The New Journey of an Old Soul

by Vihyungrang

Original COMPLETED Action Drama Fantasy Romance Female Lead Gender Bender Reincarnation Strong Lead
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content

The story of a soul seeking new adventure in a new life. A secret wish to find some things he never really found in his old life. Will the universe have other ideas for him again? Warning: 18+ due to violence, language and sexual content Note: The story is complete. A/N: Since people seem to be skittish with the gender bender tag, I should probably mention that it does not play a particularily important part in the story. More in the beginning, less as the story goes on.

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Vihyungrang

Vihyungrang

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Prologue - Facing Judgement ago
Chapter 1 ago
Chapter 2 ago
Chapter 2,5 - Return of the judge ago
Chapter 3 ago
Chapter 4 ago
Chapter 5 ago
Chapter 6 ago
Chapter 6,5 - Hijinks in Heaven ago
Chapter 7 ago
Chapter 8 ago
Chapter 9 ago
Chapter 10 ago
Chapter 11 ago
Chapter 12 ago
Chapter 13 ago
Chapter 14 ago
Chapter 15 ago
Chapter 16 ago
Chapter 17 ago
Chapter 18+ ago
Chapter 19 ago
Chapter 20 ago
Chapter 21 ago
Chapter 22 ago
Chapter 23 ago
Chapter 24 ago
Chapter 25 ago
Chapter 26 ago
Chapter 27 ago
Chapter 28 18+ ago
Chapter 29 ago
Chapter 30 ago
Chapter 31 ago
Chapter 32 ago
Chapter 33 ago
Chapter 34 ago
Chapter 35 ago
Chapter 36 ago
Chapter 37 ago
Chapter 38 ago
Chapter 39 ago
Chapter 40 ago
Chapter 41 ago
Chapter 42 ago
Chapter 43 ago
Chapter 44 ago
Chapter 45 ago
Chapter 46 ago
Chapter 47 ago
Chapter 48 ago
Chapter 49 ago
Chapter 50 ago
Chapter 51 ago
Chapter 52 ago
Chapter 53 ago
Chapter 53,5 ago
Chapter 54 ago
Chapter 55 ago
Chapter 56 ago
Chapter 57 ago
Chapter 58 ago
Chapter 59 ago
Chapter 60 ago
Chapter 61 ago
Chapter 62 ago
Chapter 63 ago
Chapter 64 ago
Chapter 65 ago
Chapter 66 ago
Chapter 67 ago
Chapter 68, 18+ ago
Chapter 69 ago
Chapter 70 ago
Chapter 71 ago
Chapter 72 ago
Chapter 73 ago
Chapter 74 ago
Chapter 75 ago
Chapter 76 ago
Chapter 77 ago
Chapter 78 ago
Chapter 79 ago
Chapter 80 ago
Chapter 81 ago
Chapter 82 ago
Chapter 83 ago
Chapter 84 ago
Chapter 85 ago
Chapter 86 ago
Chapter 86,5 ago
Chapter 87 ago
Chapter 88 ago
Chapter 89 ago
Chapter 90 ago
Chapter 91 ago
Chapter 92 ago
Chapter 93 ago
Chapter 94 ago
Chapter 95 ago
Chapter 96 ago
Chapter 97 ago
Chapter 98 ago
Chapter 99 ago
Chapter 100 ago
Chapter 101 ago
Chapter 102 ago
Chapter 103 ago
Chapter 104 ago
Chapter 105 ago
Chapter 106 ago
Chapter 107 ago
Epilogue ago
As requested, link to the new story. ago
Reviews

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cartographer
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Going into the story, it seemed like it could be a good one despite the self-insert type OP MC, and I had hopes for the female characters (excluding the MC, who was only female in name, and as an excuse for lesbian sex scenes). Reading ~10 chapters after the first sex scene, it was obvious that the story was devolving into a shallow harem-type story and given the lack of depth of the characters I just couldn't bring myself to keep reading. I guess I should have seen it coming given the whole bond shenanigans, but I had really hoped that the story and characters could be decent. I have no complaints about the style or grammar, but unfortunately style and grammar do not a good story make.

TheBigD
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An Amateur Outing Leaves Ample Room for Growth

The New Journey of an Old Soul by Vihyungrang at first comes across as largely standard web-novel fare, appearing to offer a reasonably well-constructed if somewhat rote reincarnation tale with touches of xianxia. Rather unfortunately, what promise the first few chapters offer ends up buried in a directionless mire of confoundingly inorganic dialogue and paper-thin characters that are challenging to differentiate, much less to empathize with or root for.

Story

Though not especially inspired, New Journey sticks with what works by immediately launching into a sequence of reincarnation. We are introduced to a nameless protagonist as he haggles his way to a new life after death, knowingly and carelessly upsetting his underworld judge as the premise for what hijinks will theoretically follow. No background is provided, no meaningful details hashed over – though the characters go through great pains to make very clear, even as the audience isn’t given the faintest insight as to why, that the main character is very, very special. Reincarnation commences, a gender is bent, and so begin the tale of an old soul-cum-little girl.

