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Stark3
Stark3 rated it
Reverend Insanity
March 22, 2017
Status: c1671
I find it a real shame that there are only 6 chapters currently translated for this series (which is part of the reason of why I'm writing a review for it, hopefully it will get more attention)
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Spoiler

I highly recommend this novel if you're tired of storylines from the good guy's point of view or just like evil MCs in general. What sets this apart for me from the generic evil MC novel is that it doesn't try to rub it in your face that the MC is evil : most of them make a show of mentioning mindless slaughter (the gorier the better), or including lots of NSFW scenes. Most of the time that kind of approach falls flat for me though, turning the novel into one-dimensional depictions of good vs evil.

Here, the MC is simply what he is, plain and simple : someone who wants to reach the topmost level of cultivation so that he could have eternal life. He's incredibly focused at it, and he doesn't want to be held back by the moral conventions of the "correct path", emotion, etc., hence his decision to travel the Devil Path (he's incredibly similar to the MC from Warlock of the Magus World, but less psychopathic; he doesn't get a kick twisting people to his will, he's all business). He's very cold blooded and calculating, but he's not a prick; in fact he can be very sociable at times, usually when he's setting someone up.

The cultivation is unique as well, with insects being used as material representations of world concepts : kill a wild beast, and there's a chance you retrieve an insect representing that beast's strength. Build that insect up, and you get to use that strength for your own. Same thing for that beast's defense, stamina, etc. Other insects include something that represents moonlight - build it up, and you're capable of long range attacks with arcs made of moonlight. So on and so forth. The insects have their own cultivation level aside from the user, and there's recipes where different insects can be joined up to get more powerful ones.

Plenty of worldbuilding as well. The world is divided into 5 separate regions, with each one having a distinct culture and flavor.

Currently, I'm at the latest RAW (c1671) and I can say that there are no boring story arcs. There's the occasional ho-hum chapter, but then every web novel has that. :P Daoist Gu has this way of reinventing itself every now and then, keeping things relatively fresh.

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The Legend of the Dragon King
March 8, 2016
Status: c1035
EDIT : Sadly enough, I'm dropping my review of this novel by a star, and dropping the novel as well.

My problem here is that the novel IMO no longer continues in the spirit of the previous Douluo Dalu series (or at the most just pays lip service to it), and has become just another run of the mill wuxia novel.

Soul abilities are no longer prominent / important, especially for the MC who mostly just uses his dragon based bloodline abilities. As a result, I feel like the battles are a... more>> lot more generic : sure, there are plenty of flashy effects and moments, but they're like individual farts in the air instead of being part of a comprehensive, understandable battle system.

The final straw for me is the way that the MC keeps on powering up! It's devolved to a never ending rat race of trying to outdo the previous power up, sacrificing story in the process similar to other, more generic wuxia novels.

Spoiler

At just the 6th soul ring (around lvl 64ish), the MC was able to beat a Titled Douluo (lvl 9x) ! That's how OP the MC has become, and looking at the next few chapters, it looks like even more powerups are just a corner away. It's a far cry from the previous books of the series where the power level was a lot more defined and respected, where a Titled Douluo would be more of endgame type opponents instead of being a snack on the way.

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Previous :

4/5 stars as of now.

I've read up to the current RAWs - chapter 127 (getting by with machine translation), and so far it's been ok, but not that outstanding. Douluo Dalu 2 is still a much better read for me. Reasons for this include :

* Pacing

now this might be a plus for some, but DD3 feels that it is paced quite a bit faster than DD2. However, this comes at the expense of plot build-up : I enjoyed the time Huo Yuhao spent with a "gimp" ability, showing how he can maximize with what he had before getting his OP 2nd spirit. Not so with Tang Wulin; even though he had a "trash" spirit, he was still showing at least glimpses of his OPness from the get go, what with his huge strength and all. Same thing with their sub occupations : not much of a build up for Tang Wulin, he's a genius forging talent at the start.

* World building

the past DDs have been better fleshed out in this area I think. The problem here is that, while we may still be in the same Douluo Dalu continent, things have changed so much 10k years after DD2 that it might as well be a different place. I'd have liked to get a better feel for those changes, enough to get a better mental picture in my head.

