Mother of Learning
Zorian is a teenage mage of humble birth and slightly above-average skill, attending his third year of education at Cyoria's magical academy. He is a driven and irritable young man, consumed by a desire to ensure his own future and free himself of the influence of his family, whom he resents for favoring his brothers over him. Consequently, he has no time for pointless distractions or paying attention to other people's problems. As it happens, time is something he is about to get plenty of. On the eve of the Cyoria's annual summer festival, he is killed and brought back to the beginning of the month, just before he was about to take a train to Cyoria. Suddenly trapped in a time loop with no clear end or exit, Zorian will have to look both within and without to unravel the mystery before him. And he does have to unravel it, for the time loop hadn't been made for his sake and dangers lurk everywhere... Repetition is the mother of learning, but Zorian will have to first make sure he survives to try again - in a world of magic, even a time traveler isn't safe from those who wish him ill.
If anyone is interested, I have a story-related worldbuilding site that can be found here. I don't update it as often as I should, but there is a fair amount of content there already. It also contains a page with all the fanart, fan translations, audio books and the like - you can reach it directly by clicking this link.
I have a patreon account for those kind people that want to give me money. It also contains info for those who want to donate via paypal.
The story was originally posted on fictionpress, back in 2011. When I reached chapter 91, I started uploading the story to RoyalRoad, one chapter per day. The story will continue to be updated on fictionpress as well as here, and can be reached by clicking on this link if somebody is interested, though at this point there is nothing there that isn't also on RoyalRoad.
The cover you see on the side has been made by a fellow RoyalRoad user Sydorow. Thank you for your time and art skills.
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From some of my brief discussions with the author, it seemed there were no plans at all to bring this story to the Royalroad platform. Many tried to persuade him with little success. But it seems that Royalroad is going to be graced with this story after all. I have followed this story since sometime back in 2013, and this might be my favourite high-fantasy fiction of all time.
The characters are all unique and wonderfully human.
Plot twists strike like deadly ninjas.
The world is very well developed. I know of perhaps only one other online story with a similar level of worldbuilding detail, Brennus.
One thing I especially love is that the story has a well developed system of rules, and the author actually abides by the rules well enough that I have not spotted any area of cheating. I won't claim to have perfect analysis abilities, but there are exceedingly few stories I can say this about. Usually authors create very loose rules so that this does not become an issue, or they simply break the rules for the sake of plot. Not so in this story. Everything makes sense. This is some of the highest praise I can give to a fantasy story. So many stories that I enjoy suffer from the lack of immersion created by simply not making sense. This story makes sense.
I recommend this. Not only that, I reccomend you support the author on Patreon if you are able. There are many authors on this site being supported through Patreon and other means whom I honestly believe are not putting in the necessary work to earn what they are earning.
Domagoj Kurmaic, the author, is an exception to this trend. This work has been vastly underfunded for the level of quality being produced.
All that said, there is no romance in this story. There are characters in romantic relationships, but those relationships are never a focus of the story. If you need romance in a story, this is not the one for you.
What this story has is action, magic, friendship, family drama, political drama, necromancers, monsters, dragons, a magic school setting, very funny moments of comic relief, and perhaps the most dynamic main character I have ever read. There is a very real sense in this story of watching a boy grow into a man.
Enjoy the read.
This review may contain spoilers. TL:RD at the bottom.
The story is set in a high fantasy world, and it follows Zorian, the (kind of) middle teen MC who has all those ‘I hate my family’ things going on.
It doesn’t help that his eldest brother is considered a genius, which leads to people comparing him to his brother as soon as they know his last name. (As well as another brother who is doing/living as he wants.)
So as every middle child, he can’t wait to get away from his family. the story begins on the day he returns to his school.
Zorian is a magic student at Cyoria’s academy and is at his third year. And a month after he returns, he witness an incident that involves one of his class mates, Zack, And a Lich. And following the incident, Zorian wakes up after the incident, but its not a new day. He wakes up a month earlier, the same day the story began for him, the day repeats in a similar manner as before, and after a month of time passes by, he is sent back to the same day yet again. He is stuck repeating a month over and over again. [Groundhog’s day as the description says. Great movie starring Bill Murray!!!]
Now for my personal reasons for the scores. I find this webnovel amazing, the time loop is executed so well. The MC moves between tasks in a pace that refresh the plot instead of falling into the predicted looping as one might think.
The grammar is as far as I can tell is amazing. I can’t judge someone with grammar better than mine anyway!