The world building done as the story progresses does a suitable job of establishing the setting for the text. A number of well-fleshed ethereal planes accompany a seemingly robust fantasy world. Typical fantasy races – elves, beastmen, demons, angels (here, “celestials”) – accompany some less regular choices - naga – in establishing a world of swords and magic. Interracial tensions are discussed briefly, but are dropped shortly thereafter and not mentioned again. Political dynamics are hinted at, yet such machinations never receive a meaningful treatment; leaving the reader to ponder if events have any roots in the world of the story or are merely the whim of the author.

This question doesn’t come up often, however, given how little plot there actually is. Story progression in a reincarnation adventure or xianxia tale, especially early on, will often focus on the acquisition of strength and power. Given that the protagonist starts the story with ability barely a step removed from deific, however, this course is closed to the author, and in merely a handful of chapters, the story begins to stagnate, as progression stalls to gruelingly slow pace. What follows seems to be a holding pattern, where characters spend long passages extolling the greatness of the main character, with the occasional event to try to convince the reader of how special she is as well.

Character

As a practical matter, while it’s easy to say the protagonist (now a young elfin girl by the name of “Neleh”) possesses great strength in the context of the story being related, it’s much more difficult to say anything else. Far from being special, Neleh is about as cookie-cutter as one gets with overpowered main characters: smart, smug, and of course a “decent person” – someone who doesn’t seek to make trouble, yet responds violently and unflinchingly when trouble finds them.

She also thinks that rape is bad. Perhaps that detail is intended to speak volumes of her character, since it ends up repeated surprisingly often.

The most predominant issue in New Journey is that Neleh ends up being the only character in the story. Other individuals that rate more than cursory mentions or appearances end up clones of the protagonist they worship. Every character seems possessed of the same astounding mental acuity as Neleh, wielding insight into the minds of others so potent as to verge on telepathy. The entire cast also seems to be perpetually amused – elves are apparently a very satisfied species – and there’s not a single dour face in the bunch. Though of course none can rival the main character her omnipotence, virtually any character with more than a few spoken lines are greatly powerful themselves. One could also reasonably infer that most of them think rape is bad too (although this is never explicitly confirmed).

This turns into a struggle on many fronts, as the reader is challenged to differentiate between characters who are little more than copies of a template; a task that would be nigh impossible were it not for naming conventions as fantastic as the setting. Even still, a host of unimportant characters who receive a mention but little focus threatens to overwhelm – there was at least one instance where a character name came up where I struggled for some minutes to remember who this person was supposed to be (one of the protagonist’s voiceless sisters).

More damning is the use of such two-dimensional individuals as bids for emotional appeal. In one case, a character goes from being first named in one chapter to becoming the romantic principle of the protagonist in the following, without ever receiving any meaningful characterization or any development of a relationship the reader can buy in to. In another example, an excessively outsized response from Neleh is triggered following the death of a character who had fewer lines of dialogue than could be counted on one hand. Situations like these strain the story, because when the reader is given no reason or opportunity to come to care about what is happening to the characters, major developments such as the above come across as forced, rather than the organic evolution of individuals that the text should be trying to relate.

Grammar

Not all winds bode ill, however, for the story is delivered by an author with a strong mechanical grasp of the written English language. Solid spelling, proper punctuation, and correct capitalization keep the text easy on the eyes. Paragraphs on average tend to be more sizable than I care to see at a glance, but this largely does not impact readability. One of the more delightful elements of this work is the inclusion of correctly presented dialogue, whereby lines spoken by different cast members are relegated to different paragraphs. Though an incredibly elementary component of English writing, there are many non-native speakers (and, I’ll wager, almost as many who are native to the language) on this site authoring works with dialogue that verges on impossible to follow, all because the author struggles to press enter. No such issues exist here.

Though generally well done, there are the occasional slip-ups laced throughout the text. One particularly amusing example was the unintentional product placement for a motorized two-wheeled scooter rather than the Italian loan word meaning transition. The use of “Segway” instead of “segue” elicited an actual laugh out loud. One systemic error that frequently distracts is the use of two apostrophes in contractions ending in “t,” the first appropriately, but a second following the consonant. Don’t place an apostrophe at the end of the word, it doesn’t go there, you can’t do it, and I wouldn’t recommend you try.

Style

Ultimately, however, New Journey is done in not by a stagnant plot or copy-paste characters, but by dialogue. What most suggests to me that this author is not a native English speaker, in spite of strong mechanical grasp of the written language, is the fact that it seems abundantly clear that he has no idea how the language is spoken.

Almost every exchange between characters is a lengthy affair, bogged down by the universal character failings mentioned above, wherein no conversation had can actually be genuine since everyone knows everything that everyone else is going to say. While restatement in and of itself is not a great sin, and could be forgivable even on the scale it’s perpetrated here, the fact is that almost everything said comes across as a diatribe, extolling the virtues or vices of whatever someone else was going to say in advance of them saying it. Lengthy “intelligent” commentary and verbose “analyses” are not merely par for the course, but the course in its entirety.

