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Tarroyn
Tarroyn rated it
Doomed to be Cannon Fodder
September 27, 2017
Status: c152
Doomed to be cannon fodder is a romance comedy, and tragically manages to miss the centerpiece of either. It doesn't have the engaging romantic dynamic of a true romance, like Eight Treasures Trousseau, but neither does it have the depth and variety of comedic scenes you might find in a full comedy. It is serious in odd places, and heartlessly comedic in many places where it should be serious. As a result, the only gags it ends up doing well are misunderstandings, which get stale awfully quick. Ultimately, it is... more>> something that feels like it wasn't developed beyond a premise.

For a time travel romance, the most important aspect of a relationship is a balance between its two leads. That is, because a relationship is naturally imbalanced within the time period due to the differing status of males and females, the novel must re-balance that relationship within its romance. This goes even further so for the relationship between a concubine and a master, because a legal wife has, at the least, some pull within the greater populace or her maternal family. Doomed to be Cannon Fodder has none of this, and as a result reads more like a discussion on the suspension bridge effect mixed with a healthy dose of Stockholm syndrome rather than a real romance.

Worldbuilding:

Period romance worldbuilding is not difficult. Wuxia worldbuilding is not difficult. Doomed to be Cannon Fodder misses the mark on both. The world is hopelessly underdeveloped, which isn't actually too bad for its premise: As a concubine, its only natural that she doesn't know much outside of her courtyard. But that isn't the end of the problems with the setting. The novel forces you to suspend far more disbelief than you should meaningfully have to, with such egregious errors as a talking cactus which can show the future. Comedy can play with its setting more than most genres can, but this is just poor worldbuilding.

Characters:

Comedies are built on the relationships between its characters. Romances are built on the relationship between its leads. Doomed to be Cannon Fodder misses the mark on both again. Characters are flat, cardboard caricature cutouts. For all that the novel mocks the genre it parodies, it falls into all of the same pitfalls. The relationship between the two leads has no charisma or natural basis to it: It's as if the relationship only exists because of s*x than anything else. The most significant scene of this sort of novel, where the male lead falls in love first, is the moment where Bai Xiangxiu reciprocates, and that scene is so weak nobody actually remembers where it is. The supporting cast exists practically only to extol the amazing virtues of our main character (of which she doesn't have many), and sh*t on the original female lead for being so much "less practical" than our main character. The characters are shallow, unfunny, and worst of all, unendearing to anything past a skim through.

Story development:

The world sucks, the characters suck, and somehow, the story manages to run into all of the railroaded plot mistakes it tries to parody. The story is far far too serious for the nature of the novel, and doesn't weave the comedy in well at all. Neither does it actually build the romance either. The story reads like a whole bunch of relationship tests (which it is, to be fair), and even within those hardly hits the benchmarks of actually testing the relationship. A lot of these type of "story reincarnation" novels rely on mysterious "plot force" in their efforts to drive everything back towards the original plotline, and here the plot force is in full swing. But unlike something like Akuyaku Tensei Dakedo Doush*te Kou Natta, where plot force is elegant and wrapped within mystery of its own, here the plot force is flat and overdone. The result is far to shallow to be serious, and far too serious to be comedic.

Enjoyment:

This is a skim novel at best. It carries the harem hijinks of something like Ouran High School Host Club, but weaker in most respects. For light reading, it's passable, but there are plenty of better fish in the sea. If you want romance, read To Be a Virtuous Wife. If you want a twist on that, read Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator. If you want something slightly different form a pure romance, read A Mistaken Marriage Match: A Generation of Military Counselor. If you want a interesting use of imbalanced power dynamics in romance, read Your and My Asylum. If you want comedy, read My Disciple Died Yet Again. If you want an extreme parody, read Invisible Dragon, for f**ks sake. Invisible Dragon actually has respect for its characters and story. After you've read all of that (Yes, including Invisible Dragon), then you can maybe come back to this. <<less
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Invisible Dragon
September 1, 2016
Status: c50
Invisible Dragon is one of the most unique stories on NovelUpdates. Its generic in the sense that it doesn't step away from shonen-esque tropes, but the style of the writing gives it the feel of a parody, and it parodies the mindless action genre incredibly well. The classical OP tropes are taken to hyperbolic levels, the number values are reminiscent of IET novels in later books, and the fight scenes are about as descriptive as the average youth novel on this website. The Writing style has to be emphasized in... more>> Invisible Dragon, because the grammar is awful. I mean, REALLY AWFUL. That being said, the writing is not confusing. It is surprisingly clear to read, though the grammar feels like it might burn a hole in your eyes.