Spoiler

Another issue for me is that soul abilities don't have that unique feel anymore. I don't mean that they feel like they've been copied from earlier DDs. The thing here is that, at least in the current point in the RAWs, the spirit links are no longer acquired from hunting spirit beasts (I enjoyed reading about whatever rare beast that they can encounter and get spirit rings from, and what ability they can get from it). In DD3, spirit beasts have mostly died out, links are actually just BOUGHT from the Soul Pagoda (where they are artifically manufactured o_0). That means it's pretty much a matter of pay2win at least at the beginning.

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However, all those points aside, if you're a fan of the DD universe like I am, it's still quite enjoyable. Feels like going back home ;) <<less
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Stark3
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Commanding Wind and Cloud
April 13, 2017
Status: c550
EDIT: After getting to chapter 550, I'm downgrading my rating from a 3 to a 2. Will also be dropping the series. Unfortunately, this is another novel that has a good premise in the beginning, but becomes increasingly mediocre after the first 200 chapters or so.

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Spoiler

By around the middle of the series, the game element is reduced to 0. What we have instead is incredibly annoying repetition. Chapters are comprised mainly of either other people recounting the MC's feats, betting the MC is so young so he's impossible to do X, or thinking what a bright future the MC has ahead given youth and attainments. We have trade union presidents left and right shedding tears because of how skilled the MC is, and giving him their president status. There is almost no story anymore, and the transitions -- everything -- is handled as subtly as a brick smashed to your face.

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OLD REVIEW:

I'm giving this novel a 3 rating - not really good, but not bad either.

What's keeping me from giving this a 4 at the very least?

* shallow story - there isn't much in the way of world building. Avoiding info dumps is great, but at nearly half of the novel (c334) you still don't have a solid impression of the world aside from what's in the immediate surrounding of the MC.

* Annoying tradeskill disparity - for some reason, there are hardly any skilled blacksmiths, pharmacist, alchemists in the MC's world. The author also insists in making them more stupid, in that people aside from the MC needs to be specialized in just one department (swords or spears or armor, etc for blacksmiths, skin wounds, bone, internal organs etc for pharmacists). It's annoying when the author keeps on bringing up the fact (ad nauseam) that MC is at the master class for all departments for all three tradeskills (with more skills to come from the hat world) at less than 20 years of age.

What's ok: for all of the benefits that the MC gets from the hat world, he can only bring back the skills / knowledge he's earned, so at least he's not THAT op.

What's interesting: the game like elements in the hat world (skill level ups! :D), fighting mechanics <<less
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Stark3
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Absolute Choice
December 26, 2016
Status: c188
There are several points to commend about Absolute Choice:
* Humor - there are few xuanhuan / xianxia novels around that have as many funny / weird moments as this one. Definitely a nice break from the usual too serious novel.
* Breaks from the usual cliche - the author puts in quite a bit of effort to make sure that things stay fresh. Sometimes, just when you think it is about to fall into the usual tropes, you come away pleasantly suprised.
* Unusual MC -... more>> the MC is a unique mix of arrogant and humble. What are sometimes arrogant words are actually just his own way of motivating himself, because he acknowledges his own weakness. He's different from Bai Xiaochun that he's not cowardly, but same puts on a brave front.

Some people might not like that sometimes events are too random (especially the absolute choice popups), but it somehow ties together cohesively further on. Recommended read. <<less
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Zhanxian
June 11, 2016
Status: c1100
Reviewing as of c278 in the RAWs.

Typical xianxia fare, though at least it avoids the pattern of ad infinitum arrogant opponents. There are plenty of development directions the MC can take, so there's always something to look forward to.

Just be prepared to fast read through quite a bit of stuff, as there's a lot of repetition in the writing style.

Review update :
Would like to change my review to 5 stars if I could. This novel is an absolute gem! Especially when compared to most of the webnovels currently available,... more>> the story is refreshing even until the much later chapters. A must read IMO. <<less
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The City of Terror
June 1, 2018
Status: c726
EDIT: Novel dropped.
... more>>
Spoiler

MC is an incredible hypocrite, especially after he's established his strength: he sees a massive conflict between monsters and humanity and just stands by because he doesn't want to use up his strength. Later on he joins the conflict, and once it's over and sees the human casualties will sigh at how sad it is. I'm like... you stood by when you could have done something and massively reduced casualties, and now you have the gall to sigh about the body count? He literally watched the monsters break through the base defenses and start slaughtering before he acted. One of his reasons by the way on why he didn't want to spend too much strength : the people were Japanese. >.>

What broke the camel's back for me was when he started making people pray to an idol he created so that he can gather the strength of belief to strengthen his internal space.

