In the Celestial Empire, a land ruled by Immortals and stalked by Spirits and Beasts, a young girl from the slums of an unimportant city is found to have the Talent. In the great Sect of Argent Peak, she will take her first unsteady steps upon the way.
Can she learn to not only survive, but thrive on her journey?
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The Forge of Destiny follows the arc of Ling Qi, reluctant immortal, lost daughter, formerly of the slums of Tonghou.
On a distant mountain peak, under the eyes of a venerable Sect, the scions of ancient imperial clans rub elbows with the daughters and the sons of merchants, where a few lost thiefs and scoundrels are without a place and newly-minted scions of baronial and ducal houses try to find theirs - into this boiling plot Ling Qi is thrown.
FoD succeeds where so many of its contemporaries have failed. And why is that, you might wonder?
The magic system is decent, perhaps even good.
There is a glut of the traditional archetypes and troupes, the young masters and the animal companions, the battle princesses, the imperial way a la China that never was, spirits both young and ancient. Now, in my own opinion, FoD's greatest strength is its characters.
The dark action girl who renounces all, yet misses her lost mother, who just wants to be seen.
The young master, who tries to live up to his old heritage.
The girl with fire in her veins, betrodded to one she despises, unrequited in love.
The thug, trodden on for his entire life, learning that his fists has a reach that is only so long.
The scion of a ducal house of a generation, raised with gauntled fist, yearning to match great expectations, to build a world of law and justice, where might does not make right.
It is to these characters the readers return, chapter after chapter.
Forge of Destiny is a Xianxia story unlike any other I've read.
Now it doesn't reinvent the wheel, or does something too original, it has quite a bit of cliches. Not the overused CLICHES, but still, it has some.
Now why do I rate it so highly then? Its because it does some things that most other Xianxias, or even stories in general, fail at.
The first Xianxia story I've read was TODG ( Tales of Demons and Gods), I know, I know, its quality is rather... questionable, specially the Tls.
But one thing it did was introduce me to xiamxia formula, that unsurprisingly 99.99% of other xianxias follow, which consists of MCs gaining increasingly outlandish powerups, and bullshitting their way through increasingly impossible odds.
And every character ever introduced serves either the purpose of being crushed under the titanic weight of the MCs cock, or praising said cock and saying how their small atrofied dicks will never reach a tenth of the MC's. This archetypes usually repeat thenselves through the story, the only difference being that the first ones are just mortals and the latters are Demigods of the 20th strata of heavenly bullshit. But they are the same in the end.
And to tell you the truth I enjoyed those somewhat. Hell I even made a game of guessing what flavor of bullshit OPMC n° 1457 would pull out of their asses.
Most people like me read xianxia because its so predictable, only reading to see if the execution was good or if the author could make something interesting for once.
Forge of Destiny breaks away from that. And my god its refreshing.
The world actually feels... well alive for once, the characters are not mere one sided plot devices. They have motivations and agendas of their own, they are fleshed out and interesting, they aren't left behind and forgotten.
The MC has great part to play into that, Ling Qi is talented, but not world breaking, and that allows the side characters to flourish because they arent suddenly 200 tiers behind with no hopes of catching up due to the exponential empowerment.
And most of all the way its all bundled together is incredible. The MC is relatable, she's smart, although a bit naive, and somehow she acconplishes being dense, without being Dense, which leads to funny ligthearted moments without degrading the story.
Overall the story is among my favorites in the site, it's a Xianxia, but its a xianxia done right in my opinion.
In a genre filled with adolescent power fantasy and plot that endlessly repeats, Forge of Destiny is a gem, with compelling characterization throughout and consistent worldbuilding.
It's by far the best Xianxia I've ever read, even with the caveat that Chinese works likely suffer from translation woes.
Greatest xianxia ever-actual characters that are not cut outs,no dbz problem of constant escalation,an actual understandable story and an actual non murderhobo non jackass protag
Better than 80% of the stuff on here
To append my earlier statement-I,like most of you,was sick of xianxia.I had even resolved myself to never read it again.Until one day I saw this.I was a bit skeptical at first but found that I actually enjoyed reading this,it was... a breath of fresh air in a stale genre of completly assholish main characters whos only reason to pursue power was a neboulous defined goal of "I will be the greatest thing ever with my super speshul cheat power,look at me im so coool and awsome,girls just throw themselves one me. consequence wats that".
IN this story however ling qi has a goal ,she has a well defined goal other than being facepunch mcgee, there is no constant last minute power ups,other people matter,the society matters and is not just superflous to the plot.I will state this right now,this is most likely the best xianxia you will ever read,everything else just falls flat.
Forge of Destiny is an excellent coming of age story centered around a young former street thief as she grows up in a Xianxia world. She is discovered to have talent and is taken to the sect where she makes learns new power, and makes friends as well as enemies.
The setting is based off of Xianxia world, but the characters feel real. People do not exist just to praise the main character. She is talented, but she has no true "cheat code". There are no cardboard cutouts of characters, every main character is very fleshed out and has a unique personality.
What this reminds me most of all is a more mature version of the early Harry Potter books. I'd reccomend this to anyone with a love of fantasy.
When I first read Forge of Destiny, what absolutely grabbed me was the characters, Ling Qi especially. Seeing her internal conflict, how she gradually changes along with the others around her as the world advances at its own pace really touched me.
