Archfiend

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Qi Condensation. Foundation Establishment. Core Formation. In the current world, only these three realms are known to be achievable. Nascent Soul is but a legend and the realms above it lost to the the long river of time. The modern era is known as Cultivation Civilization, a balance of power and civility, excess and moderation. While cultivation remains a secret practice, it has long since exposed itself to the mundane world, quietly intertwined with each facet of society. While the world appears to be at peace, what lies underneath is a conflict between human, cultivator, and demon, brewing for ages and waiting to implode. Yet in the wake of humanity’s rapid industrialization, qi—and consequently cultivation—is dying.

Besieged on all sides by demon and human, Xu Yangyi, our protagonist, strives to reach the apex, armed only with esoteric knowledge and his cool pragmatism, and to avenge the unjust deaths of both his parents. Embroiled in conspiracy and with adversity waiting at each turn, he is undeterred in his conquest to seek the Grand Dao and break free of this world’s shackles, claiming his title as the pioneer of an era!

Associated Names
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最强妖孽
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Latest Release

Date Group Release
09/11/18 Wuxiaworld c267
09/05/18 Wuxiaworld c266
08/31/18 Wuxiaworld c265
08/29/18 Wuxiaworld c264
08/24/18 Wuxiaworld c263
08/21/18 Wuxiaworld c262
08/20/18 Wuxiaworld c261
08/16/18 Wuxiaworld c260
08/14/18 Wuxiaworld c259
08/12/18 Wuxiaworld c258
08/10/18 Wuxiaworld c257
08/09/18 Wuxiaworld c256
08/06/18 Wuxiaworld c255
08/05/18 Wuxiaworld c254
08/04/18 Wuxiaworld c253
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16 Reviews sorted by


ba101
New ba101 rated it
September 19, 2018
Status: c267
Brilliant and unique, worth the heavy Chinese mythology and references, very interesting.

Definitely not a little read, people tired of the same old style wuxia will be happy to read the modern take on cultivation.
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adsegm
New adsegm rated it
September 9, 2018
Status: v1c64
An uninspired novel with barely any redeeming qualities. Generic wuxia with esoteric references and bad translation, so if you just want a novel to switch your brain off and relax, this is not the one. About the only good thing I can say about it is that author spared us the marriage break-off trope.
    • Translation is pretty bad. I remember phrases like "looked at him complicatedly" and "his eyes needled" correct translation for which is "his pupils shrank to the size of a needle tip". There's also a lot of convoluted phrasing some of which nearly gave me a headache trying to understand.
    • Esoteric Chinese references which are there just to increase the word count. Check out this nonsensical description of cultivation
      Spoiler

      "The theories of Daoist internal and external alchemy have continued to be derived to this day. The so-called cultivation to produce a core is in fact to 'cultivate the Dao'. All cultivation systems from the Daoist school of Qi Condensation, Foundation Establishment, and the beginning of Core Formation. However, you can also say these days that 'cultivation' is in fact a type of thing, the Dao and the truth. There are two kinds of explanations. If the Dao is said to cultivate something, it is an internal alchemy system. The truth is said to be one's comprehension in regards to the Dao, the physical and the metaphysical

      "

      [collapse]
      Facepalm.
    • Plot armor and deus ex machina galore.
This novel is the result I would expect if someone set out to copy MGA but started taking it way too seriously.
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XTB
XTB rated it
January 12, 2018
Status: --
Hey, I'm the translator for this novel. Of course, I'm going to give the novel I'm working on a five-star rating, but let me get into the specifics.

This is a slow-paced novel in the beginning. Things heat up, but then fall into lull again. There weren't many solid/well-known modern day cultivation novels out there, so I decided to work on this.

I think the author does a fairly decent job in reminding you that while this is a cultivation novel, it is in a modern day setting. When I read these... more>> chapters, I look forward primarily to the world building. Some might say this novel is on the boring side, but I think it's really because the author is initially just taking his time to build everything up.

How slow is this novel exactly?

