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WinByDying
WinByDying rated it
Martial Arts Master
November 21, 2017
Status: c192
Genres: Sports, Romance, Xuanhuan.

Come on, this really is a sports novel. If you change the cultivation by bodybuilding then you get a fighting sports novel. And a good one at that. Like romance? Like some good dialogue, some sports, and a little bit of MC OPness? Read it!

PROS:

    • Well written dialogue;
    • Great romance;
    • Good cast of varied and slightly unique characters;
    • Characters all feel normal or relatable at least in some way;
    • Calm, collected story progression, good flow;
    • Warm fuzzy story of romance and martial arts, warmer than a hot chocolate;
    • Fast translation pace: 3 chapters per day, and the quality is good;
    • Cliches out of the window: no arrogant young masters, no need to conflict over everything;
CONS

    • Lack of conflict may make it seem dull to read;
    • Unexplored world background (not yet at least, we're far from the end) ;
    • Not a very elaborate cultivation system, not much explained.
Overall, not perfect but makes me feel fuzzy and warm and occasionally provides the adrenaline kick only powerful MC's give, 5/5. More detailed explanation down below.

I feel disgusted by some of the lower scoring and reviews on this webnovel:

    1. Do some of you seriously downvote every Qidian International published novel? I understand you want to boycot them, but you know who's collateral damage? The author, who wants his novels to be popular (and in my opinion rightfully so) and readers who never learn of this great novel because it gets buried with a low score.
    2. This is for a significant part a romance novel. This is not like Coiling Dragon or Martial World or whatever cultivation novels you think of. Giving a low rating because the novel is not what you want it to be, is so... childish.
    3. As for the romance itself; giving it a low rating because the MC is "ignorant of girls" is preposterous. Nothing about the romance in this novel is unrealistic. Longtime crushes exist. Calling the MC a stalker is... like... you don't know what a real stalker is. Saying he avoids other girls because he already has a girlfriend is completely unbased. Oh and the guy saying this is like a Japanese novel because of the martial arts and romance: I don't get what you're saying. This guy may be humble, but he actually knows he's good at martial arts. He's not a self loathing coward or a giant pervert. He's a pretty normal guy
    4. As for the cheat: in xianxia for example cheats are rampant, for better or worse. In this novel, the cheat is rather unobtrusive. It enhances his attacks with two elements, and improves his stamina. Whether it improves his talent, that's unsure so far. Maybe he really has a lot of innate talent, even without the cheat? For the record, this may be kind of a wish fulfillment novel, but as much as a good romance story is one. It's not like xianxia's with uberpowerful MC's that collect harems or revive their parents.
    5. The tournaments: ofcourse there are a lot of tournaments, martial arts is a sport in this novel and sports are tournaments and vice versa...
I just don't get it those ratings... There are legitimate points of criticism but those bad reviews don't mention those at all. On to the real review.

PROS:

The three genres given earlier are more accurate than what's given by NU. So far, it's been a (martial arts) sports story with a sweet, very prominent romance subplot. User ipapotihus is about right, it's "45% martial art, 45% romance and 10% bro". There isn't much real cultivation, it's mostly martial arts. And the fights are pretty well written.

I like the calm progression in the main character's strength and sports achievements, the slowly but naturally and really well written romance (I was constantly reminiscing about my first love/girlfriend, what's written didn't feel unnatural or unrealistic at all). It's unlike most Chinese webnovels, which is a really good thing. 192 chapters in and it's not like he's far from the best martial artist ever. His talent is great, and slowly getting recognized, but that's it.

This is going to be such a warm, fuzzy and satisfying read, I feel it. The calm progression is gonna make me feel real good and when it's finally completely translated, I'll reread it (something I rarely do).

This brings me to the last point; most cliches out of the window (apart from the "cheat" and "powerful master"). No arrogant young masters, no constant scumbaggery, the character cast doesn't seem like the scum of humanity. The MC is a normal guy, the girlfriend is a beautiful but feisty girl. The people around them feel like real persons with their own quirks as well. The writer could have made the girlfriend a bit less pretty and it wouldn't have been much different. Again, this novel feels normal, feels warm, makes me happy while reading it.

And o thank god dear lord hallelujah not everyone is after the MC because he's together with a really pretty girl, this must be like the first time that happens in a Chinese novel.

The dialogue is great, and the character building is good as well. I didn't instantly forget who everyone was, because even most sidecharacters talk in their own way, or have their own characteristics,... The sidecharacters feel unique, feel alive.

CONS:

The one thing that might be a black mark is the lack of conflict. This is both a good and a bad point, depending on how you look at it. The conflict in most xianxia novels is luckily absent in this novel, but strangely enough the typical sports rivalry isn't there yet either. The best candidate for a rival, someone in the same martial arts club of the same age, actually isn't a rival at all, more like an acquaintance or even a bit of a friend. I'd like maybe some more conflict in the tournaments?

Another problem was that it was difficult sometimes to follow the cultivation system and the ranks. Not much time is invested in explaining ranks, cultivation and techniques.

I also want to know more about the world. How cultivation declined, how techniques were passed on, why the world of martial arts is like it is in the webnovel. So far, not much has been explained but that will probably still come?

OVERALL:

First review. Way too long, no regrets because it's worth it. This webnovel is great, I want more endorphines. 5/5
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WinByDying
WinByDying rated it
Trash of the Count’s Family
November 17, 2018
Status: c7
Of the first few chapters, the prologue probably was the best. What waits afterwards: redundant or very awkward dialogue, unnecessary repetition, badly placed descriptions, et cetera. This author lacks some basic writing skills. A big black mark against the novel.

