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The Dark King
January 20, 2017
Status: c90
I had initially rated this series fairly highly, as a good post-apoc modern/future dark fantasy, which is a pretty open field without many examples in that genera. Certain plot holes had made me wonder what the author was setting up, which is both good and bad: it could mean that the author is either setting up and planning plot lines well ahead of time, or he's winging it with an asspull. Both seem to be true, for now.

The recent immersion breaking disappointment seems to indicate that the author is writing... more>> a kick-the-dog variant, with the characters doing whatever is maximally Evil or Stupid to set up how awesome the MC must be to conquer everything. Not my cup of tea, anymore. I'll come back to it in a hundred chapters or so and make a final decision.

Spoiler

After spending 3 years in a forced, brutal, sometimes-lethal, survivalist training school where the leadership complains about the cost on every appearance, the MC and Co are sent out on their first mission with nothing but a poor-quality knife, zero intel about what they might be facing, little-to-no information on what they should be scavenging and how, and zero combat training. And it's done under 'instructors' that can't care less if the poor suckers survive - and most of them don't. So much for whining about how expensive they are to train. Later, after all the buildup of how deadly the environment is, the MC does everything he could possibly do wrong in that sort of environment, and has no problems. Granted, he later gets a macguffin that eliminates those threats, but he shouldn't have survived that long in the 1st place. Next it's exposed that they aren't told about the most valuable things they can retrieve, and even if they do, they are short-changed by more then an order of magnitude, if not robbed outright. The entire segment is nothing but an author wank for how stupidly evil the entire leadership is, and how wonderful the MC must be to triumph. Blech.

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Instant Kill
June 3, 2016
Status: --
NOTE KEEP THIS IN MIND TO MAKE IT MUCH MORE ENJOYABLE:
Fu is 符, translates to 'rune'
Zhou is 咒, translates to 'curse', 'spell', or 'incantation'

From the story:
"Fu Knights mainly produce FuZhou, and Zhou Knights mainly use Fuzhou. There is not a strict difference between the two, some Fu Knights can use FuZhou to attack, and some Zhou Knights can make good FuZhou. However, FuZhou Knights have the most balanced abilities.”

- Fu Warriors are people who can't use or create Fu, but are able to be imprinted with... more>> Fu that strengthen their body to super-human levels. They can also use Fu weapons - tools embedded with Fu that give them magical properties - though these haven't been described very well yet.
- Fu Knights are people who can create Fu and Fu weapons, but don't usually use them. They're the combat artisans and weaponsmiths of this world. Fu Warriors can very rarely be promoted to Fu Knights, as usually kids with potential to become Fu Knights are identified early on and trained for that role specifically. Fu Warriors are generally those 'left over' who don't make the cut as a potential Knight.

- Zhou Knights can use Fu, but generally can't create them. They are the combat masters. They start off as Zhou Warriors and can easily be promoted to Zhou Knights as they gain power and experience. This makes the warrior/knight terminology a pain due to the inconsistency.

- FuZhou Knights can both create and use Fu, but can't use the standard physical power-up body runes, and so are weak to start with, but power up immensely as they gain experience / skills. This is our MC, of course. Finally, (for terminology) the levels warrior / knight / master are just the beginning three power levels of nine total. Cktalon of Gravity did a personal translation of the levels: Apprentice, Knight, Master, Erratic Master, Sacred Master, Grand Sacred Master, Fake Soul Realm, and Real Sacrificial Alter. The first translator did not explain the terms at all, and they get used All The Time. Really made it difficult for me to get through the beginning chapters, since I had NO idea what the difference / implications / style were. The story is slow, but ok - I envision an early Conan-The-Barbarian-style world with item spellcasters and body enchanters. The characterizations fall a little flat - the MC "12th", falls into the 'genius character, normal author' trope - writing for him states he's all that, but can't really show it. Side characters are very much side characters - one dimensional tropes: 'The Girl', 'The Sniper', 'Generic Swordsman' 'Dumb Berserker', 'The Master', etc. Still works well enough, though, for the current length. Time will tell if it gets to be a problem as it builds.

Worldbuilding is overall good, though when it fails, it's horrible (food production and economics, for two of the more painful moments). I do like some of the implications present, though, and hope the author explores them. <<less
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Isekai Nonbiri Nouka
September 23, 2018
Status: c44
I really don't understand how the ratings for this are so high.

It's completely a stream-of-consciousness.