For mild cultivation spoilers read below

Spoiler

Highest realm seen so far in this novel is Core Formation (from what I have read). If you've read other novels, you know this isn't anything special. In this novel though, even Nascent Soul is considered a mythical realm. I am not exaggerating when I say it takes the MC HUNDREDS of chapters to get to the next level. Action takes more of a spot light in this novel vs just constant power-ups to try to build up a story

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Regarding the translation quality:

I think I do a decent job. If you look at the raws, though, it's pretty obvious I take some liberties, otherwise if I just straight up translated it, the novel would be rather confusing/lacking context.

If you're familiar with my past project Full-Time Anomaly, I can say that difference between text is pretty huge. I spend a decent amount of time on certain Archfiend chapters just for historical checking/research on poems.

NU doesn't give an in between rating option, but in my opinion, this novel sits around a 4.4-4.6 for me.

The MC himself really hasn't shown himself to be anything special in terms of attitude. He's really quite icy. But what keeps me vested in this novel is the interaction of cultivation elements and the modern world. The integration of real world Daoist terms/figures/concepts makes this novel (in my opinion) perhaps one of the more authentic fantasy-based Chinese novels. I say give this novel a try. You just might like it. To date, this novel has 59 actual chapters as I translate this. In general, I try to get out one chapter a day.

As for the person who left a 2-star review, I'm not sure what you expected, man. You left a review only after 3 chapters LOL <<less
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Celsica
Celsica rated it
April 8, 2018
Status: c110
I'm completely appalled by some of the poor reviews for Archfiend. This novel has a lot of redeeming qualities and I hope I can make others give it a try. My review is based off the first 110 chapters and I haven't been reading raws or MTs.

Main Points

-World Building. As the translator wrote in his own review, I think that this novel has an especially strong world building. In many other novels on this website, the character growth and interactions are the main driver of the story, but in... more>> this case, it feels quite the opposite. The MC is but a weakling in a world he cannot control, a carp in a pond. The modern day setting is fairly well done and the wuxia tropes don't feel as repetitive as usual when used in this context. The first 30 or so chapters feel a bit confusing but a lot is revealed "naturally" through conversations or situations instead of delineated info dumps. One clear example of this is when factions start bidding for the MC to sign a contract; the situation arises naturally, and their offers contain some bits of information that reveal more about the world.

-Translation. The novel is clearly quite esoteric in nature yet mixed with more real world elements, definitely a tough piece to translate. The translation speed is slightly slow, but I'm very impressed with the quality of the vocabulary employed. The translator, XTB, clearly cares a lot about the work. There are very few repetitions to be found within a chapter, or even the work as a whole if you speed read it. Both English and Chinese idioms are used; he also sometimes uses Chinese phrases a bit more literally, but places notes to explain their context and meaning. I very much appreciate the amount and insight of translation notes for things like names. Lots of references to the origin of some of the phrases he translates (explaining a meme, historical document, etc...). I've read a LOT of novels, and I place this translation style and quality as my favorite.

Some of the issues raised by other reviewers that gave low scores are clearly ridiculous. Complaining about the darker setting in a novel named "Archfiend", seriously? Or complaining about not understanding everything about the MC straight off... It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I would strongly recommend this novel, especially if you're a regular on this website.

Rating: 4.7/5 <<less
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Reputation
Reputation rated it
April 7, 2018
Status: --
Pros:

+ Unique modern China setting.

Cons:

- Unique modern China setting that STILL has all the annoying tropes you hate about these types of novels. The story would’ve been exactly the same if it had taken place a millennium in the past.

- Boring cultivation levels and mechanics. It’s basically nonsensical drivel to pad the word count

- Cardboard, one-dimensional MC. He’s a dimwit with little control over his emotions. Carried by copious plot armor of course.

- Writing gets jumbled in some places, although that may be the author’s fault instead of the translator’s.
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Jarrow
Jarrow rated it
April 19, 2018
Status: c100
Boring.

First of all: it reads like a MTL with a thesaurus plugin, complete with awkward phrasing and unnecessary verbiage.

Examples:

"Very light, rather heavy, awfully oppressive, and quite subtle."
"It in itself grew without end, however, following humanity's continual progress in science and technology, the growing spread of occupied space and the climbing severity of industrialization rendered the rapid decrease of qi unable to be controlled."
"If it was said one was just beginning to preoccupy themselves with a side matter, their whole being would already be completely intoxicated after the entry... more>> of qi into the body."