The worldbuilding of Invisible Dragon is simple, because the world itself is not the focus of the novel, unlike many cultivation novels, power is not found through miracle herbs in the ground or ancient legacies, but from within oneself and the history of the person. In this sense, the worldbuilding does exactly what it is meant to do: criticize those novels for their shallowness in developing a world so essential for their story.

Wordbuilding 2/5:

It can't be said that the world is built well. But it is precisely because the world is not built well that the story parodies so well.

Characters 5/5:

The characters in Invisible Dragon are practically perfect for their usage. The dialogues between characters are so frank that it is incredible how complex they can be. For example, Colbob, the greatest supreme entity, is a cavalier figure, but we aren't just told he is some "free unrestrained immortal", but we exprience it through his actions. To his very end, his character is consistent, complex, and developing, as he explores who he is and why he exists. Furthermore, his end hallmarks his own weaknesses, as he is undone by a fatal flaw, rather than external force of nature/god/plotarmor. There is a similar story for invisible dragon and for duike, both of which are thrust into conflict not by plot contrivance, but by a natural conflict of character. This conflict highlights one of the most futile aspects of human society, that man simply cannot coexist with all of his fellows, and that natural conflict really adds depth to Invisible Dragon. Furthermore, there is the exploration of choice and free will through Shang-a, who is burdened by her desires conflicting with not only her rationality, but also each other.

Story Development 5/5:

Invisible Dragon is a character-driven story, but because the characters are so incredible, the story ends up being so as well. Fights were kept to the absolute essentials, but still managed to be exciting. The story continuously develops through every chapter, not muddling through side-arcs but fully focused on reaching the incredible resolution of the series.

Enjoyment 5/5:

Its not often you get to read a hallmark of good literature, and less often that such is in the form of parody. This series in incredibly enjoyable, and great to re-read as well.

I recommend Invisible Dragon to anybody who has read a YY novel, or plans to, because it is an incredible journey that cannot be understated how amazing it is. <<less
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Isekai Mahou wa Okureteru! (LN)
September 27, 2017
Status: v7 prologue
Isekai Mahou is a novel that, more than anything else, is afraid of being different. In a wave of SAO style MC saves the day novels, Isekai Mahou should stand out on the strength of its world and the somewhat interesting characters it presents. Yet, time and time again, the writing is scared of taking that leap into uncharted waters, scared of trying to aspire for greatness, and ends up being a phoned in piece of generic mush in an ocean of similarly generic mush.

Wasted Potential often comes about in... more>> the development of the story compared to the characters and world used in it. The most egregious wastes of potential are where the novel takes a individually strong, independent character, like say Angie Sirius in Irregular at Magic High School, and doesn't do anything with them out of fear of not utilizing the main character enough. As a result, an otherwise interesting part of the novel is shaved away in favor of something stable, and the novel loses a touch of the flair that makes it special. Once or twice, wasting potential is unimportant. Something like miniaturizing Xu Qing's role in I Shall Seal The Heavens is unfortunate, but reasonable enough. Do this over and over and over again, and you get Isekai Mahou, or as I like to call it, Suimei Saves the Day (Again).

Worldbuilding:

Suimei Saves the Day (Again) does worldbuilding incredibly well, which isn't entirely unusual for japanese novels, which depend on this more than anything else. The world has a lot of depth to it, with a bunch of things going on below the surface. Ultimately, the world feels like it lives outside of Suimei's frame of view, and many times, feels more alive outside of Suimei's perspective. The magic is well developed and surprisingly internally consistent, although there are the occasional hiccups. Although the nature of the premise tends to feel "holier than thou" in its descriptions, it is generally not off putting and instead serves to develop points of interest twice over: once from Suimei's perspective, and once from a normal denizen of the world's.

