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MondSemmel
MondSemmel rated it
Chongfei Manual
January 16, 2018
Status: c44.2
I enjoy reading about vindictive protagonists, and I mostly enjoyed the story, to boot. I'm also aware that not every story can be fluffy or happy-go-lucky. That said, something about this story rubs me the wrong way:

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Spoiler

It's a relive-your-life plot, with the protagonist knowing who will harm her later... and the story treats anyone who would harm her in the future as irredeemably evil, and as deserving of revenge *before they have even done anything revenge-worthy*. Specifically, a significant part of the story is about Wei Luo, ~6 years old, bullying her half-sister, also ~6 years old - mostly because her half-sister's mother, i.e. Wei Luo's stepmother, actually does clearly evil stuff. Her half-sister may not be a good person when she grows up, and they may not be happy siblings... but from my perspective, she's still utterly undeserving of this pre-emptive revenge.

Basically, vindictive protagonists are fine; but I was quite disturbed by a) all the bullying of child antagonists (the step-sister isn't just mistreated by Wei Luo, but also by their father, which is just wtf) and b) a time-travel story full of revenge for stuff that hasn't happened yet, or that will happen in the future. Somehow, people Wei Luo recalls as evil are treated as rotten to the core. Evil is pre-determined, and redemption is impossible.

[collapse]

I really am not on board with that. <<less
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MondSemmel
MondSemmel rated it
Against the Gods
July 29, 2018
Status: --
Cultivation story about a protagonist Gary Stu who's a terrible hypocrite, and a rapist. I'm amazed how anyone could write a protagonist who so obviously does the same or worse things than the antagonists, all the while acting like he's the exemplar of virtue. Like crippling or killing people whose only fault is looking down at the protagonist's strength, which the protagonist intentionally hides. Or killing people who covet his absurd harem, while he's a lecher and a rapist himself. Or taking over-the-top revenge on whole clans because a single... more>> member of them harmed him. Etc.

Even if you specifically enjoy cultivation stories, there are much better stories out there. For instance, Tales of Herding Gods also has an overpowered protagonist, but with a much more amusing and easy-going (though exceedingly mischievous) personality; and the story is not a moral disaster. Or My Disciple Died Yet Again, which is a satiric take on cultivation stories, and also clearly illustrates the absurd hypocrisy of typical cultivation story protagonists like the one featured here. <<less
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MondSemmel
MondSemmel rated it
Eight Treasures Trousseau
November 6, 2017
Status: Completed
This is a great, slow-paced palace intrigue. The cast is comparatively small but very inter-connected, and no day goes by without plenty of scheming.

Hua Xi Wan, the protagonist, "actively tries to be passive", i.e. she's smart but lazy and wants nothing to do with the scheming, but of course things aren't that simple. In fact, it could be said that for most of the story, and with some notable exceptions, the protagonist is just an observer of all the scheming, and her strength lies in not being pulled in... until... more>> it invariably happens, from time to time. With that said, the story isn't told exclusively from her perspective, but devotes plenty of time to the other schemers (characters), as well.

The protagonist has an almost completely superfluous reincarnation background, but at least her modern values contrast nicely with her reality of being reborn as a noble lady in an ancient China with typical ancient hyper-patriarchical values (of the "men rule, women bear children" variety). Her background as an actress, at least, results in plenty of comedy when she repeatedly internally praises all the members of the nobility for acting outraged or distressed whenever something bad happens.

Overall, this is a slow-paced but intriguing story, with a heavy touch of romance. It's certainly action-light but scheming-heavy, so I recommend only reading this story if this genre focus sounds appealing to you.

EDIT: My initial review was up to chapter 89, whereas I've now finished the story. I enjoyed it overall, and it's brilliant in many ways, but the author had a *serious* case of tell-don't-show in the final arc - almost all of the final scheming and action happens entirely off-screen, and we as the readers just see the results. If the ending had been slightly less rushed (3-5 additional chapters would've been plenty!), this would've been an easy 5/5. Instead, I can still say that I enjoyed the ride, but the conclusion left me vaguely unsatisfied. <<less
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MondSemmel
MondSemmel rated it
Ascendance of a Bookworm
November 14, 2017
Status: c57
Reincarnation stories are a dime a dozen, but this one is interesting in several respects - for instance, the protagonist is a child (~6 years old, with no indication of a timeskip coming any time soon) and sickly (and has been for 55+ chapters). When she's not ill, she spends her time on re-inventing modern products, or on trading and haggling. This is a refreshing contrast to the focus on combat in most reincarnation stories.
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MondSemmel
Solid story about a gender-bended Mary Sue.

Strengths of the novel include Ling Lan taking care of her subordinates, and conversely her subordinates' endless trust in her. Like reading a yakuza or mafia novel about a young master growing up, earning everyone's trust, and finally making a name for himself and his family or clan. Also, in contrast to other reincarnation stories, this one actually begins in the womb and then progresses slowly, so you have a sense of watching Lin Lan grow up.

