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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
The Lord’s Empire
April 30, 2018
Status: v1c9
This novel is exceptionally dull. The protagonist is a block of wood with the emotional depth of a puddle, the gamelike interface with the 'other world' is unexamined and poorly considered, and the combat between groups is unrealistic and poorly written. I strongly recommend reading something else.
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
Still, Wait For Me
July 27, 2017
Status: c32
Finally, a story about a reincarnator that thinks like an actual human being. Unlike the protagonists of the many 'reincarnated to play video games' stories, the main character focuses on wanting to help his friends and family resolve the regrets that they had and the chances that they missed. It's definitely a romance / drama, with very little supernatural about it besides the premise, so don't expect anything like that from this story. Read it for what it is: a sweet and lighthearted story with excellent characterization and a realistic... more>> setting. <<less
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
The Dark King
February 3, 2017
Status: c147
A puerile, sophomoric effort with a mildly entertaining premise. First, the bad:

The biggest problem that I have with this story is that apparently, 300 years in the future, the survivors of the nuclear apocalypse are pants-on-head stupid and pointlessly cruel. In addition to having absolutely no clue as to how a 10-year-old actually acts, the author really struggles to come up with realistic adversaries or challenges for the MC:

... more>>
Spoiler

Instead, adoptive parents are willing to sell their children, teachers are willing to throw kids into the wilderness, the church lies to everyone to maintain power, the scientists who oppose the church's hypocrisy are willing to indulge in human experimentation, the warriors who defend civilization are happy to use 10-year-olds as bait, noblemen would rather kill a kid then tell their daughter they can't marry that kid...

[collapse]

The complete lack of any sort of hope or human decency in the setting is *probably* supposed to be juxtaposed against the main character's 'modern enlightenment' and the morals of the current age, but instead it winds up creating an implausible and unrealistic setting. Especially since the MC is some sort of super-10-year-old that is totally cool with murder.

On the other hand, it's no *worse* than, say, most of the YA fiction on the shelves these days, and the implausible plot twists make for enough entertaining scenes that it kept my interest for a while. Unlike most stories with unrealistically competent MCs, the tense moments actually feel tense, where the main character actually has to sweat a little bit to survive (as opposed to other stories on NU where the protagonist just curb-stomps a neverending series of arrogant challengers.)

Overall, if you don't mind turning your brain off for a while, it's a pretty decent read. Just... don't expect a lot of internal consistency. <<less
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
FFF-Class Trashero
January 5, 2019
Status: c18
Let's be clear: this is pure, self-indulgent, power-tripping fantasy. The MC is the edglordiest edgelord to ever edgelord, the setting is a deliberately trite isekai world, there's a poorly-defined gamelike system overarching everything, and because of time travel, the MC is unnecessarily OP.

And if this story took itself seriously, most of the things I just mentioned would be problematic.

This isn't a story about compelling drama, an intricate fantasy world, or inspirational heroism. This is a cathartic story about a guy who keeps getting jerked around by the 'rules' - either... more>> those of society or those of the cosmic order - and being sick enough of being jerked around to do something about it, and by 'doing something' I mean 'committing multiple murders'.

Trashero is probably best classified as revenge porn, but it's classy revenge porn, the kind that doesn't leave you wondering whether the author has unresolved issues surrounding his ex-girlfriends. I'm not going to give it a 5-star rating, because on the whole it seems to be a fairly shallow story, but I give it a strong 4 out of 5. <<less
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
Seeking the Flying Sword Path
October 25, 2017
Status: c54
Based on the first 50 chapters or so, I think this story is a notch above many of IET's other works, showing a maturity in storytelling and plot that really isn't apparent (in my opinion) in many of his earlier novels. The main character starts as an adult and as a skilled martial practitioner, thus avoiding some of the 'cultivation wank' that goes on in the first 100 chapters of many other novels & getting right to the meat of the plot. Also, Flying Sword Path is just plain stylish... more>> - it draws on very classic wuxia tropes and gives them a daoist spin, rather than being a daoist novel first and foremost. People sacrifice themselves nobly for loved ones, other people have tragic pasts, villains are cruel and rapacious and are not as quickly mown down as some xianxia villains are... I'm definitely curious to see how this story develops and hope that it continues to hold true to its early promise! <<less
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
Release that Witch
July 11, 2018
Status: c138
I almost feel like I shouldn't be as down on this story as I am. There are lots of webnovels out there where the protagonist is never in any meaningful danger, plenty of self-indulgent power fantasies where the protagonist can do no wrong, dozens of stories where the supporting casts of the piece are one-dimensional cardboard cutouts only there to make the main characters look good. And many of those are worse-written than RTW, and yet I would probably rate them better.

