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sakirol
sakirol rated it
Legend
December 6, 2016
Status: c57
Legend is really... really... monotone.

The problem is that Legend is a written as a slice-of-life isekai novel, but it's missing two things that make a story. You either need 1) a plotline/goal OR 2) comedy and interesting character interactions.

Legend has neither yet (ch 57).

The MC gets transmigrated into a new body, and in 50 chapters, has had no goal other than to work as an adventurer and earn his keep. He has had no challenges whatsoever. There's no real reason he needs to keep getting stronger because he just sweeps... more>> the floor with everyone as is, and there's no antagonist to fight.

Additionally, characters are flat as cardboards, and it reflects in their interactions. MC has the "cool" cookie-cutter personality where he always makes the most logical, rational decisions, has no trouble killing people, and on the spectrum of 0-10, his emotional range is basically static at 5-6. Thus, his conversations are also bland, and his interactions try to accentuate his "cool" factor way too much. On a side note, the author seems to be trying to establish a harem, and its members are also cookie-cutter to the point that it's like "Oh... it's a conversation with the receptionists... *skip*"

All in all, Legend is not poorly written. You might be entertained if this is your first isekai novel ever, and you have never read about a person living in a game-like world. But I think the majority of readers would find it boring. <<less
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sakirol
sakirol
Brother
December 11, 2016
Status: --
Incredibly well-written, sad, and heart-wrenchingly tragic.

Xu Ping has one mentally disabled younger brother and a near absent father. He grows up basically parenting his younger brother, and he has to deal with bullies, insidious gossip, and the frustrations of having to use all of his time and effort on a family member whom he can't get through to half of the time. Not only that, he develops doubly forbidden feelings. Homos*xuality, by itself, is criminally punishable and shameful during this time period. The shame Xu Ping feels is doubled... more>> by the fact that the target of his interest is his brother...

The internal struggles that Xu Ping has to face and the nuanced external judgement that he must deal with make this a very agonizing and sad read. <<less
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sakirol
sakirol rated it
Killer Nights
February 7, 2018
Status: c71
Killer Nights is quite a good read and undeserving of its low ratings. However, it may not be what you expect when you initially read the summary and look at the tags. For example, investigation and mystery feels a bit lacking in this series. There are a LOT of investigations scenes, but they mostly serve to horrify or mystify you. From the last 71 chapters, I pretty much still know nothing about the murderer. This is not to mention that the murders are rather supernatural, so pretty much anything goes.... more>> Most of the 'mystery' is guessing what has happened in the main characters' past and speculating how it is related to the current case. A huge focus in this story is the main couple's relationship and the serious, dark drama around them, which is plenty interesting.

Some things that may put readers off is the brutality. There is some serious violent depictions and scumbag characters in this novel. For instance, there are depictions of rape and torture. Some of our characters linger around a moral grey ground or associate with dubious people. I would stay away from this novel if that's not something that you want to read.

In general, its positive points are that it has a story, and character interactions are interesting. It has a good setting (series of murders) and clear, conclusive goal (solving the murders, unraveling the characters' pasts, and a conclusion on their relationship status). It makes steady strides to reach the goal as the story proceeds. This seems silly, but having a goal is somewhat rare among web novels. Character interactions are also interesting enough with the main character's shameless s*xual innuendos.

Its negatives are that some character decisions are rather silly, and you will feel that the author knows just as much about the case as you do. In other words, it feels like the author is just writing the story as s/he goes.

As far as web novels go, Killer Nights is good, entertaining read to add to your list. <<less
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sakirol
sakirol
Dominion’s End
December 1, 2016
Status: v2c6
Dominion's End is super ridiculous - in a good way.

It has about a million novel tropes stuffed into it. To name just a few - MC transmigrates backwards into a PARALLEL time line; MC turns from a chick into a boy; MC is a bro-con AND a sis-con; MC lives in a zombie apocalypse; People have superpowers;.... WHEW! Holy crap.

You're not supposed to take the plotline too seriously, of course. The absurdity is the comedic point.

But despite the absurdity, Dominion's End combines a LOT of story devices that I do... more>> (guiltily) want to see fitted together in a story, and does so in a fashion that forms a coherent story. To be blunt though, it is a lot of fantasy fulfillment.

So if you're like me, and you want to see a kick-ass female (male?) MC developing superpowers in a monster-filled apocalyptic world, a mouthful of zombie action, a touch of survival angst, and slight s*xual/romantic innuendo between a hot genius-level older bro and a hot younger bro: ta-da! Here, you go.

