powers grow. We as the readers can then play peanut gallery to this character's rise to godhood as he defies the heavens and gets all the peerless jade beauties. There is not much suspense or feeling in TMW and the writing is unimaginative, though I chalk this up to Cocooned Cow's lack of storytelling prowess. His previous work 'Martial World' reads largely the same. Titles such as ISSTH and Skyfire Ave do a fine job of conveying the character's emotions and bringing the story to life, so it isn't the genre's fault.

I suggest binge reading this and skipping repetitive filler whenever it shows up. <<less
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ElDorado rated it
Dominating Sword Immortal
May 31, 2016
Status: c30
Another sufferer of what I call "Chinese webnovel syndrome"- mediocre regurgitated plot, subpar writing. If there's anything the typical weak -> strong xianxia/xuanhuan shares, it's these two traits. How this managed to get to the top ten of Qidian charts baffles me.
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ElDorado rated it
Grimgal of Ashes and Illusion
May 29, 2016
Status: v2c11
First of all, I would like to applaud Nanodesu on the quality of their translation, which is superb as usual. None of the English errors that often plague translations both CN and JP, and the prose reads smoothly like an official translation. Now, onto the review.

I was convinced to read the first volume by some people on MAL who claimed it was a good, character-driven piece of japanese literature that strayed from the annoying typical shounen cliches that plague the LN genre. Suffice to say, they were correct on two... more>> points: it IS character-driven, and it DOES stay away from dumb cliches like harem or summoned OP characters. However, that didn't preclude me from seeing "Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash" as the unappealing fanfiction of a 'transported into fantasy world' webnovel that it is.

Shiny, well-packaged, but insubstantial nonetheless.

If there is one thing it does well (and too well, I say), it is the realism portrayed here. This story is ABSOLUTELY DEPRESSING. The group of characters that we follow are made to seem relatable (average people), but they really aren't. Within the context of the story, these guys are made from the scumbuckets of society who have no redeeming traits. They ended up together because no one else summoned at the same time wanted them. For a very long time (the first volume) the party they form struggles to work together as a team and take down the most basic of monsters- goblins.

It is not very fun reading about them failing over and over again until finally, they rise above pure novices to become fully-fledged, if weak, adventurers. Because it is character-driven, the story focuses on character interaction, growth (from becoming useless to self-reliant), building of trust between party members. The plot moves very slowly, so those who prefer action-packed adventure look elsewhere. Similarly, the characters themselves have weak personalities and few traits that make them stand out; these are not people that become heroes- they are not even side characters, but background actors that fade into obscurity. Except in the case of Grimgar, the background characters themselves are the main focus. So, the readers looking for characters they can admire for their strength of will or colorful personality should also look elsewhere.

One thing Grimgar does do well is the world-building. Because the focus of interest in its case is so narrow, though, I would prefer to call it 'world-painting'. The reader can get a good feel of the town that the characters live in and the places they go on their quests, but beyond this very small part of the world, we don't know much. Even the circumstances of their summoning and memory loss remain a vague mystery.

Reading this story was like looking at an unfinished 'finished' painting missing key parts that would make it whole. <<less
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ElDorado rated it
The Desolate Era
June 2, 2016
Status: v45c17
Finished reading this a while ago. Purely as a story, Desolate Era is something I would give a two point five. But as a 'training montage/ journey to godhood and beyond' of a character from weak to strong, I believe that no other author in this genre does a better job than IET.
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