The themes of what it means to be free, and how Ling Qi's views develop with time is a intriguing read.
I'm still fairly new to the xianxia genre, but hopefully I'll be able to keep this review fairly unbiased.
I will start with my complaint, since there is only one, and that is that I have no idea where this story is actually going.
After reading up to the most recent chapter, the fiction feels very much like a slice of life novel, well balanced with a couple chapters of action here and there. None of the plot points get dragged out longer than they need to be, and everything progresses at a reasonable pace.
That said, I have no idea which direction the plot is headed. The story frequntly reminds us that Ling Qi, the MC, is destined for nearly a decade of military service. But at the same time, the story goes at such a leasurely pace that it might be several years before we actually see any of that.
Is this an action series with a slow buildup, or kung fu Harry Potter without a Voldemort? I can't tell, and that bothers me. From the title of the fiction and name of the prologue arc, I expected this to be about blacksmithing, and it's not, so I have no idea what to think anymore.
That is, really, my only problem.
The pacing isn't rushed. Most of the characters get some time for development. The worldbuilding is good, and the author doesn't resort to unnecessary exposition to help us understand how the setting works.
There is almost nothing that I can point to and say, "This was done wrong." It is, overall, a good story. I just wish I knew what the story was supposed to be about.
The best adjective for this story is delightful. A relatively light but still poignant read that I can only recommend to everyone.
The main character, Ling Qi, is just a huge loaf of fresh air. I've recently binged a lot of web novels and Ling Qi is just awesome. She manages to be insanely gifted and hard working, unaware of how special she is, yet still prideful and generally happy, for the most part. She's not content, but the novel reads like a story from someone that genuinely enjoys what they're doing. The sense of progress, the difficulties. The dangers. The fights. Ling Qi strives in the sect enviornment. Yet, despite all Ling Qi's success, the story stays true to its cultivation roots and all Ling Qi's success still comes from her work, and her progress is always seen as impressive but not impossible.
Other stories will have the character have inherent advantages, be it knowledge of technology, access to an overpowered element or a snowball mechanic. Ling Qi is just fun and lucky. She cares about her friends, but doesn't care too much about anyone else. She wants to make her life better and has no pretenses on wanting to improve the world. Heck, she barely believes the world can be improved. And that'sa wonderful place to start.
The supporting cast is equally engaging and well developed. The dynamic between the characters is consistent. I could describe them all, but I honestly couldn't know where to start as all characters are both unique and serve a unique purpose.
The style is a huge plus. The story weaves in and out of the narrative present with a brilliant mastery of pacing. What needs to be shown is shown, what needs to be told is told with a consistent and pleasent narrating voice. Reminds me of the style used in the first Talia books in the Herald's of Valdmaar series.
To top it off, this book achieves something that I lack the skill to express eloquently: It manages to include the dark parts. The jealousy, the feelings of inferiority, the desesperation, the maiming, the need for vengeance, while still having an overall mood boosting effect on the reader. One Piece, Stormlight Archive, The Wandering Inn, these are just other examples of works that manage something similar. To portray difficuty, strife and misery without diluting the wonder and joy of fantasy. Yes, I want to cry. But I want to cry with a smile on my lips.
Unfortunately, and this is what docks half a star from this work, the story so far feels a bit... tame in heavy climatic moments. There's some understated resolutions that hurt a lot, but overall there haven't been many hugely personal, Keeping up with the comparison's, this is lacking Robin yelling "I'm gonna live", or the "Erin stands in the front lines with a white flag" type of moments. High stakes situations that really ramp up the emotions and make you want to yell, cry, laugh and scream, all at the same type. Perhaps the reason why delightful is a better description than fucking brilliant. But there's a place for delightful in my life.
I have been following this book for a long time. I read many different fictions on RRL and on other sites, but one of the only fictions I have consistently kept up with (and one of the only fictions to maintain a consistent, swift release rate) has been Forge of Destiny.
The fact that the book maintains a high quality of prose while artfully expanding the world and the depth of characters is a testament to the author's planning and discipline. I've seen complaints that this book is paced too slowly, but I disagree.
In many xianxia books, a lot seems to happen, but nothing relevant actually does (i.e. rinse and repeat arrogant young master encounters). The plot races ahead, the main character breaking through cultivation stages left and right while doing all sorts of shenanigans. But after the book is done, a lot of what happened rings hollow; not much sticks out. Characters are typically archetypes rather than unique individuals.
Forge of Destiny is not like these xianxia novels. I'd say that it's what you might get if you took a cultivation novel and focused not on the destination (i.e. becoming lord of the universe), but the journey: one filled with friendship and struggles and finding oneself.
I'm excited to continue reading just how the cast of characters develop and make their way through the world.
Thank you for all your hard work Yrsillar!
Ling Qi is a product of her background. Raised by a mother forced into prostitution she escaped that fate by running away from home. At least she thought that was what her mother had planned for her.
Circumstances and hindsight have allowed her to re-examine those motivations.
But her background has stunted her social abilities, and she finds herself wary and uncertain as she begins to trod the path of cultivation.
The story is well written, the author takes the time to edit meticulously and I have never noticed a grammatical error that was glaring enough that disrupted the flow of the narrative.
If the author ever writes a side story, I would love to see the focus on Bai Meizhen, her story would be fascinating based on the little we've read about her so far.