The plot armor is thicker than the protagonist.

It's really frustrating to read.

Every line is it's own paragraph.

The MC's cheats are shallow.

So are all his interactions.

Suspension of disbelief isn't necessary, because you can't get attached to the characters enough to care.

Seriously, this a grade-schoolers book.

The grammar and phrasing is just that childish.

This can't even be called a light novel, more a child's bedtime story.

Yes, it's that boring.
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ReBirth ~ From the Upper World to the Lower World
November 28, 2016
Status: c30
This title puts the helium in 'light novel'. No substance, all fluff; nothing new or different. Plot armor is measured in meters. MC's choices vary from predictable to idiotic. Side characters are made of cardboard. This is truly a thoughtless read.

Some people may like that.

... more>>
Spoiler

Examples: (all from MC's POV since nobody else really exists)
1) "Please incarnate me as a chuuni - no need for a childhood, family, or backstory, ~kthxby~!"
2) Chapter 2: From First Kill to Grill in a single sentence.
3) "I could really use a map" ~Poof~ "Majic plez" ~Poof~ "I can has language?" ~Poof~....
4) "Hi, you're the 4th person I've talked to, and you are a young, cute, nekomimi slave? Oooh, neeto!"
4.5) "Wow, the slave owner sure died fast, guess you're my property now!"
4.9) "I'll split the money three ways for the three survivors, except I'll release the old, ugly, lizard guy and give him the cash, but the cute young nekomimi with the sad past I'll keep enslaved and keep her money, too!"
5) Levelups for others: +7 in 2 years. With MC's plot armor: +7 in 2 weeks.
6) "Dawww - I'm a nice person, I'm not going to screw you on the first night. Slave. ;) "
Had enough. Quitting here.

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Note that the author deleted the raws once he got published, so translations are from archival sources and include changes the author made mid-story (several of them). Also, the chapters are ~1.5 pages of text apiece - really short chapters. <<less
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Tales of the Reincarnated Lord
September 9, 2016
Status: --
This is an Er Gen level work, with excellent translation. Reader be warned: no shallow, meaningless xianxia plots here. Expect actual character interaction and growth - even of side characters. World building is superb, with economics, social class interaction, and fantasy elements handled with skill and aplomb. Perspective weaves a tale between the characters and the world, drawing you in and sharing the story with you. Very pleasant.

This is not a work you can skip into and out of whenever a new chapter gets posted. Let chapters build before... more>> a binge.

Frankly, this is the sort of writing I expect from professional fantasy authors at Brandon Sanderson's level, and I'm surprised to find it in a translated xianxia novel.
Note many of the complaints are from people expecting a 'light novel'. This is not a light novel - expect real authorship, not daily word-count. Another common complaint are frequent 'infodumps': they are not infodumps. Granted, much plot worthy information is being provided to paint the functioning society that is presented, but it is being done so as interactions between characters an/or their environment, not as in forth-wall breaking author-speeches. Also - no potholes, which is a pleasant relief from the caricature-inspired idiocies from various Rich Young Silkpants and Malicious Uncle Elders in other works. <<less
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Risou no Himo Seikatsu
March 26, 2016
Status: --
You have a 10' x 5' x 8' volume (magic carpet), and can bring anything that can fit, and you'll spend the next 40 years in a tropical medieval environment. What are your choices? :) (Does Wikipedia have a print version? Cubic Zirconium costs $10 per carat, any color or none :)

Ignore the 1's from the slaughter-folk, this is an otherworldly slice-of-life story without Extreme Phlebotinum or Teenage Violence Wish Fulfillment. A fairly smart MC sets himself up for a responsible, happy family life with a new Queen... more>> who had been in such a bad situation that asking a stranger to knock her up was her best bet. Meanwhile, the MC has to tiptoe around the local politics to prevent a chauvinism-driven rebellion against his wife if he seems too active or competent to certain ambitious nobles. Expect a real-ish world bent on politics and development, without Miraculous Science. Magic is impressive, but limited; science is limited to what the salaryman can invent or remember. My choices for the shipping volume would be different, but the MC still needs to answer to the storyline: "look it up on wikipedia" would destroy much of the drama. :) The Japanese author also writes pretty well about the collision of Japanese Social Customs and the Otherworldly European Equivalent. A fun read. <<less
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Archfiend
April 19, 2018
Status: c100
Boring.

First of all: it reads like a MTL with a thesaurus plugin, complete with awkward phrasing and unnecessary verbiage.