These overlong discussions constantly beg the question, “Who actually talks like this?” Nowhere in the text is the brevity or fleetness of regular conversation between real human beings ever captured. Instead, what is presented as “dialogue” would almost always be better described as two characters presenting monologues. Working through every exchange between characters is an absolute chore, and there is almost never any insight to be gained from characters speaking, since whatever is being said was invariably discussed in the course of earlier narration.

It should be said that the non-dialogue narrative text does not at all suffer this problem. Descriptions are well presented if an infrequent presence. The perspective provided is consistent within each section. Early on the main character’s perspective is presented in first person, while occasional “guest perspectives” are followed in the third person. Unfortunately, the author later chooses to confine the story to the third person even when following Neleh, which further hampers the writing by divorcing what personality is present from the narration of events. The net result of this shift is a story whose delivery can only be categorized as bland.

Conclusion

The combination of atrociously burdensome dialogue and the utter impersonality that the narration affects in later chapters proves to be absolutely lethal. Though I threw down this story and walked away in frustration a number of times after being faced with walls of unbearably tedious dialogue, I did manage to force myself to pick the story back up and continue on in the hopes of authorial improvement. By Chapter 38, I was beaten into submission, and abandoned any hope of being able to read through the remainder of the text. Briefly skimming the last few chapters added most recently suggests that at least the structural criticisms presented here continue to be relevant to the author; it’s more difficult to ascertain at a glance if the author has improved his ability to relate an overarching narrative or differentiate and meaningfully characterize the cast of his story.

If I can make one recommendation that the author follows, I would suggest taking the time to read through a couple of English-language novels to get an idea of what constitutes an English-language conversation. While it’s clear you have the basic structure down, pay attention to the sort of content that exchanges carry; hopefully you’ll be able to see that, while there is a time and place for expository diatribes, most exchanges are better kept brief than not, and most characters don’t say a huge amount at once. When something surprising interrupts the flow of the conversation, it interrupts the flow of the conversation, rather than merely being appended to a list of items that need to be addressed each time a character speaks. Though you may have read them in a different language, I’d suggest books like Ready Player One or your favorite entry in the Harry Potter series, as these offer structurally and stylistically sound texts with subject matter that should appeal to most on RoyalRoad.

Obviously, The New Journey of an Old Soul has already seen quite a bit written, and it’s hard to say if the observations here can have a meaningful impact going forward, never mind that ever-present question of whether an author is able to accept, internalize, and act on feedback to begin with. Unfortunately, though, it’s difficult to recommend the story as-is. A solid grasp on world-building is not enough to carry structurally weak characters and dialogue; but while these edges are rough for now, I genuinely look forward to a smoothed product from Vihyungrang, whether that takes the form of a reworked Journey or future fictions.

Kaminarion
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Should be in Top 5 of this domain.

You got a perfect Heroin who is OP while being OP. A huge world which is Rare in most fictions and kinda well established one. If you keep refining it, you step in LOTR realm. :P ( Just don't add a One Ring in there :D )

I am expecting new releases of this fiction more than any others I've read so far and they are definitely not few. 

Bunzai for the mature content. We(I) Want More Girlfriends!

Would it be a bit too much to slow down the pace a bit? I don't want this to end shortly :(

How about enriching the side characters a bit more per chapter. I got a bit of a bad memory here with all the fictions I follow and a name or two don't help much unless they've made a BANG. Describe once in a while if you can how they look like (or how much they've changed), add a bit of their personality and we are Ok.

Hope the Angel Mistress is added to the Harem sooner than later :P And then the other one gets back and we get a weird cat fight. Or do your thing. That works too :)

Suggestion: Have the characters discover the world more than describe it. Its more tolerable that way.

paj
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Not my cup of tea. Although the writing is good.

Really interesting MC. Story was ok. Relationships between the characters has some depth and dynamics.  But I lost interest. I couldn't read it anymore. But keep up the good work there are a lot of guys or girls who enjoys it. I can't give you any constructive criticism because your grammar is very good with no mistakes.  Your story is very solid so far with little plot holes. Thanks for sharing. 

brjlqxuv
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dont like gender bender BUT .......

gender bender is not my 'thing' BUT the tale telling of the author is good , so for you guys who not like gender bender like me , try read a lil bit, txs , sorry bad english 

Fabeltje
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I have just binge read till chapter 59 and im thouroghly enjoying myself. 

- nice to see a female op MC

- havn't noticed any typos or wrong grammer

- love the smart dialogues

 

keep it up!!

CynicJester
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Excellent and finished story

And so it ends. A really good read, with a pretty distinct take on the resurrection theme so common on RR. Some of the characters are a bit one-dimensional and others get lost in the shuffle, but that’s very much a nit pick level point as the rest are excellent.

Deltamaster
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A well written story which will always keep the reader wanting to read more , this is all the more impressive when one accounts for the fact that the MC is hilariously OP (most novels fail at making the fights interesting or make the characters mono dimensional just so the MC can kill them in the next chapter, not here though) all in all definitely worth a read. 

veptic
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Ending was similar to inception in some ways

Mayona12
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Gota have a humor parody sequal

Even if it's a short one you need to make a sequal. just purely for the shits and gigs.

It was an amazing book loved it.