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Jeebus rated it
Sage Monarch
April 28, 2019
Status: c94
I started reading Sage Monarch because Deathblade is the translator. He did a great job with A Will Eternal, so I figured I'd give this novel a chance. Deathblade's translation of Sage Monarch is a cut above most other translations. You can't polish a turd, though, and the source material really stinks.

There are a host of issues with this novel. The primary problem is that the author does too much telling and too little showing. Rather than the author putting us in the middle of the action, far too often,... more>> we are just told what happened. The majority of it reads more like an encyclopedia than a novel.

Another gripe is that there's no delayed gratification. The MC is both invincible and unimaginable lucky. Other than what happens to him in the first two chapters, he experiences no setbacks. If he needs something, he already has it, knows someone else that has what he needs, or stumbles upon it in the following chapter. With only one exception, he immediately resolves any grudges, sometimes even in the same chapter that the grudge began. Because of this, the novel never builds tension. It's always just kind of flat. The author just tells you that the MC is awesome as he does random things that somehow increase his cultivation.

To top it off, because he practices an insanely powerful cultivation technique, he can fight people many cultivation levels above him. There's no reason to have cultivation levels at all if the MC can just kill anyone, regardless of their cultivation level, with little-to-no effort.

My final issue with the novel is that the MC is just unlikeable. His character is flat. His motives are vague. Instead of taking principled actions that propel him towards a goal, his actions are largely dictated by random, external circumstances. The result is that there's not much of a story or character development. You're just told the MC did random stuff that doesn't really matter in the greater context of the narrative.

TL;DR: The writing style is so poor that it feels like the author didn't even try. There's hardly any action; it's all just expository narrative or dialog. Further, the author does nothing to build any tension or action. The end result is that the whole novel is just a boring powertrip.

Worst of all, the MC is a Mary Sue. The author does little to endear any character to the reader, including the MC. The MC doesn't really seem to have any goals. The MC is so OP that cultivation levels are irrelevant to him. Between his godly cultivation technique and his uncanny ability to just find everything he needs immediately, he encounters no bottlenecks or cultivation issues.

All of these issues culminate in a boring novel where you don't care about anything or anyone. <<less
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Jeebus rated it
History’s Strongest Senior Brother
June 22, 2017
Status: c125
Reading this web novel is like watching a your best friend sink into quicksand and die, in slow-motion. It slowly sinks into a muck of mediocrity, finally devolving into what it originally parodied.

The intent behind for this web novel is great. For the first couple dozen chapters, the author delivers on the vision he proffered in the synopsis. It focuses on the stereotypical antagonist who steals the MC's childhood sweetheart and delves into the ridiculous tropes surrounding MC armor. It does a fair job of this while sometimes managing to... more>> be genuinely funny on occasion.

The issue with this web novel is that all the humor and parody that were promised in the synopsis slowly evaporate starting around chapter 30, and things continue to unravel until the end of the first arc. Immediately in the second arc, the antagonist has become the protagonist, ending up with the same MC armor that the author previously derided. After this, it's just your typical Xuanhuan story, but with even more filler, clan politics, and useless banter than its peers.

I could expound on theories about why the plot takes a 180, like maybe the author found that writing a comedic parody is a hell of a lot harder and more time consuming than employing the cookie-cutter tropes of its web novel contemporaries. After all, greater efficiency in releasing chapters is more cash for the author, regardless of the quality and content of those chapters.

Bottom line: Read the first arc. Then, decide for yourself if it's worth reading an also-ran web novel that's as insipid as the plethora of other web novels with MCs who are functionally invincible. <<less
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I’m Really a Superstar
June 20, 2017
Status: c540
This story has a great premise that most college grads can relate to. A newly minted graduate with a major in radio broadcasting has to break into the competitive world of radio entertainment as a radio host at a national radio station in China, while his ultimate dream is to step onto the world-stage and become an internationally recognized entertainer.

So far, so good.

But there's a twist. The MC wakes up one morning to find that reality as he knows it has changed, and a great deal of literary and broadcast... more>> history has been altered. While no one else recognizes this change, the MC does. This gives him an advantage over everyone else. Namely, he can use his knowledge of critically-acclaimed material that no longer exists in his world and package it as his own, original work. Also, for some reason, he also has access to a gambling system where he can spend points that he earns from fame gained through actions in the real world for the chance at receiving items and skills that boost his abilities.