Characters:

Suimei Saves the Day (Again) has strong characters, which makes their under-use just that much more appalling. Although it spends more time than it reasonably should on harem hijinks, the characters are generally serious when they need to be, whether in battle or in development. They feel alive when outside of Suimei space. Within it, they end up more like cutouts of themselves, wooden stands that do little more than shout "Truth Flare!", as they stop a few nameless mooks. The relationship between the protagonists and the antagonists is well done, to the point where it doesn't feel like evil characters are evil purely just to be evil. Neither does it seem like evil characters exist purely as stepping stones. Suimei is a very interesting character, as opposed to the genre staple of trait-less self-insert, which only accentuates the disappointment that you get when his other character traits are thrown to the wayside in favor of his hero complex.

Story development:

Many Japanese novels fall apart when it comes to story. Suimei Saves the Day (Again) has every reason not to do the same. The novel has clear direction, clear, driven characters, and a well developed world to back it up. And yet, it does anyway, because its all too afraid to take risks. The characters can't step outside their safe bubble of "Suimei's going to save us" because that would be too dangerous, too unique to even try. The character whose entire premise is built on not wanted to be saved again, for christ's sake, is saved in the most cliche of fashions, twice. Twice the novel can't f**king grow a spine because that's not safe enough in the sales department. As a result, the story is thrown to the wayside as characters increasingly cannot care for themselves and need Suimei's help, over and over until the story grates on your nerves like nails to a chalkboard. At the very least, the novel could at least have time pass outside of Suimei's sphere of influence, have events happen that he can't stop, people he can't save, and his struggles in dealing with that. But that's not safe enough. That requires risk, uncertainty. That requires the author to do more than vomit out another volume and get people to eat it up with the same cliches.

Enjoyment:

Suimei Saves the Day (Again) is a decent read, better in short intervals. In long stretches, the novels repetitive feeling and rampant hero worship of Suimei chafes. If you want something outside of the usual Isekai space, try Dungeon Defense. If you want something that really gets into the nature of power and plays around with established notions of superpowers, try Worm, by Wildbow. If you want more of the same formula that light novel authors phone in for cash, try Suimei Saves the Day (Again). Its just a touch better than SAO (not including progressive). <<less
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Dungeon Defense
September 13, 2016
Status: v3c2
I've been waiting for enough material to really write a review about, and finally, I feel like there is enough content for me to review.

Dungeon Defense is very similar to many of the novels commonly seen on NU, but it is distinctly different as well. The tone of dungeon defense is remarkably more dark than usual for web novels, but it doesn't reach the point of darkness for the sake of being dark, a la Akame Ga Kill. The writing is surprisingly good for a "light novel", bordering very closely... more>> to an actual novel. The setting takes a common trope and twists it somewhat, but it also fails in a couple of places to truly sync with the nature of the characters and the story. The main example is the premise that the world ends when every demon lord is killed, which takes the character of our protagonist, who is certainly not a hero, and twists it into the idea that he is saving the world.

That being said, the story is not significantly damaged by these mistakes. The characters are consistent in their ideologies, and the story manages to be very exciting, though our protagonist does not step onto the battlefield.

Worldbuilding 4/5:

The world is logically and systematically constructed, except for some idiosyncrasies that detract from the main pull of the story, which is the characters. Although it is a very common world, almost trope-like, Dungeon Defense explores the trope beyond the surface, making the world significantly more interesting than it usually is.

Characters 5/5:

Dungeon Defense contains some of the best designed and most interesting characters of any series on NU. Characters are given importance, uniqueness, development, and most importantly of all, intelligence. In many novels, the characters are described as smart or genius, but don't truly act so, but in Dungeon Defense it is very clear that every character that has authority has such for a reason beyond "I have more power than you". Characters develop very well, as new situations put them under new stresses that really describe the characters beyond the tropes that they were originally built upon.

Story Development 3/5:

The story of Dungeon defense is plodding in many ways. There is development, but it is mostly done in sudden reveals, which, while fun at first, becomes quite tiring after a time. The story is very much character driven, but the characters' interactions are so meticulously described that the story can plod along at times. Furthermore, Dungeon Defense really enjoys the idea of limiting the reader's information to emphasize the sudden changes or the characters' genius, which also causes the story to falter. However, the progression is very strong volume to volume, giving it at least some development, unlike series that suffer from similar issues (Overlord).