The first little bit of story didn't impress me, but it wasn't bad. The protagonist knows where the overpowered character will appear, and provides for him in the hope that he'll profit off of it. I liked how the overpowered character was suspicious of him and didn't feel like being indebted.... more>> Imagine: you lie in a remote dark alley, hungry and tired. Suddenly someone approaches you and says he'll feed you and invites you to come with. Reminds me a lot of a white van and delicious candy. It shows some promise in this aspect: the accent does not lie on violence. Something others mentioned already is that in this novel, conflicts are resolved through other means. It's probably the strong point of the novel, but...

Ironically I still have a problem with smaller elements of the story, tying in to the writing skills again. The way the writer writes about the protagonist's actions is awkward. The author can't pull off dialogue all that well. No, it isn't because he just transmigrated. It's specifically the way it's written. Also, this novel frequently infringes on "Show, don't tell" as another reviewer pointed out. Another black mark against the novel.

I really liked the premise, but execution was sorely lacking. I rarely do not give a novel a fair chance, but this one I really couldn't read any more of. Portraying actions adequately and writing dialogue well are necessities for any self-respecting author. Two stars, because it has redeeming aspects. I've read bad translations and repetitive writing, read through real dumpster fires, but I couldn't stomach this. I don't trust the author to design an excellent plot on the long term either: writing a transmigration story well actually isn't easy. <<less
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WinByDying
WinByDying rated it
Isaac
June 17, 2019
Status: c21
This novel isn't all that great. It suffers on multiple fronts: bad writing, bad characterization and a ridiculously unbelievable plot to top it all off.

So, the writing. Stiff and awkward dialogue is a frequent complaint of mine with Korean and some Japanese novels. Certain expressions, like "is that so" are the bane of my reading existence. "Show, don't tell" is an important but (here) oft ignored writing principle. For example, when there's some sort of scheme everything immediately needs to be explained. Why character X won't intervene, why group Y... more>> won't be able to react, and so on. That's already bad in and of itself, because show don't tell, but then the author decides to also show exactly those characters and groups trying to intervene (but badly written). Why does the author do it? Them failing underlines the genius of the protagonist. No, that's not how good writing works. If you want a smart protagonist, level up your writing. Characterization. The premise of the reincarnation and why he doesn't have to follow any rules there is already stupid on its own, but let's set that aside. All girls and women want perfume in this novel, they need it to seduce the men and win out over the others. They blindly follow the wills of the one sole person able to provide perfume, our protagonist. Really? Additionally, there's a bear girl who is suddenly his figurative best friend because of honey, and a girl who instantly starts following him because he made sashimi. Like, come on. One of the protagonist's brothers is humiliated and comes to murder him in front of other people. Really? The protagonist isn't any better by the way. The premise of, "in a world of magic he conquers everyone with his smarts and cunning" is very interesting but the execution is greatly lacking.

The plot. As if it wasn't clear yet from the perfume example, it's sh*t. He sits in the school, does something, the female population fawns on him, the headmaster and teachers are like "we can't do anything because he's outside of the rules" (utter drivel). There's not even much bullying at the start, which I though would make up an interesting part of the novel but webnovel authors are just not able to write such subplots well. Yes, it has plot holes. The first year nobody agitates him because of something related to the headmaster. The second year, the new freshmen do pick on him. It's explained that they don't know that headmaster thingy because they're from the outside. But is there no communication with the outside? Or when the freshmen arrive, do none of the older students inform the younger ones? It's not the worst on this site, that's why it still gets a two. <<less
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WinByDying
WinByDying rated it
Death Sutra
July 24, 2018
Status: c143
TL;DR: read it.

This novel has plot/plot twists. There's not much on this site with plot on the level of Death Sutra. Novelsby Fengling Tianxia don't come close. Maybe Nightfall, Mao Ni's novels? But even Nightfall is more straightforward.

This novel it has well thought-out characters. The characters evolve. I could feel that the author must've put himself into the characters' place regularly. Their actions are realistic.

Every bit of luck, like a sudden breakthrough, is there for a logical, acceptable reason. Sometimes, he's also very unlucky. It's balanced. One of the most... more>> balanced MC's I've seen in quite some time. And it's good that he's balanced, it allows for a good plot.

This warrants a 5/5 on NU. The novel is tragically unpopular.

I could do with a bit more worldbuilding, but it's kind of realistic that it's missing given the life of Gu Shenwei so far. For some reason, the start wasn't as interesting to me as the novel was later on, maybe due to the writing style of the author or due to the way it's translated. I'm not going to criticize the translation, it's been excellent.

Now to end off, a bit of a rant on character-/worldbuilding and reader patience.
A reviewer said it reads more like a real book, that it's not for everyone. Is it really not for everyone? Another reviewer couldn't get into it due to the... submissive, traumatic experiences early on. I loath the attitude of some readers on NU. They don't seem to have ever read a good paper book. The best of books often take their time before fully growing into something beautiful. Have patience. People don't have enough patience... They want their characters powerful right now and don't want anything bad or traumatic to be described. They love scarred MC's, but only if the first 100 chapters of the 1212 chapter novel are not about those scars, the foundation of the MC. Loathful. This will make every chapter to come that much better... Another reviewer called it all boring filler, saying he has better more entertaining things to read. This is exactly what I mean. Ignorance is bliss. <<less
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WinByDying
WinByDying rated it
The Human Emperor
December 14, 2018
Status: c584
My first problem with this novel is what the writer does if the protagonist needs more challenge. You see, our Wang Chong is incredibly strong by now, knows a lot and has received the trust of many. Yet he still "struggles" every step along the way. Why? The author keeps conjuring enemies out of thin air. Winning a battle against Ü-Tsang too easily? Well, what about another martially strong Tibetan general you haven't heard about yet! The author uses this trick constantly. You're breaking my immersion, Huangfu Qi. Don't write... more>> that way. It's like cramming your novel full of deus ex machinae. Speaks of bad plot, bad planning. Powercreep.