There are no romantic interests so far, but I prefer my novels romance free so its a plus in my books!
It honestly more than deserves a full score, each chapter makes me crave more chapters, and the chapters are quite beefy as well.
TL:DR: An amazingly written fantasy novel with lovable characters, a good magic system, and an amazing plot twist! Recommending this to everyone like a zealot.
Enjoy your read.
Already been following this little gem for years at fictionpress and happy to see it finally over here as well
Story is about a guy getting caught up in a time loop and starting to unravel its mysteries and tries to escape it. Character development is well done and grammar is perfect to my non native eyes. All in all a fresh breeze of a story that deserves its place among the upper echelons of webnovels
While this may seem biased to have a 5 star rating so soon, this story was originally posted on another site and has an almost cult following.
The plot expands as the story grows, the author not falling into the same traps so many others have seen with wish fulfilment.
The characters grow along with the story and the magic system is used in a way befitting a fantasy story, vague at times but detailed to further the story. Not every story must explain in detail how their magic system works.
The plot varies as it follows the MC, sometimes fast, sometimes slow and other times small time skips to avoid boredom. The world is larger than what the reader may imagine, with everything having it's own place.
The premise is interesting, and it's used not ignored. There is an overreaching plot, no mini-arcs where the author makes up each section on the fly. There's no romance plot and not everything is explained immediately, eventually perhaps. But not immediately. There's setbacks, drama and plot-twists you didn't see coming until they happened. But looking back, you can see clues leading up to this.
With fantastic writing, an interesting story and a plot that doesn't get side-tracked away from the goal; This is one of the best stories I've read in a long time and I'm eagerly awaiting the finale.
The reason I have 4.5 stars on Style is because the story does feel a little compressed, the author focusing on plot and progression and skipping meaningless interactions. Not necessarily a bad thing however, it keeps the story interesting and moving on.
This is one of my all time favorite stories. It's honestly one of the best things I've ever read, and the only real downside is the slower than average update schedule (new chaps ~1 a month). Of course, if you stick to the royal road site you won't even have that problem, cause this'll be updating daily until its caught up, which will take a solid three months or so.
I highly recommend this story to everybody. Even if you don't think you'll like it from what you hear. Not only does this story dodge every single pitfall that comes its way, it absolutely obliterates them.
Think the time looping premise destroys tension? It's quickly established that not only are there two entire disciplines of magic that time resets don't affect, there's also an unknown malevolent time traveler who knows both of them.
Afraid of the inability to develop characters? Well, MoL is one step ahead, sure time resets, but most of the supporting cast has extensive hidden depths that only become clear later on, mimicking the benefits of character development even with static characters.
Tired of OP protaginists who beat their foes effortlessly? MoL walks the perfect balance of power, with a protaginist who is effentually unchallenged in his area of expertise, but still far from flawless elsewhere. In fact, the foes he'll face are far beyond him, and he'll need to pull out all the stops if he wants any chance of success.
Even the plot twists, a notoriously easy area to screw up, are impeccable. Overall its a brilliant story that somehow balances both legitimately compelling character drama and truly epic scope within one novel, if not perfectly, as close as I can imagine to any human can achieve.
The only problem is that now this is here, no one will read any of my shitty writing. 0/5 stars.
The title is derived from the latin proverb "repetitio est mater studiorum" which means "Repetition is the Mother of Learning."
As you can guess, the MC is here to learn.
The time loop he finds himself in presents oppurtunities to master magics in a way normally unavailable. I mean, who doesn't fantasize about being in a time loop and able to master skills you never have time to learn and correcting everything that might go wrong in your life? And there is a lot going wrong here. A surprise enemy invasion, classmates being slaughtered, his city being destroyed, a world ending creature being released from its prison. It makes the perfect premise since it is a problem that will takes years to solve and time is something he suddenly has a lot of. But not as much time as he thinks.
What really sets this story apart from others is the incredible scope and how the MC handles it. The MC is great at breaking down the overwhelmingly massive problem of an enemy invasion into manageable bits that he can actually do something about. He uses the time loop to figure out what went wrong and try again. He is never overpowered compared to the forces arrayed against him but seeing his step by step solutions is incredibly satisfying. There is a serious mystery going on, and the character taps into his Sherlock side as he finds clues and makes deductions and then rationally applies solutions to the problems. The MC is no slouch at combat either and the way he shores up his own weaknesses with either training or by enlisting allies is well done.
