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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
The Novel’s Extra
September 21, 2018
Status: c114
SUMMARY
A fairly entertaining read incorporating the recently popular superhero + isekai themes.
But plot gets unnecessarily convoluted with poorly structured cliche tropes, filler chapters and nonsensical conversations.
The concept of being an author seems pointless, MC is bland and boring.
Devolves into korean makjang drama.
Translation quality is pretty good though. Kudos on the effort at least.

I don't get why the novel is rated so highly, probably because of the superhero-tag (influence from Boku no Hero?). I'd ask reviewers to raise the bar and hold a higher standard.

PREMISE:
A... more>> failed author gets inserted into his own web novel of a post-apocalyptic superhero society as a minor side character. MC is armed with some foreknowledge, and the ability to edit his character/items. Eventually he gains prominence in the new world, becoming the true protagonist while supposedly trying to survive/find a way out.

CHARACTERS:
MC is a typical 28 yr old loser, who has a second chance to personally experience his own failed novel. No personality, no humor or passion that might endear him to readers. MC is trying to survive while he thinks he's "hiding his strength" and is light-bendingly dense.

The side characters are more developed with interesting backstories, personalities, powers. They are typical shounen-ish characters ~17 yrs old (novel MC/antagonist/multiple love interest/love triangle). The age gap is a little weird, but I'll refrain from commenting on these things.

ISSUES:
(1) The meta-reference of web novels was actually interesting...
MC has to confront the reality of a world that he created, except it's more detailed than he ever imagined and so starts to learn where his own writing went wrong. It's a fascinating idea, IF, as an author, he learns how his story could be improved and grows from that knowledge (like the anime Re:Creators).
Unfortunately that concept is never pursued beyond the first few chapters. After a while, MC just becomes an awkward robot-like existence in his own novel. So it's supposed to be a story about redemption, without the redemption??
The only point of being an author is just to edit his own character/items and some knowledge of the future.
The MC has ZERO CHARACTER GROWTH besides powering up. He was even lazy enough to edit his character desc to be more hardworking so he could push through his workouts?! WTF.
You could substitute for any random non-author MC and there would be no difference.

(2) It's called "The Novel's Extra".
It'd be interesting if we had multiple perspectives since the whole point is immersion into an author's novel. Instead it's focused entirely on MC who becomes the uncontested star of the show. Side characters' personal thoughts are a litany of exposition, and they inevitably and annoyingly lead back to the MC along the lines of "Why is the MC so cool/mysterious/powerful?". Compare that to "Overlord" where side characters story lines slowly merge with Ainz, or "Top Management" where side characters brief/mild interactions with Jung Sunwoo hint at their thoughts and personal motivations.

This makes the side characters bland and boring as they bounce off the robot-like MC in cringe-worthy one-sided interactions, while MC is constantly dense. Which is ridiculous since MC was their creator who should understand them best. Again, being an author is POINTLESS.
The MC doesn't make a real attempt to befriend anyone, he just wants to advance the story while being a "nice guy" and survive. Nameless non-critical characters are ignored even if they are in mortal danger (i.e. he doesn't really care if regular humans are killed).
Author (real one) explains MC's aloofness as avoiding attachment to the characters so he won't be emotionally hurt if/when he leaves. Which makes NO SENSE because it's also repeatedly mentioned MC feels pride and joy as their creator. He's ALREADY EMOTIONALLY INVESTED.
What's the point of being a robot?

(3) The heart of the issue is anthropomorphication.
Does MC regard everyone as real living beings or not? He struggles with killing humans, but yet sees everyone as a fictional character and thus has no emotional connection. That disconnect is stupid.
This issue is much better explored in another Korean novel (The Tutorial is Too Hard).

(4) A hidden co-author is introduced at the beginning, but hardly ever appears.
Even 100+ chapters into the story, the only purpose is making minor edits to the scenarios so that MC can't accurately predict the future.

(5) No cohesive story structure, it's always an AND-THEN-THIS-HAPPENED.
The readers are constantly introduced to random disjointed developments. It's just a huge mishmash of EVERY TROPE you've read in other novels. Dozens of arcs in less than 100 chapters. And it makes it worse that you know the MC created this whole novel, which emphasizes even more that MC SUCKS AS AN AUTHOR.

Spoiler

Suddenly it's exam time. Suddenly it's time for competitions. Suddenly it's exams on a deserted island. Suddenly there's a talent competition (just an excuse to give MC singing ability and reference cool YouTube videos). Suddenly the clubs they joined go on world tours where they encounter Situation A/B/C/D/E. Suddenly a dungeon appears.

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(6) Fillers galore.
I would expect that in a Chinese novel with 1000+ chapters, but for there to be so many useless filler unstructured chapters in only 100+ chapters is stupid. Long paragraphs of side characters nonsense bickering to make the word count.

Spoiler

Typical examples of how bad it is.
Hint: Author's chapter word count requirement is probably 2500 (in English at least) .

Chapter 111
First 530 words, side character thinking about MC (reminder MC is 28 yrs old, the school kids are 17).
Next 1400+ words, MC leaving for a RANDOM assassination mission and completing it (same day).
Next 500+ words, MC going home and interacting with side characters.
Zero plot progression.

Chapter 112
First 730 words, a mercenary group sitting around randomly talking about the MC.
Next 1800+ words, MC and side characters chatting and eating at a restaurant.
Zero plot progression.

Chapter 113
First 760+ words, MC playing with items/stat sheet when no one cares about 0.001 numbers.
Next 140 words, yet another random club outing.
Next 1300+ words, MC chatting with a side character and showing off in class.
Suddenly it's revealed MC always knew that a random dead dude he was looking for (on behalf of the side character) was actually a good guy. Was never mentioned in the dozens of chapters while MC was looking for him. Has no bearing on the story, just nonsense makjang.
Next 400 words, a side character is digging up some info about MC (which the next chapter reveals is pointless other than to make MC's background a sob story).
Zero plot progression.

Chapter 114
First 1000 words, side character discovered MC's background sob story and her father might be involved. Pointless makjang.
Next 600 words, other side character realized her father (aforementioned dead dude MC was looking for) was a good guy. Which the AUTHOR SPOILED 1 chapter before. Pointless.
Next 560 words, MC is in Busan because his club once again randomly decided to go. He's in a high class hotel suite. The reason: someone canceled so he got it for cheap. This random teleportation trick happens throughout the novel. Some pointless chatter with side characters.
Next 460 words, MC just so happens to meet potential final boss in Busan. Tadah! Some plot progression finally happens.

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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
The Human Emperor
December 21, 2018
Status: c650
Another one of those recently popular isekai + timetravel genres. I gave it 4 stars at first, then it kept going downhill.

Won't summarize the story since the novel description did a decent job. I'll just point out the main issues after reading the Chinese raws:

(1) PLANET-SIZED PLOT HOLES
-- Homing pigeons AREN'T MOBILE PHONES!!! They only fly HOME. Different groups of people can't travel everywhere in the world at the same time and then keep sending messages to each other. It makes it worse when you know entire... more>> stratagems are reliant on communication.

-- The title of the novel is called "The Human Emperor", so shouldn't the MC be making strides towards that goal? It's mentioned at the start that there are future aliens that humanity needed to fight against.
Instead MC slaves away for the Sage Emperor, and happily jumps into war as if that's the only resort to stop enemy countries, which depopulates the human race against the future aliens. Huh?
Spoiler

MC literally went with bio-warfare by spreading the plague to Tibetan highlands to kill off livestock. He could have done this BEFORE WAR EVEN STARTED. That would have disabled the Tibetans logistically and they can't even start a war

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-- MC's zealot-like loyalty to his sh*tty country is misplaced. The government is chock-full of corrupt individuals, and the Sage Emperor is patently useless. MC's loyalty should be to his country, not to the Emperor.
Spoiler

It's hinted there's some hidden secret causing the Emperor to become pathetic, but after 650 chapters it's just sheer nonsense and poor writing. No excuses.
A better scenario would have been to depict The Sage Emperor as being old/with no capable successors and thus unable to hold/manage court properly.

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Instead of trying to reform the government (getting rid of treacherous officials, etc, that led to bad decisions in the first place), MC spent all his time building and training a private army. He can't do both?? It's constantly shown that he was able to influence the thoughts and decisions of officials in court, even as a civilian.

-- The entire 100+ chapters for the epic war (Chapter 525-650) is completely pointless. Yup, you read it right, 100+ chapters to 1 war.
Spoiler

And MC goes to fight the war with a meagre private army, not a single iota of help/reinforcements/supplies from the government. And this after everyone knew the southwestern frontier was falling, the initial armies had been defeated, and there are STILL tons of reserve troops (200+k) in the capital. And the "Sage Emperor" acts mysterious, keeps saying he can't do jack sh*t, and doesn't do jack sh*t.

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-- Every foreign/domestic general other than MC is an idiot with little to no knowledge of warfare.
Which is very insulting and shows a complete lack of research. It's well-known that even in antiquity, armies had a good command of logistics, basic statistics, and warfare. The lame reason by the author is that everyone in the new world is bulked up with martial talent, so they don't need strategy. I call BULLsh*t.
If EVERYONE is bulked up, that means EVERYONE is back to being on the same level/starting point, especially when it's repeatedly stated that it's impossible for a suped-up general to fight a whole army. So of course you would need to develop an art of warfare! How obvious is that?

-- The cultivation system is PATHETIC. MC's cultivation levels are broken, and he unreasonably powers up at the last minute whenever the plot armor calls for it.
The idea of "auras" (some buffing, some offensive type, etc) is kinda interesting, but poorly depicted. Eventually auras can do everything, literally take physical form.

(2) HUNDREDS OF FILLER CHAPTERS
-- The training arc from chapter 200-350 is complete nonsense, has no bearing on the plot.
Spoiler

Multiple training camp sites that were later abandoned when the author realized it made no sense. Spirit vein is sold. All of the side characters developed in the training camps disappear.

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-- The epic war from chapter 525-650 is pointless, could be shorted to 50 chapters or less.
Author ran out of ideas and just decided to drag out with fillers, half of every chapter was everyone reacting to each other. MC pulls off one, only ONE stratagem/maneuver, and every character on the battlefield gets several paragraphs to react to it. It's that ridiculous.

