The story starts off with a lot of potential, but it falters in the later parts. It does have 3, 000+ chapters so it’s understandable, but the little problems in the story really starts to pile up after a while and gave me a lot of unnecessary frustrations. I stopped at exactly chapter 1, 750 and now have no intention to continue anymore. There are a lot of things that the author did well, but there’s also quite a bit that bothers the heck out of me. The two sorta cancels each other out. Nevertheless, I would recommend this to other people, just not as highly as other stories I’ve read.
EDIT: Nevermind. I will NOT recommend this series to anyone. By the end, the story became so horrible, so terrible that I basically have to force myself to finish it. I will also edit my rating to express my disgust.
EDIT2: Since I've been messaged by people asking why I was so disgusted by this story, I'm gonna copy and paste my comment here with this review.
There are a lot of problems with this story, but up to around 1, 000 chapters, this was still very enjoyable and fun. At least it was enough for me to read more. However, by the time I'm done with this, I was left with nothing but hate and frustration for the story and its author. I actually had to force myself through the last two hundred chapters just for the sake of completion. So I'm done with this whole story and this will be about all 3, 820 chapters, not only the translated ones.
Alright, spoilers. This is gonna be looong. Let's see, where should I start...
Oh, the ALCHEMY. I understand that this is a story about an alchemist, but descriptions and the preparation process should not take up two or four chapters each time. I'm much more interest in the plots and the characters in the story, not reading about a fake process that the author just pulled out of butt. There are a bunch of fighting tournaments for the MC which features the usual. MC joins, audience thinks he has no shot, wins. These are alchemy tournaments in addition to martial arts tournament. Although the latter drops off eventually, the alchemy tournaments persists all the way up to chapter 3, 400. Same pattern, MC always win. Then there are the experiments that he does with alchemy which sometimes leads absolutely nowhere. Like, he learns how to combine alchemy and weapon runes to increase the effects of his pills by at least 10x, but he hardly ever uses this discovery again (I'd say never, but I think he may have used this one other time) cause it's apparently too hard. Oh, sure, like two thousand chapters later, he finds out about a similar process, but this and that are two different things. Different runes, different system. So yeah. That was a waste of time.
Then there is a LEVEL SYSTEM. It is complete bullsh*t. Like, there are a lot of stages where it took most people thousands of years to reach, centuries if they're talented. Okay, MC does it in a couple years. Which is nothing compared to his friends, who achieve even it earlier than the MC because they are lucky as heck or their master essentially have a Hyperbolic Time Chamber that only girls can used for some reason. And rarely does the other character react to this miracle. They did it and that's it. So no matter how powerful the MC becomes, his friends/lovers will either be ahead of him or be not that far behind because of stupid reasons. All the way up to the end. Seriously. Power levels are bullsh*t.
Which leads us to the IRREGULAR TIMEZONES. Oh boy, the MC keeps getting screwed over by this. In this story, there are a lot of worlds, and they almost never the same. Say, if MC becomes stuck in some place and is forced to spend two months there, as much as NINE thousand years could have passed in *his* world. This idea probably came from the old Chinese belief that one year in our world is like a day in the Heavenly world. But this is crazy from a reader's point of view. This process rarely works out in our MC's favor. It's just a plot point that the author relies on to let his friends/lovers/enemies catch up to him when he becomes too OP. It's as frustrating as it sounds and it feels really cheap whenever it happens. At first, it was just one century or so, then it become thousands of years, then tens of thousands of years. The last time dilution condensed millions of years into ten days. Fortunately for the MC, this one worked out in his favor. So if you intend to read this, prepare to experience a lot of jumps into the future.
