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lawrsun rated it
Castle of Black Iron
May 25, 2017
Status: Completed

TLDR: Human spirit and sacrifice clash against the greed and self serving nature of humanity. Great and progressive story building, character building, with few to no unanswered questions at the conclusion. Most Chinese novels i've read up till now have ridiculous endings that read like a poor copy of a dragonballz episode (coiling dragon was good, but lets be real the ending sucked.)


This story completely blew my mind. Moral men and Pedantic preachers stand opposite a thin line, more so in a story pieced together chapter chapter by chapter in such a web novel format. And so, the character building in this story becomes all the more surprising.

Spoiler from here on out.

A child at the beginning of the novel, the MC is naive, his pursuits and choices simple crude; a true country bumpkin. Perverted, small minded, but with his own bottom line. Many novels start like this and thats all fine and dandy, but what destroys the depth of those novels is one huge 'story event flag' which from then forth decides the characters choices, all personality traits and plot directions derive from this singular event and the main characters actions thus lack depth because of the singular nature in his environmental influences. CBI avoids this, which makes for a slow start, but like the tree in the castle of black iron, our MC grows LIKE A BELIEVABLE REAL PERSON. Every stage in his life has different influences, and in every stage we can see his choices and his level of vision change in response to these influences.

Cultivation in this novel is super unique, and the MC's 'cheat item' doesnt block or cover over his character. Most novels with a cheat like item make you feel that if someone else had the same item as the MC, they would be the exact same person. MC isnt a unique person. But in the case of castle of black iron, the space and his best tree buddy grow and change along with his choices, the castle acts as a support, a best friend, a resting place, and not an all conquering god weapon that makes resistance against the MC futile.

Instead conflict in this novel ends up varied, believable, dangerous, and all the more enticing for the reader. The MC has gains and losses, wins and defeats, and his growth occurs in this journey because of the challenges and conflicts present in this unique era he is in instead of the presence of a deus ex machina type item.

The one and only minor short board is the depth of female interactions. Note I say interactions instead of characters, because these females are each unique and have their own thoughts and do conflict decision wise with the MC even after together. Further, this shortboard is made up to some extent by his interactions with his family (brother mother father). Further, the lack of depth in exploration in the relationships with his female partners can be explained and feels reasonable to an extent because of the huge weight of the increasing burden on his shoulders, he wouldlove to spend more time with his family but the never ending war blocks him from being the father and husband he wants to be. Its reasonable, and therefore doesn't detract from the story so much as make a reasonable and natural cover for the inherent flaws in any novel with a harem.

Read it, please, because id hate for such a masterpiece novel to be buried by the glare of its mediocre early translations and its slow start.

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lawrsun rated it
December 23, 2016
Status: v9c44
Story isn't just battles and killing and smashing, but in fact goes pretty damn deep into a lot of Chinese culture that tend to be ignored in most Xianxias. Whereas most cultivation stories draw on distorting Confucianism and its precepts, this goes into the various eras of Chinese culture and turns them into different paths of cultivation as opposed to having a "buddha skill set" or a "devil skill set". Buddhism cultivates "merit/virtue" by accumulating good deeds and acting in accordance with the heavens, setting up a dynasty cultivates fengshui... more>> to power up the emperor and his subjects, typical cultivating is available too. Formation cultivators... Qichuan cultivators... Many weird and interesting Dao form an interlocking battle system thats done really well.

All in all this is also one of the only xianxia that actually incorporates dynasty politics and troops and conquering into the story well. Most of the good commander stories are usually xuanhuan where the MCs dont scale so exponentially like they do in xianxia. Xianxia as a genre finds it hard to incorporate dynasties and troops; OP characters wave their hands and all of the small turn to ash. In this novel most dynasties incorporate battlefield formations (actually a thing in ancient china) which allows their soldiers to produce a combined power far above a single cultivator, necessitating their existence far into the story.

Harem, the best and most well rounded way of dealing with harems ive ever read. Not about dual s*xual cultivation or whatever nonsense but really moving individual love stories and motivations and well fleshed out female characters. <<less
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lawrsun rated it
My Father in Law is Lu Bu
July 31, 2016
Status: c313
Speaking from the perspective of someone who's loved and read the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, this is a very interesting take on the original story. Sure, BIG BIG BIG deus ex machina thing going on in the early parts with his 'cheat' ability to travel back and forth in time, but there are limitations to the power. Loving the story so far.

Basically the limitations are enough that there is enough sense of urgency or danger, something which doesn't happen with a lot of other CNWN out there, particularly the... more>> ones involving time travel (MC usually almost omniscient due to being able to know the 'future'). In fact his power from 200 onwards is blocked for almost a 'year' in novel time, and he must rely on the resources he has from there on out.

This novel molds the historical figure Lvbu into a father figure, which is interesting given that lvbu is originally described as unfilial and un-loyal in the original works. If one likes these kinds of family dynamics and development in their stories then this is the WN for you!

ps. If you dont know chinese, the MTL is really difficult to read through due to all the complicated names and figures and perspective shifts. <<less
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lawrsun rated it
Dungeon Defense
August 12, 2016
Status: v2c2
Absolutely amazing... One of the most devious translated works I've read so far, and definitely the best Korean one. The depth of the characters is incomparable. perspective shifts are done extremely well. everything is awesome. I've read over a hundred of these translated novels, and I have to say, just read it, its worth it.
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