1. The ugly girl who has a good heart (she cried seeing her supposed husband dead) is considered 'not only an eating machine but also there is something wrong with her mind' like wow so if she's not pretty then she can't even feel sad? And then MC saw the incredibly pretty girl his heart immediately moved and he felt sad seeing her sad, like just seconds after they just met. Regarding judge people by appearances, MC is not so different from those villains and side characters (who also judge him from his appearance).
2. Past MC was a cultivation maniac with no love whatsoever now he saw the pretty girl and fell for her right away, to justify it author dropped a line 'now this life he wanted a normal life'. Umm please take a good look back and tell me what's normal about anything you've done so far.
3. Formulaic 'get OP magical pet and heavenly OP beauty' before the real adventure.
4. Rinse and repeat nonsensical offended enemies who conveniently throw themselves at MC for the tiniest trivial (or none at all) reason just to be turned into blood and gore.
5. Passerbys, watchers and villains blabber long and nonstop how MC is too reckless arrogant fated to doom (even monsters mock him with their eyes orz) then after he wins they either praise him or regard him as genius/demon with charisma. Everyone blabbers the exact same thing over and over and over. Also too much 'you dare to hurt/kill me?' and then 'please don't kill me' 'u can't kill me'.
6. Treasures fall a little too conveniently into MC's party. They are tailored for his party members to lv up like waaay up up and exist in wherever MC goes when they actually don't have any reason to be there at all.
The story is about a kid who can't be anymore mediocre whether in looks or talents, got dragged into the cultivation world and step by step climbing up in power while bitterly trying to preserve his own life by making use of a treasure that does not increase his cultivation talent at all. The first hundred chapters as a form of prologue is slow, but the "slow" is just right. You can't expect too much from an all-round average kid, even being able to improve at his current stage is already a feast for someone like him.
What makes this novel worth reading:
1. There is this saying about the more hollow the drum, the louder it sounds. People with low intelligence and low talent are the best blabbers. I always think that the cultivation world where only power speaks volume, nonsensical verbal arguments from every opponent is too much too unrealistic. This novel precisely avoids that. In a world where danger lurks everywhere, where there is always someone stronger or has better treasures than you, it's easy to lose one's life. Even no matter how much backing one has, if they die then that's it. If everyone is a hollow drum, then Jianghu is nothing but a joke.
That's why it's delightful to see that the majority of characters (enemies included) are NOT brainless idiots with foul mouths that spout 5+ line paragraphs. When there is a need to fight they fight. Everyone (even demonic beasts) priorities their life and has certain degree of guard against any opponent even if they are stronger in power. Heck yeah that's more like it.
2. As mentioned MC is average in everything, even his personality (he is no villain nor hero). His treasure is prolly the only thing that makes him worth writing a story about. However, the spotlight shifts to him thanks to his incisiveness (one example would be his low resistance to beauty but refusing to suffer for it). He absolutely knows how to THINK. From the clever use of the treasure to making the right choices in tough situations, by constantly activating his brains he is able to stay alive and still withholding the bottom line of his principles.
This incisiveness doesn't come out of nowhere, but painstakingly learned from the first 100 chaps that meticulously built up his foundation knowledge of the cruel cultivation world. It's fun to see him grow and facing challenges with his own wit rather than resorting to glaringly blatant plot armor or deus ex.
3. No useless fillers so far *throws confetti*
Why you might find it boring: pill pill pill tool tool tool. That's the most of it for powering up so far. However it's only sensible. His treasure aids in pills, with his talent he won't get anywhere far without pills, and wouldn't survive long without good tools. Think of this as contribution to his intellect though, knowing how to use tools is a talent for survival. Not seeing much of fighting techniques is a little sad for me, but no OP shiny fancy name actions that kill in less than a millisecond is also good. I do hope to see good techniques later on though. Anyhow, I would like to conclude this by referring back to my first point.
He spended enough time to be more adept than anyone at magic so he can counter it, he lays foundations and sets traps on every possible battle ground to gain advantage and easier take control of the situation, he helps the organization flourish with his intellect, he developed a survival-above-all instinct and created his own art of the sword to cover his no cheats weakness.
He trains kids for an EVIL organization, in which there will be no doubt kill or be killed situations. If MC is not firm (which he once was and the kids didn't listen to him at all), then he is of no use as an instructor, and he is already kinda useless for other purposes because no magic no cheats to begin with.
Furthermore, before being selected by an instructor, the kids already received training, and they know what kind of stuff they will have to face in such organization. They have their own motives and are by no means weak. Heck, they even tried to kill him from the start. Even if it's just for his own good, MC taught them every trick and attitude needed to survive, and the bat (s) he uses to beat people are enchanted so the beaten's body gets stronger afterward.