And also fortunate for the MC, the ROMANCE in this story is pretty simple. The girls are all beautiful or at least attractive. Their hearts are very easy to capture. Some female characters barely has any interaction with the MC but somehow fell madly in love with him cause he did one good thing for them. Still, as flimsy as that sounds, they remain very loyal to their man. Even if that same man leaves them for hundreds, if not thousands of years without any communication between the two and is constantly out there seducing the underpants off other girls, they remain as chaste as nuns. Just like in real life! Okay, I can accept that cause this is a fantasy, but then... they just outright disappears. Even the original women who had accompanied the MC from the very start disappears for hundreds of chapters (if not a thousand) without much fanfare and by the time they make another appearance, they are reduced to cameos at best and their roles by the MC's side are replaced by OTHER women. Some of the best characters in the story are these original love interests, and then, poof, they're just gone. I'm serious, they're just phased out. They have absolutely no roles in the end game arc other than the fact that helping MC get back to their world (which is around 3, 400 chapters onward) and are barely mentioned at all afterward.
A lot of PLOTLINES are also dropped too. Like, you can tell when the author introduce some stuff, like some new information or named characters, to set up a future storyline. Then, they are never mentioned again. I understand one or two dropped storylines, but this happens a lot. The author seems to just set stuff up on a whim and drops them just as quickly. This wouldn't be so bad if they don't suck up so much words and chapters. Like, MC creates a sect of his own later on that took a lot of chapters to set up and a great deal of the story involves its conception and survival. Eventually, while all of his friends and lovers ascend to a higher realm of existence, the MC choose not to ascend so fast and waits a hundred years. (*actually 30 years) Why? To do nothing but create pills for this sect so that it would have a strong foundation and would be able to endure against the obstacles ahead. The result? The sect falls apart in his absence and its existence is never brought up again. A second one is the existence of dan lings, spirits that are born when alchemist creates pills that have reach the peak of their potential. They have the talent to become even better alchemist than normal people cause they were born of alchemy and have the ability to "eat" alchemist in order to steal their skills. Apparently, every alchemist worth their salt have at least one or two in a "higher realm". We do not see either of these two abilities used in the story. Ever. In fact, after their arc, we do not see any dan lings ever again. As if MC is the only one who has it. Lastly, have MC finally found something that that stupid needle couldn't pierce through?
If that were not enough, the MC's INTELLECT starts to decay badly later on. Like, after a while, he just runs into every problem without any consideration for himself, his situation, or the strength of his enemies. Most of the time, he has absolutely no plan on how to face his enemies/threats which are often a lot stronger than he is. He just throws himself into bad situations and hope for the best. It's only by luck that he makes it out alive and ahead every time. Like, his arrival just happens to coincides with an opportunity that ensures his safety and eventually leads to his rival's downfall. Gosh, I know he's never been some super smart genius, he's a C+ student at the beginning, but by the end, I'm sure he qualifies as mentally retarded. It's just that he's the cleverest retard in the story.
Speaking of retards in the stories, I have to talk about the VILLAINS. If a male character is talented/handsome/famous but is not MC or a clear ally, they are always evil. No exceptions. They will always be stupid and greedy people who wants MC's treasure or some super technique or even his lovers. They always will resort to either numbers and underhanded methods to get their way. Not only that, their families (or a whole set of families) will also be evil and greedy, and they will always be pulled into direct conflict with the MC so that he can destroy them later on without any sort of guilt on his conscience. It's fine cause they are all horrible people with no redeeming traits at all. Most of the time, these families or sect will be connected to someone even more powerful that wants to revenge or for sake of his treasures/technqiue. Then the MC has to destroy them too and... Well, the circle of life, everybody! And, the ones that MC hasn't got time for? Well, they will all join the next big antagonist that comes along cause they are evil and evil people always work together. This will make MC's victory all the more awesome! Or not. And, the villains are just worthless. They are often set up as the big bad, cause a lot of trouble and pain for the MC when he's still weak. Then, once MC becomes powerful, he just bloody kills them off instantly cause he's 10x more powerful than them now and they are nothing compared to him. Or, if they're really unlucky, they are killed by MC's allies offscreen cause karma? All that built-up and conflict that the author created between a hero and his rival... Ended with one stroke.
