The Sword Dynasty

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After annihilating Han, Zhao and Wei empires in succession, the dynasty of Qin is ushering in an unprecedented flourishing age with powerful cultivators emerging endlessly. People take pride in being part of the Qin dynasty. However, Ding Ning, a young lad of humble origin in Changling, Qin, is determined to subvert this dynasty and kill the emperor who breaks in the Eighth Realm.

Associated Names
One entry per line
剑王朝
Related Series
N/A
Recommendations
Nightfall (3)
Ze Tian Ji (2)
Clear and Muddy Loss of Love (2)
Female General And Eldest Princess (2)
Death Sutra (1)
Joy of Life (1)
Recommendation Lists
  1. here are the Chinese novels with dramas
  2. Prince Silk's List of Best Cultivation Novels
  3. Personal
  4. Masterpiece Works
  5. Adaptations to Donghua Anime

Latest Release

Date Group Release
06/01/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c49
05/30/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c48
05/30/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c47
05/28/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c46
05/27/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c45
05/26/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c44
05/24/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c43
05/24/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c42
05/23/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c41
05/22/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c40
05/20/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c39
05/19/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c38
05/17/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c37
05/15/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c36
05/14/21 Dreams of Jianghu v7c35
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11 Reviews sorted by


kkgoh
kkgoh rated it
October 5, 2020
Status: v4c65
One of those heavy prose xianxia Machiavellian novels where everyone seems to be a hypocritical scheming as*hole. Still, it's a decent binge read.
Grudgingly giving it 4 stars, although it's probably closer to 3. Some of the plot twists are incredibly s*upid.

SUMMARY
A pretty standard revenge plot considering it was written in 2017.
MC Ding Ning seeks to avenge some injustice that happened to his predecessor, going after the Qin Emperor and his cabal of "traitors". Been done to death in numerous other novels, except this is a reimagining... more>> of the Qin Dynasty era, based on a cultivation world.

COMMENTS
All in all it's a novel that's decently put together. Kind of like eating a Subway... you got your carbs, veggies and proteins. But nothing inspiring.

(1) Stylistically similar "Way of Choices / Ze Tian Ji", but nothing unique with pointless filler
- Far behind the poetic style of Way of Choices.
As per @anon anon anon, it's just annoying filler descriptions. Characters are constantly introduced, re-introduced, re-re-introduced in pointless manners. Literally:
"Person A walks up, look beautiful/stern/imposing/carefree/etc.... oh btw it's a character we described earlier."
"Pan-shot to person B, who is posing beautiful/stern/imposing/carefree/etc... oh btw, it's STILL the same person"
... WTF? Usually this style of writing is meant to introduce DIFFERENT FACETS of a character so we can understand them better. In this novel it's basically just a change of wardrobe.
Way of Choices did it much better, describing places/people beautifully in different situations, where you're constantly catching a glimpse of their character from different angles and slowly uncovering their motivations.

- Constant, rapid perspective switching is obvious annoying filler and breaks immersion
Person A does something for two paragraphs
Person B does something for two paragraphs... no purpose or insight to their character/motivations
Person C thinks about something for two paragraphs.. no purpose or insight to their character/motivations
All of this happens within a single chapter, or continues haphazardly between chapters. Even the translators have picked up on and complained about how confusing it is.

(2) Ambiguous characters... to the point where I'm not rooting for anybody
As the plot unfolds and we get a glimpse into historical events that led the MC down his path of vengeance, we slowly realize that every character in this novel are just Machiavellian hypocritical as*holes, even the MC Ding Ning. Which is annoying since you'd expect at least 1 character to rise above this crap and distinguish themselves from others.
The REAL prototypical MC died long ago.

Spoiler

The gist from the first two volumes shows that MC's predecessor was the all-American hero *cough cough*. You know the kind. Valiant, trusting, above-board, etc, before he was schemed against by the current Emperor, Empress and whole cabal of trusted "friends". It's hinted that the predecessor did not share the opinions of those "friends" when pushing for Qin hegemony. i.e. the classic, "the ends don't justify the means".