- So called broken-hearted ice cold assassin who actually does know how to use her brains yet continues to be pushed around (emotionally) by the 'male lead' and her contracted beast, and also the love rival (s).
- Even the simple tactic "use others' knife to kill an enemy" that she used is consider shrewd and assassin-worthy. Ummm??? That's like the basic of the basic.
'Male lead' (yes I say this with a disgust) :
- Extremely talented and described as "devilishly and charmingly" (the phrase is used so many times that I regret not couting it to laugh (or cry) at the exact number of times I had to see it). Whatever body parts and actions of his mentioned, they are praised over and over. Once or twice, or even ten times, I can deal. However, it's too taxing to encounter this every chapter. Is the main lead really the girl, or she's just a channel for the author/reader fangirls to experience the male lead's 'love'?
- He suddenly fell in love, and acted doting, only reason so far is that she is the same as him, cunning, planning, cruel, can kill with a smile. Please don't tell me he hasn't met any girl like that in the cultivation world, because so far all the female antagonists are also like that.
- He is mad all the freaking time when MC is unpleasant towards his forced advances like??? That's why I call it "twisted". He does nice things, say sappy lines, but also forces romantic actions on her (no she doesn't ask for it, she's simply physically powerless).
- He brought MC to a dangerous place while she's powerless, left her alone during the most critical time, forcing her to fight for her life (especially from his childhood sweetheart's scheme), then scolded her for making him worried by disappearing? Orz. Then he didn't believe her words and broke her heart again.
- The sh*t hits the fan (also where I drop this novel) is right afterward when he guilt tripped her into caring/having feelings for him using his own life. First his subordinate blamed her for injuring him while he was still weak (from fighting for his childhood sweetheart yes). How the hell was she supposed to know he was injured? Also she wouldn't punch him if he didn't force kiss her, twice. Then he forced her to use his knife to 'vent' on his body, psychologically control any shred of emotions she had. Yes he succeeded, she couldn't vent sh*t, and had to say that she forgave him. Then he collapsed, making her feel guilty and frantically worry for his life. The author drops a line from her pov: "She wouldn't dare to hurt him again". GJ author for ruining the female lead. Really, is this how you treat your MC???
Other characters: no one has a brain, everyone is the same.
I would say the leads are stupid too but that would have been unfair to them because they are not intended to be stupid, it's just that the author failed to make them smart and mighty.
Linley goes to school? More like meeting, eating and drinking with his good bros, training by himself in the mountains, goes to class in one or two sentences but no one knows what he actually learn in class. He goes out into the wilderness training and killing while still being a student, then goes back and goes out some more until he gets powerful enough to leave school.
First venture, Linley meets a classmate with few others. Me: oh group train! But nope. Bandits kill some (including that classmate killed by the boss). Linley kills all bandits leaving the boss and flees even though his beast Bebe could have killed that bandit boss??? Me: oh author uses this to abandon group train plot, cause that boss never mentioned again. And later Linley encounters corpses killed by human and wonders why human kill human and realize: greed is so terrible. Ummmm didn't your classmate (and yourself almost) got killed by human just now also? Why you only ponder about that now?
While in school, Linley dates a girl and gets all heart-broken by her (cause she out of nowhere avoids him and goes out with her childhood friend). Then Linley makes a breakthrough in power thanks to that heartbreaking exp while his good bro tries to make the girl's life miserable. Also in the following events she encounters sh*tty situations and has to ask Linley for help while her guy (who actually genuinely loves her) is made into a bad guy. All was so over the top that I actually thought the author has personal issue with this kind of failed relationship.
When little Linley was all enthusiastically "I want to be a magus!!!" but when grown he automatically is a magus by keep growing his spiritual level, learns skills by reading once and focus on his warrior power instead. Magus ability is rarely used and easily falls out of importance in the first 10 or so books, then in higher level they conveniently becomes 'profound laws' to train for deities.
Relationship building and interactions? Eat chat laugh occasionally help each other out over time and we have a deep relationship (asides from family love). Romance? The main girl fell for him since tiny teen (interactions barely/not described at all as for why she fell for him) then waited 10 years for her chance and bam love. Marriage? Wedding day is big guests visiting and the pair entertaining guests. If that's all there is to my wedding I'd kick everyone out the street and slap myself out of love.
Linley also accidentally releases a powerful magical beast Dylin who led hordes of beasts to destroy cities later (and this accidentally rescues Linley from jail, haha karma). The beasts also destroys Linley's hometown and kills everyone there. Later Linley and Dylin becomes good friends.
Where there is trouble or special event (especially those related to Linley's acquaintances) there is Linley just in time to solve it! An antagonist says something like "This Linley is everywhere" and I cry because dude someone finally gets it. I feel like I'm reading a xuanhuan version of detective Conan.