Finally, one of my biggest problem with the story... The MC is always a SUBORDINATE. Okay, he made his own sect. Okay, he becomes a very powerful alchemist and he's killed a lot of people... But I never got the sense that he ever becomes his own man. He's always the underdog, working his way up to the top. Though he eventually get there, comes the next arc, he's reduced to a nobody once more and has to start his rise all over again. Like, one of the last arc in the story, we see him in a new society, with everybody and their uncle is considered stronger than him, where he takes a job as part of a patrol company guarding a bloody tree! Really? 3, 600 chapters later and our MC still has to rely on the good will and protection of others to cover his butt? Haven't we done this already? Repeatedly? Did the author really have to make him take a job as a glorified redshirt cause he couldn't think of any fresh ideas for his story? This is in the last hundred chapters. And don't get me started about the number of times where he is stuck in another realm where he can't use his normal powers and has to learn to use another kind of energy! The last arc is all this.
All in all, not a story that I would recommend to anyone. The early parts are enjoyable, but after the first major time-skip, the quality starts to decline rapidly. There are a lot of other problems that I didn't mention, but I figure the ones I did talk about here are story's biggest and could essentially make or break a reader's enjoyment so I might as well warn you guys before you get suckered in by the translated chapters as I had. I haven't picked up another story of this genre since I've read this one. For good or bad, this killed almost all of the interest I had for xianxia.
Oh, minor spoiler.
I know some of you guys hate this so lemme just tell you first. Except for his father, the Shen family (in fact, everyone from the entire area he came from) will eventually ends up extinct/dead. As per usual, MC had to save his father's butt later and his father doesn't appear again. And MC never had any children with his love interest even though he promised his father he would after things "settle down". I think he's sterile by now.
Ah, this story has a complicated spot in my head.
It's main draw is that a modern person has the ability to travel back and forth in time. The MC is the sole link that ties the ancient world and the modern one. But, for some reason, this plot is eventually phased out and the MC lose contact with the future completely. Fortunately, in my opinion, this doesn't really hurt the story, but the author could've just saved us all some time and just made MC stuck in the past from the beginning. Why give MC the ability to travel back to the modern period when you're just gonna take it away, permanently?
Anyhow, let me just say this first. The story starts out a bit weak, then gains a lot of momentum around the middle part, but ultimately and completely falls apart at the end. It's fairly obvious that the author just lost interest and ended the series well before its time. If done right, it could've lasted at least two hundred more chapters. Four hundred, if the author actually decided stick with the Hun Invasion plot-line. Still, I did enjoy the most of the story. It's just the end was just too... abrupt. And silly.
Children, beware. This is a story about Ancient China, so you know there's gonna be some very violent stuff happening around MC. The author isn't afraid to show the brutality of war and the cruel methods some people used to inflict pain on their enemies before they die. Two words: Human Stick. At least one of MC's generals suffer this fate upon their defeat. This might not be for everyone, but personally, I love it. In fact, I wish it were more frequent.
MC's relationship with his wives doesn't really develops. In fact, once they've married, MC will rarely have any time to spend with his wives at all, other than some interactions here and there. This story is nearly entirely about politics and intrigue and the introduction of the fabulous inventions that the MC brought back with him from the future. Essentially, MC replaces Liu Bei as the third power in the Three Kingdom Period. Most of the time, when he's not uplifting Chinese civilization with the introduction of cement and cannons, he's stealing talents left and right, making Cao Cao green with envy and Liu Bei look quite the fool.
Speaking of... The characters were very well done... At first. Then, they all get flanderized.
Cao Cao starts out a fairly reasonable character, at least for a warlord, but is still an extremely ambitious and shrewd fellow. Yet, by the very end, he actually surrenders to the MC and helps dismantle his own empire after he was overthrown in a coup. It's complicated. Sun Ce... Turn out to be gay. In fact, very gay for Zhao Yu. It only took Zhao Yu's brush with death for Sun Ce to realize it. I suppose it had to be that way in order for the MC to steal both of their wives and yet have them both join MC's faction willingly and loyally as his dragons. But that was still very stupid in my opinion. I don't know what the author's problem is with Zhuge Liang, but the author decided to portray him as a decadent, yet often penny-less and henpecked strategist who's so scared of his own wife that he's even afraid to go home. One of the best strategist in history, and here, he's been reduced to a comic relief. Even the MC gets this treatment. He gets absolutely no respect from his own council near the end. While they are all making jokes at the MC's expense and embarrassing him as if they were old buddies, and the MC just taking it, I thought... Warlords have been known to execute entire families for less. Xiang Yu, for example.