MC being his heir/protege/incarnation (major spoiler) seeks vengeance.
Being the scheming clever youth he is, he performs subterfuge and other actions contrary to what his predecessor would do. First he's just going undercover. Then he starts making use of genuinely good people with the obvious intention to betray them. So now... "the ends DO justify the means".

[collapse]

Although author constantly tries to portray MC Ding Ning as having moral integrity and that being "good" is rewarding, it's more due to lack of opportunity.
i.e. MC can ONLY partner in an open, honest manner with his compatriots to achieve his goals. He's never given a moral dilemma (at least 170 chapters in), which you'd get even in the dumbest of wuxia novels.

It gets even more annoying by Volume 3.

Spoiler

After it was set that everyone was a self-righteous Machiavellian SoB, author pointlessly contrived a way to make the Qin Emperor/Empress the major as*holes by doing completely out of character things.

Emperor/Empress were formerly strict and tough in the ruling, but were still fair and enabled prosperity for their citizens and loyalists. The mantra was "All cultivators are subjects and treasures of the Qin empire". In most other novels, the basic dilemma is whether MC should upend the peace in his quest for vengeance.

But no. In this novel, after 12 years of steady rule, after achieving major victory over other dynasties at the Deer Mountain meeting, they SUDDENLY turned into ultra despots that ruled purely on whim. The mantra suddenly changed to "All cultivators are property of the Qin empire/Holy One".
Huh??
Is this nonsensical change just to make the Emperor/Empress out to be the main bad guys, even though everyone else are also douchebags. WTF, completely out of character.

Then! Author goes on an excessively contrived plot to kill off a well-liked character close to MC, as a lame emotional pull on readers to hate on the Emperor/Empress! The point is to suddenly make them out to be unjust, diabolical, backstabbing SoBs that change their minds on a whim (despite ruling 12 years with a mostly fair hand). WTF.

[collapse]

(3) No major plotholes, but nothing impressive either.
The first volume was odd.
We're told MC is a scheming, clever youth. We're expecting some great scheme.
Spoiler

Instead, after the first 30 chapters where MC shacked up with a powerful gangster and plotted the assassination of 1 single low-level baddie, NOTHING else went according to his plan (if he even had one).

[collapse]
Random events constantly occur OUTSIDE of MC's expectations. e.g. he's forced into a school-training arc due to random sh*t happening. MC shows off how smart he is, only by REACTING to these new events.
This type of development happens throughout the novel.

SERIOUSLY??? So how is MC supposed to be a schemer?
Another example of AND-THEN-THIS-HAPPENED plot development.

(4) Iffy cultivation/world building
The political factions and alternative history are ok.
But the world-building is pretty iffy.

Spoiler

- There are A LOT of last minute power-ups and deus-ex machina situations where MC pulls some stupendous insight/skill from his a*s to save the day.

- The whole Deer Mountain meeting was a mess and completely implausible.
We're constantly told the emperors are the wiliest, most powerful men in the world. And that they are only carrying a facade of weakness.
We're also told that the Qin Emperor can't fight entire countries despite having Level 8 cultivation.
But when the Qin Emperor flexes and the cards are down for the other empires, they act like pansies, because author pulled out the "HONOR" card from his a*s and says that the empires can't unite against the Qin hegemony. Huh?

Literally, "You defeated my champion? Ok so now I have to listen to you." What the heck is this? Achilles vs Troy?

This is always the problem with novels mixing xianxia with empire building.
The former relies on the power of ONE. The latter on the power of MANY.
When the two are mixed and author fails to achieve a balance, the reasons for one hegemony over another becomes nonsensical.

- MC is filled with the world's knowledge despite his age (hint about incarnation). He can do anything/everything... going into formations he's never seen before to solve it. Everything is explained as "high comprehension abilities"... which doesn't even gel with his history.

- His Nine Death Silkworm thingy starts being able to do anything/everything. Improve cultivation, absorb other cultivator's energies, absorb material objects, absorb medicines. The list keep growing. Kinda ridiculous.

- The combat descriptions are hard to follow and quite nonsensical too, even for xianxia. Even the real-life drama had to tone it down for CG budget purposes, and quite different from how it was described since several imageries are just plain illogical.

