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flyingnimbus
flyingnimbus rated it
Douluo Dalu
January 27, 2019
Status: c336
Started off strong, interesting setting, and fun cast. Unfortunately, the author cares more about making his main character look good than the actual story quality. I've dropped this story 4 different times, before powering through all the distasteful portions to reach the end.

The main issue with this story is not only that the MC is too strong, it's that he becomes strong in ways that are either straight ass-pulls or contradict how the world is introduced. The author bends over backwards to make his MC untouchable, then reminds us of... more>> how amazing he is at every opportunity. We learn from Grandmaster (the MC's teacher) that no one is perfect, everyone is bound to have weaknesses, but teams of fighters can cover for each other to make a perfect team.

Low and behold:
Spoiler

The MC's initial weaknesses were a lack of direct damage and lack of elemental (primarily fire and ice) resistance. That makes sense as a grass/plant type. He asks his teacher, should I dedicate my next rings to patching up these weaknesses? Grandmaster says no, that if he does that, he would be sacrificing the opportunity to improve his strengths. So what do you know, before he even needs to fight the fire and ice schools, he comes across 2 one of a kind herbs that strengthen his body, make him immune to fire, ice, and most poisons, and improve his spirit power. He doesn't have to give up anything and gets everything he needs. His spirit starts as the weakest blade of grass but evolves after leveling up enough into a top tier spirit. I love Magikarp power characters, but doing it this way sucks. What is even the point of setting up rules that the MC doesn't need to follow?

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Where there was once the potential of developing the 7 devils as complementary pieces, growing together and covering for each other's shortcomings, we instead get a one man show. Tang San has to always be the soul of the team, the star that shines brightest. He surpasses each of his genius teammates in their own best attribute, they always depend on him, rarely the other way around. A semi-related issue is how everyone says that control type spirit masters always have the advantage over other types. That can be fine, but it doesn't seem likely when of the 3 top schools, the none of the hereditary spirits are control type.

My last criticism of the story is that no matter what the MC does (good decision or bad), he is always rewarded for it. He never really has to sacrifice for long. And for all the talk of his maturity, his most obvious flaw is his need to win at every turn, yet this is never punished - when the going gets tough, he is just like any other shounen male MC.
Spoiler

Check out all this BS:

  1. Early on in his enrollment test at Shrek, when he throws everything at the testing teacher. And fares unreasonably well. What for? This wasn't a life or death fight, he was just throwing a temper tantrum bc his gf got hurt.
  2. When he tries to absorb the spider, it is well beyond his max capacity, and instead of being harmed, he gets a priceless spirit bone.
  3. He shows his hammer in the school tournament arc even though he's been repeatedly instructed only to do so if his life was in danger. This puts a target on his and his friends' backs yet he's never blamed for this, nor does he suffer consequences.
  4. He trains in Slaughter city and should emerge leaking murderous intent everywhere, but this is easily resolved by going to an aunt that was never mentioned before to learn social skills, all of which happens off-screen.
  5. Even the pinnacle sacrifice of the story, that he would give up everything to resurrect Xiao Wu, is cheapened by how temporary it weakens him and that it just gives him the opportunity to upgrade his weakest rings.
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Overall, this is a decent read, especially in the beginning, but would not recommend reading all the way to the end. It's a shame because if the author wasn't in such a hurry to give his Gary Stu everything, it had the potential to be excellent. <<less
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flyingnimbus
flyingnimbus rated it
Legend of the Cultivation God
April 26, 2017
Status: c157
If you are looking for a wuxia/xianxia story that transcends the cookie-cutter cliches that longtime readers of the genre have come to expect, this novel is an ideal choice. The growth of the main character is certainly slow for a cultivation story, but in exchange, following Zhang XiaoHua through his daily tribulations lends a greater sense of immersion and believability to the tale. There aren't any arrogant young masters or jealous martial brothers that serve as fodder nor is there a string of damsels in distress for our young hero... more>> to effortlessly court. My one chief complaint is how the author feels the need to justify XiaoHua's decisions to withhold potentially pertinent information at every turn - it feels like they are trying too hard to play for big shocks in the future. That said, it

The growth of the main character is certainly slow for a cultivation story, but in exchange, following Zhang XiaoHua through his daily tribulations lends a greater sense of immersion and believability to the tale. There aren't any arrogant young masters or jealous martial brothers that serve as fodder nor is there a string of damsels in distress for our young hero to effortlessly court. My one chief complaint is how the author feels the need to justify XiaoHua's decisions to withhold potentially pertinent information at every turn - it feels like they are trying too hard to play for big shocks in the future. That said, it

My one chief complaint is how the author feels the need to justify XiaoHua's decisions to withhold potentially pertinent information at every turn - it feels like they are trying too hard to play for big shocks in the future. That said, it is still worlds better than having characters who rise from humble beginnings only to become just as arrogant and oppressive as the common villains in their wake. Or reckless fools who hot-bloodedly charge into every situation only to come out with great rewards and no lasting harm. I wouldn't even mind if XiaoHua decided to give up his advancement in martial arts (his motivation pursuing martial arts sucks anyway) and decided to become a scholar.

It's a shame that this was dropped, as it has been by far the most pleasant cultivation novel I've read - far better than the childish wish-fulfillment nonsense that pollutes the top of the NU rankings. You should read it, because it is good. <<less
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flyingnimbus
flyingnimbus rated it
The Silly Alchemist
July 25, 2017
Status: c57
5 star beginning, 1 star turning point.

The first 30-40 chapters of this story were great, the main character (Ye Lang) was a breath of fresh air amidst a sea of indistinguishable MCs in the other works on NU. He was reincarnation done in an interesting way, a person who didn't bring any memories or skills over to the next life, just a desire to live a prodigal life. Reading about his adventures was great because there is a sense of straightforward logic in all of his actions, yet they still... more>> differed dramatically from common sense.

Alas, the author failed to keep it up and
Spoiler

gave him back his memories.

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Lost is the adorable, clumsy simpleton, replaced by an aloof faker. It's like the person I started reading about and had grown attached to is gone. Feels like a bait and switch, so I'm out, the story isn't worth reading anymore. <<less
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