My second gripe is the system. Again, because he's too strong and has too much of an impact, the system drives up the difficulty artificially. It even restricts him once from killing someone. Like, really? Systems in non-sci-fi novels break immersion by default, and the way it's done here doesn't help.

Third, why so much useless dialogue and filler? I skip battles, I skip dialogue, I skip about half the novel and I can still comprehend everything. That's not normal. It's not written well.

Fourth, why is only Wang Chong smart? The others are apparently really smart too, says the author, but they still get trounced? Fine, he knows parts of the future but does that mean he knows all details, or that things don't change if he's actively changing the future?

Fifth: everyone and their mothers trust Wang Chong. Why does he have so much trust and as a consequence power this fast? The provided explanation is far-fetched.

I can go on. This isn't any good. It's cheesy, and if you like what it's about then you can give it a go. But don't expect a well written or well thought out novel. Dropped. <<less
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WinByDying
WinByDying rated it
Phoenix Ascending
October 4, 2018
Status: c79
Some of my gripes:

    • The pacing is too fast at the beginning (first twenty or so chapters) of the novel, which really stands out when it slows down afterwards, and just because in its haste it foregoes characterization, proper buildup, well worked out setting, etc.... Haste makes waste.
    • The pacing is part of the plot. The plot in general suffers from the haste as well. Not to mention that it all is a little too easy for the main character, the prince's trust doesn't always feel realistic,...
    • As I said, the characterization suffers: the original crown prince is a typical wastrel, Nan Xun is a typical male lead, the second prince isn't done that well despite taking a lot of the spotlight and even the main character and her motivations feel wishy-washy.
    • These sorts of novels don't portray women well, in my opinion. As in, they're written badly. Regularly, sentences that end with "... because she is a woman" are thrown in to show e.g. the limits for women, but at the same time they act all fussy and b***hy when the plot allows for it. Eight Treasures Trousseau is an example of a novel that does way better in this respect. The main character suddenly swoons for the main lead; see Empress of Military Lineage for better executed romance in a somewhat similar novel.
Most of my points relate to the start of the novel, but their influence is at least partly felt later on as well. I do have to say it got better a bit after the pacing slowed down. Even so, the characters, the plot, all of them give a simplified feel.

In the end, this is a novel that had potential. It's not bad, but not very good either. It's let down by just being ok in about every category there is to judge a novel. No glaring faults, no shining highs. It's good. A 3 is what I give it, a solid 3 here on NU. If strictly judging, it'd be a 2. I'll still keep reading it because I enjoy it anyway.
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WinByDying
WinByDying rated it
Hello, Mr. Major General
December 6, 2018
Status: c59
Characterization? Flat cliché cardboard. No, even worse, people lose all reason and behave extremely impulsive, emotional and with a total lack of restraint. A common theme among this sort of novels, e.g. Bringing The Nation's Husband Home, Perfect Secret Love, and so on. The main character is an innocent fairy, she's naive so her eyes bulge all the time from being surprised. Flat as a ****ing pancake.

Plot? We start with an aphrodisiac ploy right off the bat. It's not that there's no interesting elements. The female lead is getting courted... more>> by someone that is not the male lead and he seems to be (very) slowly succeeding. Interesting... but I don't trust the author to not make that someone a cheating scumbag somehow. Who knows, maybe we'll get a surprise? It happens sometimes!

Prose? Who am I kidding, prose in a webnovel? No seriously, some do have prose, are beautifully written. But not this one, I can assure you. It's run-of-the-mill writing.

I'm still reading it though. Cheap and easy crack. Says more about me than it does about the novel though, unfortunately for me. <<less
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WinByDying
WinByDying rated it
Bringing the Nation’s Husband Home
July 27, 2018
Status: c973
Read it if: you like emotional rollercoasters, you can tolerate caricature chinese characters and abuse, you can bear through the angst for the late, eventual sweetness.

The author is an evil farmer. She milks you out emotionally as if you're a sentient cow. Using dysfunctional relationships, obstinate characters and eternal misunderstandings, she sucks you into the misery of this story. Eventually, you will be served humongous amounts of sugar and die of obesity in the span of 150 chapters.

I would've given it a 2 because of the author's proficiency at the... more>> art of milking out emotions, but it became 1 because she writes too fillery/bloatedly.

Despite all its flaws, despite me feeling very frustrated and disgusted at times, I still got sucked into it and didn't drop it. And the end was sweet, at least...

But it did make me rage regularly. <<less
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WinByDying
WinByDying rated it
Joy of Life
December 20, 2018
Status: c536
First a rant. Real review under the equality signs below.

Joy of Life is "slow". For a webnovel, not compared to books in general. It meanders just like a river flowing along the mountainside, like this unnecessarily long sentence. It may be a webnovel, but the inconsistent pacing is unlike one. And it's better for it. This is a novel about someone's life so it's only natural.

You think meandering is a bad thing? It is, but only for impatient readers. Look at The Name of the Wind. One of the best... more>> fantasy books out there, it's slow early on meanders like no tomorrow. Its reviews on Goodreads are generally divided into two categories: those loving the series, and those who didn't even get past half and disliked it. And it's widely regarded as well written, despite what the second category may say. Great prose.