Sounds like a pretty good premise, huh? It absolutely is for a few dozen chapters. Then, however, a number of systemic issues crop up and are magnified as the novel progresses.

Where the MC's otherworldly insight is concerned, the author fails to use it creatively. The MC doesn't use his knowledge of unknown works to synthesize new content, nor does he use this knowledge in novel or unexpected ways. Instead, the author utilizes this unique aspect of his novel in the laziest way possible: the MC uses his "power" to plagiarize his way though the whole story. The author also benefits greatly when the MC applies a misappropriated poem or story as a solution to his woes. Those poems and stories vastly inflate the word count of each chapter. After all, why create original content when you can just copy and paste your way to a payday?

And speaking of the gambling system that he has for some reason. In 540 chapters, the author never touches on how or why he has this system. Even the MC just kind of rolls with it, rarely questioning its origin. It's just a lazy trope used by the author. Oh no, the MC needs to do X, but he can't do X. That's ok. Deus ex gambling to the rescue!

Now, let's discuss the virtues of the MC. He spends a large part of his time s*xually assaulting and philandering his way though a troupe of disposable, one-dimensional female characters who are rarely seen outside of their role as fodder for the MC's greatness.

I'm mostly done talking about what an awesome person the MC is. At this point, let's switch gears and talk about how the author handles the overarching structure of his novel and how the novel progresses between arcs.

In the second arc, there's a bit of a nationalistic bend to everything. That's nothing new for a Chinese LN. After the second arc, though, everything goes totally of the rails. There are different ways to write nationalism into a work. There's the good way -- showing hard-working Chinese people prospering through their own efforts; and the bad way -- writing everyone who isn't a Chinese nationalist as a raging douchebag that must be destroyed by the virtuous MC. Take a guess which method the author uses. If you guessed the bad, lazy method, you'd be right. What's better is that that nationalism evolves into blatant and rampant racism as the novel develops. It also gives me pause for the MC's aspiration of becoming a world-famous entertainer. Why on earth would you want people in other countries to care about you if you hold everyone who isn't a Chinese nationalist in such contempt?

When I read a novel, I expect to see the MC grow and adapt to overcome adversity. In this novel, the MC does none of that. Instead, he adopts a scorched-earth policy where he just bungles his way through different entertainment industries while burning nearly every bridge along the way. In most every situation where the MC could just step back for a second and cool his head, he instead castigates anyone who so much as sneezes in his direction. This happens time and time again, with results ranging from him being banned from some industries to outright imprisonment. Despite all this, he never grows. He never learns from his mistakes. He is a completely static character, which makes for a very frustrating reading experience.

Add to this the complete lack of a coherent plot, and you get a truly maddening novel. The author uses a cookie-cutter style of plot tropes to advance the story through each arc, but there's not really all that much that connects the arcs. There is no overarching plot development. The MC does the same thing in a different setting, but there is no growth. No advancement. No, well, anything.

Here's the premise of every arc:

  1. MC is in entertainment industry sector X.
  2. Incumbent industry faction suppresses MC after MC does something audacious that should have gotten MC fired.
  3. MC goes on a rampage against incumbent faction.
  4. MC makes headlines for his audacity but is ultimately fired because MC is an ass.
  5. Rinse and repeat 11 times, and you're at chapter 540. That's where I stopped.
So, what's to like in this novel? Well, the first and second arc are pretty good. If you stop after the second arc, you'll find this LN to be a real gem (minus some weird borderline-rape stuff that happens). If you're like me, however, you'll find the s*xism, racism, lack of plot progression and character development, and the use of lazy tropes and writing strategies employed by the author to be a thoroughly soul crushing experience after those first two arcs. I read all the way to the beginning of the 11th arc in the hopes of recapturing what was so great about the beginning two arcs, but I found the 11th arc to be just as racist and infuriating as the previous 8 in only its first chapter.

While my opinion of this novel and its author is less than stellar, the same can't be said for the translators. Mad props to Legge and CKtalon on their translation of this LN. Almost every chapter has a lot of old-timey Chinese poetry and literature quotations. The research and quality of translation of those sections is outstanding. <<less
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Jeebus rated it
Zhan Long
June 21, 2017
Status: c151
I read a little past the point that ... more>>

the guy who hired the MC to guard his daughter mind rapes him so that he'll protect his daughter.