Secondly, The MC is, as others have noted, very one-dimensional. A Determinator with no personality. So are the side characters, who exist only to render their respective tropes, all of whom can be described with a few adjectives: s*xy recruiter, evil politician, bragging fool #54, manipulative senior, etc.

Finally, unlike Sundering Nature, which uses a creative, plot-centered method of hiding the miraculous within the mundane, Archfiend does a clumsy 'Everybody Lies' bolt-on that is painfully flawed, directly consisting of many millions of people Worldwide pretending obvious things don't happen in order to keep magic and Qi a secret. It's so clearly based on Chinese communist propaganda ideologies (Nothing ever happened in Tiananemens Square!) so as to break immersion whenever they declare black must again pretend to be white.

A tiring read, not really enjoyable. I had to force myself to get past the reaction chunks, one of which lasted almost 10 chapters! Nor did I find much creativity in what was written; same old cultivation levels, methods and rules, same old dirty tricks by bad guys, same old tragic, determined MC, same old plot armor... meh.

I've had enough, I don't recommend reading this unless you really need something to waste time with. I guarantee that you'll forget what you read within hours - there's nothing that stands out as interesting or original, and the translation, while better than many, still is too awkward to flow smoothly. <<less
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Kanana
Kanana rated it
December 23, 2017
Status: c42
Spoiler

For a person who rarely reads cultivation novels in a modern setting, I didn't expect that I would get hooked on so easily. I recommend this novel, it is well written and the translation quality is excellent.

[collapse]

That was my review before I knew anything better.
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Lazybum0
Lazybum0 rated it
March 24, 2018
Status: c105
This is a good novel.

The only modern day cultivation novel that I think is above average.

This novel differs from its peers that it is not a power up slapping young mansters and collecting girls as pokemons fantasy!

It has a solid story that actually incorporates cultivation and civilization in a logical manner, cultivators can't do whatever they want and it's explained why, civilization, cultivators, great sects (budhism, confucianism and daoism) and demon cultivators, all live in delicate equilibrium, for cultivator is the age of the end of days- spiritual energy and... more>> resources are scarce- and for humans is the digital age! Both humans and cultivators are dependant of each other. The world building is really solid.

The MC is quite ordinary actually, fueled by revange ;he works harder than anyone and is also an outstanding genius, not a herbivore but he doesn't have the time to chase girls or decay into debauchery. Hot blooded, a patriot and firm. <<less
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TheGamingNerd
TheGamingNerd rated it
November 10, 2017
Status: c3
This novel is not enjoyable at all the novel start was kind of dark/ dungeon defense kinda atmosphere. The MC is called Xu yangyi it's start right off with his dream (aka his family being killed by a monster called Serpent Eye I think) and he takes over the position of chief in a Disciplinary group aka the POLICE WOOP WOOP oke stopping XD. If you ask me if this is actually a novel I would say it reminds me of the horror anime that everyone dies from mysterious creatures.... more>> The translation quality is good, translation stability no idea cause I dont wanna read this anymore. This novel cultivation system is weird I dont know if in the future it gets more in depth but till now I only know first stage. If this novel wasnt in the tragedy genre I would feel it is weird hopefully for horror lovers this is to your liking actually when I started reading the 1st chapter I thought MC was a pervert *cough* mistakes always happen well I can't say too much about this novel it's more like dislike to the kind of novel it is and it's drawbacks while compared to other xianxia novels which are more of a normal beginning maybe author wanted to make it more mysterious I find it japanese like so :/ I still think the world building is crap nonexistant I dont even know what world that is at the start I thought it's some cultivation world but now I see it as a modern world mostly (learn it in the next episode of dragonbal.....":P) this was a reviews but turned out to be a chat conversation with friends wutevers :P <<less
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Stark3
Stark3 rated it
May 16, 2018
Status: c1530
REVIEW UPDATE:

Doing another review at c1471. At this point, I'm upping my review to a 5, partly to counteract the low review rating, but also because this is one of the most story driven Chinese novels that I've read. Don't get me wrong, there are still some of the annoying tropes : the annoying audience in the sideline, the assignation of numerical values to power levels and the accompanying occasional fixation on it, etc. But for the most part, this has one of the more engrossing storylines I've encountered, and... more>> there's been a lot.