Examples:

"Very light, rather heavy, awfully oppressive, and quite subtle."
"It in itself grew without end, however, following humanity's continual progress in science and technology, the growing spread of occupied space and the climbing severity of industrialization rendered the rapid decrease of qi unable to be controlled."
"If it was said one was just beginning to preoccupy themselves with a side matter, their whole being would already be completely intoxicated after the entry... more>> of qi into the body."

Secondly, The MC is, as others have noted, very one-dimensional. A Determinator with no personality. So are the side characters, who exist only to render their respective tropes, all of whom can be described with a few adjectives: s*xy recruiter, evil politician, bragging fool #54, manipulative senior, etc.

Finally, unlike Sundering Nature, which uses a creative, plot-centered method of hiding the miraculous within the mundane, Archfiend does a clumsy 'Everybody Lies' bolt-on that is painfully flawed, directly consisting of many millions of people Worldwide pretending obvious things don't happen in order to keep magic and Qi a secret. It's so clearly based on Chinese communist propaganda ideologies (Nothing ever happened in Tiananemens Square!) so as to break immersion whenever they declare black must again pretend to be white.

A tiring read, not really enjoyable. I had to force myself to get past the reaction chunks, one of which lasted almost 10 chapters! Nor did I find much creativity in what was written; same old cultivation levels, methods and rules, same old dirty tricks by bad guys, same old tragic, determined MC, same old plot armor... meh.

I've had enough, I don't recommend reading this unless you really need something to waste time with. I guarantee that you'll forget what you read within hours - there's nothing that stands out as interesting or original, and the translation, while better than many, still is too awkward to flow smoothly. <<less
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History’s Strongest Manager
October 5, 2016
Status: c7
Like it's fellow Korean spiritual cousins, (EER, SSN, and ETotH) The Mightiest Manager is part of the 'soft Apocalypse' genre, where mankind experienced the End Of The World, and made it through mostly ok, dodging much of the tragedy and grimdark that normally accompany such works. At 7 chapters, the story is just getting started, but the motives and character of the MC are already well defined, with the secondary characters also fleshed out into people with growth potential, vs the usual one-dimensional plot-pushers. The world building - both... more>> present and implied - is well above average for the genre. Translation is detailed and flows well, so the novel is overall quite enjoyable so far. <<less
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Sundering Nature
March 20, 2018
Status: --
A rare, well thought out, well described CN novel. Beware that this will require some thought on the part of the reader, and is not a good candidate for chapter-by-chapter reading; a binge is therefore recommended. While I may disagree with several of the characters actions in context, I also have to admit that their actions are consistent with their culture and personalities, which makes this a very enjoyable and educational alternate-context read for those of us not from China. Heartily recommended. It's also fairly short (300 chapters - I... more>> need to reindex 'short' to a different baseline ;), and completed by the author, so we have a chance of seeing the end of the novel, which is practically on the level of quilins and phoenixes. :)

Edit as of Nov 2018:

The number of 1 star reviews has exceeded the number of 5 star reviews, not because of the quality of the story, but because of the demographics of NU. This is not a endless xianxia power trip, nor a violent psycho-slaughterfest, nor a mindless cardboard YY harem collection - this is an actual novel, with evolving characters, plot progression, and a requirement of a moderate IQ on behalf of the reader. Kudos to the translator for being good enough to bring all that across into english. <<less
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... aaaaand I'm done. I can't read this any more. Not going to rate it, since it's well translated and I'm sure it's fetish aspect will be a welcome attraction to the people that are into it, but that's not me. Spoilering the rest:
... more>>
Spoiler

You just gotta know that he's not going to stop brainwashing girls and sucking their tits for bonus skill points. It was 'acceptable' when he was an infant, but the creepy line is riiight up ahead. Nope nope nope.

Mushoku Tensei did the reincarnation-as-a-baby thing very well - it was one of the best hooks in the storyline (the fact that he seemingly regressed afterwards due to the author's need for him not to become to OP damaged the story for me). This story tries, but doesn't measure up.
Finally, I'm no big fan of brainwashing and mind controlling s*x slaves, which is basically the direction this storyline seems to be going; so time for me to bow out.

If brainwashing women to milk their tits is Relevant To Your Interests, then enjoy - the author pays a great deal of attention to the texture, taste, and scent, as well as the humiliation angles - so it'll be popular among that crowd. YMMV.