(3) USELESS SIDE CHARACTERS
-- Author added way too many characters, puffed them up for multiple chapters, then they only reappear for a few paragraphs before disappearing again. All of the young characters he met in the first 400 chapters are useless. Random named generals keep appearing during the war arc, then proceed to die.

-- ALL the female side characters are one-dimensional "dinosaurs" (physically and verbally abusive) while MC acts like a pansy in front of them. Weird fetish from the author.

(4) OBVIOUS RACISM
-- I find it odd that no one pointed out the not-so-subtle racism in the novel, while everyone gives so much sh*t to "I Really Am a Superstar". The author is clearly an absurd Chinese nationalist.

The novel is set after the peak of the Tang Dynasty (late 8th century), centered around the An Lushan Rebellion. Let's be perfectly clear. NO country was "good". Everyone fought for control of all lands in inner and central Asia. Alliances shifted constantly, everybody attacked each other whenever they sensed weakness. China invaded Mengshe Zhao (Yunnan), Mengshe Zhao allied with Tibet against China, Mengshe Zhao switched allegiances to pair up with China against Tibet/Arab Caliphate. China also allied with one of the Korean kingdoms (Silla) to take out the big dog Goguryeo before they started fighting for the spoils. And that's just being simplistic.

Yet in this novel, EVERY country surrounding China is portrayed as evil, power-hungry, unscrupulous backstabbers while China is the lone country of goodwill, holding the higher moral ground. This isn't about being PC, it's just factually wrong. I'm Chinese and I'm disgusted at this ridiculous setting.

Tibetans/Ü-Tsang are labeled as red-faced monkeys, pure carnivores and get diarrhea from eating rice (which is absurd, their staple food is barley and bread). It's the ESKIMOS that eat mostly meat (fish/whale/seals/bears/birds).
Koreans/Goguryeons are unflatteringly labeled as disheveled smelly warriors. That's literally the description for every Korean warrior, even the commander becomes just a shaggy bigger dude.
Yunnan/Mengshe Zhao people are pathetic vassals to China, who got conquered by them years ago, and have the AUDACITY to try to break free from Chinese rule. Right. <<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
Night Ranger
November 25, 2017
Status: c300
Interesting premise, author has a good grasp of AD&D combat/leveling system and it shows up in the novel. Those familiar with AD&D novels would appreciate the level of combat detail. Shares same concept as "The Amber Sword" where a very experienced gamer is sent into the game world during an apocalyptic era. Translation is well done. This is all pretty good at the beginning, but...

The story starts going off the rails past chapter 200+, am currently at chapter 300+ (chinese version). Plot is starting to go all over the place... more>> with too many random characters. Feels like the author is just adding random plot devices/skills/abilities/items, then author forgets/gets tired of what he wanted to do with the plot device, abandons it, doesn't know where he wants to go with the story and becomes inconsistent.

There are very random elements of comedic writing that's introduced here and there, but never consistent either. The various sub-characters suffer from the inconsistent writing and end up really weird.

Spoiler
    • A bad-ass female mage suddenly becomes tsundere
    • The bad-ass 3rd era god (Shadow Prince) who was assassinating powerful people for the first 100 chapters becomes a dumbass. Shadow Prince is randomly put down later, embarrassed and made fun of. Shadow Prince was apparently stealing the underwear of another goddess. Most of the 3rd era gods appear to be complete fools. Huh??
    • Author tries to setup the MC to do some nation-building (like "Release the Witch, The Amber Sword"), but it's poorly done. Author introduced so many random characters that have little to no value that it's painful to watch how they lamely try to fit in when they join his new city.
    • A lot of random plot armor.
      e.g. MC's city runs out of food. MC goes on an expedition to get more food. MC sends one of the random characters to procure food. Meanwhile MC gets distracted and goes off on his own quest, just so happens to find tons of food during the quest and solves the problem. And the random character he sent off with money disappears. Then many chapters later, MC goes on a journey to find the random character that disappeared. Huh???

      e.g. MC was bad-ass with his dual daggers and the fights were pretty epic. Then author randomly introduces a gun in the story, and MC becomes enamored with borrowing a legendary gun to one-shot legendary level bosses. Huh?

    • Elements of nation building seem really important, then become complete trash. e.g. MC was trying to develop a gold mine for many many chapters since it's led to believe this is critical to developing his city. 20-30 chapters later, MC just signs off the mining rights to other character just to get a new toy/assistance in his quests.
    • The quest system was mentioned in the first few chapters. Author clearly forgot about it. Then reintroduces it hundreds of chapters later.
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
The Tutorial Is Too Hard
October 7, 2018
Status: c149
SUMMARY
An excellent Korean novel with a unique spin on the popular dungeon-clearing genre.
Highly recommended for readers who have played grinding RPGs, especially DARK SOULS.
Story structure is episodic with lots of flashbacks, so it can be a little difficult to follow.

I think reviewers can be divided into those who know/played/understand the appeal of Dark Souls and those who don't. Those who did will really appreciate the frustration and mental exhaustion of grinding through a sh*tty existence.
Those who did not won't get it at all. A lot of... more>> their reviews are indicative of that ("Why is MC so OP?", "Why is MC such an emotional wreck?", "Why does MC end up like a Gary/Mary-whatever Stu").

PREMISE
A Korean pro-gamer Lee Ho Jae is the first batch of humans to be sent by the gods into a tutorial-like dungeon to power up and defeat evil that is invading Earth in the near future. Very typical fantasy K-novel so far.
However, the MC's arrogance causes him to choose the hardest difficulty, leaving him trapped in a hellish existence and now he needs to find a way out. Along the way, the MC slowly uncovers a hidden secret behind the dungeon that all may not be as it seems.

CHARACTERS
The entire novel is singularly focused on the MC, and how his pro-gamer mentality clashes with real world survival. Instead of just powering up, the MC realizes he has REAL PLAYER AGENCY, and that his decisions strongly affect the dungeon/world. He learns and grows from this, completely out of the expectations of the gods that sent him inside. At the same time he struggles to maintain his sanity in this hell-like existence.

I don't know why there are reviewers saying that the MC is just randomly OP, or that he becomes a Gary/Mary Stu. We read his intense struggles to power up just to survive and progress to the next stage. Those comments are like a newb watching a Dark Souls speed-run on YouTube and mock at how "easy" it is. Seriously?? That's borderline offensive.
MC narrates from the point of flashbacks.
Spoiler

He spends almost 10+? Years in the dungeon, is still stuck there, and seems to have worked out some/most of his emotional problems. And that's saying something.
If we all watched and accepted that the protagonist in "Old Boy" became mentally unhinged after being locked in a small room for 15 yrs, of course it's reasonable for Lee Ho Jae to have PTSD and a whole host of other anti-social/self-destructive behavior after 10+? Yrs of survival mode in hell difficulty that he cannot escape from.

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So he's narrating from a point of currently being OP, but it also shows his journey. What's wrong with that?

There are many note-worthy side characters with genuinely believable backgrounds that attempt to help the MC, some of the best ones being the "Mobs" (enemy NPCs) that the MC encounters. This is anthropomorphication at it's best.
Spoiler

Lee Ho Jae realizes that they are not just randomly generated enemies that he needs to defeat to progress. They are possibly real (or formerly real) entities that had their own backstories and were just leading their own lives before being pulled into the dungeon. MC develops real empathy for them.
That's an AMAZING concept. Previous game-isekai type stories (esp Jap ones) had at best friendly NPCs that were anthropomorphized.

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WRITING STYLE
Decent, not too much exposition. Enough sub-text that readers can easily understand character's emotions.

World Building is decent. The floors are quite creative and varied. But it would've been better if there were more detailed descriptions for the environments. I'd like to visualize a Dark Souls type environment as I'm reading the novel. I think this is where the Koreans could take a cue from Chinese novels.

The use of almost 4th wall interactions with the gods overseeing MC's progress is pretty entertaining, since it's entirely in emotes (no dialogue). A lot of plot hints can be teased out from these emotes, skips the useless exposition while moving the plot along. It's almost theatrical display.
I've seen several other K-novels copy from this so that's saying something.

NARRATIVE STRUCTURE
The author chose a somewhat achronic narrative structure involving multiple flashbacks (based on the dungeon levels cleared) so it's not the easiest to follow. That said, the dungeon level/timeline is listed prominently at the beginning of each chapter so it's a small hurdle to overcome. It's not like "A Clockwork Orange" which can be difficult to read.

Is this a perfect 5-star novel? No.
But for a webnovel it's definitely much better than most crappy 5-star rated novels I've seen other reviewers give. If the rating system were expanded, it should net at least 4.5 stars. <<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
My House of Horrors
February 4, 2019
Status: c333
"If there's something strange... who you gonna call?"

And so goes one of the most unique spins of the "system-leveling" Chinese genre, the addition of a modern horror theme. HIGHLY recommended for all the horror/adrenaline junkies out there.

PREMISE
A gutsy young man inherits a haunted house attraction and cell phone after his parents mysteriously disappeared. He struggles to find clues behind their disappearance while trying to make the enterprise profitable, and slowly discovers a hidden supernatural world that "levels up" his haunting prowess.

CHARACTERS
Protagonist is a plucky, street-smart youth with a... more>> background in engineering. He's got a good head for science but is open-minded to the spiritual world. You can't help but root for the guy as he's forced to go through horror scene after horror scene to "level up", while armed with nothing but bravado, wits and hilarious quips.

Better yet, he's surrounded by a cast of genuinely interesting humans/spirits, all complete with their own backstories, character dispositions and motivations. Even the numerous villains he faces are well-detailed from all walks of life!
Spoiler

A psychotic arsonist is driven to murder due to fear of abandonment. A beautiful ballerina commits suicide in an act of desperation. Goddamn dolls everywhere!

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COMMENTS
(1) Genius premise
The reason why horror works so well in games and novels is that the player/reader has real agency.
You make the choice to turn the page, go down that creepy corridor that will ultimately kill you, or put you face-to-face with grotesque exploding babies (Dead Space, anyone?).
In "My House of Horrors", the MC is similarly given real choices via the system, aka Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style. He, and the readers, are forced to go through grueling heart-thumping situations and investigate supernatural mysteries while constantly weighing risks-rewards.
Spoiler

What could POSSIBLY go wrong to undertake a mission to hold your breath under water at 344AM in a haunted house while a murderous spirit is clawing outside the bathroom door??