Weaknesses of the novel include some extremely drawn... more>> out scenes and arcs, Ling Lan's overpoweredness, the comparatively lame sci-fi setting (it's supposedly 10000 years in the future, but it feels like the technology hasn't even advanced by 100 years), and the author's lunacy of pulling real-world conflicts into the story (for an unfathomable reason, the space sector the protagonist lives in had to be the Chinese Federation, and to make matters worse, they're fighting the Twilight Empire, i.e. The antagonists are Japanese, and cartoon-idiotic ones at that). That last point is aggravating, but at least by chapter 263, the story hasn't given that conflict all that much screentime, so it was bearable. <<less
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MondSemmel
MondSemmel rated it
Forty Millenniums of Cultivation
October 7, 2017
Status: c154
The novel is by no means perfect, but as of chapter 154, I prefer it to most isekai/cultivation stories out there.

Instead of a full review, I'll focus on a single aspect of it: I *adore* the level of Noblesse Oblige in this story. In most cultivation type stories I've read so far, cultivators only care about themselves and about becoming stronger. Here, in contrast, there's a very clear sense of camaraderie among humans in their struggle against their common foe, the demon beast hordes. Whereas most cultivation story protagonists are... more>> utterly self-absorbed, here you will occasionally see both the protagonist and other cultivators care about one another, and even about protecting the weak common folk. At least in the struggle against the demon beasts, they go all out, sometimes to the point of self-sacrifice.

This is *such* a refreshing change. A cultivation story which contains likeable, lovable NPCs. Also, I'm so happy that so far, a harem is nowhere in sight! So NPCs are occasionally actually characterized by something other than their single-minded focus on the protagonist.

I enjoy the story a great deal in general, but I utterly adore the Noblesse Oblige aspect.

(I also like that cultivators are both depicted as utterly arrogant in their daily doings - they're aware that they're "better" than everyone else -, *and* as sometimes being self-sacrificing when it counts. This doesn't apply to all of them, but *many* of them live according to Noblesse Oblige.)

PS: Also, Li Yao is a refiner who eventually comes to carry absurd amounts of equipment. Which makes him, as of chapter 172, a "massively equipped man" (that's in the original translation). Bwahahahaha... <<less
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MondSemmel
MondSemmel
Slow Prison Life
March 13, 2019
Status: c13
This is a fantastic and hilarious comedy. Too many webnovels take themselves overly seriously. So I'm very glad to see a parody of the stereotypical plot of protagonists being betrayed by their relatives, then vowing revenge.
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MondSemmel
MondSemmel rated it
Akuyaku Reijo Ni Koi Wo Shite
October 12, 2017
Status: c12
Solid take on the "I'm not the protagonist" genre so wonderfully exemplified by "There’s a Pit in My Senior Martial Brother’s Brain". Only 4 stars, though, because I find the isekai main character's occasionally ruthless personality ill-motivated (as is often the case) and the total lack of conscience off-putting. I get it, ruthless characters come across as cool and strong - but they can tend to be pretty cookie-cutter, hard to empathize with, and are in any case far less impressive than (anti) heroes with a conscience, like Harold from... more>> My Death Flags Show No Sign of Ending or Roland from The Experimental Log of the Crazy Lich. <<less
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MondSemmel
MondSemmel rated it
Mimizuku to Yoru no Ou
November 5, 2018
Status: Completed
Given the grand ratings, I expected more from this story. Little happens throughout most of the story; Mimizuku's past is tragic, yes, but inexpertly told. I recall feeling devastated at the first chapter of The Girl Who Bore the Flame Ring, but Mimizuku's story didn't have nearly the same punch.

I also found the finale pretty aggravating. For some reason this supposed action-heavy and dramatic scene is full of uninterrupted dialogue à la the trope Talking Is a Free Action, which ruined what little dramatic tension there was, for me.
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MondSemmel
MondSemmel rated it
Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear
September 16, 2017
Status: c133
Delightfully light-hearted, but also quite naive and frequently lazy in its writing (e. G. Many things are glossed over because the author couldn't be bothered to flesh them out). The economics also don't seem to work out.

That said, given the story's many shortcomings, it's a bizarrely enjoyable. I certainly do appreciate isekai stories without obnoxious main characters.
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MondSemmel
Neat, comparatively light-hearted story with some fun and quirky characters. Most of the tropes are tread on only lightly, like the protagonist being resurrected and having foreknowledge of some stuff. Other typical tropes, like the frustrating revenge porn of many chinese stories, is almost entirely absent - it's certainly more on the level of "I'll slap you for what you've done" than "I'll crush you, your family, and everything you stand for". Being utterly tired of the aforementioned trope, I appreciated that a lot. The story isn't particularly deep, but... more>> I did like the writing style and particularly the various "oneshot"-style stories in the first half. <<less
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