If there were anyone who's portrayal I enjoyed from start to end, it's Liu Bei. I never liked him in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In this story, MC completely take over his role and then slowly dismantled every single thing he ever had. Strategist? Gone. Wife? Gone. Supporters? Gone. Elite Forces? Gone. Sworn brothers? Gone. In the end, he had absolutely nothing. And I very much enjoyed to watching him fail again and again. Too much enjoyment, in fact, so this might be a little bias.
As for the titular Lu Bu... Still a warlord and a fearsome warrior, but... he's also a family man now. He's leaving all the world conquering for the younglings. Still don't know what to think about that.
All in all, characters starts out normal, but essentially becomes a parody of their former selfs by the end. This, I didn't like at all.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the story. Sure, there are a lot of problems and plot-holes, but even so, I'm not too bothered by them. I see this similar to a summer blockbuster movie.
You essentially see the MC live out everyone's fantasy of what they would do (or should do) if they were to travel back in time. Become someone important, carve out a territory of your own, develop a worthless wasteland into the technological capital of the world, and build a reputation so powerful that your very name becomes a weapon to use as any other.
You see the MC start out as a nobody then become a prince then a warlord then ultimately an emperor. And you really do feel excited by the MC's achievements. Like when he modified the ballistas, install them into ships, and then use them to crush the Wu's naval forces that was invading. Or recruiting Zhao Yun before Liu Bei and using him to harass/devastate Liu Bei's forces with the Mongolian horse archer tactics. Or by the end, building a fleet of European-inspired ships, complete with naval artillery, to devastate whole enemy fleets, seaport, and seashore city from miles away. And what time-travel story would be complete without the MC bringing superior methods of forging better and stronger swords and armors that are essentially hacks for his elite army. Or, best of all, at the end, when Cao Cao used the Emperor's authority to declare MC a traitor and an enemy to the realm, MC and his council simply declared MC the true Emperor and Cao Cao's Emperor to be a false one. Man did that backfire on him horribly!
The MC also shows some shrewdness in the way how he abuse his Princely title to overpower his enemies, how the use his Liu surname to unify the world under his banner, and how he twist all of his enemies plot and schemes into building blocks for his own little corner of power.
Still, as much as I've enjoyed those moments, there were also a lot of other moments where it dragged on and on. The story is kinda there, but the execution leaves much to be desire. Some of the stuff that happens to the MC should've killed him outright. It is only became MC is the protagonist that he survives with his head attached to his neck. Plus, some of his actions are also downright stupid, such as his decision to put himself at the mercy of another warlord and essentially living for years under house arrest in exchange for the right to buy food. Or waiting for Cao Cao to attack you rather than taking the initiative to attack first while he's dealing with the Yuan's army on the other side of the map. Note, at this point, MC already has the manpower, the superior arsenal, and an epic naval force, WITH CANNONS. And he's extremely rich after stealing all the merchants from the other warlords and the Yuans still have an army to threaten Cao Cao with. He can take Cao Cao out, easily. But he decided to wait and wait, and ultimately paid dearly for that decision. Hint: Cities sacked, generals dead, and his cannons fall into the hands of Cao Cao. Go figure.
And adding to the fact that the ending was a complete mess. So... I give this three and a half stars. Not an actual four stars rating, but I can't, in good conscience, give this just three stars.
P.S. Even though MC's indecision cost him a lot, it'll all work out fine in the end. Cao Cao has a really capable son, overthrowing the emperor and helping himself to the throne while his father is fighting the battle of his life. MC becomes emperor with the help of Cao Cao and unifies China just in time to fight off the Huns or something.
Also, let me name off a couple of deal breakers that the story has that very few people have mentioned.
MC has to destroy his power and restart his cultivation from the start around chapter 900 so take note of that.