There's a difference between "filler" and good writing. If you want to read a well-regarded fantasy book to experience what some here want to call filler, try Tigana. A travesty, that's what some of the reviews here are.

To a certain reviewer: Fan Xian is no "borderline cuck". If he really loves someone, he won't see them marry someone else, as he later in the novel shows with another female character. By the way, that reviewer should've read on. Because the situation is actually completely different from what he thinks. He'd have known, if only he read attentively, picked up on what's implied repeatedly. See, this is what I mean with impatience, readers not recognizing good writing. They don't pick up on the layering, their loss. And then they have the audacity to write a review...

Another reviewer used the word "xianxia" and compared it in some way to that infamous genre. Can't take someone like that serious, because that's not what this novel is at all and he would've know if he either read on or looked at the genres and tags.

On to the real review.

===========================

This novel has characterization in spades. You know a novel is well written if you feel excited about reading dialogue. Probably the only harem that I ever liked for the romance. Why? The characters feel alive. The villains have feelings and ambitions too. Characters can be hypocritical, but realistically so, like actual human beings.

It's more of a political drama rather than a cultivation novel or a romance novel. This part isn't pronounced at the start, but it only gets better the further in the novel you get. Right now, the translation is arriving at a plot climax! A culmination of built-up world, story and characterization, and I can't wait to see it all go BOOM. Such a satisfying, glorious feeling, the best reading sensation there is. su** it, impatient readers.

The reincarnation gets a pass. It's not glaring despite its unrealistic aspects, because he doesn't constantly use "knowledge" from before his reincarnation or anything. The few elements related to reincarnation are all sort of limited. No, it's about something way more interesting: cultural differences between modern societies and ancient ones, as Fan Xian experiences first-hand. Luckily he's a man, but he does for example influence his sister and eventually supports her, gives her the power to be a modern woman in an ancient society. That's just one example, it pops up now and then, and plays a big role in one of Fan Xian's ambitions.

Joy of Life has three flaws in my eyes. First and foremost, it's a translation and that's criminal on its own. As with any Mao Ni novel, it is probably better in Chinese. Man, I wish I could read Mandarin. Second, it meanders a tad little too much. It could've been shortened by a little bit without endangering setup and characterization. This is about the start of the story though, no complaints about the middle and probably end. Third, the main character. Fan Xian is well characterized, isn't an emotionless robot, and is awesome to read about. But there's still a little bit of a sterile feeling, he doesn't often show extreme emotion. As with any of Mao Ni's characters. He's better than Ning Que in Nightfall though. <<less
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WinByDying
I think giving it a 5 is overrating this novel.

A few reasons as to why:

    1. While it has some really interesting parts, it drags down sometimes as well. This due to the writing being a bit bloated/fillery at times.
    2. It feels too upbeat and easy. Some people like the "fast pace", but... even in the supposedly more tense parts, I didn't feel much tension. This is not only caused by the writing style, also by the characters;
    3. Adding onto the tension, the writer could do a better job writing emotion into the novel, similarly to the previous point;
    4. The world building isn't... very... detailed.
If you think about it, so far we went through about 15 years of her life. This took 230 chapters, but it probably could've been 150. To me, this is a black mark. This is exacerbated when you read one single chapter per day instead of bingeing. Some people say it is fast-paced... it kinda is and isn't at the same time.

That aside, it still is pretty good:

    1. It offers a few unique gimmicks (female crossdressing MC, the instructors in the learning space, little four, and some other plot-related things). A lot of people pick up the novel due to the gimmicks;
    2. The characters and their interactions are fun. There is a limited amount of character development;
    3. For people liking power tripping MC's: she doesn't do it often, but she is extremely OP. This increases the fun factor to me.
Now, a little bit about the plot. So far, the novel has some direction, but it's not like there is a very clear goal. There is no burning hatred or clear desire. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, since the main character is only just growing up, but this needs to change later on in the novel. If the other aspects of the novel were better, then this slight lack of direction would be less apparent. I hope the writer slowly changes a few things later on in the novel. It needs some darkness, some change of pace maybe after she graduates?

TL;DR:

Right now, the novel reads reads a little like a roller coaster: fun characters, interactions and events, but slightly out of balance and without clear direction.

I hope the writer changes the atmosphere and pace up little bit. Or improves on what it is.
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WinByDying
WinByDying rated it
The Great Storyteller
January 28, 2019
Status: c36
This novel isn't flawless at all, and it's far from the only novel on the site that doesn't rely on face slapping. No, the character development is not a highlight. The enjoyment comes from two things: the secretive yet "powerful" protagonist, and badly implemented character development. It's not literature, it's cheesy. It's not print quality either. I thought it was about in the same tier as e.g. Top Management and God of Cooking, but I changed my mind. It's below those.

Now on to my actual review.

The literature teacher gave writing... more>> advice twice. In the first case, it was basic but good advice, something you would indeed learn at school. The advice on the stories of the Literature Club's members though, hilarious. Ironic, given that it's a story about a writer. I'll chalk it up to the subpar translation:

Spoiler

"Because you read so much, your writing skill is pretty decent. It's just that your story tends to be boring at times."

"Try focusing on the dynamics of your story. Whether the story is moving continuously or the climax persists throughout the entire story, it's going to be boring either way."

So, a story's setting and characters have potential, potential for things to happen, relationships to change, et cetera. Dynamics are the forces that drive the story through interaction with the whole setting, and change what happens in the story.

The teacher tells the student to focus on dynamics, to make the story more entertaining. That makes sense. But "Whether the story is moving continuously or the climax persists throughout the entire story, it's going to be boring either way"? What on earth does that mean? This was the worst example, but there was one other piece of advice that made me chuckle, something along the lines of "your descriptions were too long, don't get lost in your emotions".