Enjoyment 5/5:

This is pretty self explanatory. Dungeon Defense is exciting and enjoyable to read, has solid comedy, decent action, and just the right amount of drama to make it fun to read.

I cannot recommend Dungeon Defense to everyone, because its not really in the typical style of novels that people on NU like. However, I do recommend that you try it if you enjoy political-type novels, and do not mind lacking action or the protagonist not being incredibly strong. <<less
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Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu
September 21, 2017
Status: c280
Tsuki no Michibiku Isekai Douchuu is a novel with an unexciting, relatively cliche premise that just barely manages to surpass the average of the genre. It explores a lot of ideas that make it feel deep, but ends up disappointing at the very end. What we end up with is something that just caught right between average and good, and the unfortunate result of that is it is dragged down to the depths of mediocrity.

Whether it is the writer being a bit inexperienced or just too careful, a series that... more>> starts out feeling a bit different ends up falling into many of the pitfalls of the genre, and sort of stagnating in quality. Characters, starting out as more than their trope-like bases, end up just a bit lacking, and the story greatly lacks the direction that it needed to find a long time ago. Unlike the average CN novel, there isn't often a clear goal within the JP Isekai genre, and it really shows in this novel. Although the series starts out strong, without that central drive, it sort of runs out of ideas, just a little too shy to approach some of the more difficult questions it implies. The end result is something that strings you along like webnovel tradition. Although it doesn't rely on cliffhangers, it presents these hints of strength, and then misses the mark enough times to feel like just another chapter-to-chapter filler novel.

Worldbuilding:

Tsuki has a pretty well built world, with some effort being put in to make the world feel alive outside of the main characters influence. The world is a bit shallow, but given the genre, a large amount of depth isn't really necessary for success. Even though I call it shallow, it's definitely not phoned in: there is clear indication that the author spent time making sure the world works internally. The end result is something you enjoy more than you feel like you should, and that's good enough.

Characters:

The characters are stand out in Tsuki, and not just because they aren't pure cardboard cutout tropes. Makoto is far more interesting than his bland beginning shows, and the rest of the characters have their fair share of depth. At the same time, its not the type of novel to try and make everybody seem like a good guy: There are pretty good implications of good and evil even within its naively optimistic themes. What I appreciated most was that the character interactions felt natural, and that whatever sort of conversations of such went on weren't forced so that the series could keep introducing new characters or plot points. Things flowed fairly well after the rocky start.

Story Development:

Finding a cohesive and intersting plot is where so many of this genre ends up falling apart, and unfortunately Tsuki is no different. Makoto doesn't have the desires to drive the plot himself, and the world isn't aggressive enough to force him to move either, and the end result is something plodding and frankly boring at times. The series heavily lets down in terms of suspense, with the main characters absurd powers, but doesn't even manage to match the compelling storyline of something like One Punch Man, though the latter is far more simple from a plot standpoint. What results is something halfway between adventure and slice-of-life, with not enough excitement for the former and not enough complexity for the latter.

Enjoyment:

Tsuki has a rocky start, but its middle chapters, from ~45 to ~170 are pretty strong. From there, the series feels like it loses momentum. Things become even more simple for our ludicrously overpowered protagonist, with none of the enemies really building up, and his personal complexities get pushed down for cheesy interactions between the main cast, with not enough development in that part to really feel fun. After the Sophia arc, I felt reading it was like chasing after an arc of that quality since, and nothing really comes close enough to really be good.

I think Tsuki is worth a read if you haven't experienced much of the Japanese side of web novels, though it probably shouldn't be the first. For people who like the genre, it's pretty good, but if you don't really like OP JP protagonists, go ahead and skip it. <<less
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A Mistaken Marriage Match: Record of Washed Grievances
September 21, 2017
Status: Completed
Most novels fit into genres very well, things defined far before or by the sheer common-ness of the novels tropes (at least from the translation's beginning). A record of washed grievances is refreshingly original, even as it steps near quite a few cliches of female lead romance novels. Unfortunately, not everything is sunshine and rainbows. Record of Washed Grievances is hurt most by an awkward transition between the genres it flits between. It jerks between a quality romance and a somewhat underwhelming mystery plotline, and fails to explore the depths... more>> of either to the extent that they could be. What we get is a lighthearted, fun read with a few memorable events that stick out among just a bit of awkwardness. Worldbuilding:

The Mistaken Marriage Match series involves a world that feels even more romanticized than the usual romanticized views of the past within time travel romances. The series gives a lot more emphasis to the power of the women beyond harem or romantic manipulations, and the end result is quite enjoyable. The world is vibrant and luxurious but not flat, and fits the tone of the novel very well. I enjoyed this setting more than the usual time travel setting, as it set the stage for something more deep than changing an emperor's mind, killing an heir, or marrying a husband. Its refreshing and enjoyable to see tribulations and success outside of inheriting a throne or some sort of comparison between two women's ability to be wives in ancient times. Characters:

The characters is really where the novel shines. The main relationship between the male lead and the female lead is exciting because it carries a different dynamic: Zhou Qing can be lazy and playful like other female leads, but Lou Xi Yan is a fox himself, and their resulting banter is quite fun to read. The rest of the cast doesn't lose out in depth. One of the strengths of this novel is the connecting novels to it, a Generation of Military Counselor and Mysteries in the Imperial Harem both exist within the same world and time frame, and serve as companion pieces directly and indirectly. Directly, they allow you to experience and re-experience the world from different perspectives, and indirectly they force the novel to explore other viewpoints and expand on the characters beyond their purpose within the novel. Even the stereotypical "rival" character ends up being someone who feels human: Her undying love for our male lead doesn't feel like irrational given how he acted (and acts) around her, and the resolution of the affair is poignant and matches the seriousness with which the romance is presented. Story Development:

Record of Washed Grievances carries essentially parallel plotlines: one for the romance between the two leads, and one for the detective work that Zhou Qing is dragged along for. The former is magnificently done, drifting between serious moments and fluff like a fish in water. The latter is a bit weak, however. To some extent, the mystery doesn't live up to the romance. Although it carries a lot of significance (it might even be more significant than the relationship), it's just less exciting than the next moment of intimacy between our two leads. The end of the novel sort of meshes the two plotlines together, which ended up feeling a little bit underwhelming. One last thing worth noting is that a fair bit too much attention was placed on the time travel device; while it does increase the gravity of Zhuo Qing's love, it ends up feeling like a relic of A Generation of Military Counselor more than a piece of Record of Washed Grievances, especially with its slightly awkward placement. Enjoyment:

So here's the rub. Without trying to insult translators, because translators do the job for free and often out of the generosity in their hearts (and sometimes our wallets), the current translation, as of 2017/09/20, is kind of bad. Its not bad from an accuracy standpoint, as far as I know, but the phrasings are awkward in places and the text just does not always flow well. And that's unfortunate, because even then the good moments in Record of Washed Grievances stand out. This makes Record of Washed Grievances a "skim and reread" type of novel: hunt for your favorite moments, and often times those are well edited and enjoyable. The in-between is just a little rough on the edges. I recommend A Mistaken Marriage Match: Record of Washed Grievances to people who love time travel romance or romance in general. If you're interested in the genre or just want a good romance, I think Eight Treasures Trousseau or To Be a Virtuous Wife are better places to start, but Record of Washed Grievances is definitely not far behind. <<less
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To Be A Virtuous Wife
September 15, 2017
Status: Completed
Court intrigue is one of the many common settings of novels translated. Usually centered around female protagonists and Power Couples, its something very distinct, and yet so similar to the common Xuanhuan novel.

To be a Virtuous Wife circumvents this in a simple, if unorthodox way. Instead of focusing on the politics, the novel focuses on Qu Qing Ju's everyday life, and within that, the relationship she was married into. Similar novels that come to mind are A Mistaken Marriage Match: Record of Washed Grievances and A Mistaken Marriage Match: A... more>> Generation of Military Counselor. While both of these step away from the court intrigue style, and lay closer to the mystery genre, To Be a Virtuous Wife is much more similar in tone to these than the more Soap Opera-esque political drama novels, a la Chu Wang Fei.