Yang Xi, the man who destroyed his MC's first life, doesn't die until near the end of the story. So a sin for stretching out a plot point that should've been solved in the first three hundred chapters. Yang Xi is a very annoying character.
The Mortal Realm and the Spirit Realm takes up about 90% of the story, which I assume leaves about 10% to the Immortal Realm. When I stopped reading (1100/1300), MC was still pretty low in the official power heirarchy, as in he's still at least five level of reaching the end. So I'm going to assume he never reach the final ranks.
Also, MC becomes quite an ass later on.
At first, the villains of the story seems to be the Empire that threatened to invade MC's homeland and the Prime Minister seems to be set up as the big bad, but later, it turns out that they are actually the champions of progressivism, that have improved the lives of the common people greatly and taken lands that were traditionally belonged to the sects and handing them back to peasants and commonfolks. Their conquest and slow but firm centralization of their government is actually doing a lot more good than harm. And their philosophy actually lines up with MC's pretty well. Later on, MC's faction and the empire would actually work together and they would become extremely close allies. I like this. Normally, the empire in question would be evil to the core and would be wiped out by the MC when he gets absurdly strong, but no. It turns out, they're actually doing a lot of good in the world and they seems to be spared from the fate that befell so many big bad empire in xianxia. It's a breath of fresh air to see this development.
But, with such strong themes, the story still feels very light-hearted to me. Right, there are a lot of death, massacres, and even torture, but... I'm kinda desensitized to that already. There are a lot of jokes, a lot of gags that made me laugh, but it also saps the seriousness of certain situation for me. Some developments actually feels too silly to even be possible. Or at least, the reaction of such would be much darker/violent.
I dislike that after MC leaves his home, he joins an academy and learns like a student when he is already so powerful and have already endured so much, but it's easier to take when I consider that he is only twelve, thirteen at the time. MC is still a child, right, but some of his opponents actually reads like a child to me too. A lot of bad stuff happens, a lot of people does bad stuff, but some of them are brushed aside when the Prime Minister is revealed to be the big good of the series. Once the good guys are revealed to be good guys (or is hinted that they would be good), they don't really get any karma for the bad stuff they have already done, which seems weird to me. At the very least, the King of Poison should get some real sh*t for poisoning the Empress, but that's just me. MC himself is a huge karma houdini. But, while everybody claims that he is evil, he is closer to unorthodox, with all the makings of a modern saint. And yes, he really is quite clever.
The romance... is terrible. There are a lot of love interest and I think this story is going to be a harem, but it's not really done very well. MC is extremely dense with relationship. He's like a Japanese light novel protagonist. And some of the love interests aren't really that good. Like, one love interest nearly swindled all of his treasures, and he's actually grateful to her for letting him use his own money, the heck? And there's that snake lady. Ugh. There are so good love interests too, but all in all, this story isn't a romance, or a harem focused story. That's all I have to say about that. But, the other relationships in the novel is very well done. Through the MC, I have grown to care for certain characters and even love interest, though I doubt anything would get into this block of rock. Maybe there might be some development by chapter 500, but that's a tad too late for me.
There are hints of a greater threat in the future, the Gods that lives beyond his world and the ones who destroyed the old civilization. MC will definitely come into conflict with them, as MC is later revealed to be a descendant of that very civilization and that bits and pieces of that civilization are hinted to have survived to the current era. The war between the world and the Gods would be something to see, as this is the same society that created "Sun Ships" and "Moon Ships" and have calculated ways that allowed even normal mortals to ascend to Godhood one day.
Some of you may notice that my terms are a bit modern, that's because modern is what I feel from the story. Let me summarize this story in another way: The story features a boy who journeys across a world whose highly advanced civilization was once hit by apocalyptic event, probably caused by aliens, learning and spreading knowledge/ancient technologies across the land, befriending liked-minded peers and making enemies of powerful men who guards the secrets of their power and advancement from the common men.