[collapse]

This is a webnovel about writing, so it deserves to be grilled. So far, I've seen unnecessary repetition, the dialogue is good but uneven in quality, the author isn't able to leave things implicit/unsaid, and jarring word choices and sentence constructions in general. Both the translation and the writing are good compared to the typical NU novel, but not great. It's inconsistent: well written at times, but I've also seen parts that read almost like a parody. It really can be that bad, further on in the reviews I've put in some cringeworthy samples. For now one example of both bad translation/editing and bad writing respectively:

Spoiler

After listening to everyone, Mr. Moon added, "The winner gets a fried chicken from me."

The "from me" is unnecessary. Instead of ending the sentence on a powerful note, fried chicken, the translator/editor put two stupid useless little words behind it. And think about it, if said these words, you'd never end with "from me".

This example was probably translation, not the author. Though you never know. However...

Unaware of the students' heart, James spoke without hesitation. Of course, in English.

"Oh, my! There's a centipede here. I have an idea of what the situation is. This is a rather threatening presence for the adorable first years. But we must not forget the fact that we're all part of nature. A slipper is not a tool for murder. It's an object that protects your feet. Now, let your slipper serve its purpose."

What in the seven hells is this dialogue? Is that how a grown-up teacher talks? This isn't an anime; you're trying to write a presumably serious webnovel.

[collapse]

It tries to be all clever and intellectual with (Western) cultural references, but it's nothing special. He probably pulled it all off of Wikipedia. I doubt the author read Plato, and his comments on Hemmingway aren't very insightful or anything. Stock standard Wikipedia stuff.

Spoiler

For example, take chapter 26 to like 28. He meets a writer for coffee, who notes down his likes and dislikes. Our protagonist is suddenly reminded of the saying "know yourself" widely associated with Socrates (but not coined by him), and asks, "Are you into Socrates", to which the writer coolly answers "I don't dislike him". What purpose does this piece of text serve? Does it contain information useful to the scene, to the characters or story? No, nobody reads Plato's texts (Socrates didn't write) for literary purposes. Socrates is pulled in solely to impress the reader, to make our protagonist and the writer look intellectual. Because Old Greek philosophers were smart and cool. It cheapens Socrates: Socrates was much more than "know yourself". Not to mention, "I don't dislike him" is such a stupid answer. Imagine you don't know anything about Socrates, and someone asks you the same answer. Wouldn't "I don't dislike him" or "Eh, somewhat" be convenient answers to pretend to know something about Socrates?

Later in the scene, Hemingway is discussed. Most of us have at most heard of Hemingway, me included, so he has to first copy half of the Wikipedia page into the novel so we can at least follow the very superficial references to the writer's personal life. It's like making a joke and subsequently explaining it, very unnecessary.

Two lauded writers meet, one of them says "I had never been so disappointed, even when I read Across the River and into the Trees [by Hemingway]". Right after it's explained that it's one of the worst critically received Hemingway books. Instead of telling us why the character thought it was disappointing, the novel backs out and just says it's universally badly received. It's of course put there to make the guy look like a sophisticated, cultured writer. But putting in an actually interesting critique is not something the author could do?

To be fair, at the beginning of the scene the characters do talk about what they think makes Hemmingway great. But I still wasn't content. The commentary they're giving is way too superficial: personal life, some plot details, some very general characteristics of his writing. Wikipedia would be enough, and that's not a good sign.

I never read any Hemmingway, but I took five minutes to read two articles just now. I'd make my characters say things like: "Hemmingway influenced my writing a great deal. His frequent use of short sentences or phrases makes his writing pack a serious punch. Yet, every single one of those sentences contains a clear message, every paragraph a clear idea. He only sparingly uses adverbs, preferring vigorous adjectives for his descriptions. It was powerful unlike any text I'd seen before. Before, I always thought I had to write beautiful, flowery prose. Hemmingway made me see writing in a different light. I still had a long way to go back then!". See, I can write a more in-depth paragraph on Hemmingway's writing than the author of the webnovel, and I didn't know anything about Hemmingway ten minutes ago!

Also, maybe a character could've quoted his personal favorite Hemmingway paragraph, a paragraph that tells something about the character. That would've been interesting. Imagine the author quoting a relevant paragraph from different renowned writers every few chapters. I'd love it.

[collapse]

Come on, don't make me cringe. The author is trying so hard to make this novel seem intelligent and cultured. Why for heaven's sake did you put this in your novel:

Spoiler

Juho instinctively reached for a pen.

'Why does a person live?" he quietly asked himself. 'What was the meaning of living life?'

Before digging any deeper, he thought about whether he really existed. If people could no longer see or hear the person named Juho, he might be no different from being dead.

[collapse]

Characterization. There was potential, but characterization falls flat. Characters are either flat, or the deepening is done in a clumsy, ham-fisted way. Don't make me cringe even more than I already did, please.

Spoiler

The protagonist puts out one book, that's hailed and praised by everyone. He meets up with another writer, that writer being very impressed by the protagonist. He impresses his language teacher/Literature Club teacher. In the Literature club, there was one guy who wasn't there to read and write. He's not interested. But he opens up the protagonist's book and suddenly, he's engrossed in it. Can you see the trend? See, you don't need face slapping if you use another trope: the secretly powerful protagonist. He wants to stay under the radar and live a quiet (yet successful) life, but can't help but show his genius now and then, to regularly impress the reader.