Given all the kingdom-building novels out there, how hard can it be to build a Horror-themed-Disneyland? =)

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Compare that to some lame shounen leveling-up novel (Against the Gods, Coiling Dragon) where a reader can hardly empathize with any of the Goku-like training.

(2) Great writing style/detailed environments
Any good horror novel fleshes out the environment with sufficient detail while leaving enough to the reader's imagination. And the author got this down in spades.
You can figuratively hear the clawing on the door that separates you from a vengeful spirit, the screams of the dying in their final hours, and the slow descent to madness of the clinically insane. Holy sh*t-snacks!

Spoiler

Phone buzzing with messages...
"Are you there?"
"Are you there?"
"ARE YOU THERE??"

Visitors in the haunted house attraction discover an old notebook ...
"I'm sorry.. I shouldn't have gotten close to you. I just wanted to help pick up the ball.."
"Teacher, I didn't mean to get my clothes wet. Nobody bullied me, it was my mistake."
"Dad, I promise I'll work hard, please stop beating me.."
"I'm sorry, I don't know why my smile annoys people, I won't do it again.."
"I'm sorry.. I'm sorry.. sorry"

A masked lady narrates a story..
"Let me tell you a story about my wife.
She's four years younger than me and works as a midnight radio host, so she's often back late. Shortly after we got married, I used to leave dinner out for her but I'd find the food untouched the next morning. Oddly enough, the cooking utensils appears to be used. At first I thought she didn't like my cooking and didn't think much of it...
Over the next few nights, I heard sounds in the kitchen and noticed someone was cooking with the lights off. She was holding blocks of meat and a kitchen knife... it looked like braised pork, but who makes that in the middle of the night?...
I love her, but it's starting to creep me out...
One night I hid in a corner and heard the sounds of teeth tearing into flesh.. munch munch
I stayed awake. When she slept beside me, she looked so beautiful. I noticed her belly looked a little swollen and hesitated to kiss her.. maybe it's just her idiosyncrasies, but I still love her.
I looked through the trash bags outside.. at first it was just chicken bones. I'm amazed she could finish an entire chicken! Then it was fish. Then a dog, a cat...

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(3) Modern, universal horror
As with generational horror, the novel is a serious reflection of current social issues that plague us with anxieties. Post 9/11 (torture porn), an increasingly alienated/polarized society (xenophobia), domestic abuse (what goes on behind the walls?), gender equality (vengeful victims of misogyny), school/online bullying (social media, cell phone culture, etc)... the list goes on.

It also pulls in horror elements from ALL cultures, which is just amazing. Japanese high school horror, gruesome fairy tales, chinese mythology, western urban legends, shamanism, etc.

And all with a healthy dose of factual research on the psychological triggers that help make haunted houses... well horrifying.

(4) Kudos to the author
It may be hard for English readers to get full access to author's notes unless you read Mandarin Chinese (since Qidian freebies stop at Chapter 100), but let's just take a moment to appreciate the hard work the author put into this novel.
There's a reason why the author's pen-name is "I-fix-air-conditioners", because those were the odd-jobs he had to do to survive before writing this novel. That's passion right there. <<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
I am the Monarch
December 23, 2018
Status: c120
Standard time-travel novel. More of the same, but lacks in-depth content and finesse.
There've already been so many reviews, I'll just point out the obvious flaws.

(1) A dumbed-down version of the kingdom-building genre
Newbie concepts of warfare/tactics/stratagems/logistics. I know Koreans don't traditionally do kingdom-building genres, even the best they had was styled after gameplay-mechanics (Legendary Moonlight Sculptor). But this is REALLY BAD.
It makes it worse if you've read all the other better kingdom-building novels, such as "Release that Witch", "The Amber Sword", "Overlord", etc.

(2) All friendlies/enemies are dumb
Nobody in the entire world has any concept of how to conduct a war, even experienced veterans.
Nobody knows how to stand in formation, nobody knows how to scout, conduct intelligence activities, defend, perform guerrilla tactics, perform cartography, etc.... more>> The Kingdom doesn't even know what villages they have in their borders.

And yet, somehow there's supposed to be a great Renaissance/Golden Age of development and warfare within the next 20 yrs, and so the MC cheats by using foreknowledge to gain an advantage. REALLY? Author clearly has no idea how civilizations and technological progress develops, and never read any books on military history.

Even in our current age, just because people didn't have the internet 20 yrs ago doesn't mean they were idiots. These nonsensical scenarios seem to be built from very stupid Hollywood-perspectives, like Mel Gibson's portrayal of the American Civil War ("The Patriot"), where soldiers could only stand in line formation and shoot at each other. And Mel Gibson was somehow the only genius to ambush officers and hide in the woods.
FYI that NEVER happened. Line formation was a last tactic used, people were always shooting from cover, and charges only happened from flanking positions and when they had numerical superiority.

(3) Therefore... it's Shounen, and a weak one.
The low-level plot and overly simplistic content makes it feel like it was written by a teenager, for teenagers. MC reverted back to being 18 yrs old, which clearly states the author's intended audience.
I don't know why people called it seinen.

It's not impressive even judged on the level of shounen. There's no character growth at all, it's just a story about a middle-aged man who got a chance to relive his life and seize opportunities he missed, a pathetic wish-fulfillment type story. It's not for anything significant like saving the human race, or any greater good. <<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
Reverend Insanity
July 4, 2018
Status: c158
Decent novel with a villainous MC following an unconventional route of cultivation, but poorly executed. It's "Mushishi" (great Japanese manga) meets "Warlock of the Magus World" (boring prototypical ruthless MC novel). What drew me in was the "Mushishi" part.
The MC is a childish villain that makes no sense.

PLOT:
A reincarnator/transmigrator gets a second chance to relive his life due to his possession of a special Gu ("mushi"). MC is originally from Earth, so his personality gets warped in this new world that works on survival-of-the-fittest/dog-eat-dog principles. Despite MC's knowledge... more>> advantage from reincarnating, nothing comes easy, especially since he still has an inborn handicap.
The cultivation process is quite novel, based on the idea that Gu provide different supernatural powers to those who master them. So it's not just powering up, but finding a fitting "tool" for the situation.

CHARACTERS:
So far there's zero side characters. It's MC vs the world.

MC is a cynical loner with a cold, calculating personality, where everyone is just a stepping stone on his path to.... what? Nobody knows. No motivations (certainly not survival/revenge/being king-of-the-world), still no end goal for him 150+ chapters into the novel besides accumulating strength and ranking up his cultivation. This is a problematic story structure.
You knew from the beginning Goku from Dragonball wants to be the strongest as a point of pride and joy, Luffy wants to find One-Piece. What does the MC want to do in this 2000+ chapter novel?

MC is supposed to have literary talent, but it's just him quoting meaningless chinese poems from Earth. Kinda like giving Goku the ability to knit beautiful sweaters. It doesn't advance the story, and nobody around the MC appreciates it anyway.

It gets hard for a reader to identify with the MC on anything. He's a straight up self-serving villain, NOT an anti-hero that does things for an underlying cause. But the incongruence is that the author (or at least the MC) goes on and ON AND ON trying to justify his actions to readers/everyone, blaming the environment as a reason for him undertaking the "demonic path", and trying to pass off a villain as an anti-hero.

EDIT: Some reviewers have rebutted by pointing out that the author apparently wrote somewhere that the MC was always supposed to be a villain. And his self-justification is because "nobody is a villain in their own mind".

Firstly, I agree that there's nothing wrong with being a villain. There are plenty of cool villains that have universal appeal. Joker's "one bad day" that can turn good guys into bad when everything goes to sh*t. Deadshot, the family-abuse survivor that pushed him into his mercenary ways. I believe a lot of reviewers who gave low ratings are ok with villainous protagonists, just that it was poorly done in this novel.

Secondly, I reject the statement that "nobody is a villain in their own mind". If we define villain as doing what is socially accepted to be "bad things", then it's already understood that even psychopaths/sociopaths understand the consequences of their actions (i.e. they know whether their actions are villainous or not). Go read up any book on psychology. It's only a difference of empathy (which leads to different risk/reward behavior), basically whether the ends justify the means. All of the best written villains understood the consequences.

So now we have:
(1) An MC written as being in denial of reality -- by constantly justifying his actions as the only "logical" way.
(2) An MC that does illogical sh*t which doesn't fit any longer term goal even from the MC's warped perspective. It's just straight up senseless sh*t as referenced below and by many other reviewers.
Then what you have is NOT a cool villain. It's an MC who is a STUPID Joker, an addled child.
And I don't wish read about a child.

WRITING STYLE:
Novel title is named after the author's pen-name. No idea how that got translated into "Reverend Insanity". It's literally Mushi-shi (Bug Master, which incidentally was written in 1999-2002).

The author introduces pretty cool poetic allegories (the concept of "Ren Zu"), which does blend nicely with the cultivation system. But that's the only saving grace, and otherwise fails miserably compared to better novels like "Way of Choices" (2014).

Other commentators have pointed out how tedious and verbose the writing style is. The author spends entire chapters justifying MC's actions, even though it's patently obvious in the 1st paragraph. Probably attempt to meet word count requirements to get paid. I just skim chapters now.

ISSUES:
MC's psycho-analyzes and puts down everyone he comes across, but the same analysis is never applied to himself. Why does he want to accumulate strength? Not for money/power/s*x/recognition/caring for kin. It seems like strength is just a means to survive in the world (which wasn't that hard), he has no other purpose. Whether he's an anti-hero or villain, it makes his pursuit of power pretty pointless.

MC embraces loneliness as a virtue while mocking everyone else for being part of the societal system. There are a lot of negative references to "relationships" (guan xi), a very colloquial modern chinese term. It's obvious the author is subversively mocking the Chinese govt and culture. And yet MC/author offers no alternative solution to governance besides complete anarchy. The story feels like it's become one big list of complaints.
While author is correct that our behaviors and values tend to be shaped by our environment, it's a contradiction and hypocrisy because the MC actively leeches off the same system he bitches about to advance in his cultivation. He lives in his village, is provided safety within it's walls and enjoys it's resources and amenities (school etc). Sure he's mistreated and didn't grow up in the perfect family, but doesn't take away the fact that he was part of the system. And eventually when MC gets "taxed" by being asking to contribute (whether it's temporarily loaning his resources or being tasked missions), he balks and complains that it's absurd to be asked to do anything.
It's like a cockroach saying how dumb humans are to work so hard to make food, while stealing and eating the same human food. Sure, there are plenty of anti-hero MCs out there, but I don't there are any that this ridiculously shameless and self-righteous.