On the flip-side, particularly if you're male, the pink and fuzzy recurring scenes between the three siblings will probably throw you off.

So, your mileage may vary, but I absolutely love this series. <<less
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sakirol
sakirol rated it
Reincarnator
November 9, 2016
Status: c222
World-building: 5/5
Plot progression: 5/5
Character development: 2/5
Writing: 2.5/5

Pros:
Reincarnator builds amazing worlds, and that's really one of the biggest things I'm looking for in a fantasy-type novel - being able to go on an adventure in another fantastical realm. Enjoy the creative worlds that the author creates.

The MC is likeable!! He makes good decisions. He has a personality!!! He's never a d*ck for no reason.

Cons:
Character development is fragmented and weak. Support characters randomly drop in, get an exposition, then disappear off into the realm of nothingness for... more>> hundreds of chapters, or worse, forever. Don't give me a name and sad backstory that spans half a chapter if you're going to make the character disappear after 3 chapters *sob*. We have evil, killing machines flip sides at a moment's notice without enough explanation, so it feels jarring.

There are a lot of Deus Ex Machina moments where the MC is in a hopeless situation, but then he suddenly pulls out a secret new power unbeknown to the audience. It makes the climax of each arc anti-climatic... because you know he's going to pull out a trump card.

Weak details. It's hard to grasp what the environment, characters, and different races look or feel like because of the lack of description. This is pretty common among light novels though.

Too much chuckling. Please... Hangsoo chuckles like every other sentence. <<less
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sakirol
sakirol rated it
The King’s Avatar
November 14, 2016
Status: c502
Writing: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Plot Progression: 6/10
World/Setting: 6/10

The King's Avatar is a unique novel among the MMO genre and stands on the top as my favorite MMO-related series to date. It definitely deserves a higher rating than it is currently given. From the start, the audience knows what the MC's goal is - to stand back on top of the competitive gaming scene. From then on, he embarks on a journey to create a character with which he can surprise the competitive scene with. Pros:
Character are written so... more>> well, and character interactions are impeccable. It's really the highlight point of the series and a fatal weakness of the vast, vast majority of light novels and web novels. If you want to get a taste of how well the author evokes emotion, just read the first chapter or so. The melancholy pretty much seeps through the screen. The way that the characters talk to each other is bloody hilarious but not at all forced, and conversations leave you feeling sentimental about vast majority of the support cast. I have a grin plastered on my face whenever I read through a conversation. At the same time, the author manages to create a unique, memorable persona for so many of the characters! This is the only novel in which I can name over 10 characters with distinct personality differences off the top of my head.

Likewise, the general writing is beautiful (and is aided by amazing translations from GravityTales). The action scenes are well narrated to the point that you can imagine the step-by-step sequences of attacks between players. This seems to be a con point for many readers, but I find the descriptions just the right length.

Cons:
Like every other MMO novel, The King's Avatar has a large, [LARGE] dose of grinding. If you are sick of reading about grinding from bottom up, maybe you should put The King's Avatar down until you are in that mood again. To give you an idea, 500 chapters in and the MC is still only level 5X. World development is mediocre because this novel strays from the standard VRMMO world set up. World development is not a focus at all. If you are looking for a fleshed out, creative world, The King's Avatar is not where you should look. The described world is a very standard MMO map. The author spends little time fleshing out the details of the map. <<less
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sakirol
sakirol
Kuro no Maou
November 23, 2016
Status: v1 prologue
Kuro No Mao starts off with a good, dark premise. A high school is warped to another world and forced into experimentation to develop decent, disposable foot soldiers. Not amazingly original, but we've had dozens of light and airy isekai novels, so it's good to see such a dark start to one. It picks good elements to base the story around, but the execution is lacking.

The author just CANNOT write in a serious tone, and it's incredibly jarring. The MC does not feel any different between the first time... more>> he is subjected to brutal experimentation and the time he escapes. His dialogues feel naive and boyish and reflect none of the agony that he went through nor any sense of vengeance. We slip into a daily routine of slice-of-life follow his escape, and it's as if we were reading another isekai novel where the MC had not experienced any hardship yet!!

Similarly, all the notable characters lack depth. They all experience enough events. We know their past. It's just that they aren't characterized very well.

The other thing is that naming and world conventions breaks the immersion. It's very awkward that this novel takes random parts of the this world and tosses it into the fantasy world while completely ignoring most of the elements of this world.