Again, the early parts of the novel show growing pains by the author (especially the parts where he transitions to a fantasy novel from a modern setting), but afterwards it's been mostly a treat. The author KNOWS how to add tension to what's happening, and he's pretty good at giving an epic description of group battles.

This kinda bears repeating I think : One of the things that I enjoy in this genre (because you hardly ever encounter it) is when the novel is story driven, and not just a collection of battle scenes, power ups, and treasure grabs. This qualifies :) Recommended reading.

QUICK UPDATE: I've since read up to the current set of RAWs... To pass the time, I went back to reading the latest IET novel. I have to say, IET's novel seems incredibly shallow in comparison to Archfiend, very predictable. Archfiend gives you on the edge of your seat tension for most of its story arcs.

EDIT: While driving on the way to work, I realized that I needed to mention a few caveats, just so that I balance the glowing review up top.

CONS:

  • It's a bit disconcerting that the genre of the novel changed from modern setting to a more fantasy setting, especially if that's the reason you liked the novel in the first place. The author isn't used to writing fantasy / hardcore cultivation, and he admits it in his author notes and it shows.
  • Sometimes the author is pretty hamfisted with plot armor / how lucky the MC is. The MC gets a merit law that just so happens to agree 100% with him, he gets a power that would be very helpful, etc. Some of those situations could be handled better
  • Sometimes the author would set the MC up one direction with regards to cultivation, and then go another. This happens more often at the earlier part of the series.
Given all that though, I still find it as one of the more interesting reads out there.

Spoiler

REVIEW UPDATE:

I thought I'd update my review given that I'm at ch800.

Since I had initially given my review, I'd downgraded it to a 3... but am now upgrading it back to a 4.

First of all, the reason I had downgraded my review initially is because eventually, the novel transitions from a mostly urban, modern setting to something more like fantasy / xianxia. The author himself acknowledges that it's his first attempt, and that he's still getting the hang of writing that genre, and it shows in the first couple of arcs after the transition.

The reason I'm upgrading my review back up to a 4 is that the storyline noticeably gets better eventually. Where I'm at, it's pretty epic, a lot more so than most of the Chinese novels I've read. There's a war of potential surfaces / universes going on right now. Earth has been invaded by a numerically superior army of cultivators.

The author has done a pretty good job of avoiding the trope of crafting monopoly I had initially worried about too. All in all, a recommended read

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Spoiler

OLD REVIEW:

In spite of the negative reviews, I thought I'd give Archfiend a try and was pleasantly surprised. I especially love the atmosphere presented in the first few arcs, the dark and gritty feel of it. As some other reviews have mentioned tho, eventually more and more of the classic Xianxia tropes sink in.

One of the things I like the least is presenting in the world building that the Dao of Alchemy / Pills have been lost because of the dependence of cultivators on modern medicine and the increasing lack of Qi in the environment... and then giving the MC a merit law that not only can be used for cultivation but can also be used to create pills. It's such an obvious setup to push the MC to the limelight / provide him with funds.

Aside from a few snags, so far it's been enjoyable reading though. I like the fact that they haven't made the MC a super know it all, and have him be specialized in fights. He then has supporting partners to fill in his knowledge gaps.

Some other items of note:

    • What started out as a very focused goal, has turned very diffuse... It may have been better to have the MC focused on his initial goal and then just give him branching goals from there, instead of expanding to accomodate more tropes. I hope this firms up later on.
    • Not sure how long the modern setting will last, or if it will become something similar to The Sacred Ruins where various mystical places lose their seal and integrate with the current world, increasing the world's Qi density in the process.
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bayrons
bayrons rated it
January 16, 2018
Status: c1
You want something different from modern novels, where the important thing is to pick up the girls to warm the bed.

The author builds a very solid world (nothing extravagant), an MC linked to this world through tragedy. A historical struggle between humans and demons that are fighting for the top.