[collapse]

It gets pretty nonsensical after awhile so you have to close one eye to it. <<less
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anon anon anon
anon anon anon rated it
November 10, 2019
Status: v2c3
in some ways I would say that this story is copy of way of choices. Similar MC, similar style and in some ways similar world building.

idk why but style of writing is annoying me a little. Too many unnecessary descriptions, movements, face expressions etc.

so far it seems like above average novel compared to many others CN on this site.
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Leident
Leident rated it
September 4, 2020
Status: v4c78
Alright, first of all, for those fanatics of fast-paced Xianxia novel, f*ck OFF!!! This novel is not a novel where some Random Xianxia Young Master always screamed COURTING DEATH!! Left and right like it was cabbage, no, this novel takes time for another character to develop some enmity with the MC, and the majority of them always have a proper reason to become the MC's enemy.

The MC is a schemer; he didn't raise his sword at every opportunity to beat his enemy. If he could kill his enemy with a... more>> borrowed knife, he will not hesitate to use it. And one trait I like about him is that even though you don't like some people, it doesn't mean you can't work or reach an agreement with them.

He is ruthless but not emotionless, he knows how to repay the favor with another favor, and he appreciates the help he receives, unlike a particular novel MC where he acts like he can do everything himself, yet, the only thing he capable of is just killing people meaninglessly.

If you don't like this novel, gloss over this and read other books that suit your taste, but please don't carelessly give 1-star rating just because a measly reason like "I don't like this novel because it a slow burn~" or "The MC is not OP Character, I want an extremely OP Character with awesome bloodline and fancy harem~" <<less
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Sicarius
Sicarius rated it
March 18, 2020
Status: v3c72
For the TLDR peeps, this is an excellent novel, well translated and without most of the annoying wuxia tropes.

To put this in JP genre terms, this is a seinen where most wuxia is shonen. Villains are multidimentional and not your cookie cutter arrogant young master to scheming master to evil sect. Every character has a believable motivation and personality, which makes you actually care about their problems. It's a far sight better than the soulless side characters and 'jade-like beauties' that populate lesser stories. Those are forgotten as soon as... more>> the protagonist gains a level of cultivation and moves location. Here, the slower pace of the story is a feature and not a bug.

And the story is slow. A lot of work has been put in to establish the world and the various powers and intrigues within it. I wouldn't ever call it over the top, but some people might prefer a faster moving plot. Thankfully there's a solid amount translated and the good people at Dreams of Jianghu are currently publishing a chapter a day.

This novel is blessedly free of a number of deal-breakers that I look out for in CN work. There's no r*pe, harem, fridging (look it up), or even sexism, despite being set in alternate reality fantasy ancient China. Secondary and tertiary characters are women about as much as men, including the powerful cultivators. Half of all people are women, so why are sect elders and masters nearly always men in wuxia stories? So far there is no racism, but the story has been entirely focused within China and that might change.

One of the things I most appreciate about The Sword Dynasty is how the fights are written. They feel much more perilous and meaningful than the standard 'let's punch our fists together and I'll win by plot armour'. Here, there are moves and counter moves, feints and consequences. Even if a fight doesn't end in death, both participants are often wounded or damage their cultivation in a way that isn't glossed over with 'take a pill and rest a couple days'.

The most similar webnovel I can think of in terms of story and writing style would be Nightfall (Jiang Ye). I loved that one, but sadly, it disappeared behind the Qidian paywall and I don't have a house to mortgage to pay for it.

I highly recommend The Sword Dynasty, and it deserves all the readers and patreon subscribers. <<less
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npksq
npksq rated it
July 27, 2020
Status: Completed
excelent novel, its not repetetive also no c*cky young master NO HAREM, every side caracter has side story not some dummy just to fill chapter, MC was calm, talented and have a brain to think, even the villain have its story

overall great novel that you must read
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OrderedChaos
OrderedChaos
May 29, 2020
Status: --
A less wordy Ze Tian Ji, pretty well written and worth a read. Way better than your average stuff. It moves the spotlight away from MC so we don’t get bored of him “winning” all the time, but at the same time the way MC solves problems feels natural. In addition, moving the pov away from a kinda op MC helps build the world and lets characters gain some depth.
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Ironman96
Ironman96 rated it
December 23, 2020
Status: v5
Great novel. If you like Mao Ni novels (Ze tian ji, Joy of life, Nightfall) then you will certainly love this novel and another novel by this author called Immortal devil transformation. If you're not familiar with these novels, they are written very well and similarly.