STAY AWAY EVEN IF YOU'RE JUST LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO BINGE READ

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Honestly, the writing is uninspired, the MC is infuriatingly stupid at times and gives the impression that minus luck / plot armor he'd be going nowhere. Up to c269, there's really no overarcing story line other than the MC increasing the numbers showing up on his character status. It's kind of hard to swallow the author's logic at times as well.

Spoiler

Apparently, having a skill in hidden weapons allows you to use gravel you've kicked out from the ground to kill off relatively weak monsters. I would have been fine if they were at least thrown with accuracy and strength by the MC but really... stomping on the ground to throw up gravel to kill enemies is an application of a hidden weapons skill???

Rant #2: the MC was given a skill early on where he can generate electric current. Aside from emitting it directly, he could also use it internally to help train his strength and agility... but he almost never uses it at all. An RPG min-maxer would be using that as much as he can on top of whatever attribute gains you can get by spending points, but he just leaves that option as is. /smh

Rant #3: The MC has a sub-attribute Hand Eye Coordination under the Agility attribute. For some reason tho, when the author tries to describe what happens when MC promotes that attribute, he keeps saying that it's improving the MC's eyesight : as of c726 he can see up to 6km away, and see individual dust mites in the air. THAT'S NOT WHAT HAND-EYE COORDINATION IS! /doublefacepalm

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I'm only reading because I'm kind of fine with brain dead binging right now to go in between my more serious reads... but otherwise... stay away.

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A Sorcerer’s Journey
April 24, 2017
Status: c1683
FINAL EDIT (I think) : at (c570)
... more>>
Spoiler

This has now become one of my top ranked novels. (Again, try not to judge it in the first 100 chapters). Very engaging storyline, and not just a linear progression of power ups. Incredibly rich world building : as time goes on you get exposed more and more to how vast the story world really is and just how much potential it has for more adventures, without getting the feeling of it just being a variant to the bigger world outside the world thing that IET's novels usually have.

There's quite a bit of character progression, not just in terms of the MC but of the side characters as well. The author explores a lot of the human moments and frailties that the character goes through, and not just his successes.

I believe this novel's formula for success is that the author avoided rushing the MC through power ups, thus avoiding the spiral of having to find ever better loot and general OPness that pervades a lot of novels in this genre.

Spoiler

It's only at the 560th or so chapter that the MC finally got to upgrade himself to a 2nd level sorcerer (sorcerer apprentice -> 1st level sorcerer ->.... -> 9th level

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Very highly recommended

EDIT 2: (at c237)

Bumping up my review to a 5. For whoever's going to read this, try not to judge it too harshly based on the first 100 or so chapters. After you get past the initial cliche stuff (annoying audience included), you get treated to a nice story with epic battles.

The MC isn't OP : while he's on top of the food chain for his level, he's not capable of jumping up the ranks so to speak. Instead, he constantly uses his wits and intelligence, and along the way you get treated to his viewpoint which is kinda unique IMO.

Instead of becoming just a series of power ups, you really get treated to a journey across different worlds.

EDIT: (at c150ish)

Fortunately, the novel is progressing better as time goes along. No more instant power ups, more story exposition and character improvement. It reads and feels like a unique novel, not just one of those cloned stuff. Happily upgrading my rating to a 4.

ORIGINAL:

The basic premise is ok, with passing similarities to Warlock of the Magus World, at least in the academy phase. What kinda ruins it for me is how easy the author makes it for the MC

Spoiler

Something the MC researched gives him the ability to make a pheromone perfume. Because of this, he gets into a partnership with a businessman which leads him to earn thousands of magic stones (currency) a month, while the rest of his fellow apprentices can earn around 4 or 5 a month.

For me, the advantage is too much, and not realistic.

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The way he keeps running into stuff that he'll need / can use isn't realistic either. A more balanced approach would have been a lot better IMO. Also, I don't like it when scenes events feel like they happen just to give the MC loot. I want a better sense of the story. So far there are also a LOT of author's notes in parenthesis (at least compared to other novels) and more often than not they break immersion.