Author fails to note that MC's methodology isn't necessarily the only means of achieving success. It's a classic case of "there is only one correct path which is mine, my demonic path is better than yours, everyone else who thinks otherwise is just a self-righteous or a fool". He screws over everybody if he gets the chance. Seems pretty dumb for someone to needlessly make enemies, especially who lived over 500 yrs.

Among the many other inconsistencies:
Spoiler

(1) MC goes on and on about how important it is to exploit the system while staying within rules and regs. But then his murders start to escalate where he blatantly does it with eye-witnesses. MC gives flimsy excuses which is accepted because everyone else is busy with a war? Lazy writing.
(2) MC price gouges in the middle of a war, and no one punishes him for it? Even on "peaceful" earth, govts get to declare martial law and commandeer assets. It makes zero sense that MC gets to do whatever he wants. Really flimsy writing by author that contradicts all the "gaming the system" stuff mentioned earlier.

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One bonus I'll mention is that MC doesn't bother to "face-slap" every arrogant or self-delusional prick he comes across. So that does seem more mature than most other chinese novels. <<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
Top Management
September 6, 2018
Status: c148
SUMMARY
Probably one of the best modern-day slice-of-life Korean translated novels out there (the other being "Chemistry").
Perfect light-hearted novel filled with comedic elements and believable heart-warming interactions.
Highly recommended for fans of the Korean entertainment industry (kdrama/kvariety, "Running Man" etc), you'll absolutely appreciate all the subtle references in this story.
Adapted to a lame kdrama with gender roles reversed, likely to increase sales to fangirls.

PREMISE
MC is a passionate cinephile who just joined the entertainment industry as a manager. He gains the power of precognition (glimpses of the future)... more>> that he has to interpret to aid his career (and his cast of stars).

WRITING
The writing, pacing, subtlety is top notch. The world building is very well done, you totally believe the constructed reality of the Korean entertainment industry. It acknowledges the shadiness of the industry, the legacy of s*xual favors/scandals, which is a great nod towards the recent #MeToo movement and Harvey Weinstein problems. That alone is worth 1 additional star.
There's NEVER excessive exposition, dialogue is kept to the minimum, characters don't just narrate out their feelings. It's just the right amount of subtext to empathize with while filling in the blanks with your imagination, something seriously missing in most Asian novels.

CHARACTERS
This is where the novel really shines.
MC is a genuinely likable movie fan with a passion for his work and wants to develop his own team of stars, so that presents a realistic goal which moves the story along. He struggles with the reality of his shady environment, and tries to make the best of his situation without compromising all his values.
It's great that MC's not just a damn boy-scout like other generic novels.

Most of the side-characters personalities are also incredibly well fleshed out, from their mannerisms to speech patterns. They have their own believable ambitions and motivations. There are some odd turns with villain characters, but I'm ok with turning a blind eye when the rest of the cast is fantastic.
Spoiler

A bitch villain who suddenly turns tsundere makes zero sense. But I guess author had to introduce a love rival just to spice things up.

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We easily focus on the various characters because the emphasis is on their struggles and not on the MC's precognition skill (which rarely appears). We're emotionally connected to their day-to-day life, whether it's the mundane training and work they endure, or star studded events and performances. It reminds me of a great (and award winning) Korean drama called "Misaeng", where the story was entirely about employees struggling through a corporate environment.

MILD ISSUES
The plot has a lot of deus-ex-machina. But if you accept that it's slice-of-life then that's fine. It does correct itself midway with the introduction of MC's other protege.
Spoiler

Nam Joyoon, a 30+ down-and-out actor who struggled his whole career because of unfortunate circumstances despite having the talent. MC doesn't rely on his precognition to help out Joyoon, but genuinely hones his own ability to scout and develop Joyoon. The bromance is REAL.

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Overall kudos to the author (and translator) who are obviously avid fans of the entertainment industry. I'd give it 4.5 stars out of 5 but since that isn't possible, I'd rather round it upwards.

RESPONSE TO EARLIER CRITIQUES:
It was commented that MC Jung lacked a purpose/goal. MC's goal was presented at the beginning by his Chief/mentor Hyunjo, who stated that they continue to work hard despite the griminess of the industry, because the feeling of breaking through obstacles and nurturing a successful celebrity was "addictive". The MC repeated that line afterwards when one of his proteges made it. For reference it's in Chapter 10 and repeated at Chapter 62 and Chapter 99. Basically it's like watching your kid grow up. It's a simple goal, yet you realize it comes with many side goals that have to be achieved.

EDIT -- COMPARISONS TO "GOD OF MUSIC"
A lot of comparisons have been made to God of Music, a novel also written in 2015 around the same time as Top Management. I posted a review on the other site. Basically TM avoids a lot of the pitfalls that GoM made. <<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
The Legendary Mechanic
December 24, 2018
Status: c315
Iron Man meets Legendary Moonlight Sculptor!

A fun easy read for those who enjoy RPG-type novels with a healthy dose of comedic meta-references on the transmigration and VRMMORPG genres. Rather than the usual fantasy-only theme, it's thankfully partially sci-fi based, so think more Mass Effect.

EDIT: Down-graded rating to 4 stars, the story structure becomes rather bad after chapter 200+, author tries to start too many parallel plots that don't work and ends them very lamely. Translation quality is only going downhill, and since NU is a translation site, I weigh more on the English version. The jokes just aren't enough to sustain poor planning (just like Virtual World: Peerless White Emperor). MC gets excessively OP.

The novel (and MC Han Xiao) doesn't hesitate to lampoon his own genre, especially since he's... more>> a veteran nerd/weeb. Han Xiao is a self-serving troll but steps up when he has to, kinda like Deadpool-lite while occasionally breaking the 4th wall. You can really see the author's nerdy trivia knowledge of sci-fi/gaming come alive in the novel (think "Ready Player One"). It's refreshing to see an MC that embraces his inner nerd, much like the j-novel "To Be a Power in the Shadows".

Descriptions and translations are hilarious, you can sense they definitely had fun with it. I read both the Chinese Raws and the English translations. The translators summarized quite a bit of content which causes chapters to be unusually short, maybe out of laziness, but they got the gist of it and are grammatically accurate at least.
Spoiler

""What the hell, why am I the only one SAO-ed?"

"Han Xiao did not have anything in particular against any group of people. He respected people's hobbies and interests. These two men before him were simply two lonely hearts who had no way of releasing their pent-up frustrations. Over time, their common bond developed into something special..."

"Division 13 may have been powerful and mighty, but one could never have enough new weapons.
The research department is always allocated with the largest cut of the budget, yet those useless fools only know how to create useless crap like double-sided sticky bombs, curved guns that don't work at all, and fake nipples to hide poison needles! They even have male and female versions!
The covert ops department had borne a grudge against the research team ever since two of their agents were self-poisoned due to a 'wardrobe malfunction'."

Some are my own translations, you can see the similarities to LMS:

... on the player forums.
"I've been randomly transformed into a tentacle monster, requesting help on changing my race, urgently waiting online!"
"WTF, I wanna be a tentacle monster too, let's trade places!"

"Art is an explosion!" - Guess that reference. Also used in "Forty Millenniums of Cultivation".

[collapse]

Side characters are varied, funny and interesting, though they tend to appear briefly, similar to LMS. Which is in-line with the feeling of a massive universe and trillions of people.
Spoiler

A tsundere old man NPC who happens to be a key character, a greedy girl-next-door workshop mechanic, players who are game-immersion fanatics, an absurd amount of people who mistakenly assume MC is gay/beastie/necro/etc... the riotous cast goes on.

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There's no apparent romance for the MC so far, nor does there need to be.
Spoiler

Several female side characters express an interest in the MC but he disregards them in pursuit of powering up. Even MORE female side characters treat the MC with disgust/disdain and are only respectful of his abilities/reputation and nothing else, which is how it should be!
It allows the focus to be on the plot development. A good example of a similar novel where things went wrong with a female distraction was "Forty Millenniums of Cultivation". I daresay that the awkward female lead kinda ruined the story.
Han Xiao's background was always a power-leveling nerd and he enjoyed it, nothing wrong with repeating that here.

[collapse]

Some reviewers have made complaints which are actually somewhat legit:
(1) Heavy technical info dump and somewhat broken leveling system
In later chapters, this becomes more and more unbearable as author tries to extend word count. 3 or more paragraphs can be used to explain a very simple idea (e.g. why players might enjoy a certain activity sponsored by MC). Author relies on excessive use of Chinese idioms... for multiple paragraphs.
MC becomes unreasonably OP from harvesting of XP, until it becomes just a pointless number. Multiple chapters devoted to re-re-re-emphasizing how much XP MC gained.

(2) Lack of a goal
Trying to survive while power-leveling WAS THE ORIGINAL GOAL. He transmigrated and was put into life-and-death situations from the get-go, and there's always a threat of being assassinated hanging over his head.
But it's pretty obvious MC overcame that past Chapter 200 and nothing could threaten him. It's been 100 chapters and I don't know what his new goal is, apparently just to become more OP which is NOT a goal.

(3) He acts like he only has one life
Because he ONLY HAS ONE LIFE! It's literally written in the 1st chapter. He's not sure if he's a player, because he has both NPC characteristics while having some semblance of a player interface. He can't take the chance that he'll be revived if he dies. Would you?
Spoiler

More importantly, the world he's in ISN'T DATA like SAO. It's hinted that this was a highly advanced game operated by a whole series of quantum-mechanical systems. The game appears to have melded different dimensions, blending players with a real alternate universe. Both sides appear to retain their properties, players see it as a game, NPCs see it as their reality. The NPCs themselves are amazed that Players appear to come back alive (respawn). This was briefly explored in another novel, "Reincarnator".

After coming into contact with other players, he confirms that he's an "NPC" that just happens to have a partial player interface. i.e. MC is uniquely straddling both worlds.
He's able to award missions like NPCs, and players can't recognize him as a player.

[collapse]

One major complaint/plot hole:
The different political factions and long term missions that the MC signs up with becomes unnecessarily complicated and conflicting. When things come to a head, it doesn't always make sense.

Spoiler

MC's battlesuit/style is very unique. Despite the ability to change his facial features with the help of a mask, it's obvious to everyone who he really is, so it doesn't make sense when MC pretends to be someone else. MC also decides to work for a variety of organizations (main neutral faction, minor warlords, etc), but adopts behavior that are contradictory to almost all of these organizations.