I love his magical crafting and the clever inventions he creates to problem solve. He is able to train with different Masters who he normally wouldn't have access to outside of the time loop and the way he approaches their knowledge is different for each one. The time loop makes the story appear kind of "game-like" since the MC exploits the Magic trainers and min-maxes his resources at his disposal each time cycle. The goal of breaking out of the time loop keeps the character driven and pro-active.
The series is so good it is hard to believe it is a free web series. The author has been writing this series for over 7 years and it is very close to being finished. The author is at chapter 91 at the time of this review and plot threads are crashing together into a tsunami of climaxes. It is amazing.
I've been following this story for years on fictionpress, so I'm super happy it was finally ported over here. This story is one of the best I've ever encountered online. I'll try to keep this spoiler free.
The style is simple, and has the typical western fantasy flare (seen in like Lord of the Rings or Eragon, something like that. That kind of writing style). The author definitely puts a lot of thought into the world and characters, and it shows through. The style is consistent throughout, and although it isn't anything particularly ground-breaking, it's solid and leaves a lot of room for amazing storytelling.
The only gripe I kind of have is that the author tends to do a lot of "tell" instead of "show," especially toward the later chapters. But it's forgiveable, because the lore is so deep and world so fleshed out and rich that it's hard to just represent just through organic "showing." However, this results in dense chapters full of intricate information and concepts basically just told to us in plaintext so that it's hard to get super invested in and makes it hard to binge all the chapters in one go. This isn't so much a problem in the earlier chapters, but later on the author kind of gives up a bit and just heaves mountain on top of mountain of info on top of us.
Amazing. What can I say? Just superb. Everything is thought out. Every little thing is important. The whole story is founded off of a super intriguing concept (Groundhog's day but in a fantasy world), but the author expands it to so much more than that. The lore is deep and interesting, with twists and turns throughout. The story is in no way predictable. However, it is engaging, super tense (especially earlier on, although toward the middle/later it drags a bit, but has picked up in the latest few chapters). You can tell that the author has planned things for a long time and is giving us a rich, engaging, bouncy ride. There are so many gripping exciting moments, complete with chapters and chapters of buildup that lead to an awesome climax. It's great.
3. Grammar Score
Not completely perfect, but almost flawless. In the beginning chapters, I couldn't find a single error. However, later on there are a few errors that pop up here and now, so I couldn't give it full stars. Still better than 99.9% of fictions here.
4. Character Score
A-ma-zing. So good... one of my favorite things about this novel is the character development of Zorian throughout. I love that it's a slow, gradual, almost imperceptible change that feels incredibly natural (as it should, through many loops). I'm a big fan of many of the characters and their intriguing backgrounds.
However, I'm strict, so I still have gripes (sorry). Toward the beginning there seemed to be a lot of effort to have characters be 3-dimensional, interesting, and fleshed out, but toward the later chapters, it's clear the author is getting lazy. I won't name names, but a few recent characters that have been present for a while feel kind of one-dimensional. They're important for the story, but it feels like nobody103 is kind of tired from writing such an expansive, rich story, so he kind of glosses over it, giving the characters some kind of schtick and calling it a day. But it leaves me a bit annoyed and unsatisfied... not to mention, I had been expecting a payoff for some of these characters after them having been a mystery for a large part of the story, but they turn out to be kind of generic. So I couldn't give full score. But still amazing.
Overall, one of the best I have encountered. Kind of hard to binge but it's amazing and worth it. I would suggest just a few chapters a day or else your mind will get tired (it's so dense lol...). But read it! It's so good!
This story helped me grow as an author a lot, which I'm very thankful for.
It also made me lose two nights of sleep since I stayed up for 3 days straight to read it.
Just an incredibly good and engaging read.
I've read this multiple times over the years as it updated and it remains one of my favorite stories of all time.
I was intially surprised to see it on Royal Road, but it makes sense for it to be included here.
Easily one of the most original and best time loop stories I've ever read, I think a large part of it is that even in a time loop there are clearly defined threaths and in additon there was also a very clear sense of progression throughout the story.
The characters are all incredibly interesting and there's a very clear sense of progression for Zorian not only in his abilities but also his personality. Yet at the same time it's very easy to look at end of story Zorian and realize that all of his character progression makes sense.
Zach and the various supporting characters all do a good job, feeling connected to the story and helping to expand the world which has some of the best world building I've ever seen.
The magic system is fascinating and really does feel like it's own field of science, the author was even able to make there own website where they answered many addtional questions on the system that they created which I highly appreciated.