The series reads a lot like a slice of life, but the main difference is definitely evident in the tone. To Be a Virtuous Wife (hence TBaVW) has a more serious tone then something like Death March, although the usage of power is more similar to the latter than the aforementioned novels. Although the setting lends itself to mystery and drama very well, TBaVW strays away from both of these, and focuses on Qu Qing Ju and her relationship with He Heng, rather than the myriad of external complications it could focus on.

Worldbuilding:

The world of TBaVW is nothing surprising, but well done nonetheless. The beginning group of princes is unorthodox, as is the lack of a crown prince. Something of special note is the more active role the emperor plays in this novel over others. Many times, the emperor exists more as a plot device than anything else, or is so simple that he could be considered one. TBaVW really humanizes the emperor, which breathes a lot of life into the setting.

Characters:

TBaVW, as romance tends to do, lives off the development of the characters. Fortunately, the characters are written very well. Antagonists don't boil down to simple-minded fools or overly arrogant "young master" types. The array of characters is broad, and each character feels distinct from the others, though so many occupy similar niches. Our main pairing is given enough depth to feel human, and their relationship isn't single-faceted, based purely on beauty or s*x. As a result, the relationship, while not feeling entirely natural (more ethereal than anything else) doesn't feel forced or fake.

Story Development:

The plot of TBaVW is a bit episodic, as it doesn't focus on a hero's journey. However, its distinctly separated from a slice of life by its focus on time and that things change over time. Whether it focuses on the fading of beauty over time or the fading of love or life, TBaVW greatly emphasizes the time throughout its snapshots of Qu Qing Ju's life. Within this timeframe, however, the series focuses on day-to-day life. There isn't constant parties one must attend, in which poison or drugs are thrown about like water. Neither is there an overwhelming sense of corruption within the greater government we see: although there is a system of nobility, it focuses more on propriety than legality, even within court sessions. One thing worth criticizing is the use and reuse of female characters throwing themselves at He Heng. This trope was one of the few carried over from other political intrigue novels, and it becomes a bit repetitive, though still enjoyable. That being said, TBaVW still has a sense of class within this trope: people look for tricks to attract his attention, rather than the drugs or competitions many novels like to favor.

Enjoyment:

TBaVW is marvelous in both its enjoyment with reading and its re-readability. Unlike Xuanhuan novels, which have oodles of pseudo-filler inbetween each readable moment of enjoyment, the entirety to TBaVW is re-readable in some fashion or another, and enjoyable on first reads as well. It really stands out as a fun novel to read even among novels of higher literary quality. A large part of this novel's enjoyability is also do to its incredible translation. The translation includes reference images as well as explanations of objects within the time period, which boosted my enjoyment of it quite a bit.

I heavily recommend To Be A Virtuous Wife to anybody. Even for people not usually into romance or political intrigue novels, To Be a Virtuous Wife has a charm to its main relationship dynamic that sets it apart from the usual novel of those genres, and for that I greatly recommend you read it. <<less
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Martial World
September 1, 2016
Status: c465
Martial World is one of the most average of average for the Xuanhuan/Xianxia novel genre. There's nothing exceptionally controversial about it a la ATG, nor does it deviate significantly from the classic YY novel model. That is both a good and a bad thing. The good aspect is that it doesn't have the sort of infamy generated by stepping over classical boundaries of good taste within the reading community culture, but the bad news is that it loses a flair that could separate it from the masses, which is a... more>> major problem because THERE IS NOTHING ESPECIALLY INTERESTING ABOUT IT. Lin Ming is the staplest of staple main characters, his harem is one-dimensional at best, and not even the fights can be considered superior within the genre.

The world building is staple for the genre, with some realm of the heavens and a world so narrowly described it can be used to retcon in more strong enemies for the MC meat grinder.

World building 2/5 Its run of the mill, and run of the mill is frankly not worth a three.

Characterization 1/5 The characters are exposed to too narrow of situations to really get a grasp for a full and complex character, a natural short falling of the YY novel. Beyond that, Lin Ming is a very simple character, accentuating that idea. Though it appears like the author tries to introduce character foils to flesh out the MC, like Lei Mubai, they end up being either sidelined friend characters or caricature enemy characters, instead highlighting the main character's shallow character design.

Story Progression 1/5 The story is split into arcs like most Xianxia, but beyond that there is no realy development from arc to arc. This makes the story have no progression.