Same thing with a long term Hidden story line mission, which was an alternative to the 2 Main story lines on his starting planet. It was supposed to be a major deviation running concurrently with the Main story lines, but became completely pointless when author realized he couldn't link the different plot lines together.
Author realizes it was a conundrum, then lamely decided to just conclude the first 2 Main story lines, then pick up the Hidden line afterwards and gloss over it. POOR STORY STRUCTURE.

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<<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
Overlord (LN)
March 17, 2018
Status: v11c4
SUMMARY
Dark fantasy with decent premise, great world building and side characters, but somewhat poorly executed since they get way too sidelined by OPness of MC.
... more>>
Spoiler

The closest analogy would be a story about ants like a "A Bug's Life". There are interesting powerful ants, there are boring insignificant ants. We learn much about the ants' daily lives, societal interactions, power struggles, dreams/hopes/frustrations. Then one day, a big clueless bumbling elephant comes along and accidentally stomps on the ants without realizing it. No, not like Saitama from OPM where he contributes meaningfully to characters' lives. Just stomping on them.
Rinse and repeat for 13 volumes.

[collapse]
The light novel is the rewritten version of the web novel so it's a lot more fleshed-out. OK read for an almost 10 yr old novel. It's from the era of Jap novels where losers who become OP was still interesting and acceptable. But now in 2018 most readers have moved beyond that.
EDIT: Watch the anime adaptation as an accompaniment to the novel. At least you'll finally figure out what all those verbose descriptions really look like.

PREMISE
One of the original isekai (other world transportation) stories. The MC plays a VR game in its final days and finds himself transported into an unknown world, complete with OP RPG-type attributes. He brings with it his OP dungeon (Nazarick) and crew of bad-ass NPCs.

CHARACTERS
So so. One of the major failings in the novel, even after it was re-written. A lot of other reviewers pointed out the same flaws.
Spoiler

- MC is quite useless. A former salaryman who becomes ridiculously OP, but is still incompetent and foolish even at 13 volumes. Zero character growth, he continues to be plagued by insecurities and is mentally weak. Very similar to Mushoku Tensei, although he isn't that much of a complete loser.
The concept of an OP main character isn't bad if it's done well (One Punch Man). But again, we've moved past the era of loser MCs.
The joke of plot armor and bumbling strokes of genius is so repetitive that you're already expecting it.

- Author tried to add a darker side to MC where because he is an undead, his emotions get suppressed due to a buff/debuff and somehow becomes a psychopath. It was very poorly written since there was no proper transition (a lot of commenters have indirectly mentioned). At the beginning he's mowing down villains and being a good samaritan. Suddenly he becomes a retarded psychopath like Trump with nuclear launch codes.
Loss of emotional highs/lows does not EQUAL psychopath. That's a poor understanding of human psychology. Psychopaths are defined by complete lack of empathy. The fact that a debuff comes on whenever he experiences highs/lows means he can feel. Even if he was a loner in his past life, it doesn't automatically mean he should act out on a power fantasy. There's just no justification provided on how and why he becomes a psychopath, and at the same time still act like an awkward bumbling fool in his interactions with other people.

- MC has a team of amazing talent under him, but cannot seek their help to perpetuate the myth of his invincibility. Very inconsistent with the fact that none of his subordinates cares since their loyalty is programmed in. This all comes down to weird Jap culture of "face saving" even if everything goes to sh*t. Very weak concept to sustain the whole novel.

- Author decided to really embellish side characters (mostly ordinary residents of New World), devoting multiple MULTIPLE chapters to create their backstories, way more than ALL of the primary characters. I get that author wants to establish different POV for readers, to empathize with side characters and realize how a lot of them end up as pawns in larger schemes (inadvertent or not).
Here's the writing problem. When you devote an INSANE amount of content to obvious side characters that don't advance any plot before killing them off, then it's not Game of Thrones, it's just a stupid WASTE OF THE READERS' TIME. It's a confusion of who the main actors in a story really are. And worst of all, most of them are killed off because MC is just a bumbling fool, which just leaves a bad taste.

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I'd encourage readers to check out "Dungeon Defense". That's how a proper, thoughtful Machiavellian isekai story should be written.
EDIT: I read that author was a HUGE fan of AD&D tabletop games and frequently played the role of Dungeon Master. That explains the character sheets at the end of chapters.
I applaud author's depth of detail and get his enthusiasm for developing characters, but it's overdone with little left for subtext. I'm no longer reading a story, just an insanely complex RPG.

WORLD BUILDING
This is where the novel shines. Great descriptions, epic battles, very well fleshed out. Illustrations are really impressive and create a dark fantasy atmosphere to go along with the novel's theme. The illustrator definitely sold this novel as much as the author. I guess marketing is (almost) everything.

LOST IN TRANSLATION/WRITING
Maybe this is a problem from that earlier generation of Jap novels, or perhaps most jap novels, but they tend to be ridiculously verbose and rambling. Multiple pages go on with characters expressing every thought in their head out loud with zero conclusion. I'm not sure what happened to good old subtext. Conversations fly back and forth with no indication of who is speaking.
It gets so incredibly annoying that I skim/skip through most of the conversations now.
I thought Chinese web authors were bad with verbosity since they are paid by the word, but this takes the cake. I'm not sure if Jap web authors are paid by the word either. <<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
I Alone Level-Up
January 21, 2019
Status: c65
Typical Korean dungeon-clearing genre. An OK read. Mainly because it's so absurdly concise it feels like you're reading a summary. I HIGHLY recommend reading the manhwa instead, which is almost a work-of-CG-art. As of Jan 2019 the manhwa has caught up to chapter 60+.

PREMISE:
It's a very simple plot device... a loser-but-super-earnest young man chances upon a "system" that allows him to level up in an RPG-like manner. There's a mysterious backstory of why the MC was awarded this power, hidden powers behind the dungeons/monsters, and typical conflict of class-warfare... more>> (E-rankers can't go in A dungeons). Very shounen, with little character growth for the MC besides powering up.

RAVES ABOUT THE MANHWA:
BUT, any good shounen relies (almost) entirely on fantastical/heart-pumping action/ecchi scenes. And that's where the manhwa delivers 6 out of 5 stars (not a typo). Not the ecchi, thankfully.

The author really lucked out in his collaboration with web artist Gee So-Lyung, the equivalent of how "Goblin Slayer" became a manga phenomenon despite adapting from a mundane novel. Think Frank Miller's "Sin City", "Batman Year One" graphic novels.

Enough said.

Here's a link to the Reddit manga meme that led me to pickup this novel again.
https://i. redd. it/2uk5t2yz3wa21. png <<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
Kingdom’s Bloodline
October 27, 2018
Status: c45
SUMMARY
Decent read, isekai + dark fantasy + political intrigue (aka Game of Thrones).
Identical to several sci-fi/fantasy opera novels out there, so if you've read a lot of those before, this is kinda boring. Basically a poorer version of "Release that Witch".
Good world building. But gets bogged down with pedantic details/filler with slow plot progression. It does show the impressive translation quality though.
MC being an intellectual transmigrator/child is pointless and ruined the story. Note that Vol 1 is Chapter 1-17, Vol 2 is 18-66, Vol 3 is... more>> 67-82. Chapters are LONG.

PREMISE
PhD level MC gets transported to a dark fantasy world. While struggling to survive in the harsh environment with his prior knowledge, he learns of his true heritage and must find new meaning/responsibility with his gained position.

CHARACTERS
MC was an academic in his previous life (unclear if he died). His past life memories are vague, but enables him to approach problems with maturity and calmness. That said, despite his previous life memories + 4 yrs of street smarts, he is sometimes emotionally immature which can be quite frustrating. Side characters are well developed with their own backgrounds/motivations. Everyone has different layers of morality.
Spoiler

A "mercenary" female assassin who shelters beggar children. A "righteous" knight who won't hesitate to kill. A "just and wise" king who is completely callous to familial relations.

[collapse]

COMMENTS
(1) A carbon copy of most sci-fi/fantasy opera in the 90s, nothing original
Lookup "Star of the Guardians" by Margaret Weis (Dragonlance fame), "Star Wars", etc. The plot development is identical, from a constantly struggling lost prince to all the side characters that he meets and recruits. But I guess it's reasonable to expect some plagiarism from a Chinese author.

(2) Detailed world building, with some mistakes
Kudos to the author for at least being able to flesh out detailed environments, political factions, character builds. Very similar to "Overlord", you can tell author must've been an AD&D fan too.
Some parts of the world building/lore don't make sense though.
Spoiler

Natural disaster happened. Famine broke out. Everyone rioted. Most of the royal family was assassinated. All that happened within 1 year (named "The Bloody Year"). Huh?? Anyone who studies any world history in school would tell you such nonsense couldn't happen.

Poor attempts by author at describing political changes. The kingdom was supposed to be absolute monarchy, then lost control to feudalism due to wars (lords granted land and powers to assist in governing the country), then back to absolute monarchy again, but everyone is now doing a power grab.

[collapse]

(3) Frustrating inconsistency of the MC
Commentators have pointed this out. MC is a mature PhD level person (likely philosophy/sociology).
He's a PhD (on average 30+) who isekai'd into a child's body (3 yrs old, currently 7 yrs old), demonstrated years of street smarts and emotional control, so he's at least mentally 37 yrs old, but suffers from several bouts of whininess and immaturity when confronted with occasional unexpected situations. This is not supposed to be a coming-of-age story since MC is old.
In other novels ("Mushoku Tensei"), being a child has a unique advantage of jump starting their learning process, power-up, etc. In this novel there is ZERO purpose to being a child.

All of his theoretical knowledge is also pathetically applied. MC launches into pedantic exposition of various modern day theorems on inconsequential problems. There's no significant advantage or purpose of being a transmigrator. Utterly stupid, ruins most of the initial premise of the story.

Spoiler

Chapters and chapters were devoted to showing how MC was emotionally mature. He stabbed a gang leader to death, witnesses large scale carnage and massacre, but can regain his emotional control in a span of a few moments. He can even talk down a vampire after being kidnapped.