Let's not talk about how that makes about 0 sense. Instead, let's consider the fact that rather than going ballistic, he just accepts it. But god help you if you try to hit on the woman he's guarding.

Nothing in this novel makes sense. It started out fairly well, but the female leads start to get bland quickly, and the MC has plot armor thicker than a tank. In less than 150 chapters, it's already become a bland web novel that's low on originality and makes use of the same lazy tropes that so many web novels before it have used as a crutch for poor pacing and lack of an actual plot. <<less
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Jeebus rated it
Godly Model Creator
March 9, 2018
Status: c401
Slightly below average. Simple story. There is a plot, but it progresses slowly and you'll have to wade through filler.

Other things to look forward to:

  • One-dimensional characters.
  • Thick plot armor.
  • MC's power creep is real.
  • MC doesn't rape his love interest, thankfully.
This is about as standard as a modern-day cultivation can get. MC is cunning but lacks power. He finds an artifact that makes him better than his peers.

As the story progresses, he finds or does other stuff that makes him even stronger. He offends people. He kills them. He moves on to somewhere... more>> where he hasn't already killed everyone. Rinse. Repeat.

If you like repetitive, modern-day cultivation novels, you'll probably like this one. It's not for me, though. <<less
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Castle of Black Iron
February 23, 2018
Status: c277
It's basically a futuristic retelling of Genghis Khan. Everywhere he goes, he has lots of s*x with every woman who will spread her legs for him.

... more>>

Early on in the series, he had a handful of possible pairings, but he just ends up doing all of them and then doing nearly every girl from his school on top of that. But he's not a man-whore, at least he bought all of them lingerie and rings as a parting gift.


Not only does the author stroke the MC's d*ck every chapter, he does the same thing for China as a whole. I'm no stranger to the whole nationalism thing in Chinese WNs, but this one takes it a bit too far.

Also, the MC has a tiny dimension in his mind that makes stuff for him. It's only marginally important and is generally just a vehicle for the author to advance the plot or otherwise add filler. <<less
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9 Heavenly Thunder Manual
August 8, 2017
Status: c74
There's really nothing to like in this novel. There's not much plot to speak of. What little plot there is seems random and rushed, with most of the stuff that's happening generally out of the MC's understanding or control. If the MC is in danger, a completely random fortuitous encounter or some other plot twist saves him. His lady friends pop up and disappear at random. Same goes for his friends and family. There were a few times where I had to make sure I didn't accidentally skip chapters because... more>> the plot meanders so much that I thought I had skipped to a new story arc.

In the first few chapters, he falls into a river near a huge city, crawls out of said river, and finds himself in a virgin forest paradise, apparently untouched by man, where he learns to cultivate. We find out later that he's only a few days' walking distance from that huge city, and somehow no one has ever been to this Eden. Random crap that is completely nonsensical continues to happen to power up the MC whenever he comes across any type of adversity.

The whole thing is like reading a wish fulfillment novel written by a horny high school student. It's almost completely devoid of plot, character development, or anything approaching literary competency. Also, there's enough racism thrown into the mix to make me feel uncomfortable reading it. <<less
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Hedonist Sovereign
June 21, 2017
Status: c30
This is your standard story, opening with a horrible, useless MC who slowly transforms into a butterfly because he does the things that the voice in his head, that only he can hear, tells him to do. The only difference in this story is that he didn't have to transmigrate, reincarnate, or find an ancient relic before becoming schizophrenic.

So far, the MC has done everything you'd expect him to do in the opening chapters of a modern-day, martial arts, Chinese web novel. He's battled gangsters, battled other rich dudes, been... more>> framed for something a much stronger guy in a mask did, and saved a few beautiful women from peril. It has introduced nothing original, but it's also not so horrible that it will make your eyes bleed.

I'm only up to chapter 30, but I'm already at a loss here. A hedonist is someone who gives up everything for pleasure. By all accounts, the MC was exactly that... before he started doing what the voice said to do. In this novel, so far, the system that's supposed to make him a Hedonist Sovereign has done nothing but cock block him. It just feels like the author is trolling the readers.

I'm going to put this one down for a while and pick it back up when I can binge-read a goodly amount. Right now I'm more frustrated with this convoluted system that the author has created to do exactly the opposite of what is promised for the MC. <<less
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