The biggest problem for me is that the author has a very awkward way of writing his dialogue. How do I say it... It feels like he just never lets a conversation develops itself and instead rushes to get to the conclusion as quickly as possible. Most of the time, MC meets with another character, the author would dump everything the other character have to say (expositions or even secrets) into two or three long paragraphs, and that is a little annoying to read. Then, there are a lot modern words/phrases that each character uses that you wouldn't expect to come from from a xianxia and some stuff that are downright awkward to read. It's like the the author's in some race to see who can throw in the most exposition the fastest. Also, more than once, I had to cringed when an antagonist announced his evil plan to MC and even screamed for the whole world to hear about how he's gonna cripple the MC and rape his lovers in front of him. Perhaps the author wants to justify how the MC will embarrass/punish the arrogant young masters later on, but a lot of time, their rants doesn't really make sense. There's arrogant and there's borderline retarded. MC literally has you by the balls and you threaten him?? It feels like the author is making them evil (and bloody loud) just for the sake of them being the bad guy and the MC's antithesis. All in all, the dialogue is cringey, awkward, and uh, the very opposition of immersion.
And that story itself is kinda bad. Oh, it has the common problems. Way too many tournaments, too many arrogant young masters who wants to rape MC's women, and too many ancient shameless "what's his face" chasing down youngsters for their treasure/secrets... However, there is another bigger problem: the author never gives us readers a chance to stop and breath. At all times, MC is always facing one or two serious crisis. There is never a chill arc or something slow to prepare us for the next big bad. The MC always jumps from one big event to the next big event. And MC's running for his bloody life again, color me shocked! This gets exhausting to read after the fifth big bad comes along. But, that's not all... The author also has a very poor control of his story and an equally poor judgement of how to write it. For example, the author decides to have the MC go take some stupid test from the phoenix family and then literally travel to another world while big bad #2499 and his fiendish minions are chasing down and threatening to kill everyone that MC cares about! And there, we are treated to all the lovely clichés that comes with these sort of "test" while the big bad is laying siege to MC's base. And oh my God! Everybody is so proud that if they were even a little be better than you, they'll look up their nose at you and belittle you to the ground! Oh my God, I'm about half of foot taller than you, you are beneath me, you bloody insect! That's every character in the story. There's no humble characters. Just proud and prouder. For some reason, MC often just takes what he needs from memories gain from his cube cheats whatever and leave the rest sealed at some corner of his mind until he needs it. Like, what? It'll take what? A couple hours? A day tops to absorb the memory shard entirely? And what does the MC do? Push it off until he literally needs them to save his lazy butt or make a pretty penny for him. That's just dumb, one of the many ways the author utilizes to create problems for the MC that shouldn't exist. Just terrible decisions all around, imo.
Most of the characters who appears feels flat. Everybody has an ulterior motive, which they would also readily reveal through dialogue for some reason. But then again, they are merely clichés who are only in the story to fulfill their role, then die or disappear or whatever when MC leaves for the next region so whatev, right? A lot of the antagonist's actions do not make sense. All the good guys are incompetent af. And the love interest... is okay, I guess. But I have a saying: if you write a harem, either you better incorporate everybody to please the Pokemon collectors or just take all the popular ones, to satisfy most of the fanbase. Leaking one or two is fine. But the author here decided to write a harem, and seems to have MC marry only the most boring heroines in the whole story. I'm only in the early 1000s and hear that there'll be two more love interest, maybe they'll be better, but my God... the current love interest is boring af. And yeah... I used a singular just now because the princess has almost zero presence as a love interest. Pretty sure she's just in the harem cause she sucked up to MC's parents. As for the MC himself... he's lucky, and we'll leave it that. But he's a baaaaad character too.
The power hierarchy doesn't really make sense for me. Oh, I understand the numbers, but the power gap's just too close between each characters. Like, most of the time, the leader of a sect/family or whatever would often just be a couple power levels higher than the minions they command, but the power differences would be massive. I don't know... It just rubs me the wrong way that if someone were to be a little bit more gifted and breakthrough just a couple levels, they would already be stronger than their sect leader or whatever. Which is essentially what happened. MC went from being known as the number one among juniors to the leader of an entire war/rebellion in just a year or two, tops.