Molting the Mortal Coil
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Reincarnated as a child in a new world a mild mannered programmer, named Sage, finds himself struggling to survive. The road to immortality is paved with danger, treasure, and conflict. This mystical eastern world is filled with Demonic Beasts, Treacherous Cultivators, and Extraordinary Legacies. Follow Sage on his journey to adapt to this new world, and find out if he can overcome the limitations of body, mind, and soul. Will he rise to the occasion and become a hero? Or maybe he'll turn to the dark side and end up a villain?
Molting the Mortal Coil is more of a slower paced journey. It's not about endless battles and conquering the next bad guy who spits on the main characters shoes or sends him a funny look. There's also not a treadmill of tournaments or love interests. It's more of a slower burn with lots of, and hopefully not too much, world building. It's still supposed to be stuffed with action, but that won't pick up for a while since we start with a weakling. The first 30 chapters have a lot of time-skipping, but stay with me it gets better. I plan to re-write and add more to the first 30 in the future, but if you can push through I feel it gets much more fun after!
Updates will be weekly. If you want to see more chapters, check out my Patreon(button at the bottom of every chapter)! Thanks everyone!
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I'm a bit split about this story. On one hand it really goes out of its way to avoid some of the more infamous stupidities of Xian'xia, on the other hand there's very little tension in this story and the MC feels incredibly bland. There's nothing really driving him.
I really like the way the MC is an average or even below average cultivator. He takes 30 years to reach the third sphere unlike the average MC who'd surpass that in his early teens. How he actually tries to avoid unnecessary conflict, but still runs into the nastyness of an average xian'xia setting.
But overall he's still a typical xian'xia protagonist. Instead of the typical divine talent this MC got divine luck. He gets reincarnated with his memories intact (not that he uses them much) - luck - he survives a spoilerific event - luck - he finds an advanced cultivation technique - luck - he runs into some heavenly treasure - luck - this very heavenly treasure allows him into a sect while he's too old to actually qualify under normal means (more luck!). He's amongst a group who finds the site of an extinct sect...
And so on and so forth. Basically all progress in the character and his cultivation comes from sheer dumb luck. He works hard, but it's essentially pointless since he doesn't innovate. His progress comes almost entirely from lucky encounters. So much it actually becomes a plotpoint.
Overall it would have been nice if the MC had a bit more agency/genius and a lot less luck. This way it feels almost like crack on ocassion.
Review as of chapter 204.
Quick review : This story has alot going for it and explores a bit some interesting paths not talked about much in other cultivation books. But it loses out when most of the ideas are only lightly touched on.
Longer review: finally a cultivation story that explores a insect tamer... Was my first thought picking up this story but as it dragged on I lost my enthusiasm then my joy for the story. The time skips get ridiculous, the character feels like he has ADHD and can't focus even for a single chapter on an idea and any individual growth is lost within a paragraph or two where there has been a time skip and we see the mc repeating the same cycle. Cultivation takes a back seat to the author trying to force industrialization into the story and throw in some SciFi to boot. The further I read the more this feels like a shotgun of ideas splattered across dozens of pages and not a cohesive story. There are many fantastic gems of story hooks in here but it's lost time and time again under a mountain of filler bullshit or time skips. I want to like this story, I love so many of the concepts in it but the execution has really just pulled it down but by bit. Timing would change this from a 3 to a 4 but without depht this won't ever get higher imo.
First off. There is nothing wrong artistically with this story. Nearly all of my critiques are subjective. And, to the author (because this review is not for you, but for potential readers) stick with it, you've done a lot of work and I commend it!!!!!!! Please don't take my review personally (or any review) because everything written can be rewritten, edited, fixed, etc. Please do fix any plotholes readers point out and feel free to write us back if we step over the line.
In our story, the main character was a lowly programming drone, who iniplicably died and was reincarnated by a powerful entity on a cultivation world. He has access to sect resources, stumbles across several ancient inheritances, is gifted the uber-storage-ring-of-AWESOMENESS... but never really demonstrates much interest in (1) cultivation or (2) martial arts or (3) enjoying life.
Given that the power in his world is based on physical might and martial prowess and he has had several near-death experiences, our intrepid MC inexplicably stays true to his pocket protector and insect collection, marching forward decade-after-decade to create theaters, resort hotels, and plumbing manufacturing. (Did I mention as a 60-year-old virgin, tasked by his ghostly ancestors to make babies and rebuild the sect, GIVES AWAY a treasure that can near-instantly seduce anyone near it... so no-harem is a virtual certainty in this story.)
