OK, I'll be blunt with this. Excuse the language used here but I really can't find more accurate words to describe what I felt.
It's not terrible per se, however this is definitely nothing more but a novel that squeezes your time (and money, for the Chinese readers paying for it) but gives you nothing much in return. I think the best way to describe it would be "quantity over quality". It had an attention catching premise, but that's pretty much all there is to it. The rest is just the author bullsh*tting through it with the same pattern of things over and over again. Our MC is so "knowledgeable" that he squashed any tension tension. The only "suspense" is seeing the arrogant rich kids getting squashed in front of him because they don't know who he is. That's it. This doesn't mean that there's no action, just that the action are so one sided that you wonder where the challenge is at all. Everything is so monotone, barely any climax and barely anything that could be considered an arc. It's like you're reading a clinical log of everything that happened. You can tell the author is just squeezing out money from the poor readers paying for it.
It went to the point that the author had pull out things out of his ass just to make it more challenging for the MC. And I say you can definitely tell those came out of nowhere because there was no sign at all that indicated the things he came up with fit into his lore:
Let's see... We are in a cultivator/Asian setting. MC goes back to Earth but that doesn't negate the fact that the world is build up on an oriental Xianxia ish background, right?
But guess what appears on earth? Vampires. Werewolves. People with psychic powers. And now? Aliens. It's not bad if it was in the lore of that world, except prior to their appearance there was no indication that they existed. However MC then claims he knew they existed. MC claims that he has seen all the hyper technology and all that stuff. But there was no previous sign of him bein aware of it, or any sort of foreshadowing. It just fit in so badly with the story that you can tell the author did not plan ahead at all.
I keep wondering what the heck is with the harem? The few intersting female characters get overridden fast by other female characters you don't give any fcks about and you wonder how the heck does it even happen. Like once again, they just randomly appeared out of nowhere and suddenly interest in MC. Also:
I'm sorry, but just because "you" are considered "excellent" doesn't mean that all women are willing to degrade themselves to become your mistress. I wouldn't care if it was in a xianxia setting, because polygamy was part of the culture in ancient China. But you can't convince me that modern day women share the same value, especially if they are as proud as the author described them to be. It's just. Not. Logical. And the more these relationships appear, the more you are just wondering "Why. Would you. Even. Pair them. Up together??????" No but really, my disbelief is so huge at some of the most random pairings that came out of nowhere. They are more relationships of circumstances with no chemistry between MC and girl at all.
The relationships are definitely following the "quantity over quality" ideology to a Tee. And the few relationships you would actually (relatively) care about are just drowned.
I'm not convinced either that billionaires here just jeep bowing their heads to the MC. Like no matter how strong your MC is, these are people who are able to fight against the current and amass a great fortune using their skills. They should be much smarter than what the author's making them out to be. Come on. Right now they are either brainless followers kissing MC's feet, or brainless antagonists about to kiss MC's feet once they realize who they are. There's not one shred of personality in there; it's just the exact same character, cloned and given different names. It just makes me feel that other than a backstory, the author is not capable to give any character any kind of character depth. So when the author doesn't know what to write to make the story more interesting, he just copy paste another character from his template and give the new guy a name.
The MC is a hypocrite too not the worse out of the CN novels, but honestly I don't like people praising him for his generosity (which people do) because he is NOT a good guy, or a selfless guy. People praise him for it because he is a "generous" doctor, and yet he barely cures anyone if he doesn't have anything to gain from it (it's either money, or loyalty... or some kind of business relationship).
He gets praised because he donated money, maybe like a million YUAN, but he's like a multi billionaire! Like we're talking about tens to hundreds of billions here. A few million to him is like NOTHING, literally. Yet he's being hailed as "so generous omg!!" He is praised for patriotism but honestly he is only doing it because it benefits him and he has no problem abusing power as he fit if it benefits him. He is said to be righteous but he has no problem forgiving people who have slaughtered thousands of innocent people just because they become "useful" to him. He said his promises are worth its value in gold and he always follows them through if he promise something. But honestly I noticed half of the times he doesn't really follow through if it stops benefiting him. Especially if they are with his enemies. He only follows through because he really doesn't care about some things (ex: promising to let evil-doers aka mass murders go, because he doesn't actually really care that they are killing people despite what he claims).