It's also very unfortunate that we don't know what specifically made the protagonist's book so great. There must be something more to it than the plot. Is it the way the protagonist structured the book? Is it the growth of the main character? Is it the character interactions? Colorful, evocative word choices? Nothing mentioned except the main plot point, we just have to believe that everyone, young and old alike, adore this book of his.

The language crutch is disappointing. Very early in he's able to write very "mature" works of literature, and knows like five languages by now. Sure. But what's he going to improve upon? You're belittling your own character's progress by giving him a crutch.

The attempts of the author to show character progression are clumsy. First example: there's this girl pretending to be the author of the protagonist's book. How did this not *immediately* get out to the public? To teachers? Impossible, it's the mystery author, everyone wants to know who he is! Funnily enough, that's one of the arguments the protagonist confronts the girl with later on. As if she's stupid and couldn't think of it herself. Now because he's secretive, he lets her off at first. When he finds evidence however, he confronts her. This previously stupid girl subsequently recognizes her wrongs and comes clean right after. Look, author, don't write your plot so ham-fisted. It's not a children's novel.

Second example. he main character lives through a tragic first life after releasing the bestseller novel. Homeless, he finds himself falling into a river and wakes up as his younger self. He reflects deeply on his past twenty-five years, his slow yet consistent fall from grace: he writes it down and it takes half an hour. Voilà, that's the end of the reflection. Wait, what?!?

Third example. He meets a woman singing (just "lalalala") and playing guitar in an awful fashion in public. She does it, she says, because she wants to convey a message, yet she fails to actually sing the message. Still, she persists. Meeting that woman, about a paragraph, suddenly provides the protagonist with enlightenment. Namely, he realizes he first needs a subject to write on. It could be anything, but he had to start from a subject. What crap character development.

As so often in these sorts of rebirth novels, he wakes up is like, "JACKPOT!". Really? Then a small scene shows the protagonist's (modest) emotion, where after he writes that reflection for half an hour. That's it. Yes, that's it. It's such a disappointment that authors don't focus more on this transformation. Being reborn should be such an impactful experience. You could write multiple chapter chock full of emotion about it. About how he thinks, how his mindset gradually transforms from being so down in the gutter, to optimistically gripping the new chance with both hands.

[collapse]

I enjoyed some bits, which is why this wanna-be deep, pretentious but hilariously clumsy of a novel still got a 2. <<less
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Red Packet Server
July 23, 2018
Status: c80
TL;DR: Red Packet Server is a readable sequence of letters for horny, young, impatient teenagers who don't know what a well-written story is.

This novel has a few fun shticks, like exchanging cigarettes for immortal pills. Other than that, the comedy is lost on me. I guess it's parodying some xianxia clichés as well.

There's not much explanation on the setting. The characters are flat and behave completely irrationally. This makes the harem part just that much worse. Harem is something difficult to pull off, and this author, like most, just can't... more>> do it. As for the plot - there's none. If you want a rich plot that leaves a lot of room for speculation, go read The Name of The Wind. Prose? What's that? Well, that's something you can find in well-written books, even in some webnovels. Not here.

This novel has one thing going for it: non-stop antics. If you can tolerate its numerous flaws, if you like most of the humour, and completely turn off your brain then maybe you might find it entertaining. However, a real story should also give some respite to its readers. Non-stop action can become really tiring and boring in itself. Slower passages give you time to process the story, to think about it. The problem is, if you have time to think you'll realize how badly written it is. It's a bit of a paradox.

Even on NU, where I rate novels higher than they should be rated, this is a 1/5 for me. First time I give a 1. Utter trash, and a few funny elements won't save it. If you want this, but well done, go read Cultivation Chat Group. It isn't a literary masterpiece but it's great comedy, unlike this one.

=======================================

This isn't really part of the review anymore, but I want to address a few... remarks... of another reviewer, concerning people rating this story below 3. Given his level of English I understand why he can't realize how sh*ttily this is written, but I'm going to address his two main points: harem and arrogance.

The harem here is done awfully. Suddenly there's a system, I don't know why it's there, the story would be better off without it. There's cardboard characters who all talk and react the same. So boring... I guess it's supposed to be funny.

Arrogance: you know why the arrogance of the MC doesn't sit right with a lot of people? Because there's no basis for it. What traits does the MC have besides silly arrogance, lust and some goodwill? There's been literally no character building at the start. Then, he joins the chat group and suddenly he's got all the swagger. That's not comedy, that's just bad writing. There's only so much you can do with a parody before it becomes... well, just straight up bad. <<less
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Rakuin no Monshou
January 29, 2018
Status: Completed
Pretty great, others have given the good points already.

I would've liked a bigger role for Vileena, making her a true deuteragonist and thus allowing for more time to slowly build up the relationship between Orba and Vileena. I wish there were more meaningful interactions between them. I want more than "tsundere" and "trying to uncover his secrets" interactions. SmalL conversations here and there with couple interactions and inside jokes would give the relationship a lot more depth than what it now has.

Second, I think the whole setup of the background... more>> may have been a little bit too much for its own good. (By the way, the background may seem complex at first, but is in the end, if you think about it, in fact rather simple.) All "arcs" of the story are one after one swiftly resolved, a little too swift. At the end, I felt like, "is this it?". Such an elaborate background, slow writing, just for around twelve swiftly resolved story arcs and an ending? That honestly feels a little rushed. It's like the story stopped in the middle of Usain Bolt's 100m sprint.

Maybe the way the story plays out does not sit right with me. Yeah, thats probably it. It's not that singular actions in the plot feel wrong (although there are some very improbably parts), it's more the overall story that feels inadequate.