The unforgivable sin of Release This Witch is that... more>> - unlike the other novels I mentioned - it's theoretically about scientific progress, and that its' protagonist is supposed to be the genius driving that progress. Rather than triumphing invincibly over the challenges facing him with ludicrous strength or a mystical destiny, as other protagonists do, Roland overcomes his challenges with 'science' and 'intelligence'.

Which wouldn't be bad, except that writing intelligence convincingly is a lot harder than convincingly writing about strength or martial skill, and I don't think Release This Witch meets the mark.

A few examples of some truly boneheaded decisions the main character makes right away (Minor Spoilers for the first few chapters of the story) :

1.) Upon being mystically transported into the body of a prince, in an alternate universe where magic demonstrably exists, the protagonist immediately decides that God isn't real and therefore that the Church is evil and that killing Witches is wrong. He turns out to be right about this, of course, but the point is that he had no real reason to think this way, and if he had gotten sent to a world based on the Brothers Grimm instead, he probably would have died in the first few chapters.

2.) After rescuing the Witch from being burned to death, he proceeds to set her up in the castle, taking it on faith that none of the servants will gossip, that none of his retinue will believe that he is ensorcelled and try to do something about it, that the witch's powers won't go out of control and burn the castle down, and so on. He doesn't even bother planning for contingencies, just assumes that nothing will go wrong and nothing does.

3.) He then decides to defend his town against monsters that he's never fought, using tactics and equipment that nobody has ever used before, and blithely assumes that all of the townspeople will be totally okay with entrusting their lives and their children's lives to him even though he has no reputation as a military man and in fact has a reputation as a wastrel. Somehow, the tactics work perfectly, the equipment works perfectly, and nobody flees for their lives in horror even after he reveals that he's working with the same witches that they were perfectly happy to burn to death fifty chapters ago.

And so on.

Also, beyond the frankly nonsensical plot, Release This Witch also gets its military history wrong. Cannonballs should bounce and don't, barrels of cannon and musket never burst, horses (including enemy horses) should spook at the sounds of gunfire and cannon but don't, and so on, and so on. I understand that this isn't a problem that everyone who reads it will even notice, but it certainly irritates me!

Pile those problems on top of the fact that RTW also falls prey to many issues that plague other webnovels, and I really have a hard time justifying reading any further than I already have. <<less
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
Gate of Revelation
December 5, 2017
Status: c499
A surprisingly smart sci-fi action/adventure with some heavy fantasy & video game elements thrown in as a mash-up. There's a lot of speculation on the nature of consciousness and reality next to some pretty darn decent action scenes, with a wide variety of genre shifting going on as well.

More than anything else, though, it's a character drama, which is one of the reasons I like it so much. A lot of the xianxia and xuanhuan stories coming through the site focus very heavily on a single character that can and... more>> does do everything themselves, smashing everyone and everything in their way, et cetera et cetera. While this story does feature a strong main character, he's just the leader of a larger ensemble cast, a person with friends, rivals, enemies, and other people to interact with, fight, protect, be protected by, and all of it on a more personally meaningful level than is common in many xuanhuan stories.