I'm not saying he's horrible. He's just a normally selfish guy. And even if he was evil, I'd be fine with it in fiction. I just find it extremely hypocritical of him to criticise others for things he does as well. I just roll my eyes really hard, because he's wearing the hat of a saint but he isn't anything the author claims he is. The author just want to add a MC aura and make him all perfect because, hey, it's the MC.
There's not only one Union! There's multiple unions! These clans are only the lowest level clans! But wait, there's more!!! There's the human territory! With the top ranked clans! But wait, there's more! There's even stronger groups! Bigger territories! Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.
EDIT: I mean, I don't think that's a bad idea, except I'm not sold on how the "scales" gets bigger. We're *told* he's fighting on a bigger stage (aka, bigger territories, stronger enemies, on matters that have a greater impact) but in the end it doesn't really feel that way. I feel like he's still fighting in the same limited scope as he always did. It doesn't feel like a war between countries, or a war between territories, etc. it just feel like the same old fight between small groups of a selective few people.
I hate that when you feel like your side characters are starting to be developed into 3 dimensional characters with their own will... You suddenly move into the next arc and they are just left behind. Then they become mindless background character that only knows how to accept the grace of our MC. Once they're past their usefulness, they drop down to one dimensional characters.
Like even though the author is always describing how the MC keeps training his team/family/subordinate, 99% of them never actually does anything to the story after their initial introduction. So the training is pretty useless to the plot. The other 1% of his team that actually help the MC and does something in the story... Aren't humans (they are mythical creatures or similar. They apparently are always "with him", but disappears and never says a word unless they are needed... So they are more like hidden weapons than companions for the MC.)
Same with a lot of the weapons.
A lot of times he spends a lot of effort in a dungeon to get them, only to have them used only once. And not in a major manner either. The further you go in the story the more frequent it gets. It sometimes make you wonder, what's the point, then? Why give so much weight/importance to the treasures, but then when the MC uses them they are barely more useful than stuff you'd get at a convenience store? Same with many arts, techniques he inherits from lots clans of the past era. By the time he should be using them, the author has already made him so powerful that the techniques are barely useful. Or, they end up as being convenient (and cheap) Deus Ex Machina in one of the following arcs and that's it.
Even in wars! When the author has the MC practically win the war by himself, the wars lose their value. It stop feeling like a large scale battle. Yes, he builds his own army. He talks about reorganizing the human territory so they have power to fight off the demonic invaders. Except no one ever does anything because the MC pretty much solve it all singlehandedly. And even if anyone does anything, it's off screen. The readers are given such a sense of urgency during the story about the invaders. You can literally feel the time bomb ticking, and it felt like it could have exploded at any moment. The tension is set up so high for the climax... Except the climax feels so anti climatic. Where has the sense of urgency gone to? What about that border that was set to colapse "very soon", and thus urged the MC to get stronger? What about all that talk about training your troops to get stronger because they would never hold off the invaders otherwise... Only to never have those trained people do anything?
First realm takes 2300 chapters, the second takes about 50 and the last realm takes like 1 chapter if we're being generous.
I think the second realm was supposed to be the big mystery + finale, the author just had no idea how to wrap it up.
A more appropriate title would have been "Sovereign of One Realm and the 50 Chapters of Epilogue that Attempts to Wrap Up its Premise"
He discovers that his deceased mother was also a person from modern Earth like him. And since that's secret that only he knows and understands, it will affect a lot of his actions, without others being aware of the motivations. (The MC is cunning enough to use their lack of knowledge and their wrong expectations to camouflage his true thoughts).
It's an extremely interesting idea that we see the aftermath of a character that could have been an MC. Fan Xian's mother COULD have been the perfect strong female time-travelling/transmigration MC that is so typical of online Chinese romance novels... In fact, she does everything that MC in those novels do. And yet she's isn't the MC of the story. We are left with only afterimages of a world travelling shoujo romance gone wrong. We only see the subtle yet powerful influences in a world in which she no longer exist; how she influences a world and its characters --- and how she impacts the life of our MC.
He even acknowledges that he is two-faced and and his whole life is an act: from the moment he was born he has to put on a show. He had to play the part of the baby, of the boy growing up, the young man that went into the city, of the young noble climbing up the ranks, of the illegitimate child...
Because no one knows about the fact that he was born twice, that he had a previous life, no one is able to understand his motivation and his life values.
