ML's plot is actually more action-based/intrigue/politics since he's part of the triad. MC's task tends to be more emotionally involved, especially later on when he gets more invested. The author switches between the two plot lines so I never got bored or tired of the plot.
For example, MC wants to be a policeman even though he's basically part of the triad under ML. ML still helps him to study and apply for a police school. Plus, when the triad had an operation with the government (against another triad) ML tried his best to give MC a mission suitable for him even though he worries.
For ML, it's more subtle but he went from lowkey suicidal and depressed, to determined to live. I saw the other reviews and don't worry, ML doesn't stay cold-hearted for long! He's cold because he's a paranoid triad boss and MC is suspicious AF lol. Eventually I forgot he was even like that once because he's such a warm gentleman.
Hint: this novel is big on family themes.
i mean, at 6 she was quick to write off some people (ex-fiancee and stepbrother, specifically) due to their past-life-adult-self's actions, but at 13 she seems to have realised that these people are not the same as they were in her past life.
i.e. her poor ex-fiancee,
e.g. when MC is trying to figure out whether she loves ML, she hems and haws f*cking forever and "thinks about it". meanwhile ML continually pushes her boundaries (which is Not Cool, ffs. and you were doing so well too, ML). then something serious happens and MC realises she does love ML, but wait, she still need time to come to terms with this. she hems and haws a bit more, but is eventually forced to spill her feelings due to unforeseen circumstances. sounds familiar?? yeah, it's just the plot of every shoujo out there.
When MC is a child (6 yrs old) their relationship is strictly sibling-like. From both MC and ML's perspective, so no creepiness there. Things get a bit iffy when she's 13 (and he's 22) because he starts to become sexually attracted to her and as mentioned above he gets pushy with his affections. at worst it doesn't go beyond mild dubcon (forced kissing/hugging), but your mileage may vary.
The MC is 100% confused, but he also has a spine, despite mostly going with the flow (forced to). The "system" that guides the MC is hilarious because of how merciless and blithe it is to the mc's confusion, though it does help the MC somewhat. The story development is too fast paced so far, but it's forgivable with how entertaining it is.
Warning for weird stuff such as shota, mpreg, laying eggs. It's also implied there will be bestiality in future chapters. It's not exactly a new kind of porn on the internet but definitely isnt the norm for NU.
Edit for ch24: Rape. Tbh I should've known it was coming. Previous chapters had dubcon situations, but this was the first one where it was explicitly noncon, but then the rapist had a sad backstory and MC Forgave and Accepted him and yeah, f*ck that. I'm tossing this one out.
The story started out as a pretty fun, unapologetic porn, but it's gone into far more dubious stuff. I'm pretty sure the author's just trying to fit every possible kink into the story, but that's made the story lose its fun for me.
By now I'd say half the s*x is dubcon, and it's just unpleasant to sit through now. I draw the line at excusing rape. Changed my rating from 4 to 1 too.
For one, to prevent MC's family from getting too powerful, he had been giving her birth control poison to prevent her from giving birth to an heir. He had been completely using her while pretending to favor her, though MC knowingly allows this to keep her and her family's life.
MC gave ML divorce papers for him to sign because he was done with the pain. ML tried to reject this by saying he loved him, but wasn't able to convince MC (and himself) that he fell in love. So ML just... gave up and signed the divorce. Why did he give up in just one try? I was annoyed by this. He hurt MC so badly, why did he feel that it would be quick to convince MC? He should have given them both time, and thought over things properly before rushing to MC. At this point he was still acting like he wanted MC to continue showering him with love, yet couldn't say he loved MC, even though a lot of his actions say he's falling in love. Instead of self-reflecting, he signed the divorce, choosing the easy way out of the problem.
Then, he still won't give up on MC and kept bothering him. He doesn't really do anything particularly heartwarming, just "husbandly duties" like picking MC up from work, etc. And ML was emotionally manipulative, using their baby to make MC accept ML's presence.
Then during fckng estrus, he "persuaded" (lbr to me it was: forcing) MC to marry him again. When after estrus MC refused the marriage, ML again... used s*x to persuade him to agree. And MC agreed (of fckng course).
It's a disappointment that instead of a proper courting and sincere apologies over a long period of time, there was only explanations and apologies in bed. I felt that ML was a coward who never faced his problem, and though this was acknowledged in the story, it never felt like he actually fixed this problem. He couldn't even talk properly with MC on MC's terms, instead resorting to s*x until MC gave in. I never felt like the ML deserved MC back. Even though ML was the one that supposedly regretted everything, it was still time and time again MC giving in. When ML didn't love him, MC had to follow his wishes. When ML loved him, MC still had to follow his wishes.
This is in no way romantic.
e.g, the MC has to and wants to maintain a low profile in the academy. Hence she passes herself as a commoner. Except... then the author states that this section of the academy is one only the rich can pay for. And then focuses on how the MC steals off of these rich kids, lololol!