Give him the opportunity to read, you will realize that it is a very good job.
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errantsystems
errantsystems rated it
January 14, 2018
Status: c61
This is the best modern cultivation novel I've ever read, if you were like me and were put off by certain low reviews or have disliked modern settings in the past, just give it a try and you wont regret it. Both the translation and story quality is excellent, and the writing is definitely a level above most of the novels on this site. As the translator has said, it's pretty slow in terms of development so far but instead of being a minus I would almost say it's a... more>> plus. The slowness isn't because of pointless tournament arcs, verbose descriptions cultivation, or random filler, but is just because a lot of development in terms of plot and characters occurs. Overall, you can tell the author has put a lot of effort into worldbuilding such that a modern cultivation setting makes sense, and you can tell the translator has put in a lot of effort too.

Give this story a try, I'd hate for it to disappear due to lack of interest. Many thanks to the translator for their hard work. <<less
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Boon
Boon rated it
June 28, 2018
Status: c36
2/5. A boring sub par generic cultivation novel. It includes every annoying trope and word count filling practice.

This is about on par with TMW and PMG, but maybe with even less inspiration.

Very lengthy and constant fake esoteric cultivation. Check.

... more>> One dimensional MC and enemies. Check.

Boring standard villainous plot line of angry young masters waiting to get beaten. Check. Young masters grandparents ready to jump in next. Check.

Repetition to fill the word count. Check.

Martial arts tournaments. Check.

Crowd discussing the MC and multiple chapter reactions to every fight. Check.

Every trope that you have or will grow to hate, all bundled into one terrible fast food burger without real meat. Also, this TL needs a new editor. <<less
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Eternal Hunter
Eternal Hunter rated it
May 11, 2018
Status: c173
The novel setting, characters and story so far is good.

The bad part is that the writing in some parts of the novel is... confusing. I can't tell if that's because of the original author, the translator, or just bad editing.
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1life4death
1life4death rated it
April 7, 2018
Status: --
3/5... Its not a bad novel but I wouldn't really considered this 5 star either. The story and concept isn't too bad, but the info dump is just a bit much. Yeah you can pass it off as world building but it gets to a point where it feels like you're reading an encyclopedia. Also theirs a lot of plot holes as far as the character building goes. They go into a lot of details on random info about the world but not much into the MC's background. Like his... more>> fighting techniques, we'll call it the Solution series, never explain the differences in the tiers or why is it a thing in the first place. Also how do they get recruited into being a cultivator, or cultivation school to be exact after their experiences with that world... or why the MC is as OP as he is because even before he got his cliche "plot armor" boost he was strong to begin with, the only justification so far is that hes motivated by revenge. Even some of the side characters have no background into them. So yeah, a lot of world building not much character building <<less
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Kagevik
Kagevik rated it
April 14, 2018
Status: c119
Ok so the story is actually set in a modern day fictional china, with lots of references to actual chinese landmarks, locations, poetry and cultural thought/experiences which the translator XTB goes to additional lengths to explain and highlight. I binge read the first 110 chapters so I didn't get the experience of slowness in terms of story progression, the things that seem to be abstract in the beginning are actually explained not by the third person narrator but by actual characters in the story, well some of them anyway.

the technique... more>> the MC uses,
Spoiler

explained as a standard from his school

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why the MC seems to be so strong
Spoiler

explained by his manager around chapter 100 as an actual progression of around 6-7 years of his entry to the school... he spent 3 years (8year old to 11yrs) crying, 1 year after that to vow his vengeance and start training even past class time and even in the rain, 1 year to go from 20/20 to like 18/20 in the rankings, then 13/20 then 5/20 then 3rd then 1st and remained as first for the years following

[collapse]
why the cultivation progression isn't fully described in the first few chapters
Spoiler

cz 80% cultivators are at the first stage only

[collapse]

these things are described so subtly with much of an actual story going on around it that you get to know things about the world and settings while actually being told a story. And like I mentioned earlier the translator-san generously researches and points out that there are things from the real world here.

It is one of the best modern world xianxia novels out there, with enough real world elements to authenticate it as modern world, and enough cultivation action, actual action I mean, combat and all with actually thought out processes for how these things can coexist in the real world by the author
Spoiler

government cover-ups, internet sweeps, demonkin cloaking, after dark action, underground cultivator facilities and more...

[collapse]

Give it a read if you want to get some culture tidbits, modern day cultivators, some bada*sery, some slaying and some cunning. <<less
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