I ended up reading its entirety and enjoying heavily the direction and care the author took for most of the book; however, it is quite a pity that it ended up with a latter third and ending of a story that was just as disappointing as Coiling Dragon.
I would almost rate this a 3 for the poor ending and attention to detail, but considering this as a whole, I'd give it a 3.5 if the UI would let me. I gave it a 4 in respect to what it could have been.
This is best summed up after the ending where the author claims that he was disatisfied with the final book (aka last third of the series), how he left too many plot holes, and that he sucks at writing cultivation...
Though I'm glad that it was a positive learning experience for him, and a mostly enjoyable read for me, it is still a shame how the story changed and how so much potential ended up to naught.
The characters stopped being fleshed out while the author kept on adding more to the scope of the series. This resulted in characters, even those that are considered to be main characters, end up being cardboard cutouts to be mentioned and ignored, whilst many interactions are added and never continued upon. The ending was rushed to the point where the author just wrote, 'book ends'.