But when MC meets his callous father (a King), he gets completely tongue-tied like some kinda shoujo. When MC is confronted with zealous fervor of his subjects, rather than argue sensibly that their fanaticism was misplaced despite his own strong misgivings, he goes along with it. SO PAINFUL TO READ.
Whenever MC gets into a difficult situation, it's only his adult mature mind that allows him to assess the situation calmly and see if he can negotiate/use his cunning to find a way out. It never relates to his previous life's skills/knowledge as a bookish academic. What's the point of the PhD?? "Release that Witch"'s MC did something with his knowledge. What is this guy doing?

[collapse]

(4) The repeated, pointless references to modern-day philosophy
There are multiple quotes of modern-day philosophy/sociology (Kant, Durkheim, etc). These quotes usually come to the MC in the form of memories.
It gets old really quickly and has no plot bearing since MC doesn't capitalize on the knowledge. Author is just making up the word count, or attempting to sound sophisticated/sesquipedalian.

(5) Pedantic writing and nonsense exposition
-- A ridiculous amount of detail explaining and summarizing things that have no consequence, way beyond typical Chinese webnovel filler.
Does it matter if there were 223 casualties, 514 house burned down?? Is this a statistical report? Or do we need the MC constantly "organizing his thoughts" by summarizing what happened in the last 6 chapters (or even previous lengthy paragraph) ? This nonsense constantly distracts from the plot.
Spoiler

To figure out how to recreate his power (which appeared to be incited through anger/emotion), MC goes through nonsense exposition of various modern day theorems. Such as:

'There are too few samples, too many variables, and the mechanism is too simple. The overly complicated Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) cannot be used. I can just use the most basic Mill's Methods of induction. First of all, with 'bleeding' and 'losing control' as the keywords, select relevant cases and events.'

WTF?? Why expound all this crap, just go ahead and test it??! And many chapters later, author realizes what he wrote was stupid, so he contrived a scenario (which should be the normal way of doing things) for MC to activate his power. Because author realized there was no theoretical way to explain what mystic power was. So he came up with this nonsensical crap:
"Blood had acted as a medium with the previous two times he 'lost control' by bringing the dagger, which was a material object, and the mysterious sphere, which was an energy, before him in a mysterious manner. Hence, he made a tentative guess that the power might be related to dimensional teleportation." WHAT??

[collapse]

-- It's also REALLY annoying to write sentences in parenthesis for a fictional novel, especially when it's a random 3rd person injecting a DIFFERENT viewpoint. Poor sentence structure, wondering if they went to writing school for this.

-- Nonsensical fillers of characters talking to each other with no resolution
Spoiler

An entire chapter devoted to a crazed gang leader murdering children in excruciating detail. I get the point of the occasional gratuitous violence depiction, but was there a point to this chapter at all? Could have been done in less than half. And this repeated itself throughout the entire novel, likely to make up word count.

Entire chapters with either: Exposition about historical events, which at the end become a fake out and we're told isn't true, OR
Fake pleasantries between characters, then all the pretense drops and we're told all the earlier discussion was false. WTF. This is why other commentators said the plot goes NOWHERE.

[collapse]

(6) Mired in useless plot lines
Mentioned by other commenters, author tries to be too clever and introduces many inconsequential plot lines/factions/characters without prior introduction. That style of writing has rightfully disappeared in recent popular media because it's pointlessly confusing, especially for a web novel with serialized chapter releases. If you were following this chapter-by-chapter instead of binge reading, you would be hard pressed to remember what happened. <<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
Forty Millenniums of Cultivation
February 4, 2018
Status: c1175
Xianxia evolution + Lost in Space + MechWarrior/Battlestar Galactica.
That's probably the best description I can think of... and it keeps changing!
Highly recommended for readers who are bored with generic xianxia novels.

PREMISE
Logical progression of what happens to a cultivation universe after millennia of advancement. The integration of xianxia with modern culture (kind of like Cultivation Chat Group) is fascinating.
... more>>
Spoiler

Just because you're a top fighter doesn't make you a good sect leader. The solution... admin-focused cultivators as CEOs for hire!
When your sect has been around thousands of years and you have many critically injured/disabled vets... you get a pension/healthcare problem!

[collapse]

Humanity (at least within MC's world) more or less banded together with a common sense of destiny. Not everyone is a selfish prick out to scheme/crawl their way to the top like typical xianxia novels. Seems like a nod to "Swallowed Star", so at least it's a little more uplifting to read. The purpose of cultivation isn't for antiquated thoughts of immortality, but to live a fulfilling life. That resonates with a lot of modern thinking.

STRUCTURE
Divided into multiple volumes/arcs.
Vol 1 from c1 to 400, Vol 2 from c400 to 800, Vol 3 from c800 to 1175, Vol 4 from C1175 to ????
Spoiler

Vol 1: MC is still within his star system.
Vol 2: MC is forced out during an epic fight, makes contact with multiple new civ, from space-farers to steampunk.
Vol 3: MC returns to his star system, origin story of demons.

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CHARACTERS
Characters have real depth, MC is not OP (relies on his wits, and his knowledge advantage isn't overblown). No deus-ex machina. Female leads are pretty interesting as well. The stories of many different side characters that MC meets are pretty amazing. Several chapters are devoted to them at times.
Spoiler

His buddy from high school, a non-cultivator, slowly works his way to realize his dreams, and refuses to accept any hand-outs from MC.
A refining-master competitor, doesn't just want to follow the norm of developing his sect, but make his own journey of discovery.
Random cultivators give their lives just to ensure MC/team lives on and carry on the survival of humanity.
A reserve military commander lives through multiple millennia as a disabled robot just to carry on his last mission.
Hardened criminals are not pure evil, black or white. They have relatable shades of grey, maybe not fifty.

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NEGATIVES
- I agree with some reviewers, there's a LOT of unnecessary info-dump and summaries to make up the word count (these can go for whole chapters). A lot of unnecessary complexity added, mostly filler. Like MC's plan A counters Enemy plan B, whose plan C counteracts MC's plan D. Which all ends up being a complete waste of the readers' time. Can be pretty annoying.
Thankfully it's relatively easy to skim through it, not a deal-breaker.
- Lots of ideological clashes, repeated over and over. Again, more filler.

OVERALL
Would rate it a 4.5 rather than 5, but don't have the option.
I don't agree with reviewers that blast it after reading less than a dozen chapters, or blasting it after 1000+ chapters. That's pretty decent staying power. It's expected there are inconsistencies and occasional writer's block. These are web authors, not NY Times best selling authors. It's a free online novel, stop whining. Plenty of top novels crashed after a marathon of chapters (think ISSTH, Swallowed Star, Coiling Dragon, etc). <<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
Against the Gods
September 24, 2017
Status: c900
Good premise, interesting world building (different realms, factions), at least the various female characters have a unique personalities and not just dumb broads. MC is powerful and cunning, but the numerous enemies he meets also seem to be completely brain-dead and easily foiled by MC's appearance. Lazy way of writing.

Pretty entertaining for the most part, but the story progression really starts falling through past 500+ chapters and tons of fillers. Biggest gripe is that every fight scene becomes an INCREDIBLE drag, takes 5-10 chapters per fight, 1 chapter for a... more>> single exchange/blow (since its full of utterly useless reactions by the dueling parties and spectators).

Typical e.g. Enemy fires off a single blow, MC is astounded, spends many many paragraphs being astounded and expounds on his impressions, feelings about the blow, observations, blah blah blah, then it's the side spectators turn to also astonished.... really? I get the character word count authors need to make money, but this gets ridiculous and makes the novel annoying as hell. I actually skim through the fights scenes now because of how boring they are. Very little nuances. It's almost purely about my blow/level being more powerful than yours that determines everything. <<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
The Second Coming of Avarice
October 11, 2018
Status: c56
Average Korean novel, typical isekai monster-fighting genre but with a slight twist on time-travel.
It's an ok read that managed to fix itself before it got worse.
Apparently the author wrote a similar time-travel type novel "Memorize", also a weak MC getting a second chance, but reviews weren't good. Translation quality is decent.

PREMISE
A down-and-out man gets the chance to "relive" his life, where previously he had isekai'd into another world as part of a ongoing battle to help the residents defeat unknown invaders.

CHARACTERS
MC was born with the ability... more>> to "see" opportunity/danger, basically an enhanced "Spidey-sense". He squanders it in his youth, becoming a believable douchebag in the process (author spent quite some time chronicling his fall from grace). Thankfully plot progresses quickly and MC is given some foresight/emotional impetus to change, but becomes conveniently OP way too quickly before it's somewhat fixed. So now he's just normally OP.

Spoiler

His future self sends some memories/emotions to his current self before dying, just so he could make better decisions this time around. Not sure why such a distinction was made. It would've made no difference if he was directly sent into the past instead.

I'm guessing the author wanted a way to handicap MC's foresight so his knowledge isn't perfect, but also gift the MC a strong desire to change himself. Pointlessly confusing.

However the author provided MC with too much plot armor too early (covered below), realized he made a mistake, and thankfully reversed course within a span of 10 chapters.

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Side characters are much better written. They have distinctive character designs/personalities/backgrounds, some from broken families, others from positions of wealth and power. All are put to the test and we see them react differently to the challenges. But their over-reliance on MC kind of spoils it.

ISSUES/COMMENTS
(1) MC got conveniently OP too quickly
It didn't make sense to be randomly rewarded a whole bunch of cheat items just because of his foresight. And they were such ridiculous cheats --
Spoiler

spell balls that KO everything, diaries/walkthroughs that literally tell you exactly how to complete a mission.

It made the MC's progress through the 1st tutorial completely boring before it got nerfed in the 2nd tutorial. The fact that his cheats explicitly got nerfed tells you the author realized his mistake.

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(2) Weak world building
-- The point system math doesn't make much sense. Tens of thousands of bonus points are given with pointless multipliers. There's something wrong with author's system design if multipliers have to be added. -- Multiple tutorials with tons of referral agents? Nonsense bureaucracy??
Spoiler

The isekai'd humans go through a tutorial (supposedly to weed out the weak). Then basically another tutorial to "train" them before sending them out to fight for the new world. Why don't the tons of referral agents just choose better human candidates in the first place and have 1 tutorial?

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-- Very odd isekai premise. A more primitive alternate world has 7 gods that summon humans from Earth, put them through the grinder/tutorial to serve as mercenaries to fight otherworldly invaders? Why are there so many hoops? Why not skip the alternate world, and just make the setting on Earth?
That's the problem with these summon-weak-humans-to-fight-another-world's-problems genre. They never explain why Earthlings are supposed to be better candidates to be saviors of humanity. It used to be just one guy who isekai'd and got lucky with growth cheats. Now everybody and their mom gets to go over for no reason.