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The Returner
May 27, 2018
Status: c42
Edit: Chap 42. Yeah, no longer funny. No matter how I try to rationalize this manchild's sub-70 IQ behavior with a +1000 year world destroying background, it doesn't add up. When the reader could believe the overpowered MC was playing a mouse to protect his small, comfortable life he'd spent a near-eternity longing for, it was understandable, but now we know the MC is truly a mere idiot that fumbled through that eternity with the same lack-of-sense he's now portraying, it's just pathetic. This is not an MC... more>> I find likeable. I'd prefer it if 'Evolution Theory of the Hunter' or 'When I Came Back The World Was Still A Fantasy' got the translators time instead.

Edit: As of ch 30, we're starting to see how broken the MC is, but plot armor is pushing him into the hero role regardless. I'm less fond of these kind of forced situations, but the writing is still good, and I intend to give it more space.

Edit: As of ch 10, things are still going quite well. :) Needs more for a full judgement, but for the 1st 6 chapters:

Translation: Exceptional. Conversations flow, descriptions are smartly arranged, and grammar is clean and readable. If the rest is at this level of quality, then we've gained a darn good translator.

Story: Quite Good - Needs More. Yet Another transmigration story in the stereotypically Korean Apocalypse-Lite genre (ala Infinite Competitive Dungeon Society, Seoul Station Necromancer, Everyone Else is a Returnee, A Monster Who Levels Up, etc) This one starts with a twist of a Demon Lord returnee. Not 100% original, but the settings give a good background for both comedy and drama, which are staples for this genre. The current story structure consists of just the three scenes, but each is distinct and the implications connecting them are clear. There is potential for later complexity, but it's pretty straightforward for now (it IS only 6 chapters :)

Characters and Dialog: Well Done. So far, no walls of text or head-scratching as to who is speaking. Each character speaks clearly, distinctly, and so far; consistently to their base. As for character growth, we'll see.

I hope this gets translated quickly, it has a lot of potential. :) NOTE: I have no idea how Prolux got so many things wrong - the MC was held almost in stasis for that 1000 years - memories of home were always eternally, hellishly fresh, while he constantly forgot people and things in the the otherworld; he literally couldn't change while he was in exile, all he got was some practice with magic and other skills. <<less
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Absolute Choice
January 21, 2017
Status: --
As a short one-shot, this would be good comedy. As a long-running serial, it gets old real fast. The MC is not particularly likeable, and the chuni behavior is eye-rollingly irritating after the first 20 chapters or so. Even the core premise (the choices) gets watered down or ignored if the author chooses.
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The Portal of Wonderland
April 18, 2017
Status: c160
The Good:
World building is done fairly well, if not with the simple elegance of IET's works, it's at least comprehensible. The MC comes across as human, and isn't MGA's psychopath; he does make friends and does not mindlessly slaughter. The arcs are largely enjoyable with decent pacing and well-painted descriptions, which help with the visualization.

The Bad:
Two major complaints jump up in the novel: Each arc is a virtually separate story, and the MC has noticeable personality changes in each segment. For example, the author tweaked the MC"s character... more>> from: a warmly dedicated son, -> a cold, underground fighter, -> a sneaky sect disciple, -> a courageous soldier -> a manipulative spy, etc. Secondly, the side characters exist only for the use of the plot. This is pretty common in chinese fiction, but it doesn't make it any less annoying. In each arc, the side characters dance to their assigned tone, and are then dismissed; they become utterly forgettable. That means you have difficulty making any real connection to the MC, since his 'family' around him gets continuously recycled, so no real social expectations exist. The Summary:
An OK read, enjoyable enough that I hope it gets picked up again, but not a F5 sect level. :) Let the chapters pile into arcs, and binge read that way. <<less
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Hisshou Dungeon Unei Houhou
February 27, 2017
Status: c10
Couldn't make it any farther than ch10. Japanese 'justice' has the motto "hate the crime, not the criminal", and that's in full force here; with horrific Evil Crimes whitewashed in a single sentence. Ten chapters is too short to comment on character growth (or lack thereof) but the trends shown in non-existent dungeon operations and harem building so far make any expectation for that a laughable concept. Now I'm going to go back and reread The Lazy Dungeon Master and the OEN I Was Reincarnated Into A Dungeon to get... more>> the flavor of this novel out of my mind. <<less
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World Defying Dan God
February 4, 2016
Status: --
The storyline seems basic Xianxia, Though things seem to pile up for the MC in a rather short order, as others have mentioned. Villains are so far entirely one-dimensional “heh heh heh – waste, I will destroy you!” [3 min later] “oh god, I so regret... !” Even the MC and Helpers are pretty much just cardboard cutouts, without any real connections. It has potential, though I doubt it will ever be an Er Gen level. Unfortunately, the translation is only 2/5, and seemingly getting more awkward, not less.... more>> That killed a lot of the enjoyment. If the translator got an english editor, it could get a lot better.