Examples:
The people of this new world (in the Arc continent) speak Arabic or at least the novel uses Arabic letters. MC, as a modern teenage boy from at least the 2000s, can't recognize Arabic and is bewildered by it. It would've been less jarring if they replaced the Arabic letters with X's or something.

Virginia is a colony in the Pandora Continent. It is a port city located on the EAST coast of the Pandora Continent. The Arc Continent sent an expedition to the West on the Pandora Continent in order to establish control and take over the Pandora Continent......... <<less
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sakirol
sakirol rated it
Lawless Gangster
February 1, 2018
Status: c79
That was honestly amazing story. It's about the romance between an incredibly normal man, Qi Xiu Yuan, and a gangster who is deeply entangled with the gang, Xiao Li. However, the story very much revolves around gang politics, backstabbing, and politicians. As the novel progresses, we see more and more of how brutal the gang life is, and how miserable it is for Xiao Li and his friends. Political twists in the plot are also very well-written and unpredictable leading up to a satisfying conclusion. I can't say much without... more>> spoiling, but as the story started ramping up, I found myself thinking, "Woah. I did not see that coming, but that makes so much sense" multiple times. The author clearly spent quality effort into planning out this novel! All in all, great angst and amazing ride.

I would definitely recommend this as a read. I don't believe it deserves the 1.0 ratings at all because it is well-written with fleshed-out, relatable characters and a satisfying, complete story. But this is also a novel that is pretty explicitly in a 'yaoi world' because of the romantic dynamics in it. <<less
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sakirol
sakirol rated it
Song in the Clouds
March 7, 2017
Status: epilogue
Yun Zhong Ge has beautiful storytelling, foreshadowing, and historical incorporation. It is everything that you want in a historical novel with romance and politics. The story was carefully planned, and on your second... third reading, there are still literary nuances and gems that you'll pick up.

It is gut-wrenchingly tragic, and your heart will be held hostage for a good while after finishing everything.

When I say gut-wrenchingly tragic, I mean that it is about thrice as tragic as its' prequel Ballad of the Desert, so be prepared.

The prequel is unrelated to... more>> Yun Zhong Ge except for some familial ties and offhand references. <<less
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sakirol
sakirol rated it
Spirit Hotel
March 19, 2018
Status: c42
Spirit Hotel is all about the comedy. Join our MC in his shameless antics and shenanigans. Jokes primarily focus on how shameless our MC is and a variety of puns. If you can't enjoy the humor, this may not be entertaining for you. However, it's a blast if you enjoy the comedy.

Serious shout-out to the translator. This novel wouldn't be half as interesting without his/her efforts with the jokes.
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sakirol
sakirol rated it
God’s Left Hand
February 26, 2018
Status: v1c39
I really enjoyed God's Left Hand, but it's very audience-specific.

Firstly, e-sports is the primary focus. The romance is subtle and revolves around the e-sports. This directly opposite of all the female-oriented gaming novels on NovelUpdates. This is the opposite of Honey Stewed Squid (the sequel) where it's all fluffy, romantic interactions. It parallels the real e-sports scene. We have CS:GO, dota, Starcraft, etc. The novel liberally hops between the different games with little exposition. The charm of this novel are the mild reminders of harsh reality: dashed hopes and dreams,... more>> fast and constant change that leaves the old generation behind. I can see this only appealing to people who know about the jargon.

Secondly, the novel is only a preface to the second part, meaning it's 40 chapters of buildup and no payout. Therefore, if you can't enjoy the background exposition of the characters, then you won't enjoy the novel. The main romantic relationships are really vague, and I think knowing what happens in Honey Stewed Squid first will make the read more interesting.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed it because 1) I know about games & e-sports and 2) I read Honey Stewed Squid first so I know how some character relationships are like in the future. <<less
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sakirol
sakirol rated it
You’re Beautiful When You Smile
February 22, 2018
Status: c22 part1
This story is about a girl who joins a Chinese LoL pro team. Her ex is on one of the different teams. So far, the story is great! I love stories where our MC is in e-sports. They're somewhat few and far between.

It comes off a little bit ranty at first because, yes there's a lot of s*xism in gaming esp. RTS & FPS, but I doubt any interactions between these type of guys & our MC would end the way they did in the first few chapters. XD

The story... more>> quickly moves on from that to mainly focusing on her new pro life, interactions with the ML, and some nice details about her matches. Once, it got to that point, I died of laughter. The MC and ML's interactions are absolutely gold. I'm grinning ear to ear and holding my stomach through half of the chapters.