Fan Xian is extremely well aware of that, and thus he knows he must plays his part in order to protect himself and survive. (I won't explain these in details, please check out the novel~)
I'm really talking about the part where MC helps a "fat girl" to chase after a school Prince. Do I want the "fat girl" to have a happy ending? Yes. But see, the school prince was already in a very happy relationship with his girlfriend. But the MC just encouraged the "fat girl" to basically break their relationship. The novel even bends the morality but justifying the act even though the fat girl FORCEFULLY inserted herself as the third wheel. And then dare to claim the moral high ground because of no other reason than "plot armor". And guess what. When it doesn't work out, MC goes on defaming the prince's girlfriend. Totally DESTROYING her, by creating rumors to present her as a nasty "slut" and make it seem as if she aborted her child. None of which actually happened. Why all of this? Simply because this girlfriend tried breaking the prince and the fat girl's relationship. Well what do you expect? You want the girlfriend to just stand there and accept it when another girl forcefully inserted into their happy relationship? Steal her boyfriend? So when things don't go your way, you just destroy it? Ruin her reputation? (Even when this can literally ruin her whole life?) Even though after the prince accepted the fat girl's feelings, it was the fat girl was the one who couldn't keep her distance with the MC and thus made the prince unhappy. I'm not saying this girl shouldn't have male friends, but both this girl and the MC are extremely hypocritical and have double standards. I mean, which guy wouldn't be suspicious when a random dude with dubious relationships with your girlfriend is more important to her than you are. And she even goes to his home EVERY night... Let's look at this logically. For a girl that is said to have really strong traditional values on male-female relationships, to the point that even "holding hands" is too much, yet she is perfectly fine with having the MC as a close male friend? Without any boundaries? And she claims she is too shy to hold hands with you and yet she is totally fine with holding hands with him? Can you see why this prince is dubious of her integrity? It is a lot of bull.
I'm fine with a MC that have different moral standards. MC's with grey morality are interesting. However, please admit it rather than twist the words so you appear to be the hero when you're not.
You can feel the author bullsh*t from miles away, because that's the only reason he could find to justify a relationship between the MC and the "fat girl" even though she liked someone else, and make her part of his harem. Oh, btw, the story literally calls her "fat girl", but after a makeover from the MC, she's a "thin beauty with jade skin and pretty face". It's all so convenient that she turns into a beauty when it matters. She also won't ever get fat anymore as a side effect. Because of course the MC couldn't have an actually "fat girl" in his friend circle/as potential love interest. Figures that plot has to give the MC all the pretty girls.
In fact, rather than "antagonists", I'd say they are more like "opponents". What he is really fighting against isn't really the "enemies" per se, but rather "the future" he knows would happen and that he is trying to change.
The author himself has, in fact, said he was extremely unsatisifed with this story. That the writing was "unnatural" for him. Hence he was "glad to have ended it". He said that, after some point he did not feel like he wanted to continue, but knew he had to do a wrap up at least because if he started he had to finish it. While I was reading the last arc, I indeed did feel this clearly, especially towards the end. It's a shame really, because in my personal opinion I think the author did great for the majority of the story.
The end was also a rather satisfying end. I won't spoil anything but you have my guarantee that it is a n end that suits the atmosphere and personality of the MC so well.
She will take on a male identity in order to fulfill her promise of helping her friend (male) to unite a kingdom. She becomes a strategist, and be very politically powerful and influential for it. She is said to naturally have an influential and powerful aura, mannerism, behaviour and perspective. This will follow her through the rest of the story (and a lot of it will remain even when she retakes back the role of a girl). I think this is the part I admire the most, because often when it comes to gender bender, it is just a simple cross-dressing and yet female MC's still act girly to the point you wonder how blinded others are to not notice. This is a huge contrast to how she acted in the first few chapters as a weak wife, and as a young girl hiding her true self, as she is more experienced after.
the MC fakes her death and takes on a male identity
Which means all the mysteries from the beginning of the series you really wanted to know never really gets answered except in passing at best. Not just MC but important side characters as well, and it doesn't really affect the plot.
For example, rather than explaining the logistics of the battle, the author just goes like "X is battling Y", -insert a random half a chapter scene where Y shows briefly his feelings in the midst of the battle-, "X won over Y". Even the end battles are like this. Which is a great contrast from how the author used to describe in detail the earlier battles. That's why I said the author stretched it too thin, everything was clearer at the beginning/middle, but in the end too many fights were happening, which means we get only a brief glimpse of them (if we are lucky) and the fights are done.