EDIT: Sorry – can’t help myself Re: Star_God’s review – His grammar is about the same as the translations. : }

EDIT2: English is the 3rd or lower language of the translator - As a monolingual, I'll shut up on the quality. <<less
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Invincible Level Up
April 7, 2017
Status: --
A chinese version of the all-too-common online japanese light novel written by middleschoolers. Author changes plot points at a whim, characters are are a one-dimensional list of tropes (ex: "obedient dumb fatty", "loli scardeycat powerhouse" etc.) which don't match their situation, and events are described as 'this happens, then This happens, then THIS happens". This is unfortunate, since the premise and concept behind the story is between decent and good.
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Makikomarete Isekai Teni suru Yatsu wa
October 11, 2018
Status: --
Ugh. Couldn't make it past 10 chapters. It's basically just a straight post of a MTL, and the grammar is exactly what you'd expect. The poster (NOT translator) basically just says 'deal with it' in the comments when people complain, which they do with almost every chapter. It does not get better.

Storywise, the MC is a d*ck, and the dynamic of the MC's friendships makes no sense either by western or japanese standards. So the interactions of the characters are silly, stilted, and so brainlessly derpish that the... more>> reader can't possibly feel anything for them.

This is bad MTL of a poor story written on a cliched outline. <<less
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When A Mage Revolts
November 15, 2017
Status: --
Despite the comedy tag, do not expect to laugh. It's a transmigration story into a crapsack world where every character is dark, outright evil, broken, or simply stupid. The MC takes on the world as the last option, and the AI leaps between plot armor asspulls and useless idiocy that someone thought to be amusing - and it isn't.

After 60 chapters, I haven't found a single sympathetic character, or a plotline that I though was engaging enough to justify wasting more time. Avoid.
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The Inverted Dragon’s Scale
September 1, 2017
Status: c147
A well written, well translated, but characteristically muddy novel that's difficult to enjoy. Some elements are very well presented: the little sister and the MC's family are done quite well. The setting, however, desperately needs work - it goes from an implied modern-day setting with fancy cars for rich people and elegant cafes to a more primitive fantasy feudal setting with no explanation, and shoe-horning those together induces a great deal of confusion in the reader.

As of the first 150 chapters, the characters are consistent, but are both... more>> interesting and annoying in that the author goes to considerable lengths to force on the reader that there are no truly good or evil people. Nice folk do malicious things, and people presented in an unapologetically evil fashion are treated with nobility. This is a common trope in eastern philosophies; that Truth yields to Power and that Good vs Evil is only synonymous to Winner and Loser, but can be jarring*. Also, characters actions suffer from storyboarding fatigue. Scenes that the characters act in make sense individually, but the actions that the characters would naturally have to take as a consequence are ignored in favor of consistency in the next setting. In short, the characters make decisions that can't be empathized with when the reader is binging continuously, rather than episodic.

Personally, I am decidedly not a fan of forced misunderstandings and deceptive narrators, which the novel does depend on for a lot of it's humor and drama. This does decrease my enjoyment of the novel, though your mileage may vary. I had to force myself to read this far, despite enjoying many individual scenes. I'm putting this on the back burner until it gets finished, if ever. I'd probably enjoy this novel more if I knew the ending wasn't a Gainax mindscrew, or if I had a better idea if the trip itself would be worth it.

*: It's August 2017 in the USA, and I'm becoming very, very, much less tolerant of variants of this sort of ideology. Truth IS objective, Power MUST be balanced by Responsibility to avoid Corruption, and The Ends DO NOT justify The Means. So this is less entertaining in my current culture than it might otherwise have been. : ( <<less
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Destination of Crybird
January 20, 2017
Status: --
Dark but fun. It is a Japanese reincarnation LN, with the usual tropes, but of a more humanistic, darker nature than most lighthearted reincarnation novels. Worth the read, and I really hope the new translator keeps going - I missed it, it's a compelling story.
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