Back to this novel:

Pros:

  1. World doesn't revolve around MC and people have reasons for their actions.
  2. MC is very smart and schemes well (although he is a bit OP and wins pretty much every battle)
  3. Villains are done well and you can understand their thought process. There's no "hand over your treasures and kill yourself" kind of stuff.
  4. The women are written well and can make their own choices, a lot of them are stronger than MC.
Cons:

  1. Slow pace just like the other novels I listed.
  2. A lot of politics and different factions in this novel. If you're not into that, then you won't like this novel.
Overall, great novel and well written.
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Mockii
Mockii rated it
April 18, 2020
Status: v3c53
I've been reading chinese novels since the 6th volume of Coiling Dragon was translated by RWX and have read a lot of novels over the past 5 years, some good and many bad, but this one easily ranks among the top ones I had the pleasure to experience.

It is refreshing to not be thrown into a world full of tropes you have seen used over and over again, refreshing to not have a cast full of one dimensional characters that only exist to show how strong and awesome the MC... more>> is.

This novel is not fast food like the vast majority of the novels you can find on Novelupdates, and neither is it tr*sh like the majority of the novels you can find on Novelupdates. This novel is a full menu with multiple courses and definitely worth reading. I can only recommend it for anyone that is tired of fast food. <<less
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aaachris
aaachris rated it
January 22, 2021
Status: v6c10
The writing quality is very good. Now I have read most of mao ni's novels and it's hard not to find similarities from his works in this novel. There are elements similar to other historic novels which are based on ancient china's dynasties for the political part.

The cultivation and fight is so so. There are too many swords, seals, sword manuals and cultivation manuals that I mostly liked to skip those info dumps.

The political intrigue and schemes are what makes it worth reading for me. It'd be better if it... more>> was more slow paced once he started cultivating formally in a sect. Few time skips would be rightly needed but the MC is a plain monster while jumping levels in cultivation.

Still its better than most of what's out there right now. <<less
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AtnShadid
AtnShadid rated it
August 31, 2020
Status: v1c30
Not saying it's bad, just not my cup of tea. It feels just like Mao Ni novels, you are in the dark of some kind (of course not as much or would've been a 1 star for me).
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MangoGuy
MangoGuy rated it
August 9, 2020
Status: v4c55
This is Mango approved.

First off, let's talk about CN cultivation series which try to take the uncommon route of focussing on character development instead of battles and action. These are not for everyone, and even their fans will agree that in the beginning, they will be excessively slow and meandering.

Is this series any better compared to its peers? Not necessarily! It still has its issues with its pacing, though it does get better later on. The action? It is somewhat vague in description, and can be very confusing and overly... more>> verbose. The cultivation? It does have distinct structure and some sense, but it tries too hard in sticking to just swords.

You look at all the above and you start to think why this is Mango approved. And you then ask... What about the characters? What about the plot? What about the interactions? And is this series fun?

Make no mistake, it may seem like a drag early on. But once you look at the cast of characters slowly, and you see the organic growth which exists around them... It makes you wonder, why is my MC so single dimensional? Well guess what? The mystery in this series surrounding the concept of revenge is very distinct. Things don't make sense to you straight away. And by Jolly there are some deep lines and interactions in this series. And uncommonly strongly written female characters!

But things always end up happening for some reason. You see this momentum being built up and you subconsciously cheer for your beloved characters... Who can be surprisingly single dimensional at times! These are young cultivators, but their interactions seem very interesting.

The antagonists are well-defined and sufficiently strong, setting a good bar. There is a lot of mystery even after almost 30% of the story, but the drama aspect of this series is very good.

All in all, a cultivation story with interesting characters who can suddenly make you smile, laugh or cry for no apparent reason.

However, this is not a series for everyone. Pacing issues are actually quite prevalent so a binge could get cumbersome for many. But absolutely a series which is unique, and also offers a fresh look at cultivators. <<less
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