There is a fair bit of jargon in it for people who haven't played the game, but I think the novel does a decent job of explaining everything.

So far, so good. I'm really enjoying this. <<less
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sakirol
sakirol rated it
Life Mission
October 25, 2017
Status: v2c61
The novel is enjoyable. It's a generic 'survival game' type of novel with good pacing and decent variety of adrenaline pumping survival missions thrown your way. It has few descriptions. The majority of the writing is simple dialogue or action, making it feel like a 'junk food' type of novel. I like junk food. :) The downside is that the logic that the characters use is downright moronic, and you're left with nothing but eyerolls. Examples below:

Spoiler
    • MC personally wanted to scout teammates for the 'rank up' mission from Lvl E to D because it was a risky mission... but then decides to join a group of random players without having talked to them before.
    • Person's sister is in a mission where they could die at any mission and need urgent help. MC decides to take over 2 hours to make a decision...
    • MC knows super OP people, but doesn't ask for their help on embarking in life-threatening missions
[collapse]

All in all, it's a fun read though it has some execution issues.
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sakirol
sakirol
To Be A Virtuous Wife
December 24, 2016
Status: c123
To Be A Virtuous Wife didn't jive well with me since I overlooked the slice-of-life tag. It truly is a slice-of-life.

The MC doesn't particularly have ambitions. She just wants to live a good life. Nor is she particularly romantic, though she plays the part of a wife well. The political plots are simple and obvious, unlike some of the convoluted, layered schemes in other historical novels. The girls that scheme against the MC are also too obvious and unintelligent, so they get thwarted easily, and the issues are resolved promptly.... more>> We see the enemies crushed simply because they're being dumb and impudent.

All in all, I thought it was an OK read, but I felt the plot was weak, and there was little character development past the part where the male lead gets infatuated with the MC. Thus, I found myself knowing how the story would end before reaching it and wondering if it would go anywhere. Well, I finished reading it and found myself feeling pretty... meh. <<less
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sakirol
sakirol rated it
Fish Playing While Trapped in a Secret Room
February 26, 2018
Status: v3c32
I really, really love this story.

It requires God's Left Hand to understand developments in the story. Once again, the primary focus is on e-sports, but this time, there's more romantic development going on with the MC and ML. There is far less jargon in the sequel, and the focus is more on relationships and peoples' struggles in e-sports. Competition results and whatnot kind of flow past like a current. They happen, but the characters are the crux of the story now.

It's basically a pie of dramatized e-sports world. It hits... more>> home a lot with struggles and broken dreams, but it also remembers to throw you bits of happiness every so often with the main couple. I feel like the novel's writing style reflects reality a lot. The prequel goes on a lot about minute details of the games and neglects relationships... just like someone young chasing their dreams. This novel glosses over a lot more game details and focuses more on the people... like someone who's been rooted back down in reality. Key events stick, but others are transient, and how she feels about events is so much more about those around her than it is about glory.

Recommended for people into e-sports or who want to experience how different career paths can pan out. Romance is weak in comparison, but it's there and it's satisfying enough. <<less
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sakirol
sakirol rated it
A Slight Smile is Very Charming
March 7, 2018
Status: shan side story 5
A Slight Smile is Very Charming is fluff and more fluff. This series is a very light romance that adds on an addition of MMORPGs. Interactions and romantic progression is very similar to a generic shoujo manga - minus any drama. We basically have a romance between a perfect ML and near perfect MC. I honestly found the series to be lackluster, but it seems to be overwhelmingly popular with readers, so your mileage may vary?

When I read fluff, I have three things that I care about: the interactions between... more>> characters, comedy, and interesting subtopics. TBH, I thought this story was mediocre in all three categories. Because the characters are so unrealistically and unironically perfect, I found interactions pretty stale. The comedy also falls flat because none of the characters really pop out. Lastly, fluff usually centers around a certain topic. In this case, it's MMO gaming. However, MMO gaming isn't particularly interesting in this story because it's a very generic game, the game is purely treated as light entertainment so nothing that happens feels like it matters, and the MC+ML are too good at the game. In the end, I thought A Slight Smile is Very Charming was okay to read if I was bored and had nothing to do, but nothing about it was memorable for me except for the fact that it's quite a popular title. <<less
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