Some people will be turned off by the weird genre mashupness of it all, and some people prefer stories about lone heroes to stories with so much focus on secondary characters, but I really do think that most people will find this story to be worth the effort. <<less
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storybookknight
Clichéd, hackneyed, trite, predictable, a regurgitation of ideas better expressed elsewhere. That's what I kept thinking as I read, and I got bored pretty darn quickly. There are a few redeeming features - although poorly implemented, the village full of retired badasses is kind of an entertaining concept, and if you like cutesy unrealistic 'romantic' dialogue then I've seen worse, but all told there are probably better uses for your time than reading this. There's nothing actively offensive about it... it's just boring.
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storybookknight
I generally like novels that apply professional skills to unfamiliar areas, so I thought the tale of a poor SOB being forcibly conscripted into inventing logistics for a demon army would be interesting. Unfortunately, the story suffers a little bit from being overly light-novelish. It skips past a lot of subjects that would potentially be interesting if they were examined in detail in order to examine the main character's "lighthearted daily life". Similarly, the military aspects of the story are more or less elided, serving mostly as a plot device... more>> for why the main character's work is necessary.

Or, in other words, this is mainly a story about a loser doing important office work with attractive demihumans, provided so that losers who have to do meaningless office work with ordinary humans can fantasize about having better lives.

Which is not an uncommon genre. Unfortunately for this novel's rating, as weeb-bait, I think it's pretty average; as such, I've given it a pretty average score. <<less
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
Swordmaster Healer
May 12, 2018
Status: c10
Boring start. Uses the 'Dungeons exist on Earth' trope without bothering to explore how that affects society at any level beyond the superficial. Main character is a typical 'loser who suddenly gets granted power' like in a million other stories, and as soon as he gets any power he immediately begins exploring dungeons solo, thus preventing him from interacting with other characters in meaningful ways. There's some possibility for this to get better but mostly it just feels like a much more poorly-executed version of Seoul Station's Necromancer.
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
Prince of the Octagon
May 12, 2018
Status: --
So far so good! It reminds me a bit of Hajime no Ippo as a 'professional life of an athlete' story. It's still very early, though, so while I'm giving it a 5 for now that could drop - I'm hoping to see some more character development and some side characters to be introduced that will keep the premise from getting dull in the longer run. In the short run, though, I'm fully satisfied.
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
Tales of the Reincarnated Lord
January 19, 2017
Status: c115
Thoroughly mediocre overall, but has some redeeming merits. The worst part of the story is probably the writing. The author hasn't really mastered the principle of "show, don't tell" and resorts to cumbersome flashbacks to build out his world in the beginning. While this does eventually get better, there are plenty of other things to nitpick at, such as the author's obsession with precise numbers when discussing logistics, and a certain lack of consistency in the main character's personality.

However, other than that, the story has several things going for it.... more>> First, unlike many xuanhuan, it starts things off with a main character who is already strong, avoiding the usual state of affairs wherein a modest-seeming but fast-growing cultivator is challenged by a never-ending stream of arrogant idiots with poor pattern recognition. Instead the main character gets started on achieving their ambitions relatively quickly, which is a plus. Unfortunately, it does still fall into the problem of things being a bit too easy for the MC; otherwise I might have rated this higher.

Secondly, the author does manage to include a good deal of secondary characters with interesting personalities, which is a welcome change from many "lone cultivator" stories. This is a real strength of the story and although there are other books which do this better, there are many others that do it much worse. All in all, it's a story that's probably worth reading, but not until you've already finished better stories. <<less
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storybookknight
Even for the occasionally nonsensical genre of 'young woman transmigrates to another world where she becomes OP', this story isn't very good. The plot goes all over the place, the MC commits random murders and nobody seems to care, she tells off her evil ex in a tavern and "everyone claps" for her... granted, stories about OP MCs stomping all over their rivals aren't terribly realistic to begin with, but this story is worse than average in that regard. It also just isn't written very well, with a lot of... more>> telling-not-showing, trite turns of phrase, and unrealistic dialogue.