Meanwhile, this reader just want to say... author, aren't you focusing on the wrong thing here. Exactly how is this "commoner" low profile among these rich kids?! Has this "godly thief" MC ever heard of casing the situation/venue?? Where are her analytical skills?? For that matter, where are the author's analytical skills??
e.g. MC despite never being interested in nor having experience in pharmacy and is only in the freshmen classes was able to defeat a Master Pharmacist. Granted it was in a task that she already has prior knowledge and practice of, but it's just... boring. also, if it was that easy to gain knowledge I as a college student really want to slap this broken MC. talent only goes so far, time is also a necessity. MC is "too talented" in basically everything and because of Plot Armour, no matter what she does, even if she makes mistakes they would turn out okay in the end! Comparing to Genius Doctor Black Belly Miss, Jun Wu Xie's progress and genius would be considered tame. In addition, the MC has never faced any serious setbacks or repercussions due to her actions. Even when she's found out as a thief/offends an authority, it turns out alright. Most of the time because of luck. AKA plot armour. That's how broken this MC is.
They're essentially "friendship is power", but with elders and older disciples actually carefully managing things so that everyone's united and their sect has good relationship with others.
And the latter part gets a bit hamfisted, with MC being the "son of destiny" and the diviners sect being Dumbledores.
There honestly wasn't much tension when it comes to the plot itself. Author also doesn't seem to even bother; the final fight was full of jokes, so I assume the author intended it to be light-hearted.
The best plotline is when MC goes to the mortal world and fights against the epidemic curse set by evil cultivators.
I also wasn't too pleased about the way MC and ML is the only exception in the cultivation world when it comes to romance. Almost every other romance mentioned has a tragic ending, and other people also hold a "this won't last long" attittude. What annoys me is that MC and ML is pretty much the only exception bcs they're fated to e/o. It's sweet but when you start thinking about other characters it just becomes sad. The author dropped the lesbians part on a sad note and never picked it up again, so it's very likely they become like "everyone else who has a tragic end" and MC/ML remain the only special ones.
The fact that MC is so lucky and happy makes it difficult when you get attached to minor characters lol. Because MC is the rare exception, and most likely the only exception.
But inside the story he got told off with everything I wanted to say, so all is well. It was very satisfying. MC might be willing to let past misunderstandings be the past, but her family certainly won't until ML learns to not let this kind of situation develop again.
In fact, he's so "dumb cute" that his fangirl persona has her own fans that worry about "her" being taken advantage of when "she" starts posting about her love life.
ML at first keeps using his mom as an excuse to check up/take care of MC. At first MC just accepted it because they didn't know each other well, but eventually he actually teased ML about this excuse, and ML finally admitted that he's doing things out of his own volition.
many readers hate ML for his deplorable behaviour and ngl, he is a two faced asshole. but for me, that made it all the more sweeter when the author brought him to the peak of his political career, the culmination of his effort over more than a decade... and let him give it up, turn his back against his whole life principles for his love and real happiness. I wish the author had expanded on his background better, make him a bit more sympathetic so readers understand him better instead of writing him off as a power hungry bastard. he may be two-faced, ruthless and power hungry, but he was also a product of his environment. when he actually learned what true love and happiness is and how empty its absence is, he was willing to give up his whole life principles and effort. putting myself in his shoes, even I don't know if I would be willing to give up everything I've worked for right when I will succeed. this is one as*hole ML I actually like.
honorable mention to 2nd ML the general AKA the bright shining, pure light of the novel who truly deserves better than he got. I still need an AU fanfic for him and his family gdi.
making sure the friend that died from illness in his past life gets proper medical treatment this time around.
she's also obsessed with getting back her baby, which involves sleeping with her previous life's husband just to get back the "same baby" (hence the summary). Yeah, MC's not quite sane. Author also loves angst and torturing ML too much.
I liked that she continued to play solo, while learning to balance her guild's interests with her own. Her experience in her first guild shows that changing her whole personality (obeying the norms and playing with teams) isn't the answer for a better life. Because she is who she is (this line is often repeated in the novel), this will inevitably end in conflict. Her second guild shows that what she needs are people that can let her be who she is, while giving her human connection so she learns to care for and trust others.
I loved that this game setting was driven further by the biggest antagonist of the novel: corporate politics. So many novels use AIs or other players for the biggest antagonist and it just doesn't feel real or threatening enough. But in real life, so many games are ruined by corporate issues and money, and this is reflected in the novel.
agree to a s*x contract, basically
Personal favorite scene: when one of the ML confessed, MC despite being somewhat fond of him, rejected him on the basis that ML is currently in a position of power over him and has done things to him he cannot yet forgive (selling him (or rather, the original body) to that s*x contract), and must work to gain his trust. I.e. MC is open to the possibility of getting together, as long as ML courts him seriously and they can have a balanced relationship.
Seriously, it's so rare to see a protagonist that respects themselves more than they love their ML. There are novels that have the MC starting out like this, but often they later make concessions for the ML because of love. In this novel, the MLs are the ones that need to grow out of their childish, egotistical nature to capture our MC's heart.
ngl, the MLs leave a lot to be desired. Some of them have their good moments, but most of the time they're, as the MC sees them, egotistical brats. But at the same time, they seem to show the aforementioned character growth, simply because the MC would never look at them as potential lovers without it. So there's hope that we'll end up with great characters by the end.