Anyway, if you can accept that (I guess OP MCs aren't really that rare), so far it seems OK as a binge read. Different varieties of magic plus mad scientist like experiments are a welcome change to the usual xianxia body cultivating thing.

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Heaven’s Shadow
December 9, 2016
Status: c138
I got hooked by the initial translated chapters, decided to go ahead and make do with MTL to see how the rest of the story goes.

All I can say is, unlike a lot of entries here in NovelUpdates, this one reads and feels like an ACTUAL novel. For people looking for a lot of action or quick thrills, I'd have to say that this one isn't for you. There aren't a ton of fights, no exploration that suddenly grants uber loot or techniques or merit laws. No sudden enlightenments, no... more>> power ups, heck there's hardly any mention of cultivation at all. What we do have is an interesting plot with an MC who's the xianxia equivalent of an experienced undercover / secret agent and has a lot of mysteries of his own.

So far, highly recommended (Currently at c138). Hopefully the novel stays on track past the 200+ chapter mark (which is where some erstwhile interesting novels break down). <<less
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Stark3
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Chaotic Lightning Cultivation
May 26, 2016
Status: c428
Downgrading my review to 3 stars. Reason below

I was put off by some situations at the start
... more>>
Spoiler

The MC gets attacked by 3 fellow outer door disciples because of greed. He manages to stun / incapacitate all 3, but then feeds the female a drug that strips her of power temporarily and then proceeds to rape her. Later on, they both figure out that the intercourse was actually mutually beneficial for their cultivation, after which they set up a monthly booty call.

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but once I put it behind me and the story progressed, I enjoyed the story more and more. What's refreshing is there's none of the endless repetition that plagues a lot of the xianxia novels that I read. The story flows naturally, the MC isn't too OP, and you're just kept forever reading the next chapter.

Spoiler

EDIT : Am now up to c213. I'm not sure if the translators just skipped over the details or if the author upped his H level, but the ero scenes later on are a bit more explicit than the ones I read from the English translation of the early chapters. Personally, I didn't think that the rape scene had to be there, and I was put off again for a couple of chapters.

EDIT : Now up to c318. I'm a bit disgusted with the MC now. He's a bit TOO ruthless IMO after he's accumulated power. Hope the story doesn't continue that trend.

EDIT : At ch362. At this point, the story has become repetitive, with quite a bit of stupid dialog / behaviour. I mean, if you're part of a school that has sent a large group to hunt down a dangerous person, if that large group practically disappears you don't go walking to the person you're trying to hunt down and ask him casually where they went without precautions right? There's now a lot of dialog like 'You killed them? I don't believe you'. If one of the people sent out (that disappeared) is stronger than you by a level, and the person you're hunting says that it's him that did it, you don't quibble with words, you need to start taking precautions right? But noooo....

EDIT : At 428. Fortunately, the repetitiveness stopped after the previous arc. The writer seems to have gotten his creative juices back :). One thing I don't like tho :

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Spoiler

He's amassed a small army because of various reasons and keeps them in his life space. A lot of problems he now just solves by bringing out various minions. OP as heck. As if it wasn't enough that he has an almost indestructible shield in the form of his bell. I wish the author would put his mortal body intensity to good use, have him learn close combat arts or something. Well, anything so that it's actually him that's battling, and not the minions he keeps on accumulating. It's not summoner wars or something

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The Lord’s Empire
March 20, 2018
Status: c5
I was only able to read until chapter 5 before I had to drop the novel. That's kind of unusual for me because I usually try to stick up to the double digit chapter count before judging anything, and at least up to chapter 100 before I put in a review. But I couldn't help it... I don't know if it's just a translation issue, but everything seems so bland. World building details are glossed over in favor of numerical / game related data. It indicates either laziness or lack... more>> of ability in the author's part to properly describe events - you get the definite feeling that you'd be bombarded with arbitrary numbers and ratings further on instead of any meaningful story.

Also, with the way that it's initially set up (right at the start, MC gets a SSS rated military general, a SS minister, and 2 S level producers and a S level healer), you know that there'd be little to no tension in the conflicts the MC would have. This is in a world where people are rated from SSS to F. F!!!! Any issue that the MC would have would need to be incredibly contrived for him to work up a sweat. Also, if he's that high powered from the start, what ridiculous heights would things have to go to to support 1k plus chapters of progress? <<less
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Shadow Hack
January 6, 2018
Status: c151
I'm a sucker for game element style novels, so I thought I'd give this one a try. Initial concept is hard to swallow; after that, for a while it is oddly compelling :P

The main stumbling block this novel has in my opinion is that it becomes waaaaaaay too unbalanced. The structure and rankings that was part of the world building in earlier chapters is thrown out of the window, and the author seems to want to keep it that way for some reason.