Enjoyment 5/5 Honestly, YY novels are fun to read. That's just a fact. Whether or not you judge novels based on their literary quality, its still enjoyable to read shallow novels once in a while, like watching a Bourne movie.

I'd recommend you read Martial World. It's fun to read, and that's most of the value of a book. That being said, there are better options out there. If you're picky, pass it up. <<less
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Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyusoukyoku (WN)
September 1, 2016
Status: v14c46
Death March is the first in an overabundance of the "hey look I'm OP af lets have a fun slow-life in another world" with a similarly classical harem, Japanese-style. The main character, Satou, is slightly better than many JP protagonists in that he understands that the girls do have affection for him, but the harem antics get annoying nonetheless. Death March is similar in many ways to YY novels. Its not exceptionally complex and any problems that exist can usually be solved in one arc or less, often one chapter.... more>> It caters to an audience that is often too lazy to achieve, but achieves vicariously through a cdharacter who requires no effort to do such, like they wish they could. It provides the classical chase after a "slow-life", while in reality being more of a god to the people who can acknowledge you.

The worldbuilding of death march is fairly interesting, though it is undermined by the excessive power of Satou, which allows him to subvert otherwise complex laws of the world. Worldbuilding: 3/5

Its slightly better than the average JP other-world novel. The worldbuilding is not in an awkward exposition dump, and hints at a larger, overarching storyline.

Characters 2/5:

Death March Provides more emphasis on side characters than typical, allowing for the development of a larger cast with real differences between members of the harem. That being said, the episodic nature of the series causes many of these changes to be undone or glossed over for the rest of the series, limiting how interesting characters can be. Beyond that, characters are trope-like to a fault, many characters simplified down to their one ridiculous line or action per chapter, and their dedicated arcs being too diluted with the omnipotent nature of the protagonist to really expose the characters' other dimensions.

Story Development 0/5:

Death March gets the special award of a 0 rating for story development because it manages to not only have no progression from an overarching story perspective, it goes backwards, undoing whatever progression happens within the arcs themselves.

Enjoyment 5/5:

I don't often read a series I don't enjoy, and don't often rate series' that I don't read. This makes enjoyment fairly easy to judge. Death March is funny in the same way a 4koma can be funny, even though the characters do not progress. Similarly, it can be annoying in the same way, because there is no progression.

I recommend you try out death march. It will not appeal to everyone, just like how a YY novel doesn't appeal to everyone. But I find it a mainstay, the sort of series that's not high on a reading list, but once you've run out of great things to read, you might come back to it. <<less
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Against the Gods
December 29, 2015
Status: --
Many Xianxia get the yy novel classification, loosely read as “mental masturbation”. And in this aspect, all are inferior to Against The Gods. It is the perfect fantasy for someone to enjoy when they just don’t feel very powerful or significant in life, because it shows you that you can be amazing, even if you don’t start out such. It is the perfect fantasy for seeing comeuppance received by the “big guy”, and the perfect story for people stressed with the complexity of romance or wanting such.

Just like masturbation,... more>> however, there comes a point where you honestly feel disgusting for enjoying it so much. You start to realize that everything is cyclical (tournament, run away cause I pissed someone off, powerup, save wife, tournament, etc.), and that all of the enemies are comic book villains. You start to realize his girlfriends are only a little bit more than dakimakuras, lacking personality or characterization in general. And you begin to feel a bit icky. At first, you might chalk it up to suspension of disbelief, but eventually it’ll start to get on your nerves.

The worldbuilding in Against the Gods is fairly staple for the Xianxia genre, which is wholesomely lacking and unrealistic. But its to be expected, so no faults there.

I’d give the novel a solid 3/5. Its enjoyable, for certain, even if that feeling is temporary. Give it a read.

Complex Score:

Worldbuilding 2/5 Its run-of-the-mill, but leaning towards the bad end of 2.5/5.

Characterization 1/5 Characters are one-dimensional, except for Yun Che. Villains are evil rapist puppy-kickers, and allies are nice, but mostly useless.

Story progression 1/5 Its difficult to give this story a 1 at all, given that there’s no real story. Its just the adventures of a Badass in a world filled with assholes.

Enjoyment 5/5 Its a fun story for as long as you can stomach it, which is good enough. <<less
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