Grammar: Pretty good, no complaints; near full marks. (This never figures into my overall ratings unless it is really bad.)
Style Score: Exciting as plain oatmeal. Basic wuxia (xianxia/fantasy) setting, but the main character doesn't seem interested in cultivation, so the genre and setting are 90% wasted. What is the point of a fantasy story where the main character never fights, is totally weaker than everyone around him, is a doormat for 200+ chapters, and spends his life collecting and raising bugs? I honestly want to kick sand in his face and tell him to do my homework...
Potential love interests are introduced and ignored or discarded.
Story pace is too danged slow, despite the author skipping years and/or decades at a time, and lacks direction.
Story Score: Very infrequent action sequences. Unique/weird main character doing uninteresting things in a potentially interesting world. Lots of discussion on the merits of plumbing and how he wishes he could recreate rubber and other "modern conveniences"; this isn't a real cultivation story (at least a couple hundred chapters in).
Character: Stupid. Cowardly. Waste of opportunities. I honestly look forward to him dying, because at least there is a bit of action when it happens. Middling cultivation prowess to start, plus he is coward and non-risk taker. Not stupid, but quite the idiot, since he seems to be missing the point of his circumstances.
MC figures out how to essentially live forever by creating clones and moving his consciousness, but who cares... Now he gets to do dull stuff longer, and can play with bugs rather than needing to ever be proactive, make good life decisions, or become strong. He can just "do over" when they stomp his face and he can rebirth as his douche self again. This guy has already died, a couple times, because he was messing with wierd stuff, is upsetting the status quo and powerful people or groups, and is making himself too wealthy to not kill. He knows that even his OWN SECT will probably kill him because of the dumb crud he keeps doing instead of cultivating, BUT HE JUST WONT STOP!
If he'd putt effort into focusing on cultivation he'd likely be a real powerhouse. As I noted earlier magic treasures fell into his face, times five, and he now autocultivates. He has collected several hundred high-level techniques but has only bothered to learn a couple; he hasn't bothered to practice with any weapons, doesn't box or use fist techniques, uses only one low-level movement technique. He collects and makes super powerful weapons, apparently excited at their potential, but makes zero effort to train in any of them; he barely learns "paddle waving" to wield a large stick and occasionally clubs things inexpertly. I think he also has slight skill with a knife on a rope; very beginner level skill though. All the while living in a martial arts sect with roommates who are powerhouses and become generals. He is really good at training bugs; apparently insects can beat the crap out of people in this world... so... Go bugs.
It is simply painful to see him wasting a magical storage ring that contains a world; he uses to to keep his lunch fresh, and store crafting materials and unused combat gear. He did store pills and cuktivation treasures there, but he ACCIDENTALLY cultivated with them (because legendary treasures often fall from the heavens into his pocket, and then autocultivate on his behalf... Three times.. In the first couple hundred chapters this has happened).
But, he is apparently distracted by creating conveniences and studying a taboo noncombat skillset for reasons?
He needs money (no),
He cares about the people (no),
His sect wants him to experiment (no),
He wants to personally immerse himself in these comforts (no),
He can (possibly)
He likes to tinker (yes)
He has poor survival instincts (Demonstrably so.).
In his defense...
... he does create a weak clone army of idiot squid-face insect mercenaries, but they are numerous (this hasn't added any excitement yet, nor do I see how it is going to help our character in the near or long-run).
Did I mention he discovered that his sect is already aware of and has access to the base of a highly advanced race of interstellar cultivators who probably already know how to do all the stuff he is trying to recreate, and he can't find out about them unless he cultivates. ... so... obviously he isn't going to cultivate. .... lets just stick with insect breeding and steam engines... yeah.
It is unclear if the character has any goals other than "lets see if I can do this very technical and difficult thing" (His ancestors are still waiting for him to procreate, the sole task he has ever been given in the story, but nope, 100 years later and still a virgin; they are likely wishing they could die a second time, out of shame; the holy sword is most definitely broken... or maybe he simply likes men?)