... more>>
Spoiler

While at the peak of the first power level, MC is able to kill 100 beasts of the 3rd step, 5 beasts of the 4th step, and one of the 5th step WITHOUT EVEN GETTING AN INJURY. O_o (Those beasts all came in one wave, not sequentially mind you). Rephrasing that into the traditional xianxia cultivation realm to help put things in perspective, MC while at peak Qi Refining killed 100 King Dan, 4 Nascent Soul, and 1 Spirit Severing beast. It's crazy!

MC still keeps getting powerups tho. In the case of humans, who should have a Flux Armor / shield corresponding to their level, a 1st step shouldn't have enough pure flux energy to get past the armor of a 4th step. The MC is able to do it tho for some unclear reasons.

At one point you keep wondering why the MC is still at the 1st step because he should have accumulated the necessary crystals for that rank up a long time ago. Then the author puts out a line where MC says he wants to stay at the 1st step because the that way the multiplier for Tower Coin drop rate in Tower of Glory is much higher. (Tower of Glory is a place with 108 floors, with each floor having tougher monsters. The items that can be received in exchange for Tower Coins are very rare). Seriously? Such a lame reason for letting the MC be massively underestimated by near everyone while secretly being able to roflstomp them?

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Super God Gene
September 4, 2017
Status: c1526
Spoiler

FINAL:

I'm dropping my star rating on this to a 2, and dropping the series as well.

In my previous review, I mentioned that the quality of the story started declining around the 3rd phase of the sanctuary. I have to say now that that decline has turned into a steep nosedive. All the cons noticeable in the previous parts of the story seems to be highlighted (immersion breaking fillers, erratic / wandering storyline, super plot armor), while the stuff that made it good / bearable (the boss "raid" / "raid" preparation, interesting beast soul usage) are nowhere to be found.

SUMMARY:

- Kinda slow at first, school life is boring, but beastly soul usage is an interesting premise.

- Story hits the peak when MC starts encountering the super god gene / super god beasts. 4 rating.

- Story goes into a steady decline after MC gets to the 3rd phase of sanctuary. Not recommended to read at this point.

PREVIOUS:

Have read up to the latest chapter of the RAWs c1461. There's good news and bad news.

Good : The story becomes REAAALLY interesting once the MC starts encountering the titular Super God level of genes / beasts. From the name itself, it's a level up from the God level that was previously thought to be the top of the hill - encounters with them are incredibly hard, needs a lot of planning and luck. There's a lot of tension involved, and it sometimes reads like a fight against a raid boss.

Bad : By the 3rd level of the sanctuary, a lot of the tension just gets pulled out. Instead of hunting for the genes required to power up, the MC just gets them from plants. Plants! Eat a couple of fruits, and he's received benefits that he would have gotten from a satisfying fight from the previous levels of the sanctuary. The super god level that provides a lot of the tension gets trivialized as well.

More Bad : The author has this tendency to put in really annoying filler in between chapters, stuff that obviously doesn't further the plot in any way or build on the MCs character. Just. Annoying. Filler.

It's kind of a shame actually. With a bit more polish (and editing!), this would have been a really good story - personally I find the concept interesting.

Spoiler

I would give the story up to the 2nd level of the sanctuary 4 stars. Once the MC gets to the 3rd level tho, it runs out of steam IMO, and I would rate it a 3.

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The Avalon of Five Elements
March 31, 2016
Status: --
Currently at ch. 49 of the RAWs

VERY refreshing, nice pacing, great humor. The characters all have personality. Very much recommended.
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Hail the King
June 1, 2016
Status: --
Like other reviewers may have mentioned, the novel was cool in the beginning. Even though initially, the thought of using Diablo 2 as an inspiration for MC's powers was offputting, it eventually grew on me.