Well, these are only vague feelings. I don't exactly know how I feel about it. I would not call this some of the best fantasy ever, it is not in the same league as a literary superior work like Kingkiller Chronicles, but it's good. Better than a lot of Japanese LN. Normally I'd give it a 4, but this is NU and everything gets overrated so it's a 5/5. <<less
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Godfather Of Champions
July 17, 2018
Status: c53
I don't like doing early reviews. For example, right now there's still a little under 1000 chapters I havn't read. Maybe the novel changes later on. But there aren't much more chapters available, and I think the reviews give a skewed view on this piece of... work. I guess. Top of the line sports novel my ass. If you want football, go read Giant Killers, that manga is a lot better than this.

This is far from being as good as other reviewers say, in my opinion. It doesn't feel the... more>> slightest bit realistic at all.

The transmigration has a funny start, but its execution is hilariously bad. He doesn't seem to have to adapt much despite the large change. Other people always seem to like him, approve of him. He achieves his early goals easily, without much effort. He seems like a god, achieves results like a godly trainer, but doesn't have any knowledge or experience to back it up. Unbelievable, in the bad sense. The portrayal of women is just as bad. Every character interaction feels unrealistic. And...

Another thing that stood out to me: the author isn't able to write well about football. He talks about useless possession, which is a by now outdated, debunked theory. It might've even been debunked already at the time of writing. What Tony Twain does and say to coach his team, it's all utter drivel.

I still somewhat enjoy it, but that doesn't mean that it's any good. 2/5. And that's being generous: if this was a paper book... This quality wouldn't even get looked at by any publishing company. Non-NU score would be like 0.5 or 1 out of 5. Luckily for this novel, NU has a lot worse still. <<less
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Forty Millenniums of Cultivation
February 28, 2018
Status: c227
This novel is mostly great. On NU, that's a 4/5.

Way better than swallowed star IMO, that one is way too dry to read. This one's a little juicier. Even if it's slow.

GOOD:

    • Plotplanning: for example, relatively early on it is mentioned that the love interest has very advanced pet robots in her residence. It is not explicitly explained yet, but conjecturing why isn't difficult given what you discover in later chapters;
    • The romance seems pretty good, great female lead. Well, the little bit we've seen of it. She's a mixture of a few cliches but I really like it;
    • It's a fun world. I really like the setting, and academy type settings are the best for this type of novels, better than pure sect settings.;
    • The characters are not all the classic baddies/evil young masters, better than usual cultivation novels, in this one they don't annoy me to death. Some characters also show some semblance of intelligence, a rare sight.
BAD:

    • I would not really call it filler, but the writing style can come over a bit bloated. Makes it feel slow. Not due to prosaic descriptions (as if you'll find that in cultivation webnovels), but mostly due to the obligatory face smacking and info dumps. Note that it's about to go to 3000 chaps;
    • Talking about info dumps: there's quite a bit of them. Luckily, they are spread out and not very long, so I did not mind them at all;
    • The characters are mostly superficial.
The bad points are can be called part of the worldbuilding, for the more patient readers among us.

You know what, in short, it's been fun!
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One Man Army
January 8, 2019
Status: c73
One-dimensional story which took (stole?) most MMO concepts from EoSP. That's unfortunate, because it was bad. There's plenty of unique titles, one-time bonuses, legendary quests, hidden dungeons and the like, which shows how little these authors knows of actual MMO design.

Conversations and character interaction are avoided as much as possible. A pity! For example, what was the relationship between the protagonist and his SKY Telecom protégé like? This is what I usually like the most in MMO novels. Not the absolutely absurd power creep, but the impact on real life.... more>> The power, and the changes in relations that come with. Well, if there's no characters then you won't have very cliché Korean webnovel characters, right?

Another sad matter is the Chaos system, as it's called here (forgot what it was in EoSP). Just like in EoSP, it advances the timeline compared to the past due to the protagonist's cheat-like existence. Seriously, that's all it does to combat someone with way higher potential power? Screwing over everyone playing it normally for one person who seems to find exploit after exploit conveniently left in?

The protagonist's power level is a bore. Make it too easy? Removes all tension! Removes all accomplishment! Yes of course, he works hard. It's just that you don't notice over the sound of the gold he's raking in, all unique titles he's getting, all secret dungeons he's doing and all NPC organizations he's taking over.

The writing itself isn't that great either. I'm not talking about the translation or editing here, only about the actual content of the sentences. As happens so often, the author sometimes assumes the reader is stupid and can't infer anything. When other people talk, it's about him. The little bit of conversation in this novel isn't well done. All the MMO power creep messages clutter the novel unnecessarily. I get it, it's an OP something. Seen it so many times already this novel. Skip.

This novel's only strong point is cheesiness, which is why I still enjoy it a bit. But it evokes no strong emotion, isn't well written, isn't smart, isn't... good in any way. I've read novels with painfully irrational characters that I rated higher because at least they got emotion out of me. <<less
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Badge in Azure
December 3, 2018
Status: c49
This isn't a very good novel so far, and it probably won't improve. I mean it's fine, I've read worse, but it's not well written and the beginning of the plot is very disconcerting.

Character progression is quickly handled at the start, and then forgotten. He meets the first what I presume to be love interest, and they instantly bond, trust each other and party up together. Abrupt and unrealistic. In general, characters don't get fleshed out. The focus is on action and ramming through some of the... awful plot.

The plot... more>> is abysmal. Every ring or similar item he gets is a special item. He always meets the special people gets nice stuff, lucks out on everything. He kills someone, has to flee somewhere else and like ten chapters later he kills another person he shouldn't have killed... Go figure.