There are a few characters that are a little interesting, and the MC being kind of a moron is a little entertaining, so that saves it from a one-star rating, but overall I don't recommend this story. <<less
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
Awakening
February 5, 2017
Status: c71
Boring, and slightly disappointing. The premise of the story, that the main character is a reincarnated martial arts expert in the body of an ordinary teenager, is fine - but after 70 chapters, the author has yet to do anything interesting with it. The main problem with the story is that the main character lacks any kind of agency - everything that happens to him, happens because of a string of implausible coincidences rather than as a result of any decisions on the protagonist's part. Similarly, there's very little conflict... more>> in the story; confusingly so, as there are several good opportunities for both internal and external conflict that are apparently passed up. If the author had put more pressure on the MC by having people from his past life come back to haunt the new character, or by giving the MC an uncompleted task from his past life that he felt compelled to carry out, or even by having the MC be dedicated to a normal, peaceful life and having that life be disrupted by the aforementioned ridiculous circumstances, it would have given this story a feeling of plot or direction that it currently lacks. Instead the story winds up reading like "The saga of self-insert-man, whose poorly defined abilities allow him to make a variety of attractive women emotionally dependent upon him!"

Aside from the structural problems with the story, the author also has the obnoxious tendency to skip over periods of time without any warning, resulting in a disjointed and cumbersome narrative. Definitely a series worth skipping. <<less
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
A Record of a Mortal’s Journey to Immortality
January 20, 2017
Status: c266
A solidly interesting story, if a bit slow-paced. The core conceit of this story is basically, 'what happens when someone who is kind of bad at cultivation nevertheless decides to pursue immortality?' If you like canny, scheming main characters, then this is definitely a story that you should check out. However, because of the main character's (admittedly justifiable) paranoia, they wind up not forming a lot of close attachments to people or ideas and this can get a little one-note. The Portal Of Wonderland, a story by the same author,... more>> has similar concepts but with a much more appealing main character. <<less
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
Maou Gakuin No Futekigousha
January 24, 2019
Status: c10
This series is thoroughly stupid.

Reading it, it's clear that the author wanted to tell a story about a reborn demon king that nobody would believe was actually the demon king, which, sure, okay, that could be fun - except that rather than come up with plausible reasons for people to be underimpressed with the protagonist, the author has just surgically removed the brains of literally every character that the protagonist interacts with.

Seriously, the morons in this story make xianxia antagonists look intelligent.

Also, as other people have mentioned, this series is... more>> edgelordtastic.

I didn't give it a 1-star rating because there is entertaining material in the story for people who don't mind reading something dumb just for laughs; if you're not in that sort of mood, I'd recommend giving this one a miss.

If you want something with a similar conceit that actually does its job well, try Tilea's Worries. <<less
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
Top Management
January 14, 2019
Status: c166
One of my favorites in the slice-of-life genre. Great characterization, interesting story, in-depth and accurate looks at the Korean entertainment industry.
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter
May 12, 2018
Status: c14
A perfectly adequate story for killing time and brain cells when you have nothing better to do.

Look, not all Light Novels are going to be great works of literature. This story is *definitely* one of the ones that aren't, but for all that it's still a lighthearted, fun, unserious story. This is the kind of story that sees absolutely nothing wrong with giving the main character skills that are recharged by kissing - but at the same time doesn't take itself seriously enough to turn itself into a R-18 porn... more>> quest. It's stupid, mildly perverted fun in the way that many Japanese LNs are - there's not much to elevate it from the pack, but it's not egregiously bad either. <<less
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
Miracle Throne
February 5, 2017
Status: c61
A shallow, insipid story with a one-note main character and an almost complete lack of anything resembling dramatic tension. There are plenty of good stories with overpowered main characters, but this isn't one of them.
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storybookknight
storybookknight rated it
Nigotta Hitomi no Lilianne
January 5, 2019
Status: --
Extremely slow paced, with oh god way too many chapters about the cuteness of the MC. I kept waiting for the main character to grow up a little so that something interesting would happen, and it just never did. There were a few elements that the author introduced which could have been fun to see addressed, but I very swiftly lost interest because of how much pointlessness there was to wade through in between each incremental piece of attention to what passed for a plot. I don't recommend this one.
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