What I couldn't take though was after the Diablo 2 part got a bit stale, the author then began using Saint Seiya. I found it inconsistent, with no particular rhyme or reason behind it. I then began to cringe at the thought of what else the author might throw in just to keep the series interesting,... more>> after which I dropped the novel. <<less
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God Of Slaughter
July 22, 2016
Status: c1341
Reviewing at ch 588; additional review at ch 1341

TLDR; Decent enough at the beginning, but afterwards author relies on cliches and repetitions to fill up the chapters. Significant plot branches are occasionally brought about by stupid or out of character decisions - author can't write a nice believable plot twist. Not recommended

It's an ok enough read. The concept of tapping into negative emotions to gain a power boost at the cost of backlash is interesting.
The beef I have with this though is:
- The ring he has is... more>> used as a plot armor device waaaaay too much.
- The MC sometimes acts in a manner that is totally different from what he would normally do / what he has set himself out to do, just so the author can introduce a new element into the plot.
Spoiler

At one point, MC decides to focus on learning the deep meaning of his various Martial Spirits, and to use that comprehension to break through to the god boundary. Several dozen chapters later, he somehow gets the idea to study spatial transmission so that he can help bring over his family from one area to another. Because of that though, what he finally comprehends to pass over the god boundary is the strength of space-time. Now, the plot is full of stuff that needs his space-time powers to solve -_-

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And of course there's the annoying over repetition of stuff, the reaction scenes you can see from a mile away. But then, that's almost standard for this genre, making those novels that CAN stand up without them shine all the more, IMO.

Am continuing to read for now, am hoping that the plot will stabilize without the use of excessive deus ex machina as I go further along.

ADDITIONAL REVIEW AS OF CH 1341:
- fortunately, the author got over his fascination of constantly using the ring as a plot armor device
- unfortunately, stupidity steeply climbed above triple-facepalm levels by this chapter just to steer the plot the way the author wanted it to. Will be dropping the novel as I can foresee that the rest would just be either endless repetition, or weird decisions leading to plot changes
Spoiler

* rant on *
MC and friends plus opposing side encounter a lifeform that they mutually acknowledge as extremely powerful, and is on the same level as the lifeform that serves as the basis of their universe. They've identified that the goal of this lifeform is to end / consume their universe. To make things worse, the entity they've encountered is only the control portion; there are 11 other portions of the same life form wreaking havoc in various galaxies of their universe.

They manage to suppress the control portion by having someone combust their lifesource. They detect that the 11 other portions are coming back to integrate with the control to fuse into one super powerful entity, and they only have limited time before this happens.

YOU WOULD THINK THAT THEY'D BEAT THE sh*t OUT OF THE CONTROL WHILE THEY HAD THE ADVANTAGE.

This is NOT what happens. What happens is, they decide that it's time for the most powerful warrior from both sides - the ones that could really make a difference in their conflict with the entity - to have a 1-on-1 duel. They duel in a place that's near the control entity (so as to avoid having their camps deal with the side effects of their battle, they say). Everybody else gets so drawn in by their battle that they forget EVERYTHING else. They don't notice that the dude combusting his life source dies, so now there's no suppression on the control. They only notice it when the control sends the two warriors off to another place / dimension. Afterwards, they panic because they notice that there's only moments left before the other 11 portions of the entity arrive and fuse.

*FACEPALM* *FACEPALM* *FACEPALM*
*rant off*

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The Sacred Ruins
July 11, 2017
Status: c510
The Sacred Ruins read very closely like Chen Dong's other novels : there's a grand beginning (similar to Shrouding the Heavens), where the author provides a very visual description of how events started. Not a lot of action, but it is here that the author tries to provide an air of mystery as to the whole thing; also where most of the plot is built, foreshadowing is planted, etc.

After that veneer of a plot at the beginning though and an initial interesting concept, it eventually devolves to a very generic... more>> xianxia experience. There's little here that isn't your usual set of tropes - the audience that is almost always present and has nothing to do but claim that MC can't be able to do X because of Y, but eventually be amazed when MC pulls through; treasures and power-ups that just fall into the MCs grasp; the people he has to beat up just because of "face", etc. etc. The author also recycles a character trope he introduced in Perfect World - the MC cooks and eats his opponents because of the energy present in their bodies (this becomes a persistent running joke, replacing the one where he's a rascal to the women he encounters, because they are no longer on the same level as him)

People would say that, hey, that's what xianxia is. But again, there's more trope and repetition than story telling going on. Better xianxia works at least provide a better ratio of story vs cookie cutter stuff.