I don't like novels overusing "levels". Subdividing the apprentice level into like six unnecessary sublevels is counterintuitive. Fewer levels with clearer dividing lines, that's what it should have been.

The translation is fine, but could use an editor and is a little confusing at times. All in all, not at all deserving of a 5, let alone a 4 or 3. Dropped. Also, Jason Statham, Picasso, etc. really? I hate it when a novel uses names of famous people. Action movies and art don't have anything to do with the novel. It's not a useful association. <<less
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The Most Majestic You
August 7, 2018
Status: c30 part1
This novel is... nothing special. Luckily, it's still fun!

    • I still don't really know why the ML fell for the FL. The novel is like the FL: sometimes funny, ditzy and a little disjointed.
    • The esports aspect wasn't very well done. Teams in 2016 were a lot more professional than what's portrayed. In like everything. Sponsorships, organization, staff, players/subs,... The initial sponsorship presentation by the ML was a total joke.
    • There's not that much real interaction between the FL and the ML, and by that I mean that almost all interaction is the FL being a ditz/the ML flirting and FL being a ditz, Whereafter the FL gives a shy reaction. It's fun, but monotonous.
    • The eventual resolution to the parental problem was something I looked forward to, but it was resolved very suddenly. The buildup felt very unrewarding.
    • The last big romantic hurdle in this novel was the long distance. It didn't really feel like a hurdle while reading. It felt rushed.
    • What growth? I don't feel like there was growth at all. She's still the same person at the end, he's still the same person at the end.
So what do we have in the end? A novel that sometimes focuses on the personal lives of the leads, but doesn't succeed to give them depth or growth. A novel that sometimes focuses on romance, and does it... decently. It's fun at times, if you can tolerate the female lead and the plot. Some heartwarming moments, flirting, and kisses.

A decent read, but nothing special. 3/5 for some of the banter. I like e.g. Honey Stewed Squid and You're Beautiful When You Smile a lot more.
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Reverend Insanity
May 14, 2018
Status: c59
Edit:

c420: I love the folklore stories now and then. The plot is very well done for a reincarnation novel. Some parts were really entertaining. The characters aren't stupid, but still pretty flat. The protagonist is selfish and has motivations for all of his pretty violent actions, I like how consistent he is.

The one thing I don't like is how there are seemingly Gu for everything, and some of the names. It was interesting when they were all little insects or beasts of the sort, but, "vertical crash Gu" or whatever... more>> it's called just doesn't do it for me. Really? What type of insect or beast would that be? It hinders my imagination and that's pretty unfortunate.

And plenty of the lower star reviews... Are because people aren't patient enough to give a story the time to build itself up... Shame.

=============================

To me, for a xianxia, every aspect of this novel is at least above average. Altogether, this makes for a great novel. A grade above many others' such as Tomatoes'.

If you can accept the protagonist that is. Some say the protagonist is a bit edgy or childish, but I'm not of the same opinion. He's not really that evil either, just very uncaring, like a shark in the financial world.

Other characters so far have not shown much change, but they weren't all stupid, weren't entirely flat. 59 chapters aren't necessarily enough to see much character development though. I have hopes and expectations.

I cannot comment on any overall plot. It may and probably will still come.

I like the way it is written.

Hopefully it keeps treading the gray line in between dark edginess and normal xianxias.

5/5 on NU, I wouldn't really give it a 5 anywhere else but it is more than a 4 though. <<less
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Skyfire Avenue
January 2, 2018
Status: c604
My second review, couldn't hold myself. This is a hidden gem. Screw Doulou Daluo or however it is written. This one is the best one he has produced.

First of all, to all wine tasting scene haters, sod off. I loved those chapters, including the first ones. For better or worse, the writer seemed to have some real literary ambition with this novel, something most xuanhuan/xianxia writers lack entirely. Well, a little at least. Those chapters give a nice backdrop to the rest of the novel and sketch the environment the... more>> main character lives in. No, this novel does not have the dry "Hello I am Lin Ming and I live in this sect this powerlevel and look what item I found o my god im going to cultivate so fast" start.

It has a red and tasty start ;-).

Rich characterization, the most and best focus on the life stories of other characters who play a big (or smaller) role in the story. Well-executed romance (thank god for that, most Chinese novels su** at this, especially in cultivation type novels), great humor through character interactions. Realistic and interesting interactions between fleshed out characters, in a Chinese webnovel? That cannot be true! And the way it is written... well, of course it's translated so I don't know how the Chinese holds up, but the English translation is of high quality (with very occasionally a missing point or "cuz" instead of "because") and the writing style is one of the best I've seen in a Chinese novel. Really, of all translations I've read, this is one of the only ones that make me enjoy the reading not because of what the words mean, but also a bit because of how they are written, how scene after scene is portrayed and how events play out.

Possible bad points: some unrealistic scenes or situations (like at the very beginning, after the wedding, you'll know what I mean), and for the first 150 or so chapters I didn't feel drawn in by the main character. I don't exactly know why, possibly because the main character gets less attention than in other Chinese webnovels. All the above good points kept me reading however, and I'm glad I did. Last possible bad point: the ranks, levels, disciplines,... (cultivation and such) don't get much explanation.

To be honest, I did not think a lot about the plot. It's probably excellent for the most part. Oh, whatever, I was enjoying all other aspects like the character interactions too much.

Edit: later on, plotwise... I do not like the "final enemy" "hurrdurr aliens" direction the plot went into. Still rate it 5/5, but that is on NU, where everything gets higher ratings than deserved. For real, probably 4.3, points subtracted for plot and some small things. <<less
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