-- Leveling system is a little clunky. There has to be a better way to represent attribute levels other than low-mid, medium-high. Either use numbers, or introduce clearer levels.
The introduction of "disposition/temperament" stat is also a little odd. It's implicitly understood people can change their character (although difficult). Is there really a need to have that noted in a character sheet? Seems like just a lazy way to track down a characters personality.

(3) Singular plot, which is good
So far it looks like MC is just being led towards the singular purpose of trying to be a successful isekai'er that helps the new world against invaders. Hopefully it doesn't turn out like "The Novel's Extra" with multiple convoluted/useless plot threads.

(4) Novel prologue is badly written, whole lot of useless exposition
I get that the author is trying to setup MC's future-self POV in the new world (his relationship with the gods and otherworldly side characters). But it's pointlessly confusing, way too long, unsure if there'll ever be a proper explanation.

Spoiler

Five people standing/lying around on a battlefield talking to each other in a 3300+ word essay:
(1) an unnamed princess,
(2) an unnamed spearman/enemy who stabbed the princess for some reason
(3) some random unnamed dude that tried to save her and got KO'd
(4) the MC found dying on the ground, and
(5) the god.
That's not a prologue, author needs to go back to writing class.

Was there a need to introduce the unnamed princess, or that the god owes the princess a favor and is therefore obligated to aid the MC to send his memories into the past? Or that it took the author 3300+ words when the average chapter is <2500 words?? That's a classic sin for ALL AUTHORS.

Most readers would have dropped the novel by now with such a weak hook.

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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
God of Music
September 7, 2018
Status: c55
SUMMARY
A poorer version of "Top Management". Could have been so much better, especially since the translator is doing a decent job. Filled with author's writing inconsistencies.
I wish there was a better way to put it but I read Top Management first before picking this up. If you rated 5 stars for Top Management, you CANNOT possibly rate 5 stars for God of Music.
Interestingly both Top Management and God of Music were written about the same time in 2015.

PREMISE
A down-and-out manager/planner time-travels 10 yrs into the past... more>> to relive his life and try to succeed as being a top manager/planner. He has both complete knowledge of future (who succeeds and who doesn't), along with a synesthesia-like skill that enables him to detect "talent/good performances".

ISSUES
As other reviewers have done, it's easier to just make comparisons to "Top Management" to highlight the issues with the novel.

(1) SKILLS
The synesthesia skill is GREAT. It's a very clever power for the MC to have, since it evokes both beautiful imagery (blending sounds/sight) and dramatic visualization, while fitting his role as a talent scout/manager to bring out the best of the stars he works with. A perfect example of magical realism.

The time-travel backstory is POINTLESS, creates multiple plot holes, and completely ruined the story.
-- MC is now established as an old man (mental age of 40s) despite his present age of 30. His stars are all in the teens (high school) or 20s. That age gap of almost 20 yrs is a serious problem in having any meaningful relationship with his stars.
-- MC can already detect talent with his skill, why would he need knowledge of the future? It's just a weak tie-in with his life full of regrets, so he can work hard to live a better life now. Which is stupid, since the guy has worked hard even in his past life. He doesn't need more motivation.
-- If MC knows the future clearly, then shouldn't it be easy to find ways to get rich (stocks/real estate investments, etc) ? This is going from 2017 back to 2007. That's the time of the financial crisis, and crazy global stock market recovery thereafter. Even a retarded hermit living under a rock would have known how to make money in this situation.
Spoiler

But he keeps working like a slave in his company and complains about how little money/poor he is? Zero sense.

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(2) MC IS A 40 YR OLD ROBOT
Age 40 (you can argue it's a mental age but doesn't make a difference), works and acts like a robot, is a sis-con. How is any of this relatable to most readers?
Apparently he's an amazingly productive and professional manager, yet a complete loser in his past life because he keeps being attached to lousy celebrities/has bad luck. That's not how professional corporate life works. If MC was that talented, he could easily have still survived in a mid-level mgmt position. I doubt author ever worked in a corporation before.

(3) FORGETTABLE RELATIONSHIPS AND SIDE CHARACTERS
MC's relationships with his stars are short and episodic. He goes in, turns their life/career around, and then disappears after 5 chapters. Yet it's made clear that these side characters all fall for him. Yes, it's a HAREM novel, whether you deny it or not. And there's nothing wrong with a harem novel. It just doesn't work here, especially with the age-gap.

The side characters are poorly developed, and there are A LOT of them. Literally a new one every 3-4 chapters. They come and go, interact with the MC for 1 paragraph and either disappear or reappear a few chapters later for a paragraph. It's gotten so bad that the author doesn't even remember the background stories of the characters and author consistently makes mistakes that the translators have picked up on. Ridiculous.
Spoiler

-- The girl group that he was in-charge of had little to no improvement while MC keeps getting distracted with other side projects that are immediately successful. We keep losing sight of the girl group and the characters. Author realizes that and tries to reinsert them into the story via pointless interactions.
-- MC's sister keeps popping back up into the story despite being the blandest and most boring character, as if to remind us that she exists. She has zero purpose other than to serve as a handicap for the MC and play a useless damsel-in-distress role. Author eventually realizes this and tries to make her more useful, like learning from a music book (of which she doesn't understand at all), which makes her even more useless.
-- The names of several one-off characters actually change. One of the main characters was supposed to be an orphan, then had parents. WTF.

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Why do most readers prefer "Top Management" instead?
Spoiler

Because it's more believable, and the author took the time to develop both the side characters and their relationship with the MC Jung Sunwoo. And the author made a very distinct attempt to identify that potential love interests were 20ish and MC Jung was 27/28, since he clearly knew this would be an issue.

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(4) PROFESSIONAL DETAIL IS WASTED AND BECOMES A NEGATIVE
The author has a good grasp of the industry, adds in a lot of lexicon and technical detail that makes it sound pretty professional. It also highlights the importance of technical detail in producing stars (rather than just raw talent of a singer/actor). But it's written poorly since author ends up in situations where he uses this technical knowledge with MEDIOCRE stars, and his skills enables them to sound/appear better than they really are.
This just hits home the fact that he is manufacturing stars, not finding/grooming them.

Spoiler

He is constantly and literally telling his proteges to develop a "hook" to draw in crowds, even though that's not part of their original personality. E.g. An aloof and reticent female idol needs to become more engaging to the public audience, some others need to dress more provocatively, etc.
I respect that this is part of the entertainment industry, but pushing mediocre stars to the top with cheap tricks like these spoils the novel. You expect the MC with his talents to be able to rise above this crap.

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In a world of Facebook and the ridiculous false avatars that people use to present themselves in public, this is very disappointing.

(5) WRONG TITLE
Why is it called "God of Music"? His power enables him to identify actors too, pretty much any type of performance.

The problem with a music-only theme in a novel is the difficulty in translating to audio for readers to follow. We have no tunes to reference, just random (and incomplete) lyrics used to fill in word count. You could substitute the lyrics for ANYTHING ELSE and it wouldn't matter.
Why was "I Really Am a Superstar" so popular despite the controversies? Because all the songs were pulled/pirated from real world songs so at least you could watch on YouTube and know the emotions of the song even if you didn't know the language.

One of the earlier reviewers Tomah said it best. Too many useless shenanigans/irrelevant elements that ruin the story. Classic case of when an author doesn't understand Chekhov's gun, trying to do too many things with too many characters at the same time and fails at most of them. <<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
Main Character Hides His Strength
October 21, 2018
Status: c125
An ok Korean dystopian fantasy novel if you ignore the numerous plot holes that were pointed out by other reviewers. Similar to "Reincarnator"/"King of the Battlefield". It was supposedly at one-point a top ranker on Munpia (the korean web novel ranking site).

Action is good, basically a mesh of One-Punch-Man and John Wick.

The translation quality is pretty good, think it's currently on hiatus since translator/translation group have had personal/family health issues. It's on Amazon ebooks too.

PREMISE

The MC was summoned/isekai'd into an OtherWorld to fight demonic forces. However the summoners aren't... more>> exactly good guys either. MC is OP but unable to finish off one of the bosses (Demon King) with his current warrior buildout, so he tries to "respec" his character build to include magic. Along the way he comes across old foes and slowly uncovers the mysterious circumstances for the current situation of the OtherWorld.

CHARACTERS

MC was summoned 25 yrs ago (likely in the 90's) so he's probably in his 40s. Typical jaded/hypocritical anti-hero. Just wants to end the calamities plaguing the world while undergoing his own personal journey of "redemption". He does have his idiosyncrasies like a cooking obsession that makes him more human.

The only noteworthy side character is a talking alchemic book that genuinely becomes MC's companion.

The various antagonists are generally poorly written. Their motivations/backstories/behavior aren't consistent, almost like split personality disorder at times. Former/current heroes that somehow ALL went to the darkside, an often used trope that doesn't make sense.

COMMENTS/ISSUES

(1) Great translation quality

Kudos to the translator, this is one of the best translated/edited novels, very readable with little/no mistakes, sentences structure flows well.

(2) Fight scenes are good

As other reviewers mentioned, the action sequences are pretty epic. Not large scale battles like "Legendary Moonlight Sculptor" epic. More like fight scenes from John Wick. Although it does end pretty quickly.

(3) Lots of plot holes

Other reviewers have mentioned this, not spoilers:

  • MC needs magic power to end the Demon King when he solo'd his way in, but can't find anyone to help him deal the finishing blow when he is THIS CLOSE to finishing it. Really? All of humanity is out there fighting the good fight (even if most are corrupt/diabolical), and he can't find/convince enough mages who will put aside their differences to finally end their hellish existence in an alternate world?

    Spoiler

    Summoned humans can apparently amass enough achievement points and chose to go back to Earth ("Returnees") !! Some have already done so! So there's a huge incentive for summoned humans to push forward. And yet MC is saying ALL the mages would rather cut-their-nose-to-spite-face and not contribute to finishing the Demon King??

    The whole "returnee" concept is stupid and created unnecessary plot holes.

    The author later changes the story and hints at a conspiracy to prevent the Demon King from being killed since the future calamities would be worse. So it's not JUST the mages, but the people in power who wanted to preserve the status quo, and that the MC knew about this. It's also mentioned from a future time-traveler ("Regressor") that humanity eventually pushed past the Demon King obstacle anyway.