There's so little in the way of development here that I can say that the situation the MC is in here at ch510 where I am now is little different from where he was at ch 200 or earlier : there are a whole lot of people / beings in the same cultivation level or higher than him who wants to beat him up because of his arrogance or because he dares to defy their race / clan. Especially at these later chapters, it's just wave and wave of enemies that are after him...

Anyway, I can't say this work is awful : it's an ok representative of its genre. It's something you can happily (and mindlessly) binge read. But it doesn't provide its own voice and story enough for it to be more than average. <<less
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Global Evolution
May 31, 2016
Status: c56
Reviewing as of c56 (Going by with machine translation) :

Maybe it's just an effect of the xianxia that more or less fills up my reading list, but I find this novel refreshing. Not necessarily original, as there are other survival-based novels out there, but refreshing in that the MC and other characters have personality. It's not intense on the action side (as of yet), but we get to witness the MC's emotions in pivotal moments of his survival experience and it feels real, not like the single dimensional facade we... more>> get with a lot of chinese novels. <<less
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Stark3
Stark3 rated it
Archfiend
May 16, 2018
Status: c1530
REVIEW UPDATE:

Doing another review at c1471. At this point, I'm upping my review to a 5, partly to counteract the low review rating, but also because this is one of the most story driven Chinese novels that I've read. Don't get me wrong, there are still some of the annoying tropes : the annoying audience in the sideline, the assignation of numerical values to power levels and the accompanying occasional fixation on it, etc. But for the most part, this has one of the more engrossing storylines I've encountered, and... more>> there's been a lot.

Again, the early parts of the novel show growing pains by the author (especially the parts where he transitions to a fantasy novel from a modern setting), but afterwards it's been mostly a treat. The author KNOWS how to add tension to what's happening, and he's pretty good at giving an epic description of group battles.

This kinda bears repeating I think : One of the things that I enjoy in this genre (because you hardly ever encounter it) is when the novel is story driven, and not just a collection of battle scenes, power ups, and treasure grabs. This qualifies :) Recommended reading.

QUICK UPDATE: I've since read up to the current set of RAWs... To pass the time, I went back to reading the latest IET novel. I have to say, IET's novel seems incredibly shallow in comparison to Archfiend, very predictable. Archfiend gives you on the edge of your seat tension for most of its story arcs.

EDIT: While driving on the way to work, I realized that I needed to mention a few caveats, just so that I balance the glowing review up top.

CONS:

  • It's a bit disconcerting that the genre of the novel changed from modern setting to a more fantasy setting, especially if that's the reason you liked the novel in the first place. The author isn't used to writing fantasy / hardcore cultivation, and he admits it in his author notes and it shows.
  • Sometimes the author is pretty hamfisted with plot armor / how lucky the MC is. The MC gets a merit law that just so happens to agree 100% with him, he gets a power that would be very helpful, etc. Some of those situations could be handled better
  • Sometimes the author would set the MC up one direction with regards to cultivation, and then go another. This happens more often at the earlier part of the series.
Given all that though, I still find it as one of the more interesting reads out there.

Spoiler

REVIEW UPDATE:

I thought I'd update my review given that I'm at ch800.

Since I had initially given my review, I'd downgraded it to a 3... but am now upgrading it back to a 4.

First of all, the reason I had downgraded my review initially is because eventually, the novel transitions from a mostly urban, modern setting to something more like fantasy / xianxia. The author himself acknowledges that it's his first attempt, and that he's still getting the hang of writing that genre, and it shows in the first couple of arcs after the transition.

The reason I'm upgrading my review back up to a 4 is that the storyline noticeably gets better eventually. Where I'm at, it's pretty epic, a lot more so than most of the Chinese novels I've read. There's a war of potential surfaces / universes going on right now. Earth has been invaded by a numerically superior army of cultivators.

The author has done a pretty good job of avoiding the trope of crafting monopoly I had initially worried about too. All in all, a recommended read

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Spoiler

OLD REVIEW:

In spite of the negative reviews, I thought I'd give Archfiend a try and was pleasantly surprised. I especially love the atmosphere presented in the first few arcs, the dark and gritty feel of it. As some other reviews have mentioned tho, eventually more and more of the classic Xianxia tropes sink in.