So, I'm going to keep reading, in the hopes that somebody kicks the MC/author in the head and fixes this story, which has no technical issues. But, once I hit the end of my binge, I'll probably drop this if the character doesn't start moving in a more promising direction.
I don't review things often because I don't know that much about writing. I know a little, but normally not enough to actually have some constructive criticism.
However, I do know about one thing, and that one thing is Chekhov's gun. If you set something up, it is important to use it. I've not read past chapter 16, and I know this is supposed to be a slow paced story, but he isn't even trying to use his very clearly setup background in logic and programming. He knows about arrays, youve made this clear already, he has mentioned arrays several times and seems interested in them. The logical thing to have happen is he uses is programming background and his interest in arrays together. Instead, he decides the only way he could possibly get stronger is to do something completely different that doesnt even remotely pay off. He is in an young body but he is supposed to have his own mind, so why is he suddenly thinking like a small child instead of the programmer that you set him up as being?
The reason I had to stop at 16 is your character is so unintelligent that it has completely shattered my suspension of disbelief. Maybe all of this setup will pay off later but I can't bring myself to believe this character would exist in this universe and that frusterates me. Your premise is one I would love to read, but your execution has left too much to be desired.
While I rate this a 2 that doesn't mean that there isn't potential to fix much of what's wrong here with a rewrite. The bones of the story are alright for the most part, it's the execution that's lacking.
Anyway if you enjoy reading most Xianxia’s then you may also enjoy this one as well. As as for what makes this one stand out, that would be the novelty of Sage’s insect cultivation and his eventual transformation into a snakeman. As far as storytelling, character or style goes there isn’t much to recommend here apart from the usual random encounter Xianxia setup.
As a main character Sage is sadly quite bland and his origins as a reincarnator don't help with that. Early on he’s forced to wander the world for many years and during this time he experiences hardships and meets a variety of people. This period could've been used to establish a robust personality for him but unfortunately those events are just summed up in brief instead. This approach is also used once he joins a sect and as a result there's a lack of character development despite his multi decade stay there. Thus we're given a shell of a character that feels as if he's being piloted around by the author to do various things at times.
Once the story is allowed to progress, Sage through a series of events ends up being mutated by a technique and this is rather ham-fistedly used as an excuse to give him some minor personality traits. But as he was more or less a blank slate prior to the transformation the attempt comes off as somewhat silly. As far as his radical change of race and appearance goes, well what of it? Sage doesn’t care about it at all and neither did anyone else for that matter which was highly underwhelming. As a result nothing actually changes beyond Sage gaining the desire to do the usual sorts of things that all Xianxia characters do anyway.
To be fair, once the character is allowed to explore the world outside of long winded exposition then the Xianxia premise is finally able to shine through at times. He goes places, he loots things, he fights and that standard formula works but outside of that (& sometimes during) the previously listed problems arise.
The bottom line is that the story is still readable if also somewhat bland. This is due to a lack of character development, a virtually irrelevant side cast and an overabundance of dry, over the top analysis and forced exposition.
the world is fun and the MC's abilities are interesting, but unfortunately, the writing style is very similar to how one might write out a shopping list
MC did this, MC did that the whole time
everything is just flat
let this review stand as a warning for prospective readers since every other review seems to think this is the "Best Xianxia" or something
This story starts out different than other Xianxia novels do, with the main character not being a cultivating genius, born with some awesome legacy/bloodline, or given a great cultivation method. However the main character does become extraordinary through his percistance and random luck. This all makes for a new and I think a better type of xianxia, but the author often ends up with many plot threads that are either ignored for a long time or dropped altogether. My suggestion is to read this if you want a new type of xianxia but not if you are looking for a new favorite novel.
I like the story so far as is. I binged the intire story tell 298 in three days.
the only gripe i have is the massive info dumps and long revalations. They are not bad, just alot of them. I have read worse. For exzample the worse i read (NOT IN THIS STORY BUT ANOTHER) Is how the MC changing his pinky angle by 3 dagrees was a world shattering expernce for his techneek and cultavation and fighting power to greater hights.... took him 9 chapters...and 53483 words....i copied to word and looked up the word count... i hope you never torture your readers that way.
There are definite weak points, the first is a tendency to "tell, not show" by the latest chapter there's been nearly 100 years which means a lot of that of that is flownover with only a little commentary.