I think I need to stop now my mind is getting boggled.
PS: I think the later part where Linley goes to higher plane is where the story gets better, or maybe I'm just numb to it.
Funny how the final antagonist actually got the right idea about breaking space and stuff, but in the end unable to execute it.
The MC is clear-headed, open-minded, charismatic, adapting and knows how to care for herself. She has a firm mindset and not afraid to live as freely as she could because 'the worse is just death'. She manages people skillfully and never goes out of her way to slight more people and create never ending cycle of enmity, nor actively trying to climb the power ladder. That's why she is lowkey, not showing off her might yet still greatly respected and able to enjoy her life though being a member of the imperial family.
The male lead's character can be considered pretty decent for the era and also for someone with the prince position. He is also capable yet even more lowkey, because he is the type that secretly scheming, and he is very good at it. The story being not from his pov also contributes to this. I eventually got to see how he is fitting to be a ruler, a skilled flirt but I never held him highly in the matter of romance and reading the MC's heart. However at c104, I realized that I underestimated him greatly. After that he gets better and better.
Story starts off with MC praising the greatness of the bath, so incredibly accurate and well written that as a Japanese I couldn't help but say hell yeah. Then the weird event and trade happens, and ends with both calmly part ways I was like 'guys, guys????' and then MC examines the window and finally says 'wth happened?' I was like 'MY POINT EXACTLY'. Anyhow I was totally pulled into the story, so good.
She is just too set on returning to the modern world to consider romantic feelings. However when the time calls to confront it (Suling's feelings for her), she does so in a straightforward manner.
1. Fast start, vague line between different level of power (for both people and weapon rank) initially however they will be described a little more clearly as the story goes.
2. Big measurements. My only advice for this huge world type of novel is that you disregard all the numbers. If there is something hundreds of miles long, a snake for example, just ignore the actual length and imagine a snake as big as your imagination allows.
3. Loose ends such as an enemy's storage bracelet was mentioned with MC's desire for it, however after the enemy died it wasn't mention. Another is that Jiang Yao (another enemy) want to catch MC alive to access some ancient Magus King's place for its treasures, but after get rid of Jiang Yao, MC paid no heed for this mystery ancestor's place. Dunno if the story will mention it again in the future.
4. Frequent encounters of bad people and perfect timing of troubles, a little too many for my taste but I can understand many readers of xianxia like it when MC fights more than rests.
5. Dues ex, however not the type that come and go after conveniently saving MC. They actually still playing a role.
6. There are unexplained things (ex: the old man in MC's spiritual space) but until finishing the novel to see if they get explained later, they can't be considered flaws yet.
1. MC: a straightforward and smart kid, likeable, if you can read about this harsh world then you can see that he is a pretty good kid. He is OP from the start, but the author balances it by showing from early that this OPness is so far nothing for this world. Even the art of borrowing/unify with the strength of heaven which might sound impressive, while it's great, it's not considered an impossible feast.
2. Cuteness details here and there. The big fat furry bear rubbed against MC, the pair of snakes wiggled playfully off his ear, the simple minded mountain god who is happy just by being with its friend despite the situation where it has just become a slave, etc. The world is brutal, but there are people and moving moments that put a smile on your face. What's more, our MC would also smile and appreciate such moments.
3. Side characters when appear will at least get decent screen time. There are some unique characters, for example, like Man Man (Even though I'm annoyed with her personality, but it's reasonable why she acts the way she does, seeing as she is a 10 yr old pampered kid with dragon strength and giant hammers in her hands. She makes a consistent and good character). Villains also have many types, greedy, lusty, or just weirdly hysterical, it's fun to read.
4. There is good humor mixed in. The characters sometimes react or converse in a strangely serious but comical way. Maybe because I'm very sensitive to this kind of humor that I got a great laugh throughout the story.
5. A good show rather than tell of techniques. For example, MC doesn't have many technique, the one he uses the most was described that you can both imagine it and feel its simple yet artistic beauty (especially if you know the stuff that the author uses to relate this technique to). Fights are not abstractly, but clearly described (if you can ignore the big movement measurements).
6. The world is built magically. There are bloodshed but there are also beauty. Some places are wild while some give relaxing feelings with nice people. As MC levels up he learns more about the history of humankind. As he journeys, explores and enjoys what he sees, meets people and ponders the philosophy out of this simple world, I can actually relate to him.
7. The author while building such a world, still keep their common sense through the narrative or MC's thought that makes me go lol so true. For example, when MC fights enemies that keep recovering in a diabolical way: "Ji Hao had fallen into an arduous situation". Or when Man Man beats up the 7th prince slaves (who did nothing wrong) because of the 7th prince, MC thought "those poor women". Such is the way of this world, but coming from a more modern world, MC still knows what is reasonable and what's not.