One of the things I like the least is presenting in the world building that the Dao of Alchemy / Pills have been lost because of the dependence of cultivators on modern medicine and the increasing lack of Qi in the environment... and then giving the MC a merit law that not only can be used for cultivation but can also be used to create pills. It's such an obvious setup to push the MC to the limelight / provide him with funds.

Aside from a few snags, so far it's been enjoyable reading though. I like the fact that they haven't made the MC a super know it all, and have him be specialized in fights. He then has supporting partners to fill in his knowledge gaps.

Some other items of note:

    • What started out as a very focused goal, has turned very diffuse... It may have been better to have the MC focused on his initial goal and then just give him branching goals from there, instead of expanding to accomodate more tropes. I hope this firms up later on.
    • Not sure how long the modern setting will last, or if it will become something similar to The Sacred Ruins where various mystical places lose their seal and integrate with the current world, increasing the world's Qi density in the process.
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Stark3
Stark3 rated it
Legend of the Supreme Soldier
July 9, 2017
Status: c110
EDIT:

Now that I have progressed more into the novel, I actually have to downgrade my review of this to a 2. The problem I have here is that the scenes jump around too much. Just when you're comfortable with the current location and you're thinking that the MC is starting to lay down roots, he has to escape and go somewhere else. It's annoying because you get to form an attachment to some of the side characters introduced, but then the MC needs to run around again. He's only... more>> in one place for a dozen or so chapters at most. That kinda wreaks havoc in any attempt to get an overall sense of the plot, IMO.

It would have been better if the MCs personality was at least better than that of a savage so that at least you'd really care what happens to him. But he's not and it even becomes a running joke for a while - this was actually fun reading before he got yanked again and reverted back to thinking law of the jungle mode, where you have to be the one to strike first to survive.

ORIGINAL

I normally try and avoid giving out reviews before 100 or so chapters are out, but I really don't see why there are a lot of 1 star reviews for this novel. I wish people would review this novel on its own merits, and not because it's from QI.

The novel itself... it's from the same author as World of Cultivation, Five Way Heaven, Card Disciple, etc. One of my favorite authors. I'm looking forward to seeing how he/she? provides their own twist to the mecha sci fi genre.

As for how the novel is right now... It reads kind of similar to Tempest of the Stellar War in that the MC is given access to an incredible trainer. That coupled with excellent learning skills and good foundational training / survival skills allow him to make a killing at online / virtual mech battle simulations. From the looks of things by the end of ch25 tho, that paradigm is about to end, looking forward to see how his situation changes.

Now, why a 3 star review and not higher? I'm not sure if it's just the translation or the actual book, but there are some weird scene jumps that breaks story immersion. Also, right now, there is nothing entirely unique in the story elements presented. Except for Undefeated God of War tho, Fang Xian hasn't really betrayed my expectations in providing a unique story world. I'll happily upgrade my review once it's progressed to that point. :) <<less
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Stark3
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Shrouding the Heavens
November 2, 2016
Status: c207
While the beginning might be good, with mysteriousness that might lead to something later on, the rest of the novel (up to c207 at least) does not deliver.

Actually, it seems to me like the best part of the story so far is up to when the MC starts cultivation. Everything that seems interesting til that point (the mystery of the coffin and the nine dragon corpses, how there is a path to the stars from earth and who made them, how Earth fables and legends seem to be actually present... more>> but in other worlds) are completely thrown away and are replaced with the usual xianxia tropes : MC's physique is unique and is considered as trash by present-day cultivators, MC finds a way to go around it, gains mysterious treasure while at it which causes him to be chased down, etc etc. There are a LOT of chases, also a lot of the usual how dare you fight against our prestigious family etc etc. Aside from the content, the writing style seems to be a lot more incohesive compared to others that I've read. It frequently jumps around from one person speaking to a 3rd person summary style paragraph of what else he's about to say. Quite a bit of scene jumps with little to no transition, sudden decisions by the MC that makes seemingly little sense except to move the plot forcefully to where the author wants to go. Not a lot of finesse.

I'm so disappointed by this novel because Shrouding the Heavens was supposed to be Chen Dong's most representative work, and he's supposed to be one of the great figures in the Chinese web novel world. This novel can in no way compare to the works of IET, TJSS or the other greats in my opinion. His other novel, Perfect World, is much better IMO (even if it's rated lower here in NU). It has a better progression of the story, the MC is much more likeable (although the eat the beast thing-gag becomes WAAAAY too overused). <<less
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