Where other xianxia agonize over every gain in power, we are often blithely told, "And so he spent the next 15 years doing that, and is now this stong" sometimes with mention of harrowing events along the way.
It's telling that we spend a handful of chapters with him on the dangerous road as a lone cultivator and a whole lot more with him trying to monetize showers and air conditioning.
This eventually gets better and instead we get pages and pages of dangerous jouneys... but a problem still remains.
There are a bunch of characters in this story, but we only really know one, the MC. It's been 600 chapters and he's been engaged for idk like 400 of them, we've met her like three or four times. What's she like? She was rude when they first met, she attacked someone he didn't like for a completely unrelated reason, and now she's in love and has coordinated him getting engaged to his long time business partner.
What do we know about her? Short, busty and a skilled negotiator, she likes yelling at him when he fucks up in business. Anything else? Not that I know of.
These are arguably the two best developed characters besides the protagonist.
So how's the protagonist? He's had a lot of change in the past 600 chapters and 100 years. He started off just trying to survive and collect bugs (does he like his bugs? Not really, he calls them stupid all the time and isn't affectionate to them at all, zero remorse when he let's them die en masse), then he fucks off to a sect and becomes skilled in a bunch of different fields, too bad we only briefly met a couple of people who taught him and neither has appeared in like 4-500 chapters.
He makes three friends, they like to drink and bicker with each other, but mostly they just don't exist. They used to be way stronger than him, but now probably aren't, we don't know they weren't part of the group who just rescued him from certain death.
Who did? A bunch of side characters we've met once or twice. The protagonist has a power to learn everything about people, but he's just used it on three animals, two decided he was cool, one hated him for it.
What were the best parts? Twice now he's gone off and explored science fiction settings, the change of pace was wonderful and gives interesting clues to what's beyond his cultivation world, and one of them (briefly) infiltrating a bunch of psionic humans and getting to know them, but they're gone forever.
After that we finally get to the Chong clan, they've been hyped up since Ch 1 and it's now Ch 500, there's politics and new and interesting people and he's thrust into the middle of it, it's awesome. Unfortunately he had no agency while there, someone picked a fight with him, and that meant he was automatically on the other side of the clan politics issue... oops?
A lot of what the protagonist does is try to get rich and powerful, and then something happens and he has to disappear for an offscreen training montage for a decade or two while all his longterm projects are destroyed, he has to come back to fix them.
I'm also wondering about the internal logic of the setting a little bit, but that's more nitpicky. We've got it seems three examples of tier 7+ characters, the Lang Clan ancestor who is uhh, a ghost? It's implied his poison mentor is 7+ and is part of the Imperial Family in some way, but we know nothing about them, like at all, I'm not sure the protagonist even knows there is an imperial family. Also a bug he gave superpowers to who immediately Ascended to a Higher Realm. Cool, so why doesn't everyone ascend? Is it required? I'd assume not, but what's the Lang Clan ancestor doing? Everything is fucked, and the only people who could possibly stop him seem to be the imperials.
I really struggled through the first 3-400 chapters, but it gets better, I'm not really sure there is a plot, the protagonist should in theory be able to just get married and have a bunch of kids, he's already repelled enemy coalitions twice now, but unfortunately I'm now guessing the guy who killed his clan will show up and set him back again. Like seriously, the whole plot is, "Restablish your clan" and we've had 100 years of no sex, there needs to be a resolution to this plot, and a new more engaging plot emerge, hopefully revolving around sci-fi emperors
I've thoroughly enjoyed reading this one so much so that its my first review on this site.
Sage the main character is not like your advantage protagonist who gets all the advantages in life (like born into wealth or powerful protector etc.) Everything Sage owns for the most part has been gotten through his own efforts and planning. His character starts off as a b**** like no cap but through the journey and a better understanding of himself he comes into what some might call fortuitous events. These events lead him along his cultivation pathway and open many doors for him along the line. If you're looking for immediately overpowered hero this one isn't for you. If you're fine with the protagonist slowly learning about himself and the world he's in jump right in. WARNING in the early chapters maybe the first 150-200 he's a total b**** and I did want to drop it cause he was such a b**** but its truly explained why he acts the way he acts as he has 0 backing. If you can troop through those chapters it only gets better and better. Also the romance is slow but its not the stupid bimbo jumps on mc. its more of a build up to. actual romance and people liking each other. All the characters have their own story and background and its well written and thought out.