At the later part of the novel, his 1st spirit’s powers advance to the point where it’s really OP. The mental detection / info radius fans out to several kilometers (almost impossible to ambush his group), he gets group stealth (!!!), etc, making him easily adapt to either 1v1, small group, or large group confrontations
Actually, at some point, the author merged the environment and characters of The Mummy with storyline from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, showing that even anime can be used as an inspiration. It also really cracked me up when they gave one of the newbies whose only talent was for piloting an "anime bear mecha" (which I imagine is Beargguy http://i. Imgur. Com/7IElF4s. Jpg) which tho cute was equipped with Gundarium alloy making it hella tough.
There is a kind of r*pe scene, where the MC and one of his female opponents get exposed to an aphrodisiac. Totally unneeded, IMO, and the resulting scenes after didn't make too much sense.
There's actually an arc where the MC goes undercover in Japan, and there are plenty of cases where you see the MC enjoying Japanese culture, even appreciating the work done by Japanese undercover spies. It kind of balances things out.
At one point, he fakes being in therapy as an excuse for not immediately sortieing out when the faction he allied himself into is invaded. This is so that the invaders can massacre a lot of the faction's members and do a lot of damage to the property, giving him a logical excuse for counter-attacking and wiping down to the last man the opposing faction (not just the invading army)
He gains access to a contemplation law that allows the user to have glimpses of the future. However, since he's not sure of the side effects, what he did was to create magical rings and spread it out at random. Those who find the ring are presented with a spirit that talks to them, and gives them instruction and guidance (ala Grandpa Doehring of Coiling Dragon). The MC has remote control capability over those rings, allowing him to nudge the users to do what he wants. Also, all glimpses of destiny that the users will have pass through the MC and his AI Chip first, giving him veto rights whether the info will pass through to the user or not (in case the info might expose the MC). In the meanwhile, the MC collects and extrapolates the data from multiple users so he has a bigger picture of the future.
The novel kinda feels like it's lost its focus. The MC, aside from being a hunter, is the behind the scenes manipulator for a financial group. MC also becomes both an inventor for the Holy Church and an alchemist. So now you have the story going every which way from time to time, and mostly acting against other members of society instead of having interesting adventures out in the wild.
If ever, the only negative comment I'd put on it is its somewhat unitary forms of combat: coming from IET novels with a lot of Dao / martial techniques, or from the Douluo Dalu series where people have variations in not just their martial souls but on the techniques they gain in advancement, the no frills Origin Force which so far only grants a passive ability enhancement at ranks 2 and 4 (no explanation given how and why >.<) is kind of lackluster. Basically, the MC gets to shoot more bullets at a given time on rank up. 0_O. Thankfully, the vampiric powers he has is becoming more interesting with time, hopefully more attention gets thrown that way
His sword 'cuts through iron like mud' (lifted literally from the machine translation) ; has a 90, 000 year old sword spirit that can give him advice, ancient powerful techniques, even once in a while can possess his body to give him a super power boost; Sword has a dimensional space (no mention of anyone else having similar gadgets unlike in other Xianxia) ; Sword can also absorb rare materials and herbs so that it can power up - leftovers are used to create weapons that are sharper and harder than pretty much anything else in the case of metals, and medicines that give near instant regeneration (if someone has a hole poked through them, one dose of the medicine can patch them up within minutes). There are also hints of the sword gaining more abilities as more of the sword's sections are retrieved.
After a while, the writing doesn't even focus on the MC and his activities... it becomes an exploration of characters that are part of Taoism and Buddhism lore. You get FLOODED with names, their titles, their positions, etc. Very few of them have a significant role in the story tho. It's obvious that it expects the reader to be familiar with those characters, as well as characters in famous literary works like Journey to the West (Sun Wukong aka Monkey King), and Investiture of the Gods.
While other novels have played around with their own interpretation / rewrite of events from those works / lore, none of them are such a name-drop fest as HSSB is. If you're not familiar with the literature, you'll be lost or have a much lower interest in the storyline.
I started this one on the recommendation of my brother. At first, it reads like your usual CN novel, with the MC obtaining by chance a "schtick" (in this case, the memories of a cultivator from 40k years ago) and using that to get an edge above everybody else.
The early scenarios are kind of predictable, but they're not bad at all. Where it really shines IMO is after the MC finds himself in another universe.
There are a couple of things that I believe sets this novel apart from the sea of mediocrity out there
- world building : no, you don't get wall of text level world building, but you get consistent bite-sized upgrades to what you know about the world. A lot of the systems are logical, there's cultural diversity, myths and legends in the various cultures that eventually tie in into the story.
- space drama / sci fi: this is the only cultivation based novel that I've read that captures the feel of being in outer space. It sometimes gives me the feel of the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, where we see a space-faring civilization trying to recover step by step from the dark ages. Other cultivation novels out there just treat outer space as the same kind of environment as a land-based one, not this.
- multi-dimensional characters - I absolutely HATE it when I get presented with one-dimensional characters, where you get people who are obviously good and people who are obviously bad, with no shades in between. The villains presented in book 2 onwards are complex characters, and while they might do monstrous things they have their own set of morality and are aiming for the good of their race from their twisted point of view.
Very much recommended reading
EDIT (c2155) : *vent mode* It seriously pisses me off how much sh*t the MC has to go through just because he for some reason wants to hide his cultivation boundary. You get chapters on chapters where his master would scold him endlessly on his lack of progress, even though in actuality he has way surpassed his master. You get chapters where his junior fellow apprentice openly disrespects him for the same reason. So on and so forth. Readers be warned, it will tax your patience at times.
EDIT: Lowering my overall rating of the novel to 4, primarily due to the story structure after Volume 1. Basically, the 2nd volume does a complete reset, wiping out all context of the 1st volume. This results in a new round of worldbuilding, which is a lot more forced : where before everything was unfolded gracefully, now we have massive info dumps every now and then. Also... it's starting to devolve into your usual xianxia: encounters with arrogant sect / family members, kind of forced situations where the MC is looked down on (with the obvious turn around later), constant treasure hunts. I miss the 1st volume where it's much more focused on the story : (
Currently at c1281. I really enjoyed the novel so far, it's an actual story with memorable characters instead of just a bunch of powerups strung together like in most novels in this genre.
One thing I'm not sure about is the transition to volume 2. Volume 1 ended with a bang, with a massive plot twist that sets you up for more action. Volume 2, the MC apparently has amnesia, and he's in a different world with different characters. All of the character building in the first volume is basically thrown out the window. He also gets to start from scratch in his cultivation! It's such a jarring transition, it's like we're reading a different novel. I'm sure that the author will manage to relate it to the 1st part somehow, combine it with a bombshell of a twist, but right now I'm missing the previous set of supporting characters.
Finally finished to binge read all 5215 chapters! All I can say is, the ending sucks like heck. The author spent the last 14 chapters describing the process how the MC and his doppelgangers ascended to a higher realm... doing nothing to address some of the most important questions in the novel (does MC get back to his original family? Are there any more tie ins to the MCs original / childhood world?) nor fulfill foreshadowing that's been there for the longest while (does MC become a god? - It's in the title for heaven's sake!), while adding even more questions. It's like the author ended it in a way that would require a sequel novel. *sigh*