    The whole "regressor" concept is stupid and created MORE unnecessary plot holes.

    It gets worse. Once it was clear how OP the MC was, humanity's rulers quickly came to an agreement with the demons, where they actively defended the Demon King from the MC. So those in power had the ability to kill the Demon King anytime, and could actually negotiate with the Demon King all along? That makes no sense... since the Demon King should have avoided antagonizing humanity, esp after getting beaten to pulp by MC. There was NO POINT to starting that big winter frontier battle (that went on 20+ chapters) ??

    Sounds like author tried to be too clever, and just kept making mistakes.

    [collapse]
  • Humanity managed to amass sizable forces, but can't find it within themselves to change the system or be more efficient/less cruel? Even after countless yrs? The summoned humans from Earth are at the top of the food chain (emperor!!), and are summoning other humans, basically mass conscription/migration. Even trashy non-fighters can be easily placed in productive non-combatant roles (aka "Release that Witch"). There is no purpose to the Summoning Palace and wanton cruelty. Especially when everyone faces the same existential threat. In "Reincarnator", humans are forced through the grinder by an insane "God". In this novel, humans basically created their own grinder for no reason.

    I get that Koreans are obsessed with dystopia and corrupt governments given the crap they have to deal with (so many of their presidents in jail, so many corrupt chaebols), but this is WAY too far out.

  • All "Preselected" are by nature, as*holes Author has this weird obsession with depicting nepotism, to the point that it's nonsensical. Most of the preselected got there due to nepotism and don't give a sh*t about fellow humans.

    If you're the top guy in power, why would you summon family relations to an apocalyptic world, away from the safe Earth? And it just happens that almost all preselected are callous pricks? Why would you tweak pivotal battles/wars and put the fate of humanity (and yourself) on weak family members? That's not how nepotism works. All cases of human history show that it's just a slow form of corruption and leads to the GRADUAL demise of civilization.

    This is a pretty biased view from the author. Also wouldn't it make more sense to summon trained military personnel, strategists, advanced weaponry and such from modern day Earth to aid the war effort? This seems really stupid.

    Is this just some lame meta commentary about privileged people and nepotism in Korean society? If author had removed this nonsense extreme bias towards nepotism, it would have solved so many other plot holes in the novel. You WOULDN'T NEED "Preselected", "Returnees", or even the "Curse of Extinction" explained below.

  • The whole Curse of Extinction thing is stupid and pointlessly confusing A god-level curse that basically kills off all the very young (maybe <20 yrs old).

    It's never properly explained, but we have to painfully infer that this curse is somehow repeatedly enacted at different points of time (since the earliest race that got affected was at least hundreds of years ago, else it makes absolutely no sense that ancient races and newer races can meet up). Either that or every non-summoned human/demi-human is currently hundreds and thousands of years old. Becomes pointlessly confusing, the implications on population/battles don't make sense either (since humanity is so willing to throw away able-bodied fighters as cannon fodder).

    I suspect author tried to shoe-horn this in as an explanation for the Preselected (nepotism of the summoned humans bringing in their family from Earth since they can't have kids). Which is what happens when author shoots himself in the foot with too many ideas.
  • All of humanity is deliberately depicted as base/selfish/corrupt and are the ultimate evil of the story, not the Demons If you put ANY race in a summoning situation with ZERO opportunity to demonstrate goodwill, what else are you supposed to do? And all of their systems (Summoning Palace, Guilds, Kingdoms/Empires etc) are just self-reinforcing bad behavior.
  • MC has character conflict (partially resolved) MC is so OP and has the power to secretly manipulate Observers, but can't/won't lift a finger to help others WHILE being apathetic to his fellow humans AND walking around with a chip on his shoulder (thinking he's the savior of humanity).

    Spoiler

    MC just watches as a desperate survivor is lured/killed while giving s*xual favors to a "Preselected" survivor in exchange for food, even though MC knew exactly what would happen.

    MC enlists helps from both "good guys" (who are weak and lazy due to being underfed) and "bad guys" (violent but disciplined, and had the advantage of monopolizing food). He gifts info that strengthens the "bad guys", not caring what the eventual consequences are when the power struggle between the two groups comes to a head. MC passes that off as a necessary consequence and the results are not his problem.

    Yes, laziness is a sin. But MC is aiding and abetting bad behavior too. And an obvious better solution would have been to procure/gift food for the "good guys" so everyone starts off at the same point.

    [collapse]

    It's an overused phrase, but "great power comes with great responsibility". No one is suggesting MC should become an arbiter of justice. But if MC doesn't effect change when he can, and yet feels jaded about humanity while inwardly claiming to be it's only real savior, then he is just a hypocrite.

    Which is actually ok if that's the way author wants to write the MC, but as the reader you have to acknowledge that's pretty irrational/delusional. You can't play the role of humanity's savior while being that callous. Else you're attempting to write a novel where Ozymandias from Watchmen is the actual hero. Which is stupid.

    EDIT: It does appear in later chapters (50+) that MC's character inconsistencies are somewhat resolved. Maybe author realized where he went wrong. A particularly good piece of writing in Chapter 85-93.

    Spoiler

    Two siblings (brother and sister) embark on a suicidal mission to gain power in the Demon Realm. Brother's thirst for vengeance against his father leads him to disregard the love that his sister has for himself. Sister is emotionally dependent on the brother while growing up and abides by brother's decision.

    MC gives them a choice, either give up their path of vengeance and live, or pursue it at the cost of their lives/soul. Eventually brother gets his power, sister dies, MC does nothing. No complaints from me, that's good writing and execution.

    That's what's important. A self-proclaimed savior of humanity and protagonist of a story MUST logically give at least ONE choice to the humans he seeks to save, not judge them beforehand and leave them to die.

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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
My Wife is a Beautiful CEO
April 8, 2018
Status: c375
Very slow novel, but fairly entertaining if you are bored.

Story has absolutely NOTHING to do with it's title. The author actually acknowledged he made a mistake with the name, and refuses to change it just to troll people, hahaha. You'll also have to ignore the first 5 chapters or so... it's clear author had no idea where to he wanted the story to go initially.

I guess there's a slow budding romance with the main wife, but as other reviewers mentioned, the underlying story is about an OP MC who goes... more>> about collecting women as part of his harem in a modern social setting (which is fairly unique by itself since polygamy is obviously no-go these days). The premise is somewhat believable, because
Spoiler

the MC is at an entirely different level of existence compared to regular humans, way beyond billionaires/political powers.

[collapse]
Societal norms don't apply to the MC. The story does develop more after chapter 200, you start getting more backstory and into the shadowy world that reminds me of "John Wick".
The relationships do annoyingly go back-and-forth, even unravels at certain times. Totally random, I suspect some outside influence (China SARFT censorship bureau) cracked down on this author at some point since the level of smut was an obvious red flag.

It's written 2011, but the novel's society still reflects a somewhat lawless society (think 1980s-1990s mafia/corrupt China, almost like "Darker than Black"). The motivations of many side characters are very odd. Author invokes a lot of chinese familial ties heritage that makes ZERO sense as a plot device.
Spoiler

There's an ongoing theme of sicko birth parents who hideously mistreat their children. Yet for some reason their children find it in themselves to forgive these people, everyone holds hands and sings kumbaya. In this day and age, we already know that there are tons of undeserving parents out there. Think of the psycho California couple who locked up their 13 kids for years. Just because they carried their child to term doesn't mean jack sh*t.

[collapse]

Fight scenes are forgettable, the whole genius/gangster/martial god setting is forgettable. You're pretty much just trying to figure out who the MC is going to pick up next, hahaha. Author absolutely doesn't shy away from this. Just take it at face-value. <<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
The Ultimate Evolution
November 14, 2017
Status: c550
It's genuinely entertaining with the interactions between the real world/movie world.

Not sure why it's rated under 4.0. Protagonist is smart adult (mid 20s?) who has to scheme to get ahead, not some dumb OP chuunibyou. It's definitely (and thankfully) NOT a shounen genre. MC is definitely in the grey area but has a strong sense of righteousness. It's already been tagged as "Mature". Reviewers clamoring for a pure good guy character should just go read kids novels like Shen Yin Wang Zuo or manga like One Piece or Sailormoon.

The battles... more>> are pretty EPIC, and it's hilarious when he interacts with/puts down the movie characters in a believable manner. Movie characters are how you'd imagine them to be if you meet them IRL, not necessarily the one-dimensional features that Hollywood movies portray them. Translations are quite well done, very few mistakes. Since I speak both Mandarin Chinese and English, I can reverse translate.

No, I haven't read Terror Infinity like a lot of reviewers have commented, but this novel should be evaluated on its own merit.

EDIT: So I went to check out Infinite Terror, read the first 3 volumes.
I get that Infinite Terror came first (2007) and maybe started the whole movie dimensional traveling genre. But I don't get why people would prefer it over Ultimate Evolution.
Fights are small scale and lame (at least from what I've read so far). MC is a 24 yr old that behaves like he's still a teenager. Basically a weak-willed guy like in Gantz. His love interest is a 15 yr old which automatically brings up issues of pedophilia. Although she seems somewhat mature and there was a historical connection, you have to ask yourself why the author (and so many reviewers) introduced that setting at all. I guess if you're into that crap then go read Terror Infinity. Else Ultimate Evolution is simply much better written. <<less
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kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
Ze Tian Ji
September 24, 2017
Status: c600
Beautiful, incredibly poetic writing. So many memorable quotes. This is a rare novel where the author puts an incredible amount of thought to every sentence and nuance. There REAL politics, factions, alliances, relationships, world building, mysteries that keep you guessing. Combat is subtle and emphasizes real technique, NOT just dumb power-ups and boring Dragonball-type fights that are typically found in other chinese novels (i.e. My cultivation level/power is higher than yours, therefore I automatically win).

This is not one of those lame shounen (young male) novels. Some readers complain about slow... more>> story progression, but that's OK because this is important for setting the scene and building up the characters motivations/thought processes. And they are written in a way that's quite entertaining and thought-provoking. It's NOT junk fillers.

That said, it's precisely because of that that you CAN'T BINGE READ this novel like the others. That would be like trying to read LOTR or GoT in a single sitting.

FYI I actually read both the chinese and english translated versions, so I